Swanky Soiree Does Good

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Tuesday June 5th socialites, fashionites, and environmentalites alike congregated for a posh evening at Theory's flagship store in downtown New York's super-chic Meatpacking District. The event was organized by the Theory Icon Project, the Precipice Alliance, and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to "promote environmental awareness, underscore the importance of corporate responsibility" and celebrate conceptual artist Mary Ellen Caroll's environmentally-minded installation in Jersey City. Over a din of clinking wine glasses and the passing of inventive raw hors d' oeuvres, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Senior Attorney of the NRDC, keynoted the gala and urged the artistic community and fashion industry to take an active and productive role in environmental safeguarding. Theory's flagship store was therefore converted into a "green bazaar" with large "reclaimed plywood" tables displaying information about such groups as Green Dimes, and promoting products from Seventh Generation, Anya Hindmarch, and One Lucky Duck. This marketplace setting created an open invitation for guests to learn about eco-initiatives, purchase green products, make donations, and bid in a live auction for a Miles ZX40 electric car donated by Miles Automotive.

Though the event entertained a who's-who of New York City fashionistas, heiresses, and page-six frequent flyers, its focus was clearly on the cross section of environmentalism, pop-sustainability, fashion, and art. Case in point, Mary Ellen Caroll's installation titled, Indestructable Language, features a 900-foot-long spelling of the phrase, "IT IS GREEN THINKS NATURE EVEN IN THE DARK," across the windows of five former factories in the American Can Co.'s industrial campus in Jersey City. According to Carroll, the collection of words "illuminates" how we "choose to remain in the dark" despite, "what we know about global climate change." The phrase's characters are created by 8-foot high carbon neutral neon lighting elements low-wattage, energy-efficient transformers, and lead-free glass tubing all supplied by eco-materials pioneer Tecnolux and off-put by money donated from the Bonneville Environmental Foundation. The glowing signage is clearly visible from the Jersey Turnpike and Pulaski Skyway.

Kudos to a beautiful evening and the promotion of glamorous environmentalism! That being said, however, I certainly took issue with the event's enormous gift bags overflowing with superfluously-packaged "goodies." According to the event's press-release, "the gift bag features products that demonstrate how to turn every day habits into greener habits. Each gift bag item represents one small way to change our daily routine that makes our world a greener place to live." Hmmmm, does anyone else see the eco-irony here? Personally--and I think TreeHugger would agree--the best way to start living, "a little greener" is to avoid the creation and distribution of fancy party favors!

Photo by Patrick McMullan.

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