Gen Art Highlights Sustainable Designers at L.A. Fashion Week

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Maggie Gyllenhaal at Gen Art's Fashionably Natural Show/photo provided by Gen Art

L.A. Fashion Week opened with a sustainable bang on Thursday, October 9th as Gen Art presented Fashionably Natural, an exclusive runway show featuring the city's largest collection of eco-friendly designers showing their Spring 2009 collections. Actress Maggie Gyllenhaal hosted the show, which took place at a transformed Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, CA.

What do these designers have in common—besides a commitment to sustainable fabrics and fabrication? A shared fascination with miniskirts so short they flirt with indecency. Read on for more of Spring's eco-friendly fashion sneak peeks—plus an exclusive video.

Model wearing Brigid Catiis/photo provided by Gen Art

The event was spearheaded by fashion visionary Jen Egan, who helms the marketing for Gen Art, a national non-profit arts entertainment company showcasing the best emerging talent in film, fashion, music and art. Egan brought together four designers who share a commitment to sustainable fashion: Brigid Catiis, who works in recycled vintage fabrics, Popomomo designed by Lizz Wasserman, who uses sustainable and organic fabrics, Velvet Leaf, which uses only certified organic cotton, and headliner The Battalion, created by sisters Chrys and Linda Wong, who use organic bamboo, organic cotton and cruelty-free silk. The event was sponsored by Soy Joy.

Model wearing Velvet Leaf/photo provided by Gen Art

"[Sustainable fashion has] become more and more important every passing year with what's happening to the environment," said Ian Gerard, Gen Art's founder and CEO. "It's nice to see it translate into fashion as well as everything from consumer products to cars. So it's very exciting that this is our first green fashion show."

Despite the fact that the only nod to green seemed to be the choice of designers, with drinks served in plastic cups with paper napkins and no visible recycling bins in sight, the Gen Art event was a departure from L.A. Fashion Week's usual fare. And it brought into focus last week's announcement that Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Smashbox Studios would conclude the five-year agreement between Dean and Davis Factor, the brothers behind the Smashbox brand, and powerhouse production company IMG, which organizes fashion weeks in New York, Miami and Berlin, among other cities.

Rumors continue to swirl that Gen Art will take more of a leadership role in Los Angeles Fashion Week, perhaps even shifting the date to coincide with entertainment-focused events like the Emmys in September and the Academy Awards in February, and moving to a more accessible destination, rather that relatively remote Culver City, where Smashbox is located.

Regardless of who takes the helm of L.A. Fashion Week, the statement made by Gen Art on Thursday night was unmistakable. Gerard predicted that sustainable fashion would continue to play a role in the company's commitment to the event. "I think [the Fashionably Natural show] is a good statement," he continued. "We're excited that we're the ones doing it We're very open to expanding our fashion here in L.A [Sustainable fashion] would definitely be a prerogative but it would have to go with quality. It would be envisioning fashion week in a totally different way."

Ian Gerard of Gen Art discusses the state of sustainability at L.A. Fashion Week, Maggie Gyllenhaal starts the show and The Battalion closes it with yet another example of eco-friendly fashion's favorite ultra-short skirts in this exclusive video.

Scoop and Short Skirts as Sustainable Fashion Kicks off LAFW

Take a look at how green fashion made its mark on other Fashion Weeks in New York and London. And there's even a Fashion Week featuring sustainable looks (and treats) for pets!

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