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Being 'green': Designers with eco style

H&M's new Conscious Exclusive line includes this elegant

H&M's new Conscious Exclusive line includes this elegant printed and embellished princess-style dress made of organic cotton and Mulberry silk; $129 at H&M stores. Credit: Handout

Kermit was right. It's not easy being green.

Nobody actually started singing those lyrics from the Muppets anthem, but that was the take-away from a recent panel of fashion experts convened by H&M and Vogue earlier this month. The "Conscious Talk" looked at the industry's role in raising eco-awareness, but the experts had to admit that would be tough in an era where "fast-fashion" (led by H&M and Zara) rules, and everything seems disposable.

But some "green" tips for consumers were raised.

Washing in cold, and avoiding tumble-drying, ironing and dry-cleaning offer significant energy savings, noted Catarina Midby, H&M's global head of fashion and sustainability communication.

Recycling also helps -- this winter H&M launched a program whereby customers can bring in old clothes (any brand, any condition) in exchange for vouchers for future purchases. (Wearable donations go to secondhand shops; the rest is recycled into insulation and other material.)

"Know where the top 10 things you use everyday come from and that will start bringing you to a higher level of consciousness," said panelist and Loomstate co-founder Scott Mackinlay Hahn, who grew up surfing off the shores of Fire Island. "And meditate. You'll see a change."

Fair enough -- but it needn't stop there. You've heard the mantra "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle"? Here are more ways designers are making a difference.

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