Fashion Talks Green

GQ partnered with Fashion Group International to host a panel event, "The Fashion Footprint."

GQ partnered with Fashion Group International Wednesday night to host a panel event, “The Fashion Footprint,” aimed at fostering an environment conducive to the discussion of fashion’s relationship to the green movement.

This story first appeared in the August 1, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Julie Gilhart, senior vice president and fashion director of Barneys New York, moderated the four-member panel, which consisted of Scott Mackinlay Hahn, partner in Loomstate/Rogan; Michael Flynn, vice president of design for Timberland Apparel at Phillips-Van Heusen Corp.; Leslie Hoffman, executive director of Earth Pledge, and Elizabeth Rogers, author of “The Green Book” and global branding consult for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Hahn spoke about the importance of sustainability in eco-friendly fashion. “We strive to be a success in our environment. Fashion is our medium,” he said. In fall 2004, Hahn launched Loomstate’s 100 percent organic cotton collection, emphasizing the social responsibility people have to the environment but too often ignore. Unlike designers who claim to be green, Loomstate is fully committed to sustainability at every stage of the production process. Loomstate ensures that all partners, from farmers to fabric mills, are participating in responsible manufacturing processes.

Likewise, Timberland’s Flynn has introduced new production methods that ultimately reduce the impact on the planet. “Timberland has created a DNA that supports a social responsibility, consciousness and awareness. The more I scratch the surface, the more there is to learn. Every piece we make is going to be touched by green.”

As part of its eco-friendly efforts, Timberland began producing nutrition labels for its clothing, listing the percentages of organic materials in each. According to Flynn, “This is the beginning of a global effort. Because we’re asking and raising questions, people are changing.”

Earth Pledge’s Hoffman said she “sees agriculture at the center of sustainability.” Earth Pledge is a nonprofit organization that attempts to align eco-friendly technological developments with the world of design. Hoffman laughed, “I never thought I would be in fashion, but I have a passion to help individuals, find opportunity, measure, assess, make improvements, and maybe, if we all work together, we will get there.”

NRDC’s Rogers left her 10-year post as senior vice president of global communications at Calvin Klein to explore a career outside of fashion. Rogers expounded on her distaste for the term “green” and anticipates the time when being eco-friendly is the norm and a fully evolved lifestyle, not just a fad.