NY Fashion Week: The GreenShows

Goodlifer: NY Fashion Week: The GreenShows

For two days, during the height of New York Fashion Week, The King of Greene Street space in SoHo was taken over by ecologically conscious fashion. The GreenShows featured runway shows by seven top eco fashion lines, and were attended by a good mix of greenies, fashionistas and editors.

Everything about the event followed rigorous guidelines in order to make sure the production was 100% environmentally-friendly and energy efficient. From the runway to the lighting, the design team used recycled, recyclable, and compostable material to create a beautiful and resource conscious backdrop to the collections.

The celebration of eco-mindfulness kicked off with a party sponsored by the Rainforest Action Network, hoping to raise awareness about how paper shopping bags are contributing to the rapid destruction of Indonesia’s rainforests. (See photos from the event here.) A few celebrities, including eco model Summer Rayne Oakes, journalist Olivia Zaleski, No Impact Man Colin Beavan and Diddy’s umbrella-toting former assistant Fonzworth Bentley, showed up to support the cause.

Olivia Zaleski, Summer Rayne Oakes & Bahar Shahpar. ©Patrick McMullan Photo - WILL RAGOZZINO/PatrickMcMullan.com.

Olivia Zaleski, Summer Rayne Oakes & Bahar Shahpar at the opening party. ©Patrick McMullan Photo – WILL RAGOZZINO/PatrickMcMullan.com.

The first day featured shows by STUDY by Tara St James (formely of Covet), Bahar Shahpar, and Brooklyn-based Bodkin, and the second day had shows by Lara Miller, House of Organic (Ekovaruhuset), Mr. Larkin and Izzy Lane.

A long-time proponent of sustainable style, I found myself, possibly for the first time, really truly excited about what we for a lack of a better name call eco fashion. These designers are all at the top of their game and can, in my opinion, go head to head with any “conventional” label. Maybe it is because ecologically sound materials have become easier to source, maybe because of the public’s current receptiveness to all things green, or maybe green fashion has finally made its big breakthrough?

The debut collection of STUDY by Tara St James, former creative director for Covet, was a study of shapes in relation to the human form, starting with the square, the most basic shape. 
There were nine (square number) styles, each sewn, folded, shaped and manipulated, creating a collection that can be worn in several different ways. A subdued color palette and graphic patterns make these pieces the perfect fit in any urban fashionista’s (sustainably harvested bamboo) closet. St James raised the money for the show through Kickstarter, a crowd source funding platform for creative ideas and endeavors.

STUDY by Tara St. James: The Square Project. Photography by Jeff Elstone.

STUDY by Tara St James: The Square Project. Photography by Jeff Elstone.

STUDY by Tara St. James: The Square Project. Photography by Jeff Elstone.

STUDY by Tara St James: The Square Project. Photography by Jeff Elstone.

STUDY by Tara St. James: The Square Project. Photography by Jeff Elstone.

STUDY by Tara St James: The Square Project. Photography by Jeff Elstone.

Tara St. James. ©Patrick McMullan Photo - WILL RAGOZZINO/PatrickMcMullan.com.

Tara St James. ©Patrick McMullan Photo – WILL RAGOZZINO/PatrickMcMullan.com.

Bahar Shahpar showed ethereal dresses and separates in bright happy colors and patterns, proving once and for all that eco does not have to be all that serious. Let’s all have fun saving the world! Ashley Dupré, of Spitzer-prostitution-scandal fame, was walking the runway and Russell Simmons was seen sitting in the front row. Shahpar’s work fuses organic textiles, natural fibers, vintage detailing, and technological innovations with sleek tailoring and a signature sense of whimsy (feathered headpieces!).

Bahar Shahpar S/S 10. Photo by Meaghan O'Neill, via Treehugger.com.

Bahar Shahpar S/S 10. Photo by Meaghan O’Neill, via Treehugger.com.

Bahar Shahpar S/S 10. Photo by Meaghan O'Neill, via Treehugger.com.

Bahar Shahpar S/S 10. Photo by Meaghan O’Neill, via Treehugger.com.

Bahar Shahpar S/S 10. Photo by Meaghan O'Neill, via Treehugger.com.

Bahar Shahpar S/S 10. Photo by Meaghan O’Neill, via Treehugger.com.

Eviana Hartman of Bodkin played with ideas of clouds and air to create pieces with interesting fabric draping and innovative shapes, some even reversible. Each piece is manufactured in the U.S. and mindfully sourced with such materials as organic cotton, organic wool, artisanal dyes, recycled polyester, closed-loop cellulosic fibers, and deadstock fabric. In lieu of a runway show, there was a display of live mannequins on the runway, inviting people to walk around and discover details. I love the shoes and knee-high socks. With these highly wearable pieces, Bodkin seems to be very much in touch with what trendy city-dwellers want to wear right now.

Bodkin S/S 10.

Bodkin S/S 10.

Bodkin S/S 10.

Bodkin S/S 10.

Bodkin S/S 10.

Bodkin S/S 10.

Bodkin S/S 10.

Bodkin S/S 10.

Eviana Hartman of Bodkin. ©Patrick McMullan Photo - WILL RAGOZZINO/PatrickMcMullan.com.

Eviana Hartman of Bodkin. ©Patrick McMullan Photo – WILL RAGOZZINO/PatrickMcMullan.com.

Manufactured in Chicago, Lara Miller‘s clothing is strongly influenced by the city’s architectural and cultural landscape. Miller uses hand-loomed organic cotton bamboo, raw-silk organza and recycled cotton, and her pieces are a well-balanced mix of geometric details and soft femininity. It’s easy, yet dressy. Dresses with recycled PET shoulder pads are a fresh take on the bold 80s silhouettes we have seen so much of lately.

Lara Miller S/S 10. Photo by Meaghan O'Neill, via Treehugger.com.

Lara Miller S/S 10. Photo by Meaghan O’Neill, via Treehugger.com.

Lara Miller S/S 10. Photo by Meaghan O'Neill, via Treehugger.com.

Lara Miller S/S 10. Photo by Meaghan O’Neill, via Treehugger.com.

Lara Miller S/S 10. Photo by Meaghan O'Neill, via Treehugger.com.

Lara Miller S/S 10. Photo by Meaghan O’Neill, via Treehugger.com.

Designer Lara Miller.

Designer Lara Miller.

House of Organic (Ekovaruhuset), a collective of designers committed to sustainable, socially and environmentally responsible practices, is led by Swedish designer Johanna Hofring. It is based in Stockholm and Paris as well as on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Designers featured in the show included Anja Hynynen, Maja Gunn, Johanna Hofring, Righteous Fashion and Tor Söderin — all from Sweden, and Eko-Lab, Kaori Yamazaki, Meiling Chen, and Mika Machida-Whyce — all from New York. All these designers display impeccable attention to detail, and their creations are timeless investment pieces. Everything sold at the House of Organic is not only organic, but also fair-trade and fair-made — setting a gold standard for conscious fashion consumers.

House of Organic (Ekovaruhuset) S/S 10. Dress by Johanna Hofring.

House of Organic (Ekovaruhuset) S/S 10. Dress by Johanna Hofring.

House of Organic (Ekovaruhuset) S/S 10. Dress by Tor Söderin.

House of Organic (Ekovaruhuset) S/S 10. Dress by Tor Söderin.

House of Organic (Ekovaruhuset) S/S 10.

House of Organic (Ekovaruhuset) S/S 10.

House of Organic (Ekovaruhuset) S/S 10.

House of Organic (Ekovaruhuset) S/S 10.

House of Organic (Ekovaruhuset) S/S 10.

House of Organic (Ekovaruhuset) S/S 10.

House of Organic (Ekovaruhuset).

House of Organic (Ekovaruhuset) S/S 10.

House of Organic designers.

House of Organic designers.

Mr. Larkin, designed by Casey Larkin, showed sexy yet understated pieces inspired by the magic, mechanics and architecture of the vintage circus. Larkin uses only organic, sustainable or renewable textiles: organic cotton voiles and jersey, peace silk crepes dyed with blackberries, olives, fig leaves, acorn and sour grass, bamboo muslin dyed with madder plants and tulle made from 100% Ingeo. What really sets Mr. Larkin apart from the rest is the use of vintage hardware accents: 1930s paillettes, 1940s rhinestones, 1920s sterling silver ribbons and antique porcelain buttons from Paris. This looks very current, yet gives each garment a unique history. Because of the clever cutouts and surprising details, I found myself fascinated by the backs of Larkin’s looks. I had thought about this for a while, but this show confirmed my prediction that, this coming spring, it will all be about the back (it’s been neglected for too long!). Despite the masculine name, Mr. Larkin’s simple, gorgeous and sensually feminine creations makes the label one to watch closely.

Mr. Larkin S/S 10.

Mr. Larkin S/S 10.

Mr. Larkin S/S 10.

Mr. Larkin S/S 10.

 

Mr. Larkin S/S 10.

Mr. Larkin S/S 10.

Casey Larkin, designer of Mr. Larkin. ©Patrick McMullan Photo - WILL RAGOZZINO/PatrickMcMullan.com.

Casey Larkin, designer of Mr. Larkin. ©Patrick McMullan Photo – WILL RAGOZZINO/PatrickMcMullan.com.

Izzy Lane by British designer Isobel Davies showed a collection inspired by the fine Shetland wool spun from rescued sheep from which it was made. Candy colored sweaters were paired with faux snake and croc knee length boots (approved by the Vegetarian Society!) and classic wool skirts were updated using flowy patchwork patterns. I highly approve of the oversized sweater-dress with knit beret and boots look, but think over-the-knee boots would look even better.

Izzy Lane S/S 10.

Izzy Lane S/S 10.

Izzy Lane S/S 10.

Izzy Lane S/S 10.

Izzy Lane S/S 10.

Izzy Lane S/S 10.

Isobel Davies of Izzy Lane with one of the 600 rescued sheep on her wool farm.

Isobel Davies of Izzy Lane with one of the 600 rescued sheep on her wool farm.

I would proudly wear the work of any of these designers, to the fashioniest of events, not because it’s green, but because it’s great. The fact that it is ethically made with sustainability principles in mind is just a fantastic bonus that adds so much value to the clothing, which is no way compromised by it’s eco-ness. Hopefully the fashion world at large will realize this as well and soon follow suit.

Eric Dorfman, founder of EdMedia Inc. and The GreenShows says,“We should not have to sacrifice our planet for fashion. The fashion industry needs to be more accountable to environmental damage and pollution. While eco-designers are leading the way for a more sustainable lifestyle, without sacrificing style, prominent fashion designers need to take on more responsibility to safeguard our natural resources and achieve zero waste. The GreenShows is designed to foster and support eco-designers to continue creating fashion and as a platform to bring eco-fashion mainstream.”

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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