July 25, 2013

FIT's Sustainable Symposium

Last Friday as a part of FIT's Sustainable Fashion, Health, and Beauty Symposium, we attended the "Sustainable Fashion Tour of NYC." Key stops included Eileen Fisher, Nanette Lepore, Stoll Fashion and Technology Center, and even a chat with Tara St James at Washington Square Park.

photo via Amy DuFault

The tour was organized by Amy DuFault, a sustainable fashion writer, editor, and consultant with over 9 years of experience repping eco designers, co-owning a "conscious clothing" boutique as well as holding a position as editor for the online magazine, EcoSalon. Her mission is to unite the sustainable fashion community through events, collaborations and the creation of "Brain Trust," which connects over 100 members from the community, from farmers to investors. Not to mention, she is also selling t-shirts that call to end fast fashion by supporting what's really important, workers' rights.

photo via Amy DuFault

We all are familiar with the brand Eileen Fisher, but how many of you know the fashion house has a green program that takes used cloth back and donates it to non for profits? After speaking with designer Mimi Wong, we also learned about their domestic sweater production constructed in a small family owned knitting factory in Long Island, which is basically nonexistent here in the US. The brand is also extremely conscious from noting garment contents on labels to communicating fair trade fabrics and social responsibility initiatives on their website to auditing factories and offering workers training programs.

photo via Amy DuFault

Nanette Lepore not only works very close to the season, with Fall 2013 production and delivery, Spring 2014 sales, and Fall 2014 sourcing all happening simultaneously, but the label also produces up to 500 plus pieces per month in eight different factories based in New York. Not only is Nanette Lepore a valued member of the Save the Garment District initiative, but Nanette Lepore has expanded her "Made In The USA" mentality by manufacturing quality, handcrafted shoes at a factory in downtown Los Angeles.

photo via Stoll Knitting

Stoll Knitting is a German knitting machine manufacturer whose core business is selling machines. With the new technology of their multi-gage knitting machine, they have created the Stoll-Denim Collection, an entire knitwear line made with either no seams or fully fashioned to reduce waste. Word around the industry is that this new technology may be featured at the Kingpins Show in Amsterdam in 2014 so keep a look out!

Tara St James is the owner and head designer of Study New York, a sustainable womenswear label based in Brooklyn which tackles another sustainable component of the production process with every collection. Currently, she takes a seasonless approach to design and releases 3-4 new pieces per month. Through better, more direct communication from start to finish of the supply chain, she believes we can further move forward towards a transparent and more conscious industry. Stay tuned for a full fledged interview with Tara in one of of upcoming blogs!

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