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”.
Listen up, fashion conscious women with a conscience: if you want to be as well dressed as A-listers Cate Blanchett and Sienna Miller, check out Ciel, the new label from British designer Sarah Ratty.
Hip, luxurious and special are words that come to mind, style-wise, when perusing the latest collection from the designer who brought you Conscious Earthwear. Smart and aware also come to mind. Created with green fabrics and practices, Ciel’s signature pieces make a more ethical and environmental choice available to stylish women.
This week in our series of exclusive interviews with some of the top emerging Green Designers we are featuring Sandy Skinner from the company ecoSkin. Sandy founded the company in 2007 after a 17 year career in the fashion industry, where she had worked in virtually every position. From buying, to managing operation and even serving as President for a major contemporary brand. When starting ecoSkin, she wanted to create a new brand which would focus on environmentally sustainable luxury fabrics, which are woven and sewn within the United States. She insists her dye houses and manufacturing facilities—all in the Los Angeles area—follow her demanding quality, environmental and labor standards. And, she personally oversees every high-quality and eco-friendly detail, from the selection of raw material to the oversight of meticulous local dying, weaving and sewing to the design of green hangtags and labels.
G Monkie: Before becoming a designer, what was your background and when did you get started?
Sandy: My experience is more on the merchandising end. I have been doing private label merchandising and line development for over 12 years now. My bio is also on the website and I know you can pull some details from there.
G Monkie: Which designers or companies in the green fashion space have inspired you and have they influenced your business model?
Sandy: There is nobody I really model the company after. I feel like we are trying to do something different. We want to go after a fashion forward customer who is looking for a green choice in her wardrobe. I always say she buys the line because she loves it but the benefit is that it is green not the only reason she is buying.
Exclusive Interview With Designers Kajsa Cappelen Holst and Paula Kermfors
The last time I wrote about this stand-out Scandinavian fashion label, I was lamenting the fact that their website was in Swedish.Righteous Fashion’s beta site had me in the throes of agony and ecstasy: the stunning ethical designs drawing me in; the Swedish lexicon causing flashbacks to numerous frustrating and unsuccessful attempts at assembling Ikea furniture. What was I to do? It all too much for an ethical fashionista with an aversion to plywood to bear.
Well like any good journalist (eh hem), I wrote to Kajsa and Paula to inform them of my predicament, and guess what? They created an English version. Just like that. It’s this can-do attitude, this desire to constantly improve and this patience with the linguistically-challenged that’s been the secret to their success. So without further ado, let’s meet the design duo whose clean lines and organic materials have created waves in the Scandinavian fashion world and beyond.
Sarah: When did the environmental bell toll for you?
Kajsa / Paula: As a company our aim was to work with fair trade, but going to Uganda seeing the impact the production environment had on people, making our clothes ecological as well was a given. To be frank it was the only way.
Here at G Living we really like mixing it up at a gas stations. Okay, I’m being a little facetious. BP Helios House is more than a gas station – it was the chosen location for the debut of Linda Loudermilk’s Spring 2008 collection, Windpower. Supermodel Kristi Hume and other long limbed lovelies pumped gas…I mean, strutted the catwalk…for a host of eco-fabulous celebrities including rumored guest Prince, although the super secretive star did manage to keep well out of the spotlight. How convenient.
When it comes to high-end green fashion, they don’t come any bigger or better than Linda Loudermilk. Linda introduced breakthrough fabrics like mud-dyed linen, vegan silk and milk cashmere. These were in addition to her staples like organic cotton, seaweed wood pulp and sasawashi (a Japanese leaf… don’t worry, I’m half Japanese and I had to look that one up).
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.
Designers Karen Stewart and Howard Brown liken their latest collection, One Day This Summer, to “youthful freedom and carefree fun; like the summers we remember growing up”. Ahh yes, I remember those summers…the annual family beach holiday as an awkward adolescent, dying a thousand deaths whilst dining with my parents and younger siblings at a family bistro….ahh, the memories. But, no. I think the duo is referring to far less cringe inducing summery thoughts like lemon sorbet, gingham picnic blankets and butterflies. Images that this latest Stewart + Brown collection evokes.
For newcomers to the green scene, Stewart + Brown have been described as “organic pioneers” or as one of the original “ethical fashion brands”. They could be the described as the “fashion police” — policing themselves that is, by adhering to strict ethical rules of fashion conduct. Through innovation and artistic endeavor, their aim is to reduce waste, improve efficiencies and “use as little of the earth’s precious capital as possible”.
What do Jake Gyllenhaal, Justin Timberlake, Larry Birkhead and Ashlee Simpson have in common? Let’s see: gay cowboys, wardrobe malfunctions, paternity suits and lip synching… At first glance, not too much. But there is one thing these celebrities do see eye-to-eye (or pec-to-pec) on: making a difference with what they wear.
All four Hollywood hotties are the proud owners of the unisex eco-heather crew from Alternative Apparel’s new sustainable line, Alternative Earth.
Alternative Earth offers the same great fit and vintage look of its outrageously popular parent brand, Alternative Apparel. Boasting an array of crew and scoop tees, tanks, henleys, hoodies and loungewear for men, women and toddlers, the look can blend seamlessly from the beaches of California to the streets of Tokyo. The entire range incorporates 100% organic cotton and polyester recycled from plastic food containers and drinking bottles.
If you thought the days of Andy Warhol where gone, think again. NOKI a G/fashion designer from London England has a special message for you. Be inventive, re-use what already exist. Full-fill your on desires with your mind, not your wallet.
NOTES ON THE POLITICS AND AESTHETICS OF NOKI CUSTOM
At its most obvious, Noki custom mounts a challenge, a symbolic critique or even
a form of resistance, against mainstream, mass-market, homogenous and
depersonalised commodity fashion.
Where sportswear relies on brands and powerful logos to make its selling proposition, Noki abducts these signs, reconfigures them, uses, abuses and reuses them and creates the new and unorthodox.Oink. Not pis. Geddit? With French philosopher De Certeau, the operations of Noki can be seen as tactics of the weak, pitted against strategies of the strong. David’s fast and sneaky movements, too fast for Goliath, strong, but slow and inflexible.
Perfectly Imperfect. When I first came across this sustainable clothing line, it sounded to me like something you’d find in an outlet mall. Imperfects. What a great idea, I thought, marveling at my own perspicacity.
“I’m the dark side of green,” says Jonathan JJ Hudson, designer of Noki – House of Sustainability. Which is weird because we here at G Living are also the darker side of green. Only we don’t look like that. By “that” I’m referring to a look that seems at home on the streets of Harajuku — shredded heavy metal tees, roughed up taffeta dresses, defaced brand labels like Disney, Adidas and Evisu, as well as cut-out argyle knee highs, pantomime wigs and painted germ protecting masks — all of which were on display at London’s Fashion East earlier this year.
Referring to herself as the “self-elected godmother of the eco-nerds”, Scandinavian designer and boutique owner Johanna Hofring is being modest. Clearly, she also has a sense of humor. An ethical designer (who isn’t afraid to spend weeks crocheting a single garment), Hofring helped her birth city of Stockholm along the path to sustainability by opening Ekovaruhuset “House of Organic Products” in 2004. Following her success there, Hofring opened a second boutique with the same name in NYC.
All of the clothes at Ekovaruhuset are made naturally, from organic materials that don’t use chemical fertilizers or pesticides and with a dyeing process that’s environmentally responsible. Hofring notes that there are a few exceptions “such as zippers, some buttons, threads and ink for printing… areas that have not yet been perfected. We are always looking for better alternatives and are thankful to hear from you about all organic solutions”.