Tag Archives: sustainability

A Sustainably Chic Outfit For Any Frigid Winter Day

Lately I have been struck by some amazingly crafted, totally fashionable garments and accessories from some of my favorite sustainable designers and I just couldn’t help but piece together a fabulous outfit for any chilly, winter day.

I know how frustrating getting dressed can be this time of year. Often the freezing cold temperatures force you to put on the same go-to sweater, pants, and boots that you have been wearing all winter long.

Put an end to that habit by checking out this fantastically chic look that will not only keep you warm, but is 100% sustainable!

Clockwise from Top Left:

Lulu Frost Mesh Necklace With Deco Clip, $125, available at Kaight NYC

Feral Childe Crater Tee, $125, available at Kaight NYC

Heidi Ackerman Pant

Stewart + Brown Eliza Thermal Cardigan, $408, available at Stewart + Brown

Cri de Coeur Allison Open Toe Wedge, $375, available at Cri de Coeur


Bye Bye Organic Denim, Hello Sustainability

Let’s face it. Green Fashion is no longer a mystery. Like its sister initiative in organic food just a few years ago, Green Fashion is on the rise. A boundless number of eco designers, editors, advocates, and entrepreneurs, are all hard at work as they try to bridge the gap between mainstream and eco fashion. So when I came across a New York Times article entitled, “Organic Jeans Take a New Route,” I couldn’t have been more pleased.

Not only was I excited by the topic of the article, which explains how the sudden disappearance of most organic denim labels has been replaced by larger sustainability initiatives, but I was beyond thrilled that the article was in such a widely read and super credible publication like the New York Times!

NY Times writer, Alexandra Zissu, explained that while some smaller denim lines were closed out due to the recession and a crowded market, other more fortunate brands have chosen a new focus.

“Factors now being considered include water use, dye impact, soil health, labor issues, and fair trade.”

Zissu spoke with LaRhea Pepper, the senior director at Textile Exchange, a nonprofit organization that focuses on spreading the importance of organic agriculture. According to Pepper,

“There has been a paradigm shift; it’s about water, toxic waste, scrap on the cutting room floor. Across the board we see companies figuring out how to do the right thing, do it in a way that’s economically viable, move the agenda forward, and make a difference.”

In my opinion this is what the sustainable fashion and green fashion movements are all about. It’s actually nice to see and read about the redirection of the fashion industry’s green effort from the creation of solely organic denim to instead be spread across a label’s entire design platform. What do you think?

***Zissu also made it clear that while most jean companies now refrain from using organic cotton, several lines are still available at Kaight in NYC.

You can read the rest of Zissu’s article here.

This Just In! Wool’s Popularity Grows!

When it comes to sustainable fashion, it is not always about organic cotton and recycled fabrics. After speaking with several eco-fashion designers, I have learned that being a sustainable designer takes intelligent decision making and patient design practice. Sometimes it’s about looking at fabric choices and realizing what you have to work with.

Interestingly, some fabrics are NATURALLY ECO or SUSTAINABLE!

Take a fabric like WOOL—which has been around forever! Wool has always been a natural fiber that can be used without much processing or harm to the environment. It seems that wool has been REDISCOVERED and picked up again with the momentum of the sustainable fashion movement.

The San Francisco Chronicle spoke to Lindsay Sullivan, the owner of SET Boutique, a fair-trade website devoted to ethical fashion. She explained in a Press Release earlier this week that while working in Kathmandu, Nepal, she saw women hand spinning wool fiber into yarns—something that would not be possible with synthetic yarns that are acrylic.

“Synthetic yarns are also harmful to the environment since they are typically derived from petroleum. Wool is a sustainable fiber since it is a renewable source, and it also gives small produce groups the chance to gain income from their craft.”

The Press Release went on to explain that wool is also environmentally friendly because designers can avoid dyes and use it in its natural colors, such as ivory and charcoal.

Sounds good to me. I think I’ll go put on my favorite wool sweater…. 🙂

Tree Hugger Gets Schooled In Sustainable Fashion

I am usually not one to enjoy staying inside all day, but with the crazy post-Christmas snowstorm that hit NYC, I have had a lot of time to catch up on all my favorite eco blogs and websites.

I came across this really great post on Tree Hugger entitled, “Sustainable Fashion Lessons From Put This On, Billykirk, and the Late William S. Burroughs.” Anyone who follows sustainable fashion knows that Tree Hugger is out of this world and always on their A-game, but this time they really knocked it out of the park.

I was very much intrigued by the post, especially the personal commentary of author Chris Tackett,

What’s the Sustainable Fashion Lesson? To me, sustainable fashion means investing, editing, and caring. Invest in quality craftsmanship, good materials and classic designs that can be work for years. Edit what you have so you don’t need a lot of space to store it all. And care for the things you keep so they will last.”


That is definitely some quality advice—and I completely agree. It is not about pushing the “green” or “eco” label, but about delivering truly amazing, yet conscious fashion. Furthermore, I know that some of my favorite eco/sustainable designers (i.e. Tara St James, Gretchen Jones, Caitlin Mociun, Samantha Pleet, Feral Childe, etc.) are putting forth a great effort to provide beautiful, one-of-a-kind garments that make it beyond easy to follow Mr. Tackett’s suggestions.

Will Sustainable Fashion Ever Be Mainstream?

The fashion industry is one of the most influential entities in our world today. And while sustainable fashion is gaining momentum in a beyond fantabulous way, mainstream fashion isn’t going away so soon. While it may be difficult for sustainable fashion designers to bridge the unfortunately-large gap between the mecca that has become the fashion industry and the sustainability movement that we all know and love, there still may be some hope.

How about established, highly-successful designers incorporating sustainable design into their DNA?

Ecouterre highlighted a great example of this in a post last week about the high-fashion shoe-genius, Giuseppe Zanotti.  When I came across the title, “Giuseppe Zanotti Creates Eco-Chic Boot-Sandal Hybrid From Factory Waste,” I did a triple take. Yes, triple, not double. I could hardly believe that an eco piece was coming from one of the most elite shoe designers, who almost always has a feature in the top fashion glossies like Vogue, Elle, and Bazaar.

Giuseppe Zanotti Sandal-Boot on Ecouterre

Ecouterre’s Jasmin Malik Chua explained in her usual charming way that Zanotti chose to abstain from both “waste and haste” with his latest offering,

“an ultraluxe boot-sandal hybrid ($585) constructed almost entirely out of design samples and factory-floor waste.”

Can you believe that something so stylish could be put together from discarded handbags, leftover leather scraps, and hemp?

Well, I have to say hats off to Giuseppe Zanotti.

Chua also noted that the shoe was featured in the November 2010 issue of Vogue, which I remembered was the issue with one of the most glorious spreads of eco-friendly ethos by Vogue Fashion Director Tonne Goodman.

I just had to check out the issue again, so I went back to the archives (my closet) and flipped right to the page. Honestly, this kind of thing never gets old. I was just as delighted to see beautiful, sustainably-made garments from Stella McCartney, Michael Kors, Monique Pean, Donna Karan’s Urban Zen, Vera Wang, Bottega Veneta, Calvin Klein, John Patrick Organic, and Rag & Bone, as I had been the day the November issue hit newsstands.

So as cliche as this may sound, all I want for Christmas is more of this amazing,  sustainable innovation. Is that too much to ask?

Ecouterre Talks With Uluru’s Caroline Priebe

When talking about sustainable fashion, one of the most often unanswered questions usually involves profitability. Is there a place for sustainable fashion in the market? Can sustainable designers make money? Luckily I stumbled upon this amazing article on Ecouterre, written by Uluru designer Caroline Priebe.

Priebe is completely open and transparent (something everyone in sustainable fashion would stand up for), explaining the fashion industry’s obstacles as well as the importance of having a creative business model.

Having earned a degree from the California College of Arts, Priebe shares her expertise and her FORMULA FOR SUCCESS.

Click here to sneak a peak at Priebe’s 11-step formula. Get you pen and paper, because you will definitely want to take notes!

The Go-To Sustainable Fashion Gift Guide!

So the holidays are just around the corner and there is no better way to show your friends and family some love than by giving them the best that the sustainable fashion industry has to offer!

Although it was difficult, I have curated a list of some coveted sustainably-made goods that will not only make your loved ones smile, but have also been manufactured with NO HARM done in the process.

Although I tagged one of these gifts as “For Yourself,” feel free to add that tag to any one of these beyond fantastic finds 😉

For Your Girlfriend

Popomomo’s Best Party Dress Ever, $176

For Your Mom

FEED 5 Bracelet, $15
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Q&A With Tree Hugger’s Graham Hill

Every now and again you come across people who exhibit an extreme level of creativity, dedication, and innovation. In exercising my passion for fashion that gives back, I feel as though this is happening more and more.

For those who have an interest in anything eco, be it fashion, food, or technology, Tree Hugger is most probably a house hold name. But what about the force behind the scenes?

Meet Graham Hill, Tree Hugger’s founder and the vice president of Interactive Media. With a laundry list of interests as varied as the nationalities on the streets of New York City, it is no wonder that Hill is the mastermind behind a site we’ve all come to love.

Just the other day I stopped Mr. Hill in his tracks, to ask him a few questions. Check them out below.

1. First off, I would like to know a little bit about you. If you were in an elevator, what would you say to someone who wished to know your background info.

“I come from a design background but am very much an entrepreneur. I love building things, particularly environmentally or socially progressive things.”

2. What inspired you to start Tree Hugger?

“There seemed to be a lot of sites that were about “No!” and inspired by fear, I thought we needed some “Yes!” and inspire by hope. And a modern, design oriented place where the amazing green future could be tried on. A place to inspire. A place to bring the amazing stuff out there into one place.”

3. Are you eco-friendly in other aspects of your life?

“More than most. But I fly…”

4. What sets Tree Hugger apart from other websites of similar nature?

“There are many similar now. We have a great team and are very prolific and a well oiled machine at this point, with a lot of experience.”

5. If you could describe Tree Hugger’s mission in one phrase, what would it be?

“Drive Green into the mainstream.”

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WWD Explains Rebranding of Simple Shoes

While scouring the web’s most coveted fashion sites, I came across this article on WWD’s Footwear News. It seems that Simple Shoes, the brand known for its sustainable kicks, has undergone an intelligent rebranding.

WWD highlighted an important message from the brand’s President, Peter Worley,

“Our challenge is to broaden that eco-friendly message and make it more palatable to a broader audience, and create a brand message that is more welcoming, not shouting, ‘You’re a bad person if you don’t wear eco-friendly shoes.”

This was chillingly similar to something that Julie Gilhart, Barneys’ Fashion Director, said last week. She explained that Barneys insists on luring customers with the product design and the “front story” first, and than the “back story” comes later. Basically, in order for sustainable fashion to win a customer over, the product design has to be stellar—and that is first and foremost. Only once a customer is intrigued by a product can the sustainable story unravel. Gilhart warned that back stories and the desire to be “green” can often turn the customer off.

So in this case, it seems like Simple Shoes is taking a step or a re-step in the right direction! I certainly think Julie Gilhart would approve.

Barneys NY Says Goodbye to Fashion Director and Sustainability Advocate

Over the past few months I have really developed a liking for Barneys VP and Fashion Director, Julie Gilhart. Not only does she have great style and a free spirit, but she also spear-headed some major gap-bridging between the sustainable and mainstream fashion industries. For those of you who missed out, Gilhart even spoke out about sustainability at FIT just about two weeks ago.

That being said, I was quite shocked and confused when I came across this article on Fashionista.com, which explains that Gilhart is to be replaced by Daniella Vitale, a Gucci rep and former colleague of Mark Lee, the CEO of Barneys. With the need to know more, I quickly googled ‘Julie Gilhart, Barneys‘ and sure enough two more articles came up, proving that this was not just another fashion industry rumor.

Julie is headed out and she is supposedly moving on to a consulting job. Fashionista explains,

“We’re not worried about Julie—she’ll certainly make plenty of money consulting, and we wouldn’t be surprised if she opens her own branding firm.”

As for her sustainability project, all we can do is hope that she continues to spread her expertise and forward thinking with the hard work that she does at her new post. I am certainly thankful for everything that Julie has done so far. Who knows if brands like Loomstate, Rogan, John Patrick Organic, Alabama Chanin and even Monique Pean, would have ever hit the Barneys floor (let alone the windows), had it not been for Gilhart.

Personally I feel that Julie will continue to produce great work and push forward with the effort to expand the sustainability movement to mainstream fashion. So I guess for now this is a total loss for Barneys. What do you guys think?