Green(er) Fashion at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York: Ancient Uzbek Fabrics, Bark Belts, and More (Slideshow) [Update]
GULI Collection, Spring 2011 at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Credit: Emma Grady
New York Fashion's Week's GreenShows have yet to begin and I have already been pounding the pavement attending runway shows and presentations in search of up-and-coming green designers and for hints that more sustainable processes have begun to permeate mainstream fashion. Like designers who research textiles for sourcing, I, too have to do some digging to find information about clothing collections, like where textiles are sourced, what types of dyes are used, and where garments are manufactured.
Click through for my eco-fashion finds, including pieces from Project Runway alumn Christian Siriano's spring 2011 collection, the Guli Collection, a video with the eco-model Summer Rayne Oakes, and more commentary from me as I write from the press room at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.
UPDATE: It has been brought to my attention that the Uzbekistan cotton used in the GULI Collection may have been harvested by children, instead of machines. More on this, below the fold. My reasons for highlighting the GULI Collection are based on the information provided on the company's website and in the program that I received at the show: The marketing materials provide information on Central Asian fabrics, specifically on ikat fabrics which are hand made and long-lasting, and quotes an old Turkish saying to further execute the point: "No Matter how old the clothes are, they are fine for rain". Additionally, the clothing is hand made using an ancient weaving technology and natural dyes and is designed with a sense of heritage, an alternative to fast fashion.
However, a reader has pointed me to the Environmental Justice Foundation's article on Cotton in Uzbekistan. In it, EJF reports that not only are children used to harvest cotton Uzbek cotton but the Aral Sea has been drastically depleted as a result of irrigating Uzbekistan's cotton fields. Since I wrote my article, Human Trafficking reports on the Guli Collection as one that encourages child labor.
This new information is disappointing: I am for fair trade and against child labor and I have requested a statement from the designer regarding the cotton's sourcing and manufacturing. I have also updated the title of this article to "Green(er) Fashion".