Eco Fashion: It Looks Good On You

Writer Missy Black models Clothing Matters' latest fashions.

Who knew you could respect life, prevent pollution, connect with nature and look fabulous doing it?

Clothing Matters

“There’s a lot of reasons to do more with less and enjoy the best,” said Marta Swain, owner of Clothing Matters. The store’s philosophy is simple—“feel good in and about what you wear”—and she’d like to invite you to be part of the solution.

From athleisure clothing to tops, bottoms, dresses, birch bark earrings and scarves with leaf imprints, you can choose organic, sustainably manufactured apparel and look fashionable. Embellishments and adornments come in the form of strips of buttons on tops, black tank tops with lace-up backs, ruched side detailing and mixes of lace and crochet—there’s even a wonderfully versatile top that features a V-neck and a scoop neck on either side for two different looks. Treatments like this bring high fashion to eco apparel so you can feel good about your purchases and keep up with trends.

Clothing Matters has been in business for 23 years and has accumulated a lot of wisdom to pass along. Apparel is a top polluter of water and the second most toxic industry after oil. Even the laundering of polyester is a significant source of micro-plastic pollution in our Great Lakes, rivers and oceans.

A visit to the store is an opportunity to look and feel fashionable in pieces made with practices that respect the earth. Surprisingly soft hemp/organic cotton blends are a favorite of many over the years. Its breathability and softness provide a luxurious feel at affordable prices while reducing the harmful impacts of chemicals in conventional apparel.

One bamboo button up that could be worn to work retails around $34—a price you’d see at any boutique. There’s even a “vintagen” section including vintage, upcycled and gently used pieces that keep products in use for as long as possible, reducing the impact of apparel pollution.

Our clothing choices impact our health and well-being. At Clothing Matters, you can stay stylish and commit to cleaner closets and ecosystems. One long-time partner, Maggie’s Organics, is a Michigan based, woman-owned company that was rated number 1 out of 300 businesses rated for their fair-trade practices. The collection features a chic organic cotton chambray cowl neck tunic that’s the definition of sophistication and comfort.

Another option is the organic cotton twist dress showcasing on-trend detailing that doubles its use in your wardrobe with reversible scoop/square necklines. Pieces like this are giving eco fashion a boost in today’s modern styles.


Photo by Studio Phrene
Photo by Studio Phrene

This online retailer specializes in high-end women’s apparel and lifestyle goods that are ethically and responsibly sourced. Its products are made for remarkable women and real life.

“Our take on sustainable or eco fashion is, essentially, that everything we sell is responsibly made whether fair trade or certified organic or out of eco materials,” said owner Becky VandenBout. The company recently rebranded to a capsule wardrobe release schedule. “It’s the same quality, style and standards—just a more innovative and less wasteful style of sharing our products with the world.”

Photo by Studio Phrene
Photo by Studio Phrene

Joon + Co. debuts the Easy Capsule featuring 10 easy pieces (from brands that have been thoroughly vetted) that make 30 luxurious outfits. You can shop individual items or buy the entire 10-piece capsule.

Selections from the collection include this season’s favorite—a raw silk jumpsuit with a clean and simple shape or the modern yet feminine Naima dress with ruffle hem attractions or the stunning Eden dress in super soft 100 percent organic cotton in a long, A-line cut in a marble print.

“This industry gets drab and hippie and that isn’t for everybody.” Joon + Co. targets the modern, sophisticated woman, educating them on fast fashion’s dirty industry and the amount and speed at which items are produced and how they end up in landfills forever. “Make changes. Start using non-disposable straws or buy recycled polyester. We want to educate people on shopping responsibly.”


Meet this family run group of creatives making a difference in the fashion industry by creating sustainable, handmade clothing, using eco-friendly materials and low impact dyes and inks.

“I started this company in 2002 because I was having my second baby and having a hard time finding organic fabric to make cloth diapers and diaper covers,” said owner and founder Rose Phillips who eventually started ordering her own fabric online. Phillips was making clothing for her daughter and other moms took notice—wanting clothing for their children and themselves.

“We were trying to find anything that wasn’t overly processed or made of synthetic fibers,” she said. “It was sixteen years ago that we were doing this, and people were asking, what does organic cotton even mean? It was then you realized the disconnect—people didn’t understand that their clothing was grown from the ground.”

Conscious Clothing feels strongly about using sustainable, biodegradable or organically grown fibers and the company feels it’s just as important to know who made your clothes and to support Made in America manufacturing. Head to the company’s website and you’ll see its Belmont studio filled with natural light and window views of trees and greenery.

“We built this studio and make the clothes here. We keep all our production in-house at this point. We employ local seamstresses and products are made here in Michigan, by hand, by your neighbor, in your own community.”

Looks coming out of the studio include the classy, Flora wrap dress made from European linen as well as the Patio dress—an easy, warm weather dress constructed of organic or European linen and the summer crop tank in plaid prints. This June, the shop will be launching its first men’s shirt.

This summer, the company is hoping to do some open studio hours with a pop-up shop feel to get people in front of the products. “For a long time, the only thing you could find was dated or not as fashion forward as you’d like to see. There are many misconceptions—that it’s a hippie thing. I feel what we are doing with clothing is for all ages and nationalities and body types and we’re intentional about doing that—making sure that there is something for everybody.”

Check out where eco-fashion is headed with a trip to Clothing Matters, 141 Diamond Ave. SE and visit and

*Main Photo: Writer Missy Black models Clothing Matters’ latest fashions.

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