Wednesday, September 10, 2008

So Ethic

Over the weekend I went to the Pret a Porter salon for emerging fashion designers. It was an enormous affair at the Porte de Versailles, with over 3 vast floors of fashion...It was too much for me to take in, so one of the sections I focused on was the 'So Ethic,' salon that brought together a range of designers working with fashion and production in an eco-friendly way. Range being a key word in that last sentence. Items ranged from recycled messenger bags made out of tires to the 'beige cotton t-shirt' crowd which I sum up as the neutral colored, simple cut t-shirts, shorts and sweaters, that oozes eco almost to a fault, to higher end designers such as the Swede, Camilla Norrback. It was interesting to talk to some of the vendors there, particularly about this discrepancy of "Eco-chic." It seems a shame that so many talented designers who have decided to use non-toxic dyes, organic cotton, and other such methods in their clothing are lumped together with less design conscious and more just "eco." Though it is important to point out their methods of production, many of these people are true 'designers' first and eco in approach. Though they may benefit from this trend now, in the future, it could be counter-productive if they become only seen as Eco-labels. It's best, in my mind to promote the great talent and have the bonus of it being produced cleanly. This might encourage more people to embrace these relatively easy methods of production--and avoid any stigma that could hurt the strong talent of the clothing. "So Ethic' is a great start but maybe next year there could be two salons, So Ethic for those messenger bags and baby bibs, and 'Design Conscious,' (or something) for those higher end labels. Some of these to take a look at are...Camilla Norrback, elegant, smart, sophisticated (; Anardo & Skyum, Danish design mixed with Peruvian flair (; Amana-Central St. Martin's grads make sophisticated clothing handmade in a women's cooperative in Morocco; and Laurence Chauvin-Bathard--African fabrics meet classic dress and bag designs all the better for both.

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