Eco Fashion Inspiration, Fashion & Beauty

Eco Fashion Inspiration
A coming-soon book by FIT professor Sass Brown will show that green can be gorgeous — and how! 

Sometimes, a book looks so darn cool that you just can't wait for the publication date to write about it. That's how I feel about ECO FASHION by Sass Brown, which will be published in September by Laurence King Publishing (but you can pre-order your copy on Amazon, now!). Sass is a professor at New York City's Fashion Institute of Technology (but gets to live in Florence where she directs their overseas program, lucky!) and has also created
collections for manufacturers ranging from from urban clothing for London’s trend conscious teenagers, to her own signature collection of women’s designer sportswear. And she specializes in ethical design practices in the fashion industry and has worked with many women’s cooperatives around the world.

I asked Sass to give us a sneak peek at some of her favorite sustainable designers, as featured in the book:

Geoffrey B Small

Photo by Pierre Gayte

Why It's Green AND Gorgeous: Geoffrey B. Small is a pioneer in avant-garde design and hand made clothing in both women’s and men’s wear, and has shown more collections during Paris fashion week than any other American designer. Accredited with pioneering the use of recycled design in fashion, along with Martin Margiela and Xuly Bet, at the time considered radical, Small introduced the first recycled menswear collection in Paris in 1996. His continuously controversial collections address timely social and political messages such as global feudalism and women in power in the twenty first century. He began pushing the concept of "hyper-quality," a bespoke hand-tailored concept using the world’s best Italian luxury fabrics a vast array of hand detailing. Combined with a social, political and environmental message, the designer is now creating one of the most sustainable, personal, and environmentally sound luxury wardrobe concepts in the world.

Alabama Chanin
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Photo by Robert Rausch

Why It's Green AND Gorgeous: Using mostly 100 percent cotton, recycled T-shirts as a base, Alabama Chanin produces beautiful, work intensive pieces with little in common with the humble origins of a second hand T-shirt. Having developed techniques of combining self on self stenciling, fabric layering, naïve basting stitch, chain stitch and whipstitch techniques with knotted ends, and cutting out patterns to reveal other colored layers of fabric beneath, Alabama Chanin achieves elaborate, decorative and highly innovative designs. The simple, well-fitted styling, balances the complexity of the techniques and textures, producing some breathtaking effects. Making deceptively simple T shirts from combinations of patchwork, reverse appliqué’ and stencil printing, to elaborate beaded and embroidered, multi layered party dresses and wedding dresses. Alabama Chanin is the perfect embodiment of slow design, by using age-old techniques to create products that celebrate strong design principles for modern living.

Josh Jakus
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Photo courtesy of Josh Jakus

Why It's Green AND Gorgeous: Josh Jakus is a Berkeley, California based designer, was founded as a means of exploring a lifelong interest in the nature of structure, space, and materials through design practice, is driven by intellectual curiosity. Josh produces a highly innovative collection of purses and handbags, named the UM bags, and made from two layers of factory excess, industrial wool felt. The architectural and sculptural shapes of Josh’s collection, have a minimal simplicity that belay the complexity of design, and is echoed by the industrial gray color of the recycled material. Each of Josh’s purses and bags unzip with brightly contrasting zippers, and lay completely flat for dry cleaning, storage or travel. The items in the collection are developed from two creative challenges; to make use of the density, texture, pliability, and strength of pressed wool felt, and to transform a flat surface into one of volume using only the simplest of operations.

Linda Loudermilk
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Photo courtesy of Linda Loudermilk

Why It's Green AND Gorgeous: The name, “Linda Loudermilk Luxury eco”, is a statement to the designer roots of the collection, and the ground-breaking work done in establishing luxury eco in a world that only recognized hemp drawstring pants as ecological clothing. As one of the premier eco lines, Linda Loudermilk has been working with sustainable fabrications in high-end design, a lot longer than the current trend of ecological fashion, and at a much higher level of design that the bulk of her competitors then or now. Her label seeks to redefine sustainability and design by giving back to the earth. Fabrics are made of sasawashi, bamboo, sea cell, soya and other exotic self-sustaining plants. Loudermilk’s line is all about refinement - polished, put-together looks that happen to be made from sustainable fabrics.