A new wave of eco-ethical designers are blending high style with sustainability making green fashion utterly desirable.
Can eco-friendly fashion be truly luxurious? That’s the question a new breed of high-end designers are attempting to address as of late, chasing any granola-and-hemp clichés away and replaced by ultra-luxe pieces fashioned from sustainable materials — and, most critically, ethical business models — that don’t compromise on desirability.
The so-called green movement in fashion is, of course, nothing new. In the early nineties Giorgio Armani, the maestro of the suit, began to experiment with hemp, weaving it into his lines; Donna Karan’s Urban Zen Initiative combines a philanthropic foundation with retail that distributes natural and organic creations; the LVMH-owned Edun, a socially and environmentally conscious label by Bono, the U2 front man, and his wife, Ali Hewson, and designed by Loomstate’s Rogan Gregory; and both Britain’s high priestess of punk Vivienne Westwood and Ilaria Fendi, of the Fendi handbag dynasty, create handbags using artisans in Africa. Arguably, no one has done more to spread the gospel of green than Stella McCartney, whose continues her mission to eschew leather or fur and whose Fall 2012 presentation featured platform soles made out of bio-degradable material and is set to launch a hot new line of sunglasses from castor oil seeds.
Upmarket sustainable designs have also hit the red carpet. Witness Michelle Williams who chose to forgo the usual couture confections at the Baftas for a custom organic cotton gown by H&M, and The Help’s Viola Davis, who stepped out in a gown by Valentino made partly from recycled plastic bottles at this year’s Golden Globe’s. For the equally important blingy accoutrements, MObama fave Monique Pean’s sustainable gold, Ivanka Trump’s conflict-free diamonds (available at Birks) and Fonderie 47’s pricey baubles made out of recycled rifles cleared from war zones have all made decadent eco-friendly turns on the red carpet.
The phenomenon, however, has begun to hit critical mass with industry’s latest crop of sustainable designs. Unequivocally equated with chic, these brands go beyond trend and, instead, mark a systemic change to the definition of luxury fashion.
Check out some eco-friendly and organic beauty products here.
Find out which brands have made the transition to eco-friendly fashions, on the next page...