Right before publishing this I went on LInkedIn and there was an article in my feed with the clickbait headline “There is no such thing as sustainable fashion”. I naturally clicked on the article and it said a new report from the environmental advocacy organization Stand.earth reveals how 47 of the largest fashion companies are actively accelerating climate change by emitting greenhouse gases throughout their supply chains. Not a single company is on track to halve its emissions by 2030, the target necessary to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (34.7 degrees Fahrenheit) and avert the most devastating effects of a hotter planet. Even eco-friendly brands, such as Patagonia, Allbirds, and Eileen Fisher, missed the mark, reinforcing the reality that there is no such thing as sustainable fashion.
So, reading this and being excited about fashion week seems a bit paradoxical. But hear me out. I separate “fashion” the art form, from the “fashion industry” and I attend events at New York Fashion Week to see and support the designers who are doing things differently. We’re not talking the titans of the over consumption parade a la Michael Kors, but the small young brands who approach fashion “designing with humanity in mind”* and intending to stay that way.
*quote from Studio 189
With that in mind, here are a few of the shows/presentations we’re looking forward to attending this NYFW and why:
Hillary Taymour is known as the cool girl of sustainability and we love her commitment to diversity as much as her designs. This NYFW she’s showing at the Brooklyn Grange in the Navy Yard. One of 3 rooftop farms (the others in Sunset Park and Long Island City) that produce over 100,000 lbs of organically-grown produce per year. As regenerative fashion and farming are both becoming “a thing” this seems like the perfect venue for this planet friendly label.
We’ve always appreciated the way this group has pushed both technology and concept. From 3D printing to working with innovative materials their work is considered and exquisite. This season the designers are thinking of a higher plane. Their collection, Kundalini, interprets the chakras and was inspired by the desire to promote unity.
They also collaborated with Israel-based Kornit Digital, and their new “waterless” printing solution — one that claims to use 95 percent less water, while cutting energy use in half with its NeoPigment solution.
Although part of the Men’s Day line up, Aaron Potts label is designed genderless and seasonless. Last season he charmed us with his play of volume and color brought to life by Alvin Ailey dancers. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for us this season.
Imitation of Christ
Vogue recently ran an article about NYFW 20 years ago. Tara Subkoff’s label IOC was around at that time. Then disappeared into the art scene and has risen recently again. (lol) Her emphasis on second hand and reconstructed pieces was pioneering at the time and was still present last season as was the collectivist sensibility of the brand. (she names the designer’s on IG and we follow them all!) This season’s show is billed as a performance: call us intrigued.
Tombogo is a streetwear label by Tommy Bogo. Streetwear isn’t always considered “Capital F fashion” but it’s influence should not be ignored –if streetwear labels can become more sustainable that’s a win for everyone. Last season’s collection, “Lost & Found” was a critical hit in this niche, and it employed upcycled fabrics sourced from secondhand shops or thrift stores.
Tommy Bogo also believes in built in functionality in his garments and his intention with his work is to spur dialogue about function, form and impact in today’s climate of fashion.
Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah, co-founders of Studio 189 have created more than a brand but a full service boutique agency that provides a platform to help promote and curate African and African-inspired content and brands by providing marketing, manufacturing and distribution services and by creating an artisan-produced private label brand. They focus on empowering women, creating jobs and supporting education.
But of course, they make their own fashion lines as well –including a children’s line– known for their colorful prints made in Africa from handcrafted textiles. They care as much about the people making their clothes as they care about those who will eventually wear them. And the results are beautiful in every way.
Also worth watching (in no particular order): Gabriela Hearst, A—Company, Chelsea Gray, Rentrayage, Connor McKnight, Social Work, Chromat and Puppets & Puppets.