More and more big box stores, retail chains and department stores are all offering natural and organic clothing choices. For a growing number of discerning customers, however, simply selling organic clothing — garments crafted from certified-organic, natural fibers that include cotton, bamboo, hemp, linen, wool and cashmere — isn’t enough. As more eco-conscious consumers seek stores that embrace sustainability, green principals and environmentally friendly practices, a growing number of Philly’s clothing shops, boutiques and marketplaces, including the three featured in this article, are going the extra mile to incorporate sustainable practices into their operations. “Green” efforts include stocking primarily sustainable products, selling items produced using eco-friendly methods, using paperless accounting systems, LED lighting in the store, company vehicles that use biodiesel and recycling and energy efficiency efforts. It can also mean using recycled and recyclable paper and other materials for packing materials, marketing collateral and store fixtures, flooring and decor.
819 N. 2nd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19123
Arcadia Boutique, with two locations, one in Rittenhouse Square and the other in Philadelphia’s Northern Liberties neighborhood, carries stylish, sustainable brands by eco-friendly Philly-area designers and from designers around the world. While the boutique carries predominantly sustainable women’s fashion clothing, it also offers a limited selection of green lifestyle apparel for children and men. Shoppers will also be able to browse through eco-minded décor items for the home, including artwork, candles and lotions. To round out the experience, Arcadia Boutique provides eco-tourism travel destination information through an in-house travel expert.
1700 Sansom St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Sa Va operates its flagship store, as well as a design studio and garment center, located in Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square neighborhood with the goal of being the most socially sustainable apparel company nationwide. Chic – but surprisingly affordable – clothing and accessories are either locally designed and created, or acquired through fair-trade practices as organic, recycled, salvaged or natural pieces. Visitors to Sa Va’s interactive website can not only shop, but also browse through posts about volunteer opportunities to help Philadelphia-area women and children.
United by Blue
Various locations in Pennsylvania
United by Blue is a certified B corporation – meeting the rigorous standards of social and environmental performance as well as transparency and accountability. UBB sells t-shirts and other “ocean friendly” apparel as well as accessories and bags, while tying the products to cleaning trash from the oceans and waterways of the world. In fact, for every item sold, UBB commits to the clean-up of one pound of trash. Rather than outsourcing the cleanup efforts to other organizations, the employees of this forward-thinking company organize cleaning missions to do the dirty work themselves. The cleanup efforts are supported through a sustainable business model that centers upon selling items crafted from organic cotton and creative designs
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Christy Ayala covers sports, recreation, the outdoors, and leisure activities in the Philadelphia area. She earned a masters degree in recreation administration from George Williams College and managed programs in the Midwest, Hawaii, and Pennsylvania. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.