Eko-Laborative Showcases Sustainable Fashion During NYFW

A short walk from the madness outside the Bryant Park tents, LES boutique Ekovaruhuset in collaboration with newly formed design collective EKO-LAB put on an amazing exhibition of organic, fair-made and sustainable fashion at the Gabarron Foundation Carriage House Center for the Arts yesterday.

Laid-back sustainable style at the Eko-Laborative show

Laid-back sustainable style at the Eko-Laborative show

crowd at the Carriage House

The crowd at the Carriage House

Staying away from the frenzy that a traditional fashion show creates, these eco-style pioneers embraced the emerging slow-living movement and mounted the show on mannequins. All twelve creations were impeccably crafted and looked very dramatic on the stark white figures. It’s really quite nice to have a chance to look at these creations up-close instead of seeing them flying by on a runway, since detailing is such an important part of all these designers’ work.

The careful attention paid to refined and innovative detailing represents a new era in fashion to me. In the day where everything is within reach we yearn for that special something that will make us feel like we’re buying more than a garment. Meiling Chen’s tousled blond Rapunzel hair, spun from hemp, is a work of art. Mika Machida’s Horse Dress makes me smile and think at the same time, it’s social activism with a sense of humor and high degree of style. I happen to have a thing for masks, but the presentation of Desirée Hammens organic creations felt more sexy hippie superhero than crunchy granola.

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Meiling Chen’s Homage to Rapunzel is a beautiful creation made from organic cotton and hemp.

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Mika Machida’s Support Organic Farming – A Horse Dress is made from organic linen and organic Icelandic sheep wool yarn dyed and silk printed with natural dyes. A good example that one can make a statement and still have fun with fashion.

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Desirée Hammen’s Tunic Dress is made from organic nettle, peace silk bobbin lace, adored with peace silk embroidery with gemstones and dyed with organic dye. The mask is made from organic cotton and paper.

Eco-couple Johanna Hofring and Tor Söderin both represent their Swedish heritage in radically different ways, Hofring’s dress has a sort of late summer turn-of-the-century glamour quality with its exquisite Kenyan seed beading while Söderin’s dress and mask feel very feminine Viking warrior. Also from the Swedish garde, Righteous by Louise Zetterlund presented a quirky dress with a severe decolletage and lamp-shade like skirt adorned with graffiti by Ola Kalnins looks like it could be worn by a naughty french bar maid from the 50s.

The exquisite beading is made with seeds from Kenya, and Hofring shows that she is a master of crocheting.

The exquisite beading is made with seeds from Kenya, and Hofring shows that she is a master of crocheting.

This creation, titled Stripes and Squares is made from organic linen jersey dyed with Labrador tea.

This creation, titled Stripes and Squares is made from organic linen jersey dyed with Labrador tea.

The Stella Dress is made from Turkish organic cotton, the petticoat is airbrushed with natural colors.

The Stella Dress is made from Turkish organic cotton, the petticoat is airbrushed with natural colors.

Xing-Zheng Chung-Hilyard truly understands presentation. The quirky shoes and surreal eye patch make the whole creation, title High Wire Artist, feel special without detracting from the exquisite hand-painted dress. Amy Moehlenhoff’s hand-crocheted two-piece gown and headpiece is fabulously flapper meets flamenco, sort of understated compared to the other pieces on the show, but highly wearable.

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Illustration skills and an eye for presentation makes a great impression.

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Highly wearable craftswomanship from Amy Moehlenhoff.

Kaori Yamazaki’s Tipi Dress is beautiful and breezy, I would love to wear the Little Braided Hat with just jeans and a tank top. Ashley Helvey’s Puppekleid is made from organic, predator-friendly wool hand-felted with rainwater and vegetable soap. If that won’t make you feel good about wearing it, I’m not sure anything will. Lara Miller’s Flip Sweaters feel very urban, almost street-wear-like. There’s defintely mainstream appeal, and i love how layering them makes it feel very fun. Melissa Kirgan’s elegant Deep Waters dress is dyed with Earthhues Indigo and Cochineal, the former is extracted from the the indigofera tinctoria plant, and excellent rotational crop for increasing soil fertility and one of the oldest dyes known to man, while the latter is made from cactus-dwelling insects, the harvesting of which provides significant income to indigenous people of the Canary Islands, Peru, Mexico and Chile. Cochineal is the only natural red colorant approved by the FDA and is often found in lipstick and cosmetics.

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It’s all about texture and head-coverage.

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Fun layering and sexy cutouts (there is a goldfish in that handbag!)

About author
A designer by trade, Johanna has always had a passion for storytelling. Born and raised in Sweden, she's lived and worked in Miami, Brooklyn and, currently, Ojai, CA. She started Goodlifer in 2008 to offer a positive outlook for the future and share great stories, discoveries, thoughts, tips and reflections around her idea of the Good Life. Johanna loves kale, wishes she had a greener thumb, and thinks everything is just a tad bit better with champagne (or green juice).
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