Abigail Doan is one cool chick. With her knack for writing about sustainable fashion and the fact that she is always jet-setting to some far-away place, Doan has an eye for all things in the eco spotlight. Whether focused on her own artist blog or managing the one-stop spot for sustainable fashion, Ecco*Eco, Doan is certainly at the forefront of the eco fashion movement.
Check out what she had to say when I asked her some questions a few weeks ago!
1. First off, can you tell me a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to start writing for Ecco*Eco?
“I am an environmental fiber/textile artist who creates site specific, land-based projects as well as sculpting fiber forms with recycled/organic materials – principally fiber and vegetation. I started writing about sustainable fashion in 2005 as there was a lot of interesting overlap with my art work and what designer friends were doing in fashion and product design. I originally documented some of my ideas on my own artist blog, http://abigaildoan.blogspot.com, but then there became a need to create a separate blog for ideas that were a bit more fashion-oriented. Ecco*Eco became a way for me to organize and share some of these discoveries.”
2. What does sustainable fashion mean to you?
“Sustainable fashion is very much about creating a system that works for you, your sense of style, and your lifestyle. Included in this are standards/ideas about environmentally friendly materials; social responsibility (fair trade initiatives, ‘locavore’ philosophies, and sustainable economic development); knowing oneself and one’s personal style so that one’s purchases are long-term; and perhaps most importantly, creating a relationship with the environment that is non-harmful and/or regenerative in some way.”
3. Do you think that the phrase ‘sustainable fashion’ could ever become redundant? If yes, how so?
“Perhaps not redundant, but rather contradictory. Sustainable fashion needs to continue to be both aesthetically and functionally pleasing without being exclusive as a moral/ethical agenda. Having attended a few fashion weeks over the past several years, I think that the best fashion is about thoughtful style and the dialogue that the designer creates with her/his materials and devoted followers. People want to be a part of the fashion story, and if more and more people believe that fashion is part of their lives, the term sustainable fashion might just melt away. That is, as they take more and more interest in how they dress while also greening their lives, the definition as we once knew it might need to be reworked and updated.”
4. Are there any eco designers that you feel have already bridged the gap between mainstream fashion and eco fashion?
“Yes, John Patrick ORGANIC, Eviana Hartman/Bodkin, Alabama Chanin, and perhaps Patagonia. Of course, these designer are still touted as being part of the sustainable fashion camp, but I believe that editors recognize them as being fashion-forward, first and foremost.”
5. Do you think that eco fashion can be profitable? Do you have any proof?
“I am not a designer, so I am not really privy to numbers. One example, I might share, though, is that fact that eco fashion stores/boutiques in small towns and communities in the U.S. are actually surviving and developing a dedicated following.
6. What standards do you go by when choosing what to post on your blog, Ecco*Eco?
“I still have difficulty thinking of Ecco*Eco as an ‘eco fashion’ blog, as I am not particularly interested in fashion per se. I do write about fashion but principally as some one who is interested in the designer process, materials, and improved ways of doing/making things. For this reason, I am not interested in reviewing ‘collections’ just because they are hot or on-trend. I select my posts based on the aesthetics and the narrative quality of the designs. I tend to write about fiber-based projects quite often, as well as designers from Europe as I now live part of the year in Bulgaria and Italy. I want to create transparency in what I feature. That is, first lure you in by how beautiful or innovative a design is, and then unravel the story from there.”
7. What is the most intriguing thing that you have seen happen with sustainable fashion in the past year or so?
“Probably the increased media attention and the new bloggers on the scene. When I first started writing about sustainable fashion, it was as the Art/Fashion Editor for Inhabitat’s Sustainable Style Sunday column, and we only did one sustainable fashion story per week. Now Inhabitat has it’s own sustainable fashion blog, Ecouterre, for which I was the Textiles Editor for during it’s first year. I think that one cannot deny that ‘mainstream’ blogs do/must check out the eco fashion blogs from time to time, just to keep a pulse on things. This is now an integral part of contemporary fashion reporting.”
8. What are your hopes for the future of the fashion industry?
“I really hope that the CFDA embraces sustainable fashion during future fashion weeks in NYC and beyond. Here in Europe, sustainable fashion events are listed/billed alongside the mainstream events. Obviously the top glossy editors still pay no attention to the green events, but the fact that the program is now completely integrated is very progressive and promising.”
9. Do you have a favorite eco fashion designer?
“So many and so many are friends that I might get in trouble for naming just a few. I love the early days of Ekovaruhuset/House of Organic; the wearability of Bodkin; the creative spirit of Feral Childe, Annie Novotny of Frei Designs in Chicago; the resourcefulness of Tara St. James/STUDY NY; Titania Inglis, Loup Charmant; and the street (punkette) style of JoAnn Berman. I honestly could go on and on. It really depends upon the occasion that I am dressing for, and fortunately there are now so many options on this front. Isn’t that great?”