By Ethan Dougherty
on 4.23.09

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Some say that green is the new black. Though history has proven that style trends leave as quickly as they arrive (sometimes thankfully, and sometimes not), eco-fashion has proven that it’s got the chops to stick around. So, in continued recognition of Earth Day, I’ve spoke with four fashion pioneers who are focused on making you look good, feel proud, and still managing to save the Earth… one fiber at a time. Check out my favorite green gear and some excerpts from my chats after the jump – oh, and don’t worry, they’re not just strays from a 70s hippie commune.

Pictured: Loomstate Act Natural V-Neck T-Shirt ($55), Nau Riding Jacket ($200), Rogan Mies Original Jean ($288), TOMS University Ash Rope Sole ($58)

Loomstate | Scott Mackinlay Hahn (Co-Founder)

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qGear Patrol: Do you feel that “green” and giving back to the world is just a phase?

a1Hahn: The way we have been living for the last 50 years is just a phase – a severely damaging one and green is the beginning of the end of this phase.

Giving back: These 100% organic duds incorporate cotton, linen, hemp and bamboo from “Gold Standard” factories enforcing flair labor and limiting pollution. Loomstate is creating awareness about issues affecting the environment: specifically, loss of habitat, natural resources, and climate change. Did you know that the incidence of children born with autism to mothers living within 500 meters of California fields sprayed with pesticides is more than six times greater than the rate of autism births nationwide? Check out their online journal to learn more; it’s a very informative resource.
The Lowdown: For those of you who crave super soft tees like I do, this is one brand you should not live without. And for the budget conscious, check out the new limited edition Loomstate for Target collection for more relaxed favorites inspired by nature (which we’ll be talking about more in an upcoming post). But hurry, word is the gear is going fast.

Cost: $55

Nau | Mark Galbraith (Lead Designer)

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qGear Patrol:What do you feel is the biggest issue affecting the environment right now and how is Nau combating this?

a1Galbraith: There are many issues facing the environment right now, but one of the biggest things we can do is to look at our own environmental footprint. Nau has a holistic design approach and continually strives to make the most sustainable product possible by considering the overall design, materials, production processes, distribution, product maintenance, and end-of-life cycles.

Giving back: By developing over 300 sustainable fabrics made entirely of recycled polyester, organic fabrics, and corn fiber, Nau’s minimalist style is for the urban athlete, artist, and activist in all of us. The Portland, OR company is committed to leveraging the power of business as a force for positive change. Through their Partners for Change program, Nau donates 2% of sales to a social/environmental organization of your choice. To celebrate Earth Day, Nau is giving back to you – go to their site today for a 20% discount by entering promo code “ILOVEEARTH” when checking out. While you’re at it, check out Nau’s blog for lively discussion about positive changed – it’s inspiring.

The Lowdown: When I’ve got a hot blond telling me “that jacket looks slimming,” what else is there to say? Oh yea – this tailored piece of armor left my suit bone dry after battling 30 city blocks in a torrential downpour and 70mph winds. Dress it up over office attire, pair it with your favorite jeans and t-shirt, or rock it on the hiking trail – the choice is yours.

Cost: $200

Rogan | Rogan Gregory (Co-Founder)

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My Mom was an environmentalist, and I had visions of saving the world when I was younger. I eventually perused that through design. – Rogan Gregory

Giving back: The parent company of Loomstate, this denim guru’s builder-like approach has established him as a true pioneer of ethical design. Known for high style and sustainability, Rogan pays homage to vintage workwear blending a “casual meets conceptual” aesthetic. In collaboration with Barney’s last summer, Rogan created one-of-a-kind styles from donated and discarded jeans.

The Lowdown: I know, $288 for a pair of jeans? Believe me when I tell you, even in these cash-strapped times, they are worthy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the $40 Levi’s. But when I slipped these super-soft puppies on, I learned that denim can actually give you a reason to smile. See, I’m the lifelong hockey player who has given up trying to fit jeans over my tree trunk legs. So, when a pair of jeans actually fit, let alone feel as soft as these, they have my vote. The slashed front pockets mirror what you would typically find on a pair of khakis, while the super-deep back pockets give you extra room to stash your cash. For the biggest selection, go to their site.

Cost: $288

TOMS | Blake Mycoskie, (Founder and Chief Shoe Giver)

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I was traveling in Argentina in 2006, just on vacation, and came across so many children who did not have shoes. Their feet had cuts and infections, and there I had the idea to start a shoe company that would serve as a sustainable way of giving. – Blake Mycoskie

Giving back: Their selfless business model is simple: TOMS Shoes gives one pair of shoes to South American and African children in need for each shoe purchased by shoppers. It does not stop there, however. In late 2008, TOMS delivered shoes to victims of Katrina. In less than three years, TOMS has given nearly 150,000 shoes to children in need and plans to double that number of the next year. Keep up with the social entrepreneur’s stories and international adventures on his blog.

The Lowdown: Do I need to say more? The guy is saving the world one shoe at a time. This is no doubt the perfect slip on for a summer clambake or stroll through town.

Cost: $58

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Photo Credits: Jenna Israel | jennaisraelphotography.com