The Environmental Forum for Business at the Spokane Convention Center, April 28 to 30, includes two seminars on eco-fashion clothing and manufacturing practices that strive to be environmentally friendly.
Manastash, Inc., a Seattle-based company, produces casual clothing and accessories fashioned from hemp, a natural fiber resembling flax, that has been used in a variety of products for more than 6,000 years.
The masses in China used hemp for clothing as early as 4000 B.C. because of its inexpensive production cost and resistance to rotting after exposure to moisture.
Both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp on their plantations to make ropes and boat sails.
The first blue jeans, constructed by Levi Strauss during the California Gold Rush, were made of hemp sailcloth after a miner told Strauss they didn’t need tents nearly as much as they needed durable pants.
Hemp clothing has the look and feel of coarse linen. Unlike cotton production - which requires close to 39 million pounds of pesticides annually in the United States alone - hemp needs virtually no pesticides.
Manastash hemp apparel and accessories are available at two Spokane stores, Mountain Gear and Wild Walls.
Another eco-fashion company featured at the forum will be the San Francisco-based Garbage Collection, headed by Rick Duchin.
Garbage Collection is committed to reducing the amount of textile waste. By using scrap material from manufacturers such as Levi Strauss, Esprit and J. Crew, the company produces a complete line of clothing, headwear and accessories sold nationally at more than 650 retail locations.
Eventually the company hopes to achieve a zero percent waste system by using its own scrap material in the production of stuffed animals and environmental toys.
Garbage Collection utilizes other waste, such as paper gathered at dumpsites, which they recycle and use for catalogs and posters.
Duchin said the future lies in the commitment to reduce and reuse, as well as recycle. His company is constantly developing new methods to address environmental problems, and he encourages others to do so as well.
The fashions may be seen at the trade show in the convention center from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday; and from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Wednesday. Cost for the event is $10 at the door.
Tickets for the overall environmental forum are $100 for one day, and $150 for two days. For more information, contact Lucy Gurnea at 326-6885.
MEMO: Shanna Southern Peterson is a Spokane writer and home economist. The Clothesline appears weekly. Ideas for the column may be sent to her c/o The Spokesman-Review Features Department, P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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