Every woman has a little black dress in her wardrobe. But what about adding a little green to your closet? “Green” as in going green with the fabrics used in this season’s hottest fashions. Designers everywhere are jumping on the sustainable train. Companies like Nike and NASA have both begun research into sustainable fabrics in the last year, and so have boutique and big name designers. So who is making moves into eco-fashion?
Designers like Denmark’s Maxjenny use materials like hemp, organic cotton and recycled PET fabric, according to Ecouterre.com. Hemp hit runways big time in 2008 when Versace, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and Donna Karan International strutted their sustainable fabric-based lines out for New York’s fashion week. Sustainable fabrics go beyond organic cotton and hemp, too. At the same 2008 New York Fashion Week, Barneys New York requested designers use fabric made from pineapples, soybeans, bamboo and even banana leaves, according to the New York Times.
Unlike cotton, “hemp can be grown with little or no chemical fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides,” according to Eartheasy.com. And none of the plant is wasted in the process: all seeds, leaves and stalks are used for many products including supplements and fiber for hemp-based paper. Though sustainable fashion is appearing more and more today, it has been around for over a decade. Two Star Doc, Inc. (TSD) created the Original Hemp Jean in 1993. TSD’s head designer of more than 20 years, Stella Carakasi, launched her own line in 2013, debuting a line of eco-friendly styles made from bamboo, hemp and organic cotton at New York’s Fashion Market Week in September, according to her website.
But sustainable fashion from top designers will cost you a pretty penny. Styles from Stella Carakasi’s collection average well over $100 per piece, and Maxjenny’s pieces come in at just slightly less. But this eco-chic fashion is making its way into more wallet-friendly stores like American Rag, Urban Outfitters and Whole Foods, according to the Los Angeles Times. Urban Outfitters partnered with vegan fashion line Della to launch a vegan line earlier this year, with each item with a price tag under $70 according to VegNews.com.
• Katharine Lotze
Barney’s New York Sustainable Fashion Show