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Cameron Diaz, Shalom Harlow, Natalie Portman and Drew Barrymore have all gone green, and look great doing it. But dressing with an eye to the ecosystem isn’t all Hollywood — or all hippie chick, for that matter. Plenty of lower-profile girls with equally low-profile budgets are making stylish, sustainable statements every day. And there’s more than one way to be green. In fact, the term means different things to different people. For some, it’s about avoiding animal products — even those made by itty-bitty silkworms — in the name of climate control and anticruelty, which can make a synthetic like polyester an unlikely but appealing alternative. And while organic cotton seems the eco ideal, it requires more long-term care and thus more energy than its chemically treated counterpart. Here, a few green girls and their environmentally aware attire.
Olga Ginzburg, New York
Between her dual shopgirl gigs at Lower Manhattan’s eco boutique Gomi NYC and designer consignment shop Ina, Ginzburg, 23, is surrounded by some of the city’s best eco duds. The Belarus native, who grew up “in a house covered in magazines,” has always had an eye for style — she studied interior design at the Fashion Institute of Technology and Parsons The New School for Design and is now pursuing photography. But it wasn’t until she stumbled upon a Gomi job posting on Craigslist eight months ago that Ginzburg discovered sustainable style. “It’s not like I was totally oblivious to it,” she says. “I picked up a green issue of Elle, but I never thought I’d be buying organic clothes. Gomi changed my perspective on everything.” Now Ginzburg is slowly but surely building a sustainable wardrobe, which includes her favorite Del Forte “fancy jeans,” an Earth Dolphin military jacket with hand embroidery down the back, a Bahar Shahpar silk blouse and lots of Loomstate.
Karliin Mann, New York
Mann, 32, the owner of New York production company Chasing Locations, has been in touch with her eco side since high school. “But I was not a ‘Kumbaya’-playing, patchouli-wearing hippie by any stretch of the imagination,” she insists. “I kind of lived for fashion and at the same time was superconcerned with the welfare of the planet and animals.” Animal-based products such as wool and leather top her ethical and environmental “don’t” list. While Organic Avenue on Manhattan’s Lower East Side is a go-to for some cool green gear, the store doesn’t always meet her fashion standards. “I can’t just stick to a crunchy hippie store,” she says. Mann’s voracious label-reading allows her to continue to shop mainstream while remaining well within her eco parameters. Her favorite boutiques are on Manhattan’s Mott and Elizabeth Streets, and she’s always on the hunt for great vintage merch. “It’s the best way to be carbon neutral and tread lightly on the planet,” she says.
This story first appeared in the April 10, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Marisa Miller, New York
Some might consider Miller, 31, an extremist when it comes to the environment. She’s a professional who works as the outreach director for Global Green, a national environmental organization that advocates for green buildings and clean drinking water. She’s also a devoted vegan who’s even “greening” her May wedding via hemp invitations, soy candles, organic flowers and bonsai tree favors that help offset guests’ travel-related carbon emissions. And last week, she walked the streets of Manhattan in a sign — and nothing else — for a PETA demonstration. When she does get dressed, she keeps her clothes as eco-friendly as possible. “There’s been an explosion of affordable organic clothing,” she says, noting recent apparel-industry output and the increased fashion quotient. “I’ve got an earthy style, but some of the stuff was very shapeless or simple. Now, it follows the trends. It’s not just some curtain you wear.” Some favorite sustainable labels are Nature vs. Future and Twice Shy. On her wish list: Loomstate, which she discovered at Barneys New York, and Armour Sans Anguish’s one-of-a-kind dresses, made from reworked, recycled fabrics. While she pines for those, Miller has another one-of-a-kind dress to keep her happy: her Claire Pettibone wedding gown, which she had custom-made sans silk lining to avoid silkworm exploitation.
Kyeann Sayer, Missoula, Mont.
With a name like Kyeann (pronounced Cayenne), it seems Sayer, 31, was predestined to be an earth mother of sorts. She is, to an extent: A master’s candidate in cultural studies at Claremont Graduate University, Sayer is a part-time fashion writer for Treehugger.com and consultant to Lexus Hybrid Living, an eco design and lifestyle project. Fashion plays a big part in her environmental ethos. Growing up in Colorado, she went to modeling school, loved shopping and was addicted to fashion magazines, but all that disappeared during her undergraduate years when she became committed to the environment. “I thought you were superficial if you cared about your persona and your appearance,” she explains. But after about seven years of strict anticonsumption, Sayer got sick of the utilitarian look. “I just said, You know what? I’m going to find things that I think are stunning, but that I also feel good about from an environmental standpoint,” she says. Among her favorite eco designers are Stewart + Brown, Linda Loudermilk, Deux filles en fil, On & On, Junky Styling and Entermodal. “Now,” she says, “I love clothes again.”