A Glimpse into the Sustainable Future of Fashion

Spring 2012 – 

This season in the fashion scene, green was definitely a trend, both in the color and more literally in the eco-friendly definition. Not only are green apps and architecture taking the world by storm, but more and more high-end fashion companies are realizing the importance of designing with sustainability in mind, and targeting their eco-conscious clientele.

From fabulous dresses made of recycled footballs to jackets of organic cotton, head to toe eco-friendly looks were being donned and heating up this year’s runway at New York fashion week (February 9-12) showcasing the Winter/Fall 2012 collection. Treehugger.com said it best, “From fierce flounces to slim silhouettes, from slinky silk to handcrafted funky, New York Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2012 presented some true standouts from designers who hold sustainability close to their hearts.”

When fashionistas think of green, typically the first thing that comes to their mind is wool and conventional pieces, but this year’s fashion week broke all previous barriers “green” had been confined to proving that it too can be just as edgy. As a result, the phenomenon is on fashion designers and fashion lovers’ radar.

Costello Tagliapietra: Tagliapetra amped up his green appeal with elegant silk wrap dresses that were definitely a show stopping force to be reckoned with. An eco-friendly staple for his dresses is AirDye, which manages the application of color to textiles without the use of water. That means 85 percent less energy is used than traditional dying methods, while more depth and shimmer are the resulting aesthetic effects. AirDye’s motto is “Good for Business” and indeed designs such as Tagliapietra’s are proving this in full color. To top it all off, his ever-green nature was cemented in 2010 when Tagliapietra won the Lexus/CFDA award for being the most eco-friendly designer, and continues to make remarkable strides is maintaining his sustainable efforts since then. AirDye has also been rising on the scene and last Mach they collaborated with Parsons The New School for Design to come up with a way for the design students to have the opportunity to use this eco-friendly fabric in their collections. Parsons is an example of a school that stresses sustainable design practices in their courses, ensuring that future generations of top designers release its potential and the impact of the textile and design industry on the environment.

Gretchen Jones: Jones is another player in the industry from Brooklyn, NY, with roots from Project Runway where she won Season 8. This past fashion week, her looks were characterized by earthy tones and ikat prints, and like Costello her prints were manufactured using AirDye. She also tries to use as many natural materials in her pieces as possible like bamboo, organic cotton, and brass. Jones’ collection was dubbed “darkness filled with serenity and hope” with the hope coming from her use of texture and hues to provoke a provocative, yet “green” feeling. Besides promoting eco-friendly efforts by producing her pieces at AirDye, she also developed a partnership with the Save the Garment Center, which is a company whose values are centered on moral business conventions and supporting local and international craftspeople.

Luis Valenzuela: Valenzuela is another name that didn’t go unnoticed at this year’s fashion week. He is a Miami fashion designer and visual artist born in Venezuela.  A few of the materials he has used to create his dresses include recycled soccer balls, recycled paper, recycled plastic, and used flags from around the world. Not only is he a user of environmentally friendly fabrics, but his pieces also reflect the environment, which he has a clear passion for. What is so intriguing about him is his belief “in innovation as a tool in cultivation and improvement of the way we live on the planet.” He says, “Art is a great way to shock people into thinking about things.” To add to Valenzuela’s accomplishments in fashion, art, and photography is the fact that he is founder of EcoArtFashion (EAF), a group of creative thinkers whose mission is to take initiatives from art and fashion related to a heightened eco-consciousness. Due to his reuse efforts, he has hosted a plethora of events such as EcoArtFashion Week, which had its launch in 2010 in Miami.

In terms of continuing to put a “green” foot forward, from April 19-25, Sustainatopia will be occurring! This conference is one of the world’s largest and it happens in Miami. The key initiative of Sustainatopia is to connect impact investors with entrepreneurs and organizations seeking capital, but there are many other events taking place during the week to promote sustainability in the form of art expositions, educational seminars, music and film presentations, and book discussions with participating authors. The green trends and efforts continue to be on the rise, and as college students there can be a plethora of ways we can do out part, but it’s always reassuring to know it can be done with style!

Coco Chanel, a role model in shaping women’s trends and perceptions once said, “Fashion is not something that exists only in dresses. Fashion is in the sky, in the street; fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”


By: Alex McNulty

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s