The last time I wrote about environmental fashion for this magazine was back in January of 2006. At the time, I was just learning that green fashion was more than organic-cotton tees, hemp belts, and my own gag reflex.
Now, I’m excited to highlight some really impressive designers working at the front of this movement. What I’ve found particularly interesting while reading up on these labels, however, is how “expanded” (or, as one more-cynical friend put it; “diluted”) the definition of “earth-friendly fashion” has become. For example: a recycled leather bag is still considered “eco,” even if it’s leather. Perhaps this is a reflection of the broadening questions in the food movement — i.e., is it better to risk the carbon footprint of fresh, organic French cheese, or to stick to local cheeses that are over-processed? Maybe I’m just not militant enough, but any brand that’s trying to bring hemp into the most obnoxiously luxurious industry on the planet gets my vote.
Jeans so crisp and clean you really wonder why everyone else isn’t doing it. Loomstate sets the bar high with their streamlined, organic-cotton pieces. While their trademarks are their super-dark and white washes, there’s also a faded, ripped, Alexander Wang-inspired men’s style that I might nab for myself.
Loudermilk has the design chops to back up slightly cheesy statements on her website like “Nature is the original punk.” Her Spring 2008 collection is full of impressive structured pieces, lightweight trenches and these gorgeous floral dresses that have a distinctly “Mayle” aesthetic. And come on, don’t you want to have fabrics like sasawashi and sea cell in your closet?
Cri de Coeur
Hyped by everyone from supervegan.com to dailycandy.com, this line of vegan footwear became an editor’s favorite overnight. It’s not hard to see why: Between ‘The Kate’, a hot two-tone T-strap sandal, and ‘The Sierra’, a midnight-blue-and-brown peep-toe sandal, they’ve proven they know how to create incredibly desirable springtime staples without, say, hiring sweatshop workers or using leather.
Here’s a classic example of the “are they/aren’t they” area in green fashion: Caitlin Mociun is a Brooklyn-based designer known for her dreamy, graphic printed dresses, which she makes by hand, incorporating sustainable fabrics like bamboo and organic cotton. While she doesn’t tout herself specifically as an environmental designer, green boutiques like Beklina and Kaight do. You be the judge. I just want her tie-front dress.