Whether you’re a certified tree-hugger or just looking for fun ways to live more sustainably, Chicago’s shopping scene is chock-full of green gems. From eco-fair trade clothing, accessories and one-of-a-kind vintage finds to cutting-edge environmentally-friendly furniture, Chicago is sure to delight your shopping senses.
The traditional apparel industry is notorious for poisoning our earth’s oceans, rivers, and drinking water with toxic dyes and chemicals. In fact, it takes a whopping 1/3 pound of pesticides just to make a single cotton t-shirt. On top of that, once no longer in season, most clothes end up in landfills, which place a heavy burden on Mother Earth. Next time you shop, make a more conscious choice and opt for clothes made from pesticide-free organic cotton, renewable materials like bamboo, or recycled vintage fabrics.
- So Fresh and So Green. Update your eco-wardrobe while giving yourself a tour of the best shopping neighborhoods in the city. Step out onto the Gold Coast’s American Apparel on Walton Street or H&M on Michigan Avenue for cool separates and cocktails dresses made from organic cotton. Or, chill out further West at Connect in Wicker Park to find sleek, purpose-driven outerwear for men and women made from recycled fabrics.
- The New Vintage. Reduce, reuse and recycle while riding one of the hottest fashion trends today—rocking vintage. Deliciously Vintage in the über-artsy Pilsen neighborhood offers a finely-culled selection of designer brands like Chanel, Dior and Versace. Treasure-hunting on a budget? Bring your eagle eye and a sense of adventure to Milwaukee avenue in Wicker Park, for the best vintage shopping in Chicago including Crossroads Trading, or thrift stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army in River West, which are both chocked full of fashion basics like tanks, jackets and slacks—at a serious discount.
- Fair Trade Accessorize. Shop for one-of-a-kind clothing, jewelry and home accessories from around the world at boutiques like 10,000 Villages in Evanston and Oak Park and Greenheart Shop in Wicker Park, where your purchase will support living-wage artisans in third world countries. Or, be creative and “regemerate” old precious gems, silver and gold into brand-new designs with eco-jeweler and gallery Takohl in River West, where you can also pick up their exclusive “Earth Ring” that houses a miniature live green plant you can wear everywhere. Bonus: Visit the G.R.N’Namdi Gallery next door for eco-abstract African-American fine art.
- Home Green Home. Looking to design a healthier home? Head over to Fulton Market for hand-made eco-friendly Tibetan carpets from Organic Looms, and Green Home Chicago for a wide array of environmentally safe furniture and materials like low-VOC paint and window treatments. Or, visit the 5,000 square foot Florense showroom in River North for ISO Green certified cabinetry and countertops, plus eco-luxe LED Pallucco lighting and energy-efficient Miele appliances.