Friday, February 1, 2008

Style Will Save Us. Or, the Green Glam of NY Fashion Week

It's New York Fashion Week. I almost completely forgot, y'all. Busy as I am applying for jobs, doing my taxes, planning our "consignment and cocktails" event, trying to adopt a dog and putting my condo on the market . . . But, really, all that is NO EXCUSE. However, I was saved from my own ignorance by a comment left this morning that mentioned the FutureFashion™ show held last night to open fashion week.

In this event some of fashion's top designers - Behnaz Sarapfour, Bottega Veneta, Boudicca, Burberry, Calvin Klein, Derek Lam, Diane Von Furstenberg, Donna Karan, Doo.Ri, Doro Olowu, Giambattista Valli, Givenchy, Isabel Toledo, Jil Sander, Marc Jacobs, Marni, Martin Grant, Martin Margiela, Michael Kors, Moschino, Narciso Rodriguez, Ralph Lauren, Rodarte, Rogan, Stella McCartney, Thakoon, Threeasfour, Versace, and Yves Saint Laurent celebrated FutureFashion™ by "creating garments that were made with sustainable materials that included sasawashi, piƱa, bamboo, organic cotton and wool, corn-based fibers, recycled fibers or fabrics and biopolymers". (from

Said Barneys’ New York fashion director Julie Gilhart:

“It’s just the way it should be. It should be more luxurious. It’s more luxurious to really think about where your fabric comes from, about the impact of it on the environment, and about fair trade and labour issues. All of that is super important!” (via

I couldn't have said it better myself! Did you know that some of the top luxury brand names (i.e., Gucci, Prada, Burberry) manufacture their products in similar sweatshop-like factories used by Wal-Mart? Oh yes. According to a new book by Dana Thomas, How Luxury Lost its Luster, and a NYTimes article she wrote last year, "
For more than a century, the luxury fashion business was made up of small family companies that produced beautiful items of the finest materials. It was a niche business for a niche clientele. But in the late 1980s, business tycoons began to buy up these companies and turn them into billion-dollar global brands producing millions of logo-covered items for the middle market. The executives labeled this rollout the 'democratization' of luxury, which is now a $157-billion-a-year industry."

So maybe sustainability will introduce a new "luxury" back into the fashion business? Where how a piece was made will be just as important as the logo on it. Great kudos to all the designers who participated in this event!!!

Why promote the use of sustainable fabrics in fashion? Here is the answer from EarthPledge, the sponsor of the event. (You've read similar on my blog before.)

25% of agricultural pesticides are used on cotton, causing major water pollution, chronic illness in farm workers, and devastating impacts on wildlife. In the United States, cancer rates in states that produce cotton are significantly higher than in neighboring states that do not. The acidic chemicals used to process synthetic fabrics find their way into our rivers and streams, lowering the pH and destroying ecosystems. Materials such as bamboo and hemp are faster growing, more durable, and more renewable than conventional textiles.

I have been searching high and low for images of the designs that I can post, but there are only a few out there and they are not labeled with the designer. I am sure they will be available in a day or two and I will post or link them. (The intro pic is of a design that Derek Lam did for the 2005 FutureFashion event. It is made from hemp and silk. Lovely.)


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