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The sustainability movement gets highbrow at Fashion Week and down-to-earth in new hiking boots.
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With Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week kicking off this week in New York, retailers, designers and editors are looking for the trends that will define the spring ’10 season — and a new independent show wants to make sure that green fashion gets its due. On Sept. 15, The Green Shows will debut in New York. The two-day, invitation-only event includes seven runway presentations by sustainable fashion brands, including Bahar Shapar, Lara Miller and Study by Tara St. James (which is launching at the show), and labels from the House of Organic collective. Organized by EdMedia Inc., the agency best known for pop-up retail for Fila and Seven for All Mankind, the Green Shows wants to fill what organizer Eric Dorfman calls “a hole in the market.”
“Women buy fashion first, eco second. That’s the key to the success,” Dorfman said. “But we also need to make a statement that there are women out there who will buy only eco fashion.” Dorfman said that with a growing number of fashion brands in the space, the time to launch a show dedicated to sustainable fashion was now — and was inevitable. “If I didn’t do it, someone would have picked it up for February.”
The exhibitors at the show were selected based on their use of recycled materials, organic materials, ethical production of both raw materials and manufacturing and carbon footprint consciousness. (Dorfman said the criteria would be reviewed after the show.) All eight brands are providing the clothes, models and music, but the show does not charge an exhibition fee. “In a controlled circulation show, when sponsorship wants to be involved [in funding the experience], designers shouldn’t have to pay,” Dorfman said. “They should be putting their resources into the shows, into designing beautiful projects — and then into designing a perfume so they can really make some money,” he joked.
The inaugural event will be held at downtown women’s luxe retailer King of Greene Street. (The store has partnered with EdMedia to grow and promote the show, and holds a 50 percent stake.) And while the first edition does not include any green footwear designers on the runway, the show teamed up with Simple Shoes (a division of Goleta, Calif.-based Deckers Outdoor Corp.) to outfit all event staffers in its eco-minded kicks. Dorfman said adding footwear designers for the February edition is a possibility. The show is looking to expand to three days with 13 exhibitors, with a major presentation each night.
The Green Shows, Dorfman hopes, will send a message during Fashion Week: “Fashion can be fair trade.”