Trekking the Annapurna Circuit many moons ago, I was struck by the beauty of 18 carat gold earrings worn by all the Nepalese women and girls. The flashes of gold in the sunlight were almost as brilliant as the owner’s smiles. Rather than ubiquitous machine-made hoops found in the West, these handmade earrings were perfectly imperfect; it felt as if the soul of the artisan who created them was somehow embodied in its design.
Perhaps that’s why I feel an infinity with acclaimed jewelry designer Toby Pomeroy. Pomeroy grew up in India on the foothills of the Himalayas where he found inspiration in the nature-influenced designs of local artisans. Flash forward many moons, and now not only does Pomeroy create beautiful jewelry favored by many A-listers – Sheryl Crow is a fan and Cameron Diaz wore his earrings in “Charlie’s Angels” – he does so without harming the environment.
“The jewelry industry is one of the worlds’ worst polluters,”says Pomeroy, “and we’ve simply been pretending that we aren’t. We’ve been ignoring the fact that mining and extraction of precious metals is one of the world’s most toxic and polluting industries”. The statistics are startling. “For every one ton of gold the U.S. produces, it also generates 3 million tons of waste rock” — not to mention a host of toxins, including cyanide.
That’s why in 2005, Pomeroy approached Torry Hoover, President of Hoover and Strong, the nation’s largest gold supplier and refiner, to request a program to provide reclaimed or recycled silver and gold. Hoover agreed and the resulting EcoGold and EcoSilver are the basis of Toby Pomeroy’s exquisite designs.
So, now you can adorn yourself in jewels, safe in the knowledge that your beauty doesn’t take away from nature’s.
Does 5,000 square feet sound a bit large to show off a shoe? Nike used just that last year in New York to show of its new Air Max – by invitation only.
Nike hired LED Folio Corporation, one of New York’s hottest design firms, to design the lighting system. LED used a TiLux system to create a warm atmosphere for the oh-so-exclusive invitees who came to peruse the handful of shoes on display. TiLux is a long-lasting, energy-efficient lighting system that promises to improve both atmosphere and energy efficiency in our office spaces of the future. That’s the good part.
If you’re looking for a slice of sustainable style that stands out from the crowd, you’ll find it in the one bedroom Brooklyn apartment of designer Caitlan Mociun. Her eponymous label (which is pronounced “motion”) has gorgeously graced the pages of Nylon, Elle and Anthem, and her best selling mumus are favored by young & famous fashionistas like Mischa Barton.
A graduate from Rhode Island School of Design specializing in textile design, Caitlin is self-taught in garment construction and pattern making. Not bad for someone whose front tie dresses are often credited with having the “perfect fit”. But what sets Mociun apart are the prints. Her quirky textiles could stand alone as works of art, and each garment is hand printed by the designer. Cailtin favors sustainable fabrics like organic cotton and bamboo, but is looking into other eco- textiles like “a synthetic fabric that is made from recycled airbags. It’s a beautiful and interesting fabric, which simultaneously cuts down on waste”.
Eco totes are de rigueur these days. Aside from the obvious benefits — ridding the world of the peril of plastic — they are fast becoming status symbols in the world of style. Speaking of which, style.com’s item of the week is the limited-edition Kate Spade Material Luxuries tote designed by Stefan Sagmeister.
Before you balk at the $145 price tag, consider the bag’s lineage: behind it are acclaimed New York handbag and accessories designer Kate Spade and preeminent graphic designer and author Stefan Sagmeister. (In case you’re not in know, he’s the brain behind the World Changing book, The Talking Heads box set, Rolling Stones Babylon CD cover and body in the AIGA Detroit campaign – ouch.) Guests at his recent book launch, Things I Have Learnt in My Life So Far, received a “Material Luxuries Are Best Enjoyed in Small Doses” bag upon departure. The rest of us will have clamber for the remaining 100, which will be divided up equally between the Wolfsonian Museum and Kate Spade.
Those already holding an Anya Hindmarsh “I Am Not a Plastic Bag” bag, need not apply. Two designer eco-totes is just plain greedy. And greed is not “G”.
It’s hard to think of used skateboards as being ladylike, but Kris Lovett — a University of Arts graduate — has found a way to combine his love for skateboarding, design and women and transform it all into a hip line of colorful shoes.
Skateboarding is often thought of as an eco-crime; more than 100,000 decks are produced each month in the United States alone. But rather than watch them junked, Lovett stepped up to the plate and used his fashion-forward thinking to make sure that the discarded ones saw life beyond all that rough riding, rolling and grinding.
His shoe designs are as unique as their origins. The wooden heels come in bright colors and with plenty of history. Lovett says, “By utilizing the overall shape and material properties found within the deck, the women’s shoe takes on an interesting aesthetic quality.”
Personally, I can’t stand sailing. Sperry top-siders, sun damaged skin, Rod Stewart’s 1975 hit — it’s all hideous. And I’m not just being glib… I’ve had my fair share of bad boating experiences to back it up: a ferry cancellation resulting in a four hour trip between Greek islands with some crusty German seafaring types< (think “Dead Calm”); a snorkeling trip gone awry in Sri Lanka with our banana boat capsizing over a shallow reef; and a yachting-obsessed ex- who would take me on “fun” yacht rides on Sydney Harbour (from which there was no escape).
Seeing a model posing for “G” a.k.a. eco-jeans or walking the runway for Ethical Fashion Show is admirable and sexy, but Summer Rayne Oakes is more than just a pretty face making commendable fashion statements. She’s a smart beauty who has figured out how to combine her image with her real interests and has become an earnest activist and entrepreneur. Heading up SRO (after her initials), a consulting company focused on sustainable business strategies, Oakes is using her background in science and her cause related modeling, and now travels the world helping companies tie in style with sustainability.
It’s one thing to read that Oakes graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. in Natural Resources and Entomology, but it’s another to hear her speak her mind on environmental issues. She is, of course, still a pretty face, but the beauty falls to the wayside and you’re left listening to a confident, comfortable, and very intelligent female communicate with passion on a subject that has been close to her heart since youth the environment.
There’s no bigger sartorial taboo than fur. It’s the cigarette smoking of fashion. But what do you do if you crave the look and feel of the warm and furry? Faux fur.
And I’ve found the most luxurious faux fur jacket of the season. The jacket comes in bone and is made from 100% organic cotton faux fur and 100% organic cotton twill lining, and features front pockets and faux tortoise shell buttons.
Made in NYC, it’s just one of the many gorgeous designs from Loyale, the brainchild of designer Jenny Hwa. Jenny noticed a hole in the market for beautiful sustainable clothes and decided to couple her passion for the environment, her degrees in business and fashion with her work experience at Catherine Malandrino, Chaiken and Jill Stuart to create her signature brand.
Twice a year the fashion industry hosts one of its biggest and most important events Fashion Week. And Los Angeles, a city known for its red carpet celebrities dressed in designer duds, is vying for recognition among the top fashion cities of the world.
A week-long event that allows fashion houses and designers to showcase their latest collections, the events feature runway shows and often incorporate musicians, celebrity guests, charity events and high profile parties. Held in the fashion capitals of the world — Paris, London, Milan, New York and (now Los Angeles) – Fashion Week draws not only fashion professionals, but press, celebrities, members of the entertainment industry and fashionistas alike.
For me, the best part about LA Fashion week this year was the increasing trend toward highlighting green designers and giving back to the Earth and the local community. In addition to L.A.-based Petro Zillia’s bright sassy dresses, Nicky Hilton’s casual Chick line and chic “modern art” inspired dresses by Sue Wong, the event debuted eco-friendly lines Ecoganik and Evidence of Evolution and highlighted other designers making a move toward sustainable fabric choices.
When I think “Old Hollywood”, I picture classic film stars, drive-in movies and vintage cars. So, it’s no wonder that LA designer Kim White is fitting a new era of Hollywood consumers with eclectic purses made from vintage car fabrics.
I first met Kim at the New Mart Building during LA Market Week — a five-day showroom event spanning several buildings in LA’s downtown fashion district where designers showcase their upcoming season’s lines for buyers and media. As I walked around the event, I was overwhelmed by the magnitude of designers on every level, and overjoyed to see that LA Market Week was embracing fashion forward sustainability.
David Beckham’s final appearance of the year with the Los Angeles Galaxy made over $100,000.And for once, we’re not talking about his salary. Becks and his team played a friendly match against Hollywood United FC, a roster of Hollywood celebs including Costas Mandylor and Anthony LaPaglia, to raise relief money for those affected by Southern California’s devastating wildfires.
“This is a great opportunity for our organization to do something positive for our area, our home, and for our friends and neighbors who have been impacted by these incredibly devastating wildfires,” Galaxy General Manager Alexi Lalas told the Associated Press. “Our players are residents of Southern California. This is a great way through soccer for us to bring some attention and, most importantly, raise some money. And, in the process, give the people another opportunity to see the stars we have here with the Galaxy.”
Also on the Hollywood team were Jimmy Jean-Louis and former World Cup players Frank Leboeuf, Joe-Max Moore, Richard Gough and Eric Wynalda.
“Our reason for being is to make the best product and cause no unnecessary harm”. A powerful statement from a clothing company that’s working toward lightening their footprint on the environment. Patagonia, which started out making tools for climbers, has grown into a leading manufacturer of clothing for outdoor activities. And reversing the decline in environmental health motivates them to create better ways of doing business.
Each year, Patagonia dedicates time, service and at least 1% in annual sales to hundreds of environmental groups to help support the reversal of environmental damage. In what appears to be a very brave move on their part, the company has created a flash site called The Footprint Chronicles that shows both the positives and negatives of items in their clothing line.
The Footprint Chronicles was created to encourage others to look closely at all of life’s processes. The more thought we give to the way we do things, the more our impact on the environment becomes visible. With the flash program, Patagonia wanted to open up their manufacturing process to the public to make themselves (and others) aware of the changes that need to be made in order to lessen their part in our environment’s downfall.