November 16, 2010

Fashion's Global Collaboration With Sustainability

With no universal standards and practices in the vast and rapidly growing field of eco design it now seems designers and corporations alike are helping set the parameters for the finer points of eco design. 

Eco design, especially fashion, have often been relegated to niche projects rather than mainstream products, but corporations like Lexus are trying to bring eco fashion to a broader audience. The interplay between fashion and sustainability is a mutually beneficial relationship. Fashion is one of the easiest mediums for consumers to make a positive impact on the environment. Likewise, fashion and style is what moves consumers to consume whether it's a car or the clothing themselves-we all desire things that are in vogue.  

With this understanding, Lexus, in partnership with the CFDA launched the Eco Fashion Challenge. A panel, including CFDA's executive director Steven Kolb and eco-friendly label Loomstate co-founder Scott Mackinlay Hahn, selected Monique Péan, Costello Tagilapietra, and Maria Cornejo who were awarded $25,000 and will have Lexus' backing to produce their Fall 2011 show. Maria Cormejo, who is not expressly known as a sustainable designer, apperance on the list begs the question: What exactly does Lexus consider eco fashion? Lexus and the CFDA requirement was clothing that was "at least 25 percent sustainable or uses 25 percent sustainable materials." The designers were also judged on their business strategies and overall commitment to the environment. The Lexus' Eco Fashion challenge is just another building block in their 'hybrid  lifestyle' seen on their recently launch site

Emma Watson let it slip last week that she'll be collaborating with Alberta Ferretti on a organic clothing line due sometime early next year. While no name was given to the collection, the clothing is said to be inspired by the classic style of 1960's fashion icon Jane Birkin. While this is the first foray into sustainability for the Alberta Ferretti label, Watson was selected primarily based on her previous work with U.K. company People Tree

image src: people tree

The genesis of her collection for People Tree began with Watson's frustration at the lack of  fair trade and organic clothing for people her age. Watson's popularity and fan base, from her role in the Harry Potter movies,  brings a younger market to sustainable fashion. Her collection entitled "Love from Emma" featured easy, summery separates that could be mixed and matched and 80% of the collection utilized organic fair trade cotton. Since 2001 People Tree has had a deep investment in fair trade and sustainable design. Last week they were even awarded with the title of Most Sustainable Brand by WGSN at their Global Fashion Awards. 

Indeed People Tree seems to have some of the most rigorous requirements and definitions in eco fashion. To insure the clothing they produce meets the correct fair trade principles they are counseled by 50 Fair Trade groups in 15 countries. As seen in our video interview with a People Tree representative they produce their collections in Bangladesh,India and Nepal with half of the collection composed of organic cotton while the other half showcases the skills of the artisans in the countries the pieces are made. 

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