Prime Time Crime


(Published in the Chilliwack Times week of Aug. 11, 2009)


Eco chic? Not for me, thanks


  By John Martin


It seems every generation is doomed to come up with a fashion statement that will be looked back upon as absolutely horrific.

Bell-bottom trousers, polyester shirts and leisure suits are all pretty sad in retrospect.

Still, they're elegantly sophisticated compared to those pastel, Miami Vice tank tops and blazers that made a generation of men look downright silly.

Overall, these passing trends, embarrassing in hindsight though they may be, are harmless and even amusing looking back.

The latest rage though, is not so innocent.

I'm referring to something known as "eco- chic." There is a hot market for any and all clothing and accessories that bill themselves as environmentally-friendly.

People, so duped by the hysteria around so-called climate change, are forking over big bucks to a myriad of hucksters cashing in on the craze.

You can buy shirts made from fermented corn, nightgowns from low-impact, pesticide-free dye fibre (whatever that means), and a fig leaf charm necklace that's no different than any other fig leaf charm necklace except this one is endorsed by Bono.

And as we all know, he's socially and environmentally conscious.

Hell, I'll take a dozen.

The Earth's climate has been changing for millions of years, but apparently the last couple of blips are so serious that we're supposed to run out and spend 80 bucks on a hemp shirt to save the planet.

Ridiculously priced organic cotton blouses are front and centre in display windows.

And then there's that reusable shopping bag made from recycled waste that will cost you 10 times what a canvas sack would set you back.

And of course, what good is saving the planet if no one knows all the selfless good you're doing?

So virtually all these eco-chic clothing and accessory lines are branded with eye-catching logos and patches ensuring everyone is well aware the person has consumed the Al Gore green Kool-Aid.

I mean, c'mon. Saving the Earth is all well and good. But you want to look cool doing it, right? Morally right on man!

There's eco-chic jewelry, footwear, athletic gear, formal wear, baby clothing and even dog sweaters.

The hypocrisy and stupidity at play here are downright mind numbing.

The very idea that people, supposedly committed to the well being of the planet, are falling for this shameless consumerism and over-priced consumption is beyond the pale.

There's a sucker born every minute and I'm genuinely envious of the manufacturers and marketing people who foresaw this gullibility and are making a lot more money than I ever will.

Hats off to them.

And make sure that's a Panama hat made from sustainably harvested young leaves of the Carludovica palmata, exclusive to the coastal regions of Ecuador. It's only triple the price and no palm trees were harmed in the process.

Available at environmentally friendly, eco-chic retailers everywhere.

John Martin is a Criminologist at the University College of the Fraser Valley and can be contacted at


Prime Time Crime

Contributing 2009