WWD Goes Green ( For One Day)
Women's Wear Daily, the bible of the New York fashion scene, has gone green for one issue. With a paper everyday full of news, gossip and celebrity buzz, their acknowledgment of green fashion means it has come above the radar line and into mainstream. WWD (as insiders call it) has done a good job of outlining the players, the issues and has even included some celebrity green girls, including treehugger's own Kyeann Sayer. The tabloid says that green fashion has moved from being associated with tie-dye and hippies; consumers are more ecologically aware and willing to pay for good design that saves the environment as well. It appears that more and more mainstream fashion firms are launching environmentally friendly initiatives. Kenneth Cole has ads that include environmental issues: "Is it me or is it warm in here? — Kenneth Cole." Liz Claiborne, Eileen Fisher and L.L. Bean have all started green lines, in addition to their main business. "Do I envision more green components in our lines? Yes. Do I think all of Liz Claiborne will be green? No," said a senior vice president "It won't be to our competitive advantage". It is more expensive for manufacturers to go green and some of the difficulties are outlined. Vendors have to commit to organic yarns well in advance. Colours are a challenge when using natural dyes because it is hard to match the batches. Natural fibres may not be as hardy and there is only so much organic cotton available to go around. Going natural adds 30% to costs and this is passed on to customers.
We can all sleep better knowing that Lauren Bush is a committed supporter: she has designed a reversible tote bag made of natural burlap and cotton muslin which she carries everywhere, with proceeds going to the UN's World Food Program.
Several green designers are noted, some familiar to treehuggers such as Edun, Patagonia, People Tree and Adili and others not so familiar such as Misericordia, a Peruvian-based streetwear brand (pictured). Linda Loudermilk had a dress worn at the Oscars. She is introducing fake fur made of organic cotton--"It's so elegant"-- and has started a non-profit organization called Loudermilk Institute for Sustainability to develop a supply network for apparel manufacturers, weavers and chemical companies that want to commercialise new fibres.
It's good news that serious fashion design schools in New York and Milan are starting to offer classes in sustainable development, ecology and ethical production so new generations are being taught how to work in sustainable ways.
The message from WWD: "When the mainstream audience sees a celebrity wear something, like it or not, it automatically spurs an interest" and "It's about influencing people through fashion, and communicating the idea that it's cool to think about the environment." :: WWD