Brighter Shade of Green

Suddenly it's more about green than ever-from fashion to cars, food to skin care.

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WWD Scoop issue 03/24/2008
While the general public has been slow to embrace the insects-as-food concept, it is on board with green cuisine. Even celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse has a new gig—Emeril Green goes live on Planet Green in July and will be shot exclusively at Whole Foods Market.

Sheila C. Johnson, a founding partner of BET (Black Entertainment Television) and the first woman to have a stake in three professional sports teams, is sprucing up the menus and buildings that house her Market Salamander restaurants in Middleburg, Va., and Palm Beach, says Design Futurist’s Natalia Allen, who is helping with the project. “You can no longer just have organic food, you also have to have organic cartons and everything else to complement it,” she says.

Across the pond, the latest addition to East London’s Hoxton neighborhood is all about clean living. The Water House, an eco-friendly restaurant, is the second venture of its kind from restaurateurs Arthur Potts Dawson and Jamie Grainger-Smith with support from the Shoreditch Trust and local architects Waugh Thistleton.

The Water House uses renewable hydroelectric power, ambient water temperature from the neighboring canal for its heating and cooling systems, and solar power from roof panels. Even the lavatories have Japanese-style “paperless” toilets, which use water jets to clean and air jets to dry.

Cooking oil is transformed into a compostable substance through an experimental Japanese bokashi fermentation system, and the restaurant has its own brand of filtered water, made onsite using a Greencare filtration system.

Then there’s the food, which is created by Potts Dawson, a Roux Brothers-trained chef who previously worked at the River Cafe and Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen. He uses only seasonal organic produce with minimal delivery distances. Can’t finish your main course? No problem. Instead of doggie bags, the restaurant has its own food-digesting wormery.

Gaia Napa Valley Hotel and Spa bills itself as California wine country’s first environmentally sustainable resort. Located 44 miles from San Francisco, on the southern tip of Napa Valley, the two-year-old hotel features carpets made of recycled materials, solar panels and Al Gore’s book An Inconvenient Truth—along with the Bible and a tome about Buddhism—in its 132 rooms. Even the Koi fish swim in a pond filled with recycled water, which is filtered from the hotel.
Actor Colin Firth and his wife Livia Giuggioli are proving consumers don’t have to don a hair shirt to live the green lifestyle. Their new green-minded home store, Eco, located in West London, sells products such as retro wicker hanging chairs, chic glassware and vases, Graham & Brown’s eco wallpapers (made from managed timber sources), and plasma TVs and computer monitors, which are framed in Sapelewood rather than plastic. Alongside the home goods, there are wooden toys and stationery.

And all the energy the store uses is provided by its own solar panels and wind turbine, while a thatch of green ferns grows across the roof to help insulate the building. But Giuggioli stressed that she and her partners aren’t experts. “We’re learning at the same time as everyone else,” she says. “That’s what’s challenging and nice about the whole process.”

The New York-based knitwear label Lutz & Patmos has teamed up with Barneys New York to launch Leroy & Perry, a more affordable, eco-friendly collection. This fall, Childish Clothing’s owner Skye Hoppus, whose husband Mark is a Blink 182 rocker, will debut her new eco-friendly line Childish maternity and children’s collections. Even Banana Republic has a line hitting stores in April, followed by an Earth Week partnership with the nonprofit Trust for Public Lands.

A host of outdoor and activewear companies, including The North Face, Nau, Howies, Prana and REI, is seeking to reinforce their commitment to the great outdoors through the stores they create. For Howies’ first freestanding store, which is located on London’s Carnaby Street, the Timberland-owned brand installed a switch on its storefront that allows nighttime passersby to illuminate it for 30 seconds. The device not only cuts down on overnight electricity use, but also provides a quirky draw. Five other locations are planned for 2009.

In Boulder, Col., the roof of REI’s store is fitted with 120 Solatubes—reflective tubes that capture daylight and channel it throughout the store, including fitting rooms. Solatubes reduce electricity consumption by 20 percent, the equivalent of powering three houses per year, according to a REI spokeswoman. A second eco-conscious REI store was opened in Round Rock, Tex., and a third is planned for a yet-to-be-named location next year.

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