Skin is important. It insulates us, protects us from pathogens, provides sensation and holds together all our muscles, organs and other icky bits, which — let’s face it — are called our innards for a reason. So, let’s honor our skin and caress it with the finest organics fabrics available.
Here’s one way to do that. Drape yourself in ecoSkin, an LA-based high fashion label that launched in spring 2008.
Designer Sandy Skinner’s vision is “to continually raise women’s awareness of their options. We can combine eco-friendly fabrics with a high design aesthetic.”
Having worked in the fashion industry for many years, Skinner jumped at the chance to make a difference in the world with her profession. Her debut collection was aimed at “fashion-forward sophisticated women who want to look great but care about the world and the environment they live in”.
Todays exclusive interview is with fashion designer and stylist Kate D’Arcy. Kate started the Toggery Collection to combine the idea of sustainability with her innate sense of style.
G Monkie: Kate, when you decided to start a new fashion line, what previous experience did you have with fashion?
Kate: I have a background in styling which has given me an amazing understanding on what fits and looks best on most body types, how to style and accessorize different pieces (old and new) to make them work best. Most importantly what shapes and styles are truly effortless, seasonless, classic…the kind of styles every woman needs in her closet to help make everything else wearable.
Eco-fashions tend to congregate on the casual end of the fashion. After all, organic cotton and bamboo do make for some mighty comfy tees and great looking denim. But high fashion is finally coming to the party with some pretty stylish threads.
Take Danish label Noir Illuminati II. Their designs are as famous for their stark monochromatic, exquisitely tailored and über-sexy look as they are sustainability. The label consists of two parts: Noir represents the luxury brand, and Illuminati II handles its cotton-creating counterpart. The company uses fairly traded sub-Saharan organic cotton and operates under the business model of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), making it unique in the world of high fashion.
Run by Peter Ingwersen, a former Levi’s brand manager, the label is relatively new, having debuted a mere five seasons ago. During that time, however, Ingwersen has managed to up the use of certified materials from 30% to 70%. His signature fabric is organic cotton, which he sources from Ugandan cotton farmers. A percentage of the profits from the clothes goes back to Africa through The Noir Foundation, which provides essential medicine and micro loans as part of a Humane Business Model.
A Small Collection would fit right in at a MOMA as part of an avant garde art installation, but these eleven short videos actually showcase Austin-based designer Alyson Fox’s eco fashion line. Inspired by vintage clothing, Alyson decided to emulate that look using only sustainable fabrics like organic cotton, hemp and linen, and organic elastics and buttons made from fallen tree branches.
Everyone in Hollywood knows that a movie needs a good tag line in order to hook viewers. As for the true story of self-absorbed conceptual artist Vanessa Beecroft and her long suffering lawyer/art dealer/entertainment consultant/Warner Bros. executive husband Greg Durkin, in the aftermath of her botched adoption attempt of Sudanese twins, I think the L.A. Times came up with a good one: “Beecroft traveled to Sudan, fell in love with a pair of motherless babies there and labored, in the presence of a documentarian’s camera, to adopt them — without consulting her husband”.
I’d certainly call that an attention grabber.
The entire event is chronicled in “The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins” — a documentary directed by New Zealand filmmaker Pietra Brettkelly, which screened at this year’s Sundance film festival. The near adoption tale begins with Beecroft, herself a mother of two, traveling to Sudan out of concern about the genocide. After developing mastitis on the plane, she offers her milk to some orphaned Sudanese newborns. It’s there that Beecroft meets the twins, Madit and Mangor Akot Makoi, and it’s love at first sight.
Will your grandchildren be able to cook? Owners of luxurious green Valcucine kitchens will certainly be hoping so. Italian kitchen design company, Valcucine, effortlessly merges high-end aesthetics and environmental wherewithal to create a product that is both beautiful while “spanning generations”.
I heart H&M. Or Hennes as it’s called in Europe. In London, Hennes and TopShop are the two staples for fashionistas to get cheap yet cutting edge clothing – a slinky tee to go with designer jeans or shirt-dress you could dress up with a fabulous belt. Here in the States there are so many inexpensive retails stores (Target, Forever 21, Old Navy, American Apparel, Loehmanns, Ross) that it’s utterly confounding. I’ve lived here for four years and am still absolutely clueless on where to shop for basics. Oddly the higher end posed no problem, I drifted to Neiman Marcus and Barney’s like a leaf in a current. But one can’t live in Jimmy Choos alone. Which brings me back to Hennes, rather H&M.