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Fashion is a sea of contrasts. Need vs. desire. Beautiful garments vs. not-so-healthy materials. Hard, edgy lines vs. soft silhouettes. Masculine vs. feminine. And the list could go on.
Some of these polarizations are healthy, sexy, attractive. Others, like the chemicals used to make textiles and dyes, or the sub-standard working conditions and labor standards, are downright ugly.
So, amidst the mélange of New York Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2013 “sustainable” collections shown last month, I found myself breathing sighs of relief. Aesthetically, a motif of lightness and freedom glided down the runways. Sustainably, each designer chose his or her own path to creating with consciousness—fashion underpinned with eco-ethics.
Designers and labels, like CROP by David Peck, puts local production first—manufacturing in his own facility in Houston, Texas—while incorporating conscious textiles like hand-woven cotton from India and organic cotton sateen (below).
Brooklyn-based Samantha Pleet produces each of her Babylon- and Mesopotamia inspired pieces (below) for Spring/Summer in New York’s Garment Center.
Day-to-night designer Allison Parris also stitches her designs here—just around the corner from her Manhattan apartment. Additionally, she uses fabric blends like raw silk organza and recycled PET, sourced from the U.S., to create the beauty and brilliance of each party-like piece.
Others venture to far away lands, like Canadian designer Laura Siegel, who uncovered the indigenous crafts of remote villages and local artisans. In India, for instance, she employed black tea waste to dye pieces within her collection. And in Peru, she worked with a group of natural dyers to color organic cotton and tencel fibers for her crochet pants (below) and knit shirts.
And still others, like Costello Tagliapietra, focus on the color side of the equation. The design duo uses AirDye technology, a form of digital printing that uses no additional water during the actual dying process—minimizing not only water usage, but toxic runoff into waterways—and allows for the simultaneous, double-sided printing of textiles for a head turning effect (below).
Some design from a conscious, sustainable place out of personal conviction; others out of business practicality (when crafting a small collection, a distant, volume-producing place like China just doesn’t make financial sense); and all create from a place of fashion. The feel, the drape, the crinkle, the specialness, the beauty is what makes these sustainably bent collections truly covetable.
Cheers & Love, Organic Girly
(All images by Jennifer Barckley)
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