You’re starting to hear more about sustainability in fashion. Magazines like Marie Claire have a monthly column devoted to eco-fashion, Vogue is covering the trend and for the first time ever, an entire runway collection—The Green Shows—was presented at New York Fashion Week this past February. But good-hearted as you are, you struggle with giving up your stylish ways, no matter what you hear about the not-so-nice ways fashion is made.
Style vs. sustainability? Beautifuli.com will offer both when we launch in early 2013.
In the first in our blog series, A Stylishly Sustainable Life, we’ll help you get started…without a total closet makeover. First, think about mixing a sustainable piece into the wardrobe you already own. A piece that comes with added value, a good story to tell about who made it, and how—an investment that makes you happy every time you wear it.
Photo: Costello Tagliapietra, S/S 2012
And to that point, we have Robert Tagliapietra who bemoans dresses that get lost in a closet. When he and his partner, Jeffrey Costello, make a dress, “I want someone to love it.”1 And oh, how we love these two masters of detail whose “languid, small miracles of draping and folding… flatter nearly every body type.” 2 With each ebb and flow of fabric around your body, will come the satisfaction of knowing that Costello Tagliapietra uses the sustainable AirDye technique that uses 88-95% less water than typical textile industry water consumption.3
Photo: EDUN, Pre-Spring 2012
Next, EDUN, is a clothingcollection launched by Ali Hewson and her husband, Bono, U2’s lead singer. Their apparel is not simply inspired by Africa but fairly traded in Africa (along with other countries, including China.) As their global business grows, EDUN is committed to doing more production in Africa. Meanwhile, they support a “cotton initiative” that helps build sustainable business in Northern Uganda.
Photo: SUNO, Spring/Summer 2012
At SUNO, the focus is on fit and fabrics. Since they launched in 2008, using a personal cache of vintage Kenyan textiles, Max Osterweis and Erin Beatty continue to use local production and techniques—whether “local” is in Kenya, Peru, India or at home base in New York. Their philosophy might apply to all the designers we’re highlighting here, as they offer a unique, global view of luxury made accessible to those who wish to dress with style AND sustainability.
Photo: The Sway New York
From The Sway New York, come the perfect little handbags for summer. Crafted from excess leathers sourced from a factory that makes motorcycles accessories, each bag is lined with 100% recycled cotton fabric. Thinking sustainably wherever possible, Belinda Pasqua and her team work out of a factory powered by alternative energy sources. All of the hangtags and packing materials are made of recycled paper.
Photo: Pachacuti, Spring/Summer 2012
Top off your summer look with a hat by Pachacuti (pronounced: pa-cha-cu-tee), the London-based company started in 1992 by Carry Somers, a pioneer in fair trade. Traditionally the unsavory element in the panama hat industry had been the “middlemen with unscrupulous purchasing methods.”4 Not so now in the company’s artisan-centered cooperatives, where workers’ lives have changed for good. (Pachacuti means “ world upside-down” in Quechua, the Andean native language of the artisans.)
Your purchase not only adds serious panache to your look, it lets you celebrate every second glance with the woman who made it—one whose skills as an artisan are rewarded fairly and will pass on to the next generation.
In July: A profile of our favorite eco-designers crafting jewelry to own now and love forever.
1 StyleLikeU: http://bit.ly/KXgKiE
2 Maureen Callahan “The New York Post”
3 Costello Tagliapietra’s Spring 2012 Line Embraces Romance, AirDye Technology at New York Fashion Week, Ecouterre, September 10, 2011: http://bit.ly/NWiJYR.
4 Parachuti: http://bit.ly/NDYYVJ, where further details on the sourcing of their Panama hats’ signature toquilla palm, as well as their fair trade production are available.