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What is eco & sustainable fashion, anyway? [1]

By Dian Hasan | September 13, 2010

In our world today, we all know that “Green” is the new “Black“.

And faster than you can correctly utter the word “sustainability”, if you haven’t already practiced being a green fashionista, than you should consider yourself passé.

But what exactly does the term “eco- or sustainable- fashion” mean? Here are some clues, from some authority on the subject, according to Brit Liggett and Jill Fehrenbacher as appeared in Ecouterre:

Pinning down one categorical definition of “sustainable fashion” is a next-to-impossible feat, so we took the opportunity to survey some of the designers who were staked out at the Green Room at Designers & Agents to map out this elusive terrain. “We have a voice here at D&A, we have a platform,” notes Barbara Kramer, co-founder of the curated fashion event. “And I think the Green Room is one of the best things that we’ve done with that platform.”

“Sustainable,” “eco,” organic,” “ethical”—keeping track of the plethora of “green” (there’s another one!) fashion terms can make a sane person run screaming for the straightjacket. But what’s in a name? We ambushed six emerging eco-designers at the Designers & Agents Green Room—including Samantha Pleet, Kizzy Jai Knight, and Shannon South—to suss out their susty definitions.

The final word? “D&A is really about fashion first, and sustainability second,” Ed Mandelbaum, co-founder of the international trade show, tells Ecouterre. Yet bringing the two together only made sense. “This is the best Green Room that we’ve ever had,” he adds.

We’ll highlight 6 fashion designers with green directions.


“Being a green designer means being as responsible as you can with your company. I really think it’s a lifestyle choice. It’s having my terrace garden and supporting local businesses and producing everything locally in the garment district in New York. It’s using the best quality materials.

“Being eco friendly is definitely more work. But you end up with a more consistent line because you have to search harder for the fabrics. And your designs really evolve in that process”

~ Samantha Pleet, designer of the Samantha Pleet and Patrick Pleet fashion labels.

Inspiration: Ecouterre


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