I have a store on etsy. com (in case you don't know) where I make and sell handbags. My original idea and motivation was to create bags that were functional (i.e. with lots of pockets, zippers, good sizes and shapes) but also stylish (so as not to look like you are going backpacking when shopping in New York or London). When I started, I was going to make them out of fabric covered with vinyl. I had seen bags like this in Australia and wanted to make them.
However, once I got started on this endeavor, I soon realized that I did not want to work with something toxic and polluting like vinyl. In fact, I did not want to carry it around, having the plastic touch my skin and make me sweat, and remind me of a plastic world. This got me thinking that even the fabric I used needed to be non-polluting. Some fabrics are highly polluting, loaded with chemicals in the threads, dyes, and sizing.
I decided to make my bags and anything I sold with as much natural, non-polluting materials as I could. The problem was that I didn't want them to be too plain or too expensive. I also really love all the variety that is available in fabric. So, I am working my way towards my ideal while compromising a little and making due with some limits. I buy and use organic cotton and hemp fabric. I print my own designs and do my own dying with natural dyes. I use fabrics that I have already had in my stash and buy very very little new, commercial prints. I re-purpose some vintage fabrics and keep waste to an absolute minimum.
There was an article about my shop that appeared a little while ago in a great blog by a woman named Jan DiCintio. She prints beautiful fabrics on organic cotton and is a master blogger. The blog is called Daisy Janie (she also started a cool blog called Scoutie Girl). I was so thrilled to be featured on this eco art blog. Click HERE and read the interview and get more info on organic fabric and eco textiles.