Arcadia Boutique’sEco-Friendly Fashion

Do you have a passion for sustainable fashion? If you’re looking for products from the best local and global eco-friendly designers, visit Arcadia Boutique. This independent boutique, owned and run by Philadelphia entrepreneur Ali McCloud, is the destination for ethically-conscious clothing, accessories, gifts, art, and homeware.

There are two convenient locations to choose from; Arcadia Boutique in Northern Liberties, and a second branch in Rittenhouse. Each store has its own unique items to be discovered, as well as lines carried across both boutiques. Arcadia (Rittenhouse) also hosts an array of community events too so there is always a buzz around the place that the other stores are quickly adapting to!

Ali McCloud opened Arcadia Boutiques to bring the world’s finest socially-responsible goods to Philadelphia. Within each location, you can find clothing for the entire family, denim, jewellery, accessories, items for the home, bespoke gifts, and an exciting range of vintage goods.

In addition, Arcadia Boutique regularly holds events to showcase local art and design. These relaxed and friendly occasions provide an opportunity for artists to promote their work, and for visitors to purchase unique pieces for their homes. It is this spirit of collaboration and encouragement that sets Arcadia Boutique as a local business with global outlook and a sustainable ethos.

Focus on sustainability

The philosophy of Arcadia Boutique is centred on a passion for green living, with a particular focus on ethically-conscious shopping. All of the carefully-selected items contained within each location have been chosen for their eco-friendly credentials. You can be assured that shopping with Arcadia Boutique helps you to enjoy a sustainable lifestyle.

Global reach

If you’re not within commuting distance to Philadelphia, there’s no need to miss out! You can enjoy Arcadia’s fabulous online boutique from the convenience of your home.

Within the online store, you’ll find a curated collection of clothing, footwear, accessories, and luggage. There’s also a selection of vintage items to choose from, which is updated regularly with the most recent finds!

In order to help you find the perfect item, the website has functionality to browse according to product categories, or by designer. Whether you want to narrow down to a particular product or browse your favourite designer’s collection, you’ll have a spectacular online shopping experience with Arcadia Boutique.

Sustainable Fashion Techniques

The Arcadia and bus stop boutique is not the only brand or designer that has been getting on board, but the rest of the fashion industry needs to as well. One of the ways the fashion industry as a whole can contribute to improving its sustainability and ethical practices is to adopt sustainable fashion techniques. According to numerous global surveys, the textile industry ranks right after the oil and paper industries when it comes to environmental degradation. This is a result of the large production systems with flawed supply chains, which not only leave the environment polluted but also raises ethical issues. The idea of eco-friendliness has become increasingly popular in modern times and is taking root and spreading across the global fashion industry. Various fashion brands are now taking on eco-friendly production systems in the production and supply of their products.

1. Biodegradable Fabrics
One of these systems is the use of eco-friendly fabric to design garments and other fashion pieces. While some fabrics like wool and silk are biodegradable, the synthetic fabrics pose a greater threat to the environment. Synthetics take up to forty years to decompose, which adversely affects the ecosystem. Owing to this threat, the textile industry is now leaning towards the use of more organic fibres.

When it comes to fabrics, the term eco-friendly denotes the renewability and the eco-footprint of its production and processing. Some fabrics like organic hemp have less impact on the environment since they actually need fewer chemicals and water while growing. Furthermore, materials like organic wool and soy silks are environmentally friendly because they are fully biodegradable. The soy silks have more adherence to natural dyes, making it easier to produce them in colours. Other eco-friendly fabrics include bamboo and Sasawashi that are fully biodegradable. This revolution in the use of biodegradable fabrics provides a way to produce garments that are friendly to the environment and ensure the sustainability of the fashion industry.

2. Eco-Friendly Methods of Dyeing Fabrics
According to research, a single fabric mill in China, which is a major producer of fabrics worldwide, uses up to two hundred tons of water for a ton of dye used on fabric. Apart from this, the chemicals used to dye the fabrics are at times harmful to the skin. Use of natural fabrics reduces the need for tons of water for dying but even this does not solve the problem of dying synthetic fabrics.

However, certain new developments in the fashion industry have created a way for reducing the wastage caused by the dyeing of fabrics. One of these is the air dye method. During the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, Costello Tagliapietra used this very method of dyeing for his spring/summer collection. The method is quite literal in its application of dyes. Vaporization of the dye allows for its direct application onto the fabrics. The air dye method produces striking colours as compared to the usual method of dyeing using water. Furthermore, the air dye method is more colourfast and effective on synthetic fabrics.

Scientists in Singapore have also come up with a different way of dyeing, albeit not for synthetic fabrics but for silk fabrics. This method involves feeding the silkworms their normal diet of mulberry leaves and adding a few fluorescent dyes. The resultant silk fabric colours are permanent and natural. This method saves a lot of labour and resources that would otherwise go to dyeing the silk using water.

3. Quality-Over-Quantity System of Garment Production
The fashion industry, like many other industries that are fast-moving, relies heavily on stocks from prior production of garments. As soon as a fashion trend hits the magazines, the various supply chains stock up and start pushing it into the market. This method, however, is falling out of favor due to the wastages incurred. In turn, the production lines are now opting for quality over quantity.

This innovative method of garment production and supply reduces the amount of wastage in the supply chain. Inditex, a leading global fashion designer company, is one among those spearheading the quality-over-quantity system of production. Using data collected from their various stores, the company produces garments and accessories depending on customer feedback. This reduces the wasted resources used up on the garment that eventually do not sell or lead to losses. Inditex produces small units of garments that they tailor-fit to the consumer needs. They can, therefore, make modifications on these garments depending on the changing consumer tastes. This production strategy puts them in better stead for the adaptation of new trends.

4. Ethical Production Line Practices
Among the dark patches of the glamour world are the ethical-related issues. Various production lines have suffered scandals related to child workers, sweatshops, and reduced wages. This raises the need to reshape the supply chain to accommodate more ethically appropriate practices. This is why the various fashion industries are reverting to handmade designs over the large production factories.

For the New York–based FEIT label, the road towards a sustainable production includes reduced units of production of shoes, with the emphasis being on the production of higher quality and eco-friendly fashion pieces. Their leather production involves select family-owned tanneries all over Europe, which focus on metal-free vegan tannin. This footwear design company fully invests in human involvement in pursuit of higher quality for their brand.

5. Reusing and Upcycling
In the sways of the eco-friendly revolution, the fashion industry has seen a rise of other trends, albeit of less magnitude as compared to those discussed above but still very effective. Some of these include reusing and upcycling. Many garments end up in a garbage pit after they fall out of fashion, and many deem this as waste. Vintage stores come to the rescue by both bringing new trends and reusing the old. Many designers approve of using the ‘old wine and new wine mixture’ when it comes to fashion. Upcycling, on the other hand, is the use of seemingly useless materials in the creation of new garments. This reduces the amount of wastage while giving rise to new trends in the industry.

Recycling old clothes and used fabrics is another way to reduce the fashion industry's eco-footprint. Instead of ditching old clothes and footwear, it is preferable to just pass them down or mend them up. In their Worn Wear Tour, the company “Patagonia” encourages their customers to bring any apparel irrespective of the label to their mending vans. This reduces the number of clothes consumers dispose within a short period. Unfortunately, this trend is yet to gain popularity in the fashion industry.

As the eco-friendly revolution gains more traction in the fashion industry, more sustainable fashion techniques are bound to be discovered in the near future. While there is yet so much to improve in the current production system of garments, the fashion industry has a bright future considering the rate of how more and more brands are picking up on eco-friendly techniques.

Arcadia Boutique ensures that its fashions and stock are in keeping with its ethos. Although this isn’t the official website, we hop it gives some clarity and understanding about how the massive fashion industry clears up its techniques and procedures.