June 20, 2007
It's Not Easy Being Green
I have decided to educate myself on being green. It's a nice shade for me anyway because I have hazel eyes, and being from Connecticut it also matches my other favorite color Ė pink. For a long time I've been almost exclusively homeopathic and naturalistic in medicine and watch out for animal products and hormones in food and beauty supplies, but when I was hearing words like "eco-friendly" and "sustainable" I wasn't entirely sure what this meant. For me sustainable is the size of heel I can wear at a summer party without sinking into the grass or getting it caught between outdoor deck boards. Free- trade coffee is me fumbling through change and grunting in exchange for my morning caffeine.
Luckily I stopped into the new clothes store Life Style in Sag Harbor that's owned by Debbie Rudoy and has wonderful groovy and classic styles. She explained that some of her labels were either made from organic fabrics like Stewart Brown (a far cry from your hippie mom's hemp material which felt like burlap) to this line of wonderfully comfy loungewear called LoveTanJane which uses natural vegetable dyes. A big part of her business plan is to seek out these labels and the clothes which are still handmade by small artist communities. These artists create a product that will keep them going, hence the label "sustainable." Aha. Debbie pointed out, as have others in the building trade, that most efforts are "light" green, meaning that at least some part of the design or construction has an element that is organic or recycled or energy efficient. Even if everyone just changed their light bulbs or used a canvas bag to grocery shop, we'd see a difference.
The newest thing at benefits now, like the one for the Group for the East End (which was promoting environmentalism here long before it became fashionable) is "green games." These included a ball toss to win fluorescent bulbs and a recycled ring toss
(I got two out of three thank you very much) where you win a reusable water
bottle and organic cleaning wipes). Next to the silent auction of $55,000
pearls was a whole display of organic cleaning products. Do women who wear
jewelry that expensive actually mop their own floors?
What the green wave has succeeded in doing is making everyone, even the die hard fashionista, ask where a product is from, who made it, and how. It used to be the only things that raised red flags were veal and Kathie Lee Gifford's clothing line. In a place like the Hamptons, the cottage industry, if it still exists, definitely needs to be supported. I love when I come across a product that is handmade here or a store which is still owned by a local person instead of a national chain or an East End artist who is making a real living on his or her art.
It suddenly dawns on me that what I really want is to be "sustainable," to keep the Hamptons Heather brand alive and well instead of falling back on being a faceless, nameless 900 number operator, "So what are you wearing Stan? Ö" It made me realize all the ways I already recycle. Like wearing last . . . or actually three seasons-ago fashions, by taking home not only my but everyone else at the table's doggie bags from a fancy restaurant (for me, not the pet) and living as much by candlelight as possible although it's more vanity than economy because it's just more flattering.
So this summer I plan to embrace my inner Kermit the Frog and see just how green I can be. Stay posted.
You can find more of my writing and hot news at www.HamptonsHeather.com or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. And when you're done reading this paper please use it to line your birdcage or wallpaper your bathroom.