5 Sustainable Designers Inspired by Academia for Spring 2013

© CrOp by David Peck. Spring/Summer 2013.

Autumn may be most associated with the back-to-school theme but at New York Fashion Week running September 6-13, today's sustainable designers have their eyes set on academia for spring/summer 2013.

From channeling a moment in art history at the Bauhaus school to Joan Baez's musical influence, designers like Gretchen Jones, Samantha Pleet, M. Patmos, and more, draw inspiration from the liberal arts and teach us a lesson, or two, on next season's most lust-worthy sustainable fashion.

1. CrOp by David Peck: Literature

© CrOp by David Peck.Lookbook styled by Annie Ladino.

CrOp designer David Peck looks to books from his formative years--and family genealogy-- as inspiration for spring/summer 2013, called "Once Upon a Dream". Peck says, in the collection notes, that he "traveled the world through books, [in his] foot pajamas," but the classic collection offers everything but: from mod shift dresses with sporty details to jersey gowns and chic skirt suits. Garments are made with sustainable materials like silk, viscose, and organic cotton, and are all manufactured in their Peck's factory in Houston, Texas.

Peck specifically credits "Wynken, Blynken, and Nod" -- a poem about three fisherman who swim on a moonlit sea for herring fish -- as the creative juice that fueled the collection's vibrant prints. The children's poem was authored by Eugene Field, who also happens to be a distant relative of the designer.

2. Gretchen Jones: Music

© Emma Grady

Judging from her Spring/Summer 2013 collection, designer Gretchen Jones aced her literature and music classes--and fashion design class, obviously. "It seemed like the universe found my inspiration for me this year," Jones tells TreeHugger. " She shares an excerpt from Joan Didion's book, "Slouching Towards Bethlehem", that exemplifies the essence of her inspiration, below.

Joan Baez was a personality before she was entirely a person, and, like anyone to whom that happens, she is in a sense the hapless victim of what others have seen in her, written about her, wanted her to be and not be. 

© Emma Grady

The essay, coupled with Joan Baez’s album "Any Day Now", which the collection is named after, fuels a collection comprised of Jones' signature vibrant prints and free-flowing silhouettes--a la Baez--but adds structure with narrow trousers and blazers, like the confines of written text. The line is made with sustainable fabrics like organic cotton and is manufactured locally in New York's Garment District. Also notable are colorful headpieces by Ban.do made with remnant fabric scraps.

3. Suzanne Rae: Art History

© Allan E. Schoening

Suzanne Rae's Spring/Summer 2013 collection is an exploration of "a woman’s ability to be both delicate and strong," according to the show notes.

© Allan E. Schoening

Though designer Suzanne Rae Pelaez credits the photography of Francesca Woodman as inspiration, her pregnancy undoubtedly inspired the line's interpretation of femininity. Pelaez expresses this with delicate fabrics like silks and lace while Polka dots reference Woodman's photographs. The collection is produced locally in New York.

4. Samantha Pleet: Anthropology

© Samantha Pleet

Samantha Pleet looks to the ancient societies of the Fertile Crescent and "the 19th century explorers that rediscovered them" in an anthropology- meets history-inspired collection called "The Sands of Time." Comprised of vibrant prints that incorporate ancient artifacts into the design, a subdued color palette, and sustainable materials like silk, organic cotton, and silk linens, spring/summer 2013 has Pleet's signature playful and mythical feel.

5. M. Patmos: Art History

© M. Patmos

Designer Marcia Patmos of M.Patmos knows a thing or two about art history. The designer recalls the introduction of the jacquard loom to the weaving workshop at the Bauhaus school, when it moved to the Dessau campus, in Germany. "It was the first time modern industrialization merged with good design and craft," says a spokesperson for the collection.

Patmos channels this moment in textile and design history by merging elements of patchwork and jacquards with her signature knitwear. M. Patmos' notable eco cred is rooted in their work with female artisans in Nepal and Bolivia and the use of a Japanese Zero-waste seamless knitting technology.

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Tags: Accessories | Clothing | New York City | New York Fashion Week | Sustainable Fabrics

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