On a mission to sell stuff with a story, Karen Allegretti opened up Market Earth in downtown Fort Myers eight years ago.
“I wanted to be able to create a store where people could shop for things that they like,” Allegretti said, “but there’s always some purpose behind it.”
Organic, responsibly-sourced, and all-natural used to be words reserved for food. Now they can describe clothing and accessories, too.
“Everything in here is either hand made, fair trade, made in the USA, we have a lot of companies that have a philanthropic arm,” Allegretti said.
One of the items on display in her shop is a faux leather jacket made with recycled plastics.
“It’s stretchy, looks like leather, acts like leather,” Allegretti said.
Big chains are tapping into the eco-friendly clothing market too.
Levi’s, H&M, The North Face, Madewell, and Eileen Fisher are some of the major brands that are recycling clothing. Bridget Russo, the Senior Vice President of Brand Communications at Eileen Fisher says, “A good portion of our wool is made responsibly. And we really look (at) how the folks making our clothes in our factories are treated.”.
Customers can bring back old Eileen Fisher pants, shirts, and sweaters in exchange for a $5 coupon. The garments are cleaned, repaired, and then resold at a discount. Russo says the company has taken back 1.3 million pieces over the last ten years.
CBS News contributed to this report.