Saturday, September 11, 2010

What's in a name?

In April of 2010, Julie Gilhart, Barney's SVP and Fashion Director, commented on the term 'eco-fashion' and explained why she thinks the movement needs a new name. "I don't like the word 'eco' design," she says. "I think there's good design, period." In lieu of the phrase, she offers suggestions such as "earth-friendly" and "conscious" fashion (which all fundamentally denote the same concept), and continues by expressing her concern that using a term like 'eco-fashion' separates these designs from mainstream designs-- our ultimate goal should be moving towards a state where the term won't be necessary anymore, where fashion is just fashion. There is great validity in that point. As designers, manufacturers and consumers, the time has come to change the way we create and shop for fashion. As an environmentally conscious community and fashion collective, we (the NOW Showcase) can't wait for the day when ALL fashion is sustainable and socially responsible. However, until that point of togetherness is reached, being classified as 'eco-fashion' is imperative-- what sets us apart in title, style, and motive is also the key to gaining more attention for our cause. By exposing consumers to 'Eco-Fashion' as a healthier alternative to the harmful effects of current mainstream garment production, we are helping people to realize that there are better and greener ways to living in style, and essentially moving towards a stage where fashion as a whole will be environmentally conscious.

Is it a new name we need, or is it a new image? For many outside of the green circle, just the thought of eco-fashion triggers images of 'hippy' clothing, something that designers are constantly fighting by pushing out more modern and avant-garde collections, shaping environmentally-minded fashion into an image of contemporary aesthetics, versatility, and the cutting-edge. Constantly blurring lines of style, these designers aim to create original clothing that is indistinguishable from mainstream collections, but with the added bonus of knowing that the production of these garments further the longevity of earth's natural resources rather than deplete them. Designers such as those included in the lineup of the NOW Spring 2011 Showcase, including JAI, EcoSkin, Kelly Lane, Turk+Taylor and boutique fashion agency Origin 23.

Origin 23:
As purveyors of sustainability and style, boutique eco-fashion agency Origin 23 serves as a support base and outlet for effective social and environmental change through fashion. The agency represents a fine cluster of eco-collections, all chosen for their forward style, fair trade standards and eco-conscious tastes. Overseeing these emerging labels, Origin 23 works towards incorporating more ethical standards in design and merchandise production through consultations with designers and established organizations that are interested in becoming more environmentally responsible. In addition to its work as a boutique for fashion [r]evolution, Origin 23 has also played a large role in the inception and development of the NOW Showcacse and also represents a few of the independent collections involved in the NOW forum. Learn more about Origin 23 here:

"No longer simply one to watch, but one to collect, covet, and flaunt with some regal eco-attitude," said eco-fashion blogger Abigail Doan in praise of sustainable brand JAI and its performance at the LA D&A Market Show and noteworthy mention in WWD in May of 2010. Following the simple equation of Smart Design= Sustainability= Contemporary Elegance, it is easy to see why Kizzy Jai Knight, design guru behind the JAI and JAI Activewear lines, has been able to produce these elegant garments time and time again with geometric and stylistic precision. Mathematics aside, JAI is a brand geared towards women on the go who love to look and feel amazing. These women, crowned 'ambassadors of contemporary elegance,' are the main consumer audience for JAI's Playfully Regal collection, inspired by movement, versatility, and flexibility. Playfully titled pieces such as Miss Jumpsuit, Sunningdale Classic, Lady Romper and Long Leg Jen are very present in the line, demonstrating a style of clothing that marries luxury, comfort, and elegance with eco-conscious sensibility. Find out more about Jai's inspiration and holistic approaches to fashion here:

Using her years of experience in the apparel industry and her entrepreneurial drive, Sandy Skinner founded eco-chic, eco-smart, and eco-sexy brand ecoSkin. More than just an answer to the call of women living a green lifestyle with a desire to look more fashionable, the clothing line also incorporates many green standards into the production of the collections, from materials to dyeing, sewing, and label and tag production, taking every chance it can to help clean up the planet and push green living forward as an option to mainstream living, with an easy transition between lifestyles. The collection is an amazing assortment of classic pieces mixed with interesting folds, tucks, drapes and cuts, and the occasional print. See more of ecoSkin here:

You need to have a good time when you open up your closet door, and Turk+Taylor is here to make sure that you do. Whether you are looking for a rain jacket made out of recycled, durable and weather-resistant sailcloth, streamlined blazers, smartly cut dresses, tops and bottoms, you'll find exactly what you're looking for in the eco-urban collection's selection of styles. Dedicated to creating clothing that is sustainable, fresh, stylish, bold, and colorful, Turk+Taylor has whipped up some ultra-cool looks for the upcoming spring. Flirty beach gear, durable outerwear, and even windbreakers cut from retired hot air balloon fabric-- their creativity and fashion sense knows no boundaries! Check out some more of Turk+Taylor's designs here:

Kelly Lane:
Armed with her formal training in graphic design, great artistic talent, and a passion for fashion, Kelly Lane creates explosions of colors, prints, and shapes in her womenswear line. At its core, the brand is artful sophistication with an eye towards sustainability-- a tasteful blend of flattering feminine silhouettes emboldened by vivid hues, well placed lines and a smart use of original iconic prints. The Spring/Summer 2011 collection is simply breathtaking! Inspired by wet, cloudy days, puddle-filled streets and raindrops, it is filled with sophisticated dresses for both work and play, with the rain drop printed motif carrying through. See the collection here:

No comments: