Eco-chic fashion shows off stylish sustainability

Fri Jan 22, 2010 10:08am EST
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GENEVA (Reuters Life!) - Models wearing alpaca fiber, bamboo and organic silk and cotton strutted down an "Eco-chic" catwalk to back a United Nations call for the sustainable use of natural resources.

Nearly 50 ready-to-wear and couture designers from 40 countries displayed sleek garments in the Thursday night show that ushered in the International Year of Biodiversity in the middle of the autumn/winter catwalk season under way in Milan, Paris, London and New York.

"We have chosen from the best in the world, the best in design, the best in ethics and the best in sustainable practices," organizer Christina Dean of the Hong Kong-based charity Green2greener told the Geneva audience.

Peter Ingwersen, a Danish fashion designer whose label "Noir" uses organic cotton fabrics from Uganda, said that consumers were increasingly concerned about the environmental and social impact of their retail purchases.

"Ten years ago it was enough to buy the latest 'it' bag. Today that's not enough anymore. You also want to know how it was produced," he said. "That is the biggest change that we've seen in our business since the hem-lengths went below the knee."

Ingwersen's 100 percent organic black dress, made from cotton grown without pesticides, was on view alongside donated items from top designers Thakoon Panichgul of Thailand, New York's Diane Von Furstenberg and India's Manish Arora.

A fair trade black and white short silk dress by Edun, the ecological and ethical fashion start-up founded by Irish singer and campaigner Bono, and a pink flower-studded hemp and silk long dress by Brazil's Alexandre Herchcovitch also featured.


Concerns about climate change, loss of biodiversity and weak labor standards in textiles, particularly in Asia, have raised buyers' awareness.   Continued...

<p>A model presents a creation by Hongkong designer Kanchan Couture, made from recycled plastic or organic materials, during the Eco Chic Fashion show in Jakarta, March 3, 2008. REUTERS/Dadang Tri</p>