Wednesday, September 15, 2010

In with The NOW!

We are pleased to have Tumeric, Divine Chocolate, and Perrier as sponsors of the NOW Spring 2011 Showcase, and on a broader scale, sponsors of the eco-movement. It is exciting to see companies, big and small, taking action against the environmental crisis and doing their part to help the planet. From small actions such as operating under sustainable standards, to larger actions such as creating jobs for communities and improving social and living conditions, and providing global consumer audiences with the chance to recycle brand products, no matter where they are. Find out more about what these companies do for the environment [below].

Tumeric Alive:
Taking a thousand-year-old natural remedy from the Far East and bottling it as a transformational beverage, Tumeric-Elixir is not only a refreshing organic drink but also an amazing formula of extraordinary therapeutic value. The drink is a concoction of natural ingredients and essential minerals such as turmeric, ginger, mint, cardamom, lemon, honey and more-- mixed together they offer detoxification, enhanced circulation, improved mental clarity and empowerment for the immune system. One sip from this delicious bright yellow drink can literally change your whole being! Based in NYC, the beverage brand practices sustainability in every facet of production, and buys from, sells to and supports local businesses. These bottles are available in many local new york markets, grocers, gourmet food stores, and even high class gyms!

Divine Chocolate:
Starting as a small farmer's co-op in Ghana, and now recognized as a leading Fair Trade brand in the UK and a pioneer in the world of socially responsible enterprise, Divine Chocolate represents not only a product that is divine, but also a green endeavor that effectively supports its workers and the environment. With a firm belief in environmentally friendly cultivation of cocoa, Divine Chocolate stands out as an eco-tasty treat that is simply delicious! Featuring delectable cocoa bars, chocolate drinks, and seasonal treats (what would Easter or Christmas be without some good, sweet chocolate?), Divine is a brand that is constantly branching out-- expanding its market and its message.

Get fresh with Perrier! Sparkling water that is crisp, refreshing, and light. With its famous green bottle standing as an emblem for its quality and taste, the brand contributes to the sustenance of the environment while at the same time providing water that sustains its consumers. Each glass bottle is recyclable, and their new plastic take-anywhere bottles are made from 100% recyclable materials. Inside each of these classic green bottles is water that is completely natural, caffeine-free, and free of additives.

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:

Friday, September 10, 2010

"Nothing less than admirable"

The manner in which designers of eco-fashion brands apply themselves to the work set in front of them, daily and seasonally, is nothing less than admirable. As eco-designers, they are allotted the double task of creating fashion that is forward, stylish, and original, as well as promoting awareness of the harmful impacts on the environment and offering solutions to the crisis. It's not easy making fashion statements and environmental statements, but these designers have proved repeatedly that they are more than willing and capable to manage the task. The NOW Showcase is proud to have such a collective of green designers ready to save the world in a stitch, a ruche, and a cinch! These brands, including Rain Tees, SDN, Rebe, and AngelRox, will all be featured at this year's Spring 11 Showcase. Behind every garment rack is a story-- come and see these sustainable collections and learn more about green efforts!

Rain Tees:
Saving Trees with Tees-- more than just an organic t-shirt line, Rain Tees is a brand that is wholly dedicated to the improvement of the environment and quality of life in rainforest communities. Launched in 2007 by Beth Doane as a response to the issues surrounding logging, oil drilling and agricultural expansion in the Amazon, as well as the toxic effects that the fashion industry has on the environment, Rain Tees serves as a venue for the education of consumers on these eco-harming factors and also provides a direct way for Rain Tees customers to help sponsor a child's education and the planting of new trees. Each tee is branded with original artwork made by children in endangered rainforest dwellings. School supplies are donated to the children, and then they are asked to draw what they see happening around them. Next, these illustrations are printed on 100% organic cotton tees using eco-friendly inks and dyes. Buy a tee, save a tree-- just one simple way to help out in the environment! Learn more about Rain Tees and the story behind the shirts here:

One of the NOW Showcase's regulars, menswear/womenswear brand SDN continues to stun with wonderfully stylized original creations, cut from quality upcycled vintage fabrics. Adding to his already inventive stockpile of designs (including the pant-shoes, satin vests boasting arabesque motifs, and 1920s noir inspired capes and collar dresses), SDN mastermind Marcus Hicks introduces a new spring collection set against the backdrop of a deadly festive Día de los Muertos scene. With wrap-backs, smartly cut blazers, pinafore-front dresses, elegant blouses, and a handsome distribution of blacks, whites, greys and blue recycled denim in the new collection, SDN once again pushes past previous boundaries set in regards to design and style. What will we see next from this amazing designer? We're holding our breath in anticipation! See more of SDN here:

Mother-daughter design duo Debra Weiss and Hillery Sproatt are the clever conceivers of this spritely buoyant womenswear and accessories line. A marriage of Debra's textile design expertise and Hillery's artistic and design sense, Rebe sports a collection full of polka dots, stripes, plaid, quilted patterns and fun textiles-- clothing reminiscent of childhood imagination, dreams captured in fabric, and overall fashion sensibility. In addition to gorgeous coats, dresses, tops, and trousers, the eco-brand also carries a wild assortment of handmade bags and purses (for dogs and babies too!) as well as knit and beaded jewelry. View the full collection on their website here:

"We're all angels," says Roxi Sugar, designer of green fashion brand AngelRox. This may be true, but after seeing her collection, it's clear that the 'angels' are really the designs that make up her collection. Branded by a cross and halo (a logo that represents balance), AngelRox's little angels are beautiful ethereal wrap dresses, cap sleeved winged tunic tops, outfits geared for travel and celestial flight, eternal vintage jeans, graceful maternity dresses, and more. With a conscious mind for the environment, Roxi uses an eco-friendly blend of sustainable fabrics including bamboo jersey and organic cotton for her luxurious creations in soothing colors of vanilla, espresso, sterling, and black. Focusing on versatility, AngelRox's headlining piece, the wrap, is a multi-wearable design, switching from use as a skirt, to become a dress, a cape, a flowing top, and more. See more of AngelRox's heavenly pieces here, including the line's ventures into bridalwear and eco-lingerie:

See these designers and more at the NOW Spring 2011 Showcase, September 20-22.

Who's Who and Who's NOW?

Looking good means feeling great. Thus eating organic foods and wearing organic clothing free from the artificial preservatives and chemical pesticides found in a large percentage of products consumed daily will keep you healthy and happy. Organic products are known to contain more vitamins and minerals to nourish our bodies inside and out. Such facts have supported the rise of farmers markets and pick your own fruit and vegetable farms that feed local consumers across the globe making organic products the new norm!

Nature vs future
, Feral Childe and Creem collections are superb examples of fashion brands that remind consumers why eco-friendly clothing has become the status quo.

Creem Collection
is designed for those who maintain a relaxed lifestyle and appreciate the simplicity of luxurious basics. Free spirited, open minded, loose fitting and care free. A sustainable collection, which uses a variety of organic fabrics, maintains a healthy balance of great quality and superb versatility, with clothes that transform into endless possibilities. The Creem Collection is about supporting you the confident woman by making you feel great.

Moriah Carlson, who was raised in Brooklyn, NY and Alice Wu whose native hometown is Oakland, CA both have an interest in fine arts and continue to be inspired by unfamiliar fabrics, vibrant colors and unordinary materials. These profoundly creative women give you fantastically fun patterned scarves, funky dresses to match up with vibrant leggings. Quality, "untamed creativity", and undeniable saviness have led to the great heights and brilliance we know as Feral Childe.

Nina Valentini born in the heart of Brooklyn, New York decided to launch her own fashion line Nature vs Future to make women feel great by sharing inspiration rooted in her eco-friendly sensibility. Nina's vision of "nature and future" illuminates a sustainable path where organic textiles, sustainable materials and everyday recyclables dress women across the globe. She makes garments that are comfortable, durable and form-fitting. Nina's innovative fashion sense sets her apart from the rest as she continually illustrates change and claims international success.

Who knew vegetable dyes, hemp, organic cottons and silks would have made for riveting items we've seen these designers produce but, it has, because they've changed the rules!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Sponsoring The NOW!

Companies both corporate and independent are realizing the importance of progressive, conscious-minded product design and are continually supporting, developing and learning ways to lessen our heavy footprints. This season the NOW Showcase is pleased to announce a tasty, stylish, thirst quenching, refreshing, informative, sparkly list of companies sponsoring the event.

Deluxe Honey drop began with a simple idea that would allow them to give us the consumers “a flavorful, healthful beverage that comes from the land…not the lab.” The founder David Luks after having cancer began to research the benefits of an organic lifestyle and began creating a product that would be free from the artificial preservatives, sweeteners and chemical pesticides found in a large percentage of products consumed daily. He did such a great job that refreshing Honey drenched drinks his now available at whole foods. You’ll be sipping Deluxe Honey drop at The NOW Showcase.

For food to honor the person who eats it, the meal should be made with love, respect and other nutrients is the philosophy that has put The Regal Vegan on the map. The brand was created to fill the void in healthy, plant-based cuisine in the New York community. Using East Coast ingredients with a West Coast soul, Ella creates inventive meals inspired by recipes she discovered while traveling around the globe, to satisfy vegetarians and carnivores alike. The Regal Vegan food is a sensory gift to the individual who appreciates it, I am telling you now you need some Regal Vegan in your life! Taste the delight of The Regal Vegan at The NOW Showcase.

Tierra Farm is a small, privately-owned, certified organic producer and roasting company in upstate New York that specialize in nut and seed roasting and dried fruits. They are well attuned to the facts that organic foods are a great way to nurture the land and the body, thus they only sells certified organic products and they make no exceptions! All roasting, mixing and flavoring is conducted in-house, at their certified organic, peanut-free roasting and processing facility which, makes Tierra Farm products a tasty addition to your grocery shopping list. Sample the goodness of Tierra Farm at The NOW Showcase.

Founded by Dean and Melissa Long in 1997 and located on Nantucket Island, Triple Eight Distillery is the region’s first micro-distillery. Named after its ultra pure water source, well #888, Triple Eight Distillery makes a variety of premium spirits, all of which are hand crafted in small batches using only natural ingredients. Triple Eight Vodka is an ultra-premium vodka because it is triple distilled from the highest quality organically grown grain. It is then blended with our exceptionally clean and soft water drawn from well #888. Triple Eight outscored Ketel One in the 2003 and 2004 World Spirit Championships. Sip cocktails made with Triple Eight vodka at The Now Showcase.

One Bag One Earth, aka, "OBOE" is makes reusable bags that are dependable, durable, good-looking, and easy to use. They have a fantastically fun selection of reusable bags designed to replace your everyday dependence on plastic bags, that are designed for the big shopping trips to the grocery store. With styles made out of environmentally friendly, recycled materials that are produced with social and environmental respect OBOE is the new it bag! Come to the NOW Showcase and get your bag on!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Who's Who and whats NOW?

From what used to be considered just a simple subset of wearable fashion, comes some of today's most illustrious and inventive designs. 'Eco-fashion' has always been literally defined as clothing that utilizes ethical methods in the production of sustainable designs; clothing that pays attention to nature and its preservation and builds an awareness of environmental responsibility for it's consumers and global audience. And while these terms still and will always apply, redefinitions are in order. After surveying the surge of cutting edge, stunning, and fashion-futuristic styles that have been emerging from the workrooms of these green-thumbed eco-oriented designers, perhaps 'edgy, innovative, versatile, accessible, and clever' should be added to that list.

Don't miss out on your chance to see, shop and experience some of the amazing new green designs for the upcoming spring season at the NOW Showcase. On display will be an assemblage of designers that, through visually appealing collections and sustainable motives, fully demonstrate why eco is the future of fashion. Among these brands are accessories line Feisty Elle, women's wear brand Chulette, and timeless designs by Modaspia.

Feisty Elle:
These feisty jewelry designs by California native Leslie Yang are more than just fun-filled and exuberant! They're clean, original, and smartly made. With a background in graphic design and fiber arts, Leslie has been able to continually evolve in the design and production of her accessories since the launch of her brand in 2005. Using sustainable materials such as bamboo ply, textiles, and merino wool felt (she is one of the first to produce jewelry out of this beautiful, light material), Leslie creates bold and fun pieces in an assortment of dahlia, leaf, feather and petal drop shapes. See more here:

Rescuing and recycling old fabrics from Italy, designer Ursula Dean of clothing brand Modaspia creates pieces that last a lifetime, both in style and in quality. A line for both women and children, each piece is designed with great fit, lightness and simplicity in mind, and are cut from only high quality remnants of older fabrics. The collection, full of neat little pintucks, keyholes, flowing tunic garbs and other fabulous cotton, linen, silk and wool creations, exudes a sense of timelessness, brightness, and spirit. Think of sun-filled moments in Capri, quiet afternoons on the hillside, a morning at the market, a fine garden dinner lit by paper lanterns... that's Modaspia. Check out limited pieces online here:

Lee Phutrakul weaves a collection rich with stunning lines, subtle colors, and very forward style. Incorporating a sense of sophisticated detail with a blend of simplicity and effortless construction, eco-brand Chulette stands out for its luxurious flair and urban attitude. This coming from someone who had never aspired to fashion design, but through her work as an assistant fashion editor at Esquire magazine, Lee was led to pursue a career as a designer. Her brand has been a great addition to the green fashion movement-- each dress, vest, jacket, pant and blouse that she creates raises the bar on the high-edge styles that can be made sustainably. Find out more about Chulette here:

See these designers and more at the NOW Showcase, September 20-22.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Who's Who? Eco is NOW!

Eco is NOW. All over the globe, people are becoming more aware and more in-tune with the Earth, its resources, and our responsibility to nurture, not destroy, our planet. This is what the NOW Showcase is all about-- a marriage of fashion, social and environmental consciousness, continually making efforts to provide better and more eco-friendly alternatives to chic-living. This season, we are glad to introduce to our roster of innovative eco-designers, showcasing their exciting and fresh designs, three amazing brands that are in-sync with our green mantra: fair. sustainable. forward. Lalesso, hailing from Kenya, Juleselin, based in San Francisco, and Eco-Couture by Los Angeles designer Deborah Lindquist.

This summer fashion line will make you wish it was warm all year round! Launched by design duo Olivia Kennaway and Alice Heusser in 2005, this brand was inspired by a trip to the remote island of Lamu off the coast of Kenya, nearby to Olivia's hometown. The strong patterning and vibrant colors of the traditional womens attire (called 'khanga' or 'lesso') sparked the idea of creating a product for the everyday woman with a bold sense of style and summer spirit. In addition to creating clothing inspired by these Kenyan women, Alice and Olivia have also worked to help improve the quality of living in the environment. Growing from a project of two seamstresses, and then sixteen, the designers began a group called SOKO in 2009, which is the first globally recognized eco and ethical clothing production unit in East Africa. The manufacturers are well-paid, the community is completely involved, and life is getting better for the town. This is a perfect example of green fashion making a difference and working towards a greener world. Check out Lalesso's designs here:

Julia Burnbaum's knitwear line features a versatile collection of jackets, sweaters, and dresses created from organic cotton, bamboo, and recycled fabrications. As a line that emerged from the designer's need to have a jacket that would be comfortable for wearing both inside and outside, and would be well suited to the western coastal environment in her base of San Francisco, the line has grown to include a delightful range of coats and sweaters, each inspired and named after someone very close to Julia. With styles from individuals such as Elin from 1926 Iceland, pullovers inspired by John Arthur from Larkspur, CA, and a sharp double-breasted coat inspired by Jessica from London, Julia has sewn something personal into each garment, making this collection very special. You'll never want to take these jackets off, and thankfully, you won't have to! In addition to being comfortable for any kind of wear, anywhere, the line is full of wonderful feminine touches such as ruffled collars, face-framing hoods, and belted waistlines, proving once again that style isn't lost when green comes into play. Save the world, one cute jacket at a time! Find out more about Juleselin and the new collection here:

Deborah Lindquist:

Well known as a pioneer and trendsetter in the eco fashion world, LA designer Deborah Lindquist uses her line as a venue for introducing and re-branding unusual fabrics to the world of fashion while keeping true to her love for the environment. Given this creative freedom to explore new materials for use in her designs, Deborah Lindquist produces remarkable cutting-edge pieces like no other. Vintage cashmere, wool, leather, beaded wool, peace silk, micromodal blends, hemp blends, alpaca, and organic cottons are just a few of the ingredients used to create this stirring collection that has shown us that green is just as good as gold-- there are no sacrifices made in the areas of style or quality when it comes to eco-fashion. Currently featuring a collection titled "Rocker Girl meets The Gyspy," Deborah Lindquist continues to wow us with her eco-conscious approach to innovative design. See the collection here:

Don't miss out on these great designers at our upcoming Spring Showcase, September 20-22 at 651 West 27th street, New York, NY.