Faernyn's Grove: Wedding Gowns and Fetish Wear, Eco-Style

Siel
Living / Style
November 24, 2006

Rene Geneva's Faernyn's Grove is bringing sexy back to Treehuggers with a line of couture fashion -- from corsets to wedding dresses to goth costumes -- made with sustainable materials using fair labor practices.

These funky, eclectic pieces, all designed by Rene herself, are created with formaldehyde-free silk, recycled textiles and organic cotton, hemp, and bamboo fabrics. All of these are sourced, says Rene, "directly from weavers who live in the villages where the cotton is grown, where the silk is gathered, and where the money is needed most" whenever possible.We caught up with Rene after a busy weekend at the Green Fest in San Francisco, where her little booth was swamped with women busily trying on silk corsets. Faernyn's Grove, Rene says, wasn't always eco. In fact, when the company launched back in 1997, the fashion was very much conventional, some of it made with the eco-nightmare that is PVC (vinyl). All that changed when, during a trip to Albuquerque, Rene met some green architects who introduced her to sustainable issues and technologies.

Fast forward to June 2005, when Faernyn's Grove launched its first complete line of sustainable fashion, inspired by Japanese architecture, gothic style, and eco-ingenuity. This line's more focused on sexy everyday wear, though Rene still does gothic and fetish wear -- and is working to green that subculture in the process. "I'm excited about that because that is a crowd that generally doesn't think too much about where their things are coming from," says Rene, who's trying to replace all that shiny black vinyl with greener substitutes, like natural latex and recycled rubber.

About half the clothes are made by Rene and 3 assistants in Texas, while the other half is made at a fair wage, fair trade woman's textile co-op in Nicaragua called Nueva Vida Women's Sewing Cooperative. Rene first visited this co-op in November 2005, and is now working on a Nicaragua Sun Power Project to install solar electricity at this co-op. The sewing factory experiences 4-12 hours of rolling blackouts a day, Rene says. Installing solar panels will not only give the co-op additional power, but will also help save the money currently spent on buying expensive electricity. That money can then be used to build a cotton spinning plant, so that the co-op can use organic cotton grown in Nicaragua instead of shipping in fabric.

So whether it's a couture wedding dress or a gothic corset you need, check out Faernyn's Grove. Rene does custom designs -- and offers free custom alterations for her creations. ::Faernyn's Grove

Tags: San Francisco

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