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Aug 312010

Organic cotton is used in this evening gown by Edun.

From Green Right Now Reports

The Museum at FIT in New York is presenting Eco-Fashion: Going Green, an exhibition exploring fashion’s relationship with the environment. Generally, “eco-fashion” refers to the work of designers who use, produce, and/or promote sustainable, ethical, and environmentally-conscious products.

The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology continues Eco-Fashion: Going Green, an exhibition exploring fashion’s relationship with the environment, through Nov. 13. Organized by Jennifer Farley and Colleen Hill, along with Tiffany Webber, the exhibition is on view in the Fashion and Textile History Gallery at The Museum at FIT.
Hours: Tuesday-Friday–noon-8 pm; Saturday–10 am-5 pm Closed Sunday, Monday, and legal holidays. Admission is free.

Featuring more than 100 garments, accessories, and textiles from the mid-18th century to the present, the exhibit looks at both positive and negative environmental practices over the past two centuries, providing historical context for today’s eco-fashion movement. The show emphasizes how each stage of fashion production—from fiber to finished garment—has environmental consequences. As a counterpoint, the extensive range of contemporary examples in the exhibition will showcase the increasing commitment of both designers and consumers to meet these environmental challenges, in a conscious effort to minimize harmful impacts.

The Xuly-Bët dress incorporates worn sweaters and pantyhose.

Eco-Fashion: Going Green includes examples of sustainable fashion by current, cutting-edge labels, including Ciel, Bodkin, Edun, FIN, and NOIR. Many of these eco-designers and fashion industry experts have reacted against the industry’s “fast fashion” cycle, instead citing quality craftsmanship, convertibility, and uniqueness as key to the creation of clothing with lasting value and emotional connectivity.

The importance of meticulously crafted, made-to-order garments of the 1950s, a decade sometimes referred to as the “Golden Age of Couture,” is seen in a cocktail dress by famed Spanish designer Cristobal Balenciaga. Also on view is contemporary clothing by Los Angeles-based designer Linda Loudermilk, whose luxury eco, couture-quality garments are made primarily in the United States from sustainable materials.

Even before the rise of animal rights activist groups, the use of fur, feathers, and animal skins in fashion was a subject of debate. Long used for warmth and protection, fur was increasingly viewed as a luxurious status symbol in the 19th century.

Cruelty-free label Charmoné uses tan and red microfiber faux leather in this Cezanne pump.

A dressing gown from circa 1880 is trimmed with fur, an extravagant embellishment for an at-home garment. A “casual” raccoon fur coat, fashionable among young collegians in the 1920s, will be displayed next to an extravagant velvet opera cape bearing a lavish fur collar.

A 1960s paper dress embellished with an ostrich plume collar demonstrates how these once-luxurious feathers became part of an increasingly “throwaway culture.” As even the use of leather is debated today, the inclusion of contemporary shoes by cruelty-free label Charmoné will prove to rival those made from animal materials.