i opened up this month’s issue of The Ecologist, a British environmetal magazine that i usually would not have thoroughly leafed through at all, had it not been for the ‘Fashion CHANGE!’ heading on the front cover.
the magazine’s spreads were highlighting London Fashion Week’s Estethica exhibition, which will make its sixth season appearance in February 2009.
‘estethica offers a unique chance for like-minded companies to come together, network and inspire emerging designers with a conscience…estethica provides a feeling of community and education about fairtrade, eco and ethical fashion design at The Exhibition at London Fashion Week.’ —London Fashion Week site
what, exactly, makes something a piece of ‘eco-fashion’?
this is something that i have been wondering since i wandered and shopped my way through the haight and hayes valley in san francisco this summer. my first physical encounter with this term was when i stepped into Ecologique, self-proclaimed as the city’s ‘first eco-friendly and socially conscious boutique.’ slightly skeptical at the beginning [perhaps due to its overdosage of the Papyrus font?], i reluctantly obliged when the effusive blonde owner asked me to sign up for her new mailing list. i picked up a leaflet that read,
“Our Hayes Valley store features fashion-forward clothing for men, women, + babies made from sustainable materials such as organic cotton, bamboo, hemp and recycled materials…our philosophy focuses on utilizing renewable resources, local production, and Fair Trade practices with the intention of helping to improve the world we live in.”
i guess that is the general definition of ‘eco-fashion’….
later that week, i realized that i was in fact about to buy something that was classified as a ‘sustainable’ item, as the young store associate at the random vintagey shop so kindly informed me. when i asked her what that meant exactly, she murmured something about using sustainable practices when sewing the fabric, like renewable workers and such as. [!??!?!?!?!??!?!] anyways, i liked the jacket too much to raise a large huffy eyebrow.
the brand was SHE-BIBLE, a small label of simple, lovely peasanty [but still structured!] cotton clothing started by two friends in san francisco [everything is still sewn and printed there]. their website doesn’t outwardly declare themselves being ‘eco-chic’ or ‘sustainable,’ but other blogs and stores definitely do – it seems to be pretty much loved by independent eco-boutiques everywhere. it even inspired a ‘SUSTAINABLE STYLE SUNDAY’ post on Inhabitat, and is carried by distributors like:
thegreenloop [‘All brands carried by Greenloop employ a variety of responsible practices, including: using eco-friendly, sustainable materials; employing energy efficient and low-impact production; investing in renewable energy and carbon offsets; and maximizing recycling and waste reduction…]
Beklina [‘Comforted by nature, inspired by design, Beklina is passionate about living at the harmonious crossroads of the two. Our boutique is a three women family operation, that hand selects the best available in sustainable style…]
Embodies [‘Many questions are asked when considering whether to carry a line… What fabrics are used? Are they organic, sustainable, recycled or reclaimed? If so how? Where are the items manufactured? Under what conditions? What types of dyes? What type of packaging do the clothes ship in? Is there a way to eliminate sending us plastic hangers, plastic bags and other waste? Some designers are even selecting the shippers because of their energy policies…]
if greenness and nature-inspired make up the basis of eco-fashion, then the result could also veer a very different path:
a la project runway [season 5, episode 12: Nature Calls, task: design a ‘garden party’ dress from the New York Botanical Gardens], or even at real fashion shows right now.
all of this can be seen as one giant prelude to my ‘bodycraft’ proposal for class, above.
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Tags: fashion, green, project runway, san francisco