Consumer spending may be at its lowest since 1968, but do die-hard fashionistas ever stop shopping? No, Silly, there's something called bargains. Last week's article in the New York Times style section, A Label for a Pleather Economy, highlights the ways in which fashion is being affected by the glum economy, including the rise of a blog entitled, The Recessionista. The budget-savvy chicster lauds designer collections at discount stores, like Norma Kamali for Wal-mart, and other bargain hunters like the Target Addict blog. But let's not forget our values, true values. Cheap clothes often come with a history of compromised material sourcing and unfair labor standards. What about the shopper who'd like a little something cheap and green that wasn't made in a sweatshop?
We found hope and good cheer in a visit to the New York atelier of Toggery by Kate D’Arcy. Toggery aims to give "great price point, great fit, and great color,” says Kate D’Arcy, designer. Her contemporary women’s line includes tanks, tees, henleys, turtlencecks, tunics, jackets, and blouses, with prices even the Recessionista would admire. But, unlike the Recessionista’s picks, Toggery uses only sustainable and organic fabrics and manufactures in the USA.
“A misconception about organic is that it has to be overpriced or be really expensive," D'Arcy says. Toggery's retail prices range from $35 dollars for an all-organic cotton tank to $140 for a great jacket. A cowl neck tunic dress made of bamboo retails for $65 and, like the entire collection, "appeals to a wide range of women because you can style it however you want. You can wear it very simply and leave it as is, or you can add jewelry and a scarf and make it your own," D'Arcy adds.
If you're not ready to bargain hunt in the stock market and hold on for the wild ride, a little green dress provides some instant and affordable gratification.
Story by Margaret Teich. This article originally appeared in Plenty in October 2008. The story was moved to MNN.com.