ROYAL REWARDS: Queen Elizabeth II gave her seal of approval to several British fashion businesses on Monday, as part of her annual enterprise awards. Winners included the Pentland Group plc, the parent of Speedo and Ellesse, in the international trade category. There were also smaller companies: I & G Cohen Ltd., a clothing recycling company, and Keela International, producers of a waterproof clothing system. This was the 43rd year of the awards, which grants companies the right to use the Queen’s Award Emblem on packaging and marketing material for five years. Winners also receive commemorative engraved crystal bowls and are invited to a summer reception at Buckingham Palace.
DOWN TO EARTH: In honor of Earth Day, LOHAS, or Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability, was host of a forum-luncheon at Blue Hill in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village Tuesday, where panel members challenged the media to penetrate “green talk” and communicate authentic eco-friendly ideas. Participating were Eli Halliwell, creator of Jurlique skin care products; Wolf Ludge, chief executive officer of Hess Natur, an organic German clothing company launching in the U.S. this summer; Summer Rayne Oakes, model and green activist, and Planet Green president Eileen O’Neill. Oakes called on the media “to educate the consumer, not just list the top five green trends. I don’t believe style will change the world, but it’s an incredible tool to communicate this message. [Fashion] is an industry that can make a difference.” The panelists urged that articles get beyond the superficial levels of green marketing and basics like organic cotton to look at the chemicals used along the production processes, to how the farmers are treated and how far clothes must travel to retail.
AUGUST SILK SEES GREEN: Better knit brand August Silk is launching a category of eco-friendly knit tops made from silk-bamboo blends. “With eco-friendly being so important today, green is the new black,” said Ellen Dawson, August Silk executive vice president and chief merchandising officer. Available for fall in stores, including Macy’s, Bon-Ton and select Dillard’s, the line will wholesale from $19 to $27.
TWO WHEELERS: New Balance and Stop & Shop will be presenting sponsors of this summer’s Pan-Massachusetts Challenge Kids Rides, providing more than $400,000 of clothing, food and financial support. Throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire, children under age 15 will ride in 28 bike-a-thons in June to raise $600,000 as part of PMC’s overall 2008 goal of $34 million to support research and treatment at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through the institute’s Jimmy Fund. Last August, the chief executive officers of the two Massachusetts-based firms rode in the adult PMC ride and were moved to get their companies involved at the corporate level. “The PMC Kids Rides is a fun and engaging collaborative program that teaches kids the importance of philanthropy and physical activity,” said Rob DeMartini, New Balance ceo. New Balance will be the exclusive performance apparel supplier for a new line of PMC official gear, while Stop & Shop will provide food for each of the PMC Kids Rides.
MAGASCHONI GIVES BACK: The Magaschoni Apparel Group raised more than $40,000 at its tri-annual benefit on April 10 and 11, as 250 guests — including Lorraine Bracco, Lauren DuPont and Wendy Hirschberg Clurman — took advantage of the wholesale prices on items like a cashmere ruffle wrap, with a $5 an item charity add-on. Since 2005, the sale has supported the Center for Discovery, a New York nonprofit organization dedicated to providing supportive environments for people with severe disabilities. This year’s fund-raiser also added two guest charities, The Southampton Fresh Air Home and Resources for Children With Special Needs Inc., which both enhance the lives of children and adults with disabilities.