Monarchy, Linda Loudermilk, Gary Harvey Creative, Evidence of Evolution, The Battalion, Peligrosa and a dozen eco-minded labels touted that message this month at presentations of their spring collections at BoxEight, Smashbox Studios and other events during Los Angeles Fashion Week.
For more eco-fashion coverage, visit WWDGreen at www.wwd.com/wwdgreen Although some designers have made environmental sustainability their modus operandi from Day One, others began turning their attention to organic cotton and bamboo after consumer demand for natural fabrics escalated. Raising the green banner allowed West Coast labels to stand out, especially after almost every other trend was covered in New York, London, Milan and Paris.
"It's a great platform for L.A. Fashion Week," said model Angela Lindvall, who agreed to chronicle green-related activities, such as composting, in a diary made of recycled paper.
Joining a team of so-called ecoWarriors, Lindvall is promoting a new marketing initiative dubbed ecoStyle that will culminate in an awards ceremony Nov. 22 in Kuala Lumpur for the most environmentally friendly and stylish innovations in architecture, fashion and industrial design. Nominees include Jurlique and Stella McCartney. The initiative is a collaboration of fashion week producer IMG, Malaysia's national tourism agency and a nonprofit organization called Earth Pledge that promotes sustainable development.
In fashion, environmental sustainability is "an emerging trend," said Mark Werts, chief executive officer of Los Angeles-based specialty retailer American Rag Cie, who brought a team of four buyers to check out the array of bamboo knits at Avita's show held as part of BoxEight's EcoNouveau series.
"We all share the environment," Anita Ortiz, national merchandise manager for Nordstrom Inc.'s Savvy division, said during a party the Seattle-based retailer sponsored for emerging contemporary labels, including Los Angeles' Viridis Luxe, which spins hemp, wool and cashmere into cozy, cocoon-like sweaters. "We want to do our part. I think the customer wants it in our stores, as well."In some cases, environmentalism was a marketing tactic. At Monarchy's fashion show, designer Eric Kim screen-printed "recycle or die," next to an image of a skeletal Uncle Sam, on the back of a gray hoodie dress. At the end, Kim strolled down the grass-covered catwalk with a barefoot — and barely dressed — female model, whose pale belly was painted with a picture of the Earth and the phrase "global warming is so hot."
Rogan Gregory, the creative director of the eco-centric Edun and Loomstate brands, as well as his namesake label, insisted that sustainability isn't a fad. "It's here to stay," he said. "The use of organic cotton is really important. It will be the norm."
Fashion's interest in ecology also opened doors to newcomers. In its first sponsorship of a fashion week, Whole Foods Market not only created a special menu sold at Smashbox Studios (emerald sesame kale salad, anyone?), but also sponsored a show for Ecoganik and catered backstage meals for designers such as Randolph Duke and Heatherette. "It made perfect sense," said a spokeswoman for the Austin, Tex.-based grocer. "For Whole Foods, it goes beyond natural food. It's a lifestyle."
Even Prince took a walk on the eco side, albeit for less than a minute. As soon as Loudermilk started her runway show at an environmentally friendly BP gas station on the busy corner of Olympic and Robertson Boulevards, the rock star emerged, glanced at the first look and left.
Although Loudermilk's mud-dyed silk jacket that exuded the warmth of leather, as well as metallic-coated organic cotton leggings and other outfits, might not have suited Prince's purple penchant, her creations appeared more highly evolved than the bamboo Henleys and frayed jersey tank dresses that other eco designers offered.
Loudermilk, who was disappointed at the simplicity of other eco designs, recruited friend and model Kirsty Hume to don a flowing white gown adorned with gray rosettes for her show's finale. "Get serious about design,'' Loudermilk said. "Look at luxury design and do it with eco fabrics."
Or with recycled materials, as demonstrated by London-based Gary Harvey, a former creative director of Levi's European office. In the U.S. debut of Gary Harvey Creative at BoxEight, he displayed two dozen frocks sewn from vintage rugby shirts, baseball jackets, jeans and the salmon pink-tinted pages of the Financial Times. The recycled materials were almost unrecognizable once they were transformed into dramatic ankle-length flounce dresses evoking the Fifties glamour of Grace Kelly."'Make something beautiful — not just green,' is my pure message," Harvey said.
Annemarie Dillard, who scouts contemporary trends on the West Coast for her family's Little Rock, Ark.-based Dillard's department store chain, reminded aspiring eco designers: "It has to be cute and organic."
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews