National Sweater Day 2013: Wear An Eco-Friendly Frock To Support WWF (PHOTOS)

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On Thursday, February 7, WWF and Loblaw Companies Limited are asking Canadians to turn down the heat and put on a sweater in honour of National Sweater Day. The event is held each year to raise awareness about the importance of energy conservation.

Wondering what to wear? Any sweater will do, but if you want to go green (since the whole campaign is about saving electricity), why not reach for something that's eco? From hemp fabrics to fair trade cotton, there are tons of ways to green your sweater-wearing routine.

Here are some shopping tips from eco-stylist Sarah Jay.

What To Wear

Local & Handmade
Support local talent and reduce the carbon impact from shipping and industrial knitting machines. With a sweater like this by Thieves, the impression you’ll leave is stylish and sustainable.

Organic & Fair Trade
The impact of conventional cotton from fibre to finish is among the most detrimental of all fabrics — it necessitates a lot of unnatural nurturing to ensure it can be grown in infertile soil. When buying brand new, seek out organic. This tiger top by A Question Of not only features one of WWF’s favourite species, its construction supports communities in Africa by providing fair wages and safe working conditions for employees.

Upcycled
Garments are given new life in one-of-a-kind reincarnations from Canadian label Preloved. I especially love their Cornelia sweater. Its voluminous shape and layer-ability ensure versatility within your existing wardrobe. What green good is a garment you only wear once?

Vintage
The greenest sweater is one that already exists, so hit up your local vintage shop and hunt one down. Via vintage, you’re sure to score one-of-a-kind finds that represent the unique snowflake you are. You'll also help reduce the substantial and unnecessary impact of textile waste in landfills. Fact: Canadians are responsible for adding close to two million tonnes of textile waste to landfills each year.

What Not To Wear

Dry Clean Only Fabrics
The largest impact a garment has is in the post-consumer phase of its lifecycle — that means after you buy it and how you care for it. Dry clean only fabrics should be avoided altogether. The vast majority of dry cleaners use a synthetic solvent called “perchloroethylene.” Even minimal exposure to “perc” can result in dizziness, headaches, drowsiness, nausea and skin and respiratory irritation. Prolonged perc exposure has been linked to liver and kidney damage and cancer. If you must dry clean, seek an establishment that uses pressurized carbon dioxide. This is significantly less volatile for humans and the environment.

Use Eco-Detergent
When washing at home, be sure to use an eco-detergent, cold H20 and hang your wares to dry.

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