Eco-friendly Georgetown store makes organic chic

Organic cupcake anyone? How about a glass of fair-trade wine to go with that?

At the grand opening of Setchi Ecoboutique in Georgetown this weekend, pastries and alcohol were merely the bait to hook the locals into getting acquainted with their newest specialty-shop neighbor.

Setchi, the phonetically spelled Portuguese word for “seven,” is the first shop in the District to hop on the eco-friendly train, joining a handful of shops in the country whose locations are entirely environmentally sound.

Jessica del Pilar, co-owner with her husband, Albert, began thinking seriously about green living about a year and a half ago, when someone special opened her eyes to the importance of protecting the environment.

“Having a baby really changed my outlook on things,” del Pilar said. “I became concerned about sustainable living now in order to protect the future for her generation.”

The fashionable shop sells women’s clothing that must follow eco-friendly criteria. Most of the fabric from that the clothing is made out of is organic, which means that no pesticides or toxins were used to grow or dye it. Bamboo, hemp and organic cotton are some of the most environmentally friendly.

Much of the material used in the clothing is also recycled from older vintage pieces. Surprisingly recycled as well: the carpets, made from 75 percent recycled materials, including plastic bottles. All of the furniture has been previously used, too, salvaged from closed businesses and schools.

It is equally important to protecting the earth as it is to protect the people of it, del Pilar said. The goods she sells are produced following fair-trade standards, which insure that the workers who make the clothes earn a livable wage and aren’t toiling away in sweat shops.

Unfortunately, all the good stuff about the clothes doesn’t come without a price tag – and quite a high one at that. Setchi’s prices live up to its upscale Georgetown location, with some of the most costly items, such as faux fur and leather jackets, reaching up to $400. Dresses and pants range from $200 to $300 and most of the shirts go from $60 to $100.

The back room of the shop contains some of the priciest per-square-inch pieces. Bras, panties and sexy nightgowns abound, most around $75. Made from hemp and silk, the lingerie is pretty and girly, possibly worth a little splurge for a special occasion.

Del Pilar herself admits that Setchi is primarily aimed at a slightly older crowd, but that doesn’t mean that college students should wholly abstain.

The most affordable pieces are things such as a comfy, faux-cashmere bamboo shirt for $30 and bamboo socks for $9. Both made by Jon?no, the earth-friendly but still-cheap pieces may be the best option for cash-strapped coeds.

Setchi, although the first totally eco-friendly clothing store in D.C., isn’t the only option for dressing while respecting the earth. Companies such as Loomstate, Stewart + Brown and Ecoganik all sell out of locations in the area, and all of these and more can be found online. Even Bono has gotten in on the eco-action – he and his wife have their own line called Edun which supports fair trade in African countries.

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