C.L.A.S.S. Comes to New York

After a successful launch in Milan and London, some of the best and brilliant minds in eco-fashion gathered on December 11 at the Allsteel loft on Park Avenue South for the New York launch of the Eco-Materials and Textile Showroom, C.L.A.S.S. Let’s just say that fashion will never be the same.


C.L.A.S.S., co-founded by Giusy Bettoni and Sandy MacLennan, is a carefully sourced international textile and eco-materials showroom, created to help facilitate connections between raw material producers, designers and retailers, and to encourage the fashion industry to make environmentally friendly changes no matter how small. It’s time to say goodbye to the old notions of eco-style and say hello to super trendy patterned jerseys and knitwear along with delicious candy colored fabrics.


The launch was kicked-off with a cocktail reception where guests mingled and enjoyed a farm-to-table tasting provided by Chef Ben Towill from Silkstone Bespoke Events in addition to artisanal wines from Barterhouse.  


The focus was then turned to a round-table panel discussion appropriately entitled, The Tipping Point. The hot topics centered around the state of eco-fashion: present and future.The panel, co-hosted and moderated by Barbara Kramer (Co-Founder of Designers & Agents) included Bahar Shahpar, eco-fashion designer and Founder of The Four Hundred; Summer Rayne Oakes, model and environmentalist; Dr. Emanuele Bertoli, Founder of BerBrand; Elinor Averyt, Founder of L.E.A.F. (Labeling Ecologically Approved Fabrics); Sergio Sessini, President of CADICA USA, Inc., and Gokhan Baykam, President and CEO of Relight.


The night had a few essential take-aways. The first is that the eco-movement is not a trend: ”Making conscious life choices is not a fad” says Barbara Kramer. In addition, Summer Rayne Oakes stressed that Green is not the new black – green is to become invisible and infiltrate every aspect of our lives. How will this happen?  Education, determination, communication and policy-making. Not to mention consumer trust, consumer demand and pricing. When it comes to fashion and apparel, the trust component is currently addresses by the amazing work at L.E.A.F.  They are working on a labeling system which seeks to eliminate consumer confusion concerning green marketing claims in the apparel industry by presenting one, unifying eco-label to the consumer marketplace.

All of this is truly reinforced by the fact that there are fun and stylish options cropping up more frequently – just check out the fashion treats coming from eco-entrepreneur and designer, Bahar Shahpar. Also, Relight, a leading Italian player in renewable energy is paving its way into trendy polo shirts with a vision of windmill logos as replacements for the current polo-player or alligator ones. Not bad at all!

The second take-away is that fashion is going green down to its labels, buttons and packaging. The pioneering creativity coming from companies like Cadica, a producer of sustainable and highly inventive labels and packaging as well as Berbrand, a manufacturer of sustainable mother-of-pearl buttons, is truly remarkable. These are not your mother’s pearls we’re talking about here – think more along the lines of an innovative use of the mother-of-pearl, such as the shell of a motor bike and laptops to name a couple.

To conclude, the evening was a terrific success and I think we’re all excited for what 2009 has in store for sustainable fashion. I guess we’ll all have to wait and see what comes out of the D&A Green Market – Sustainable Trade Show. A sneak peak reveals some of the hot events we can expect:  the release of Summer’s new book, Style, Naturally: The Savvy Shopping Guide to Sustainable Fashion and Beauty as well as her collaboration with Payless ShoeSource on the new sustainable shoe line, “Zoe & Zac.”

So just as Vanity Fair’s Craydon Carter has already coined the buzz words for 2009 as sophisticated, innovative and enlightenment – it leaves us to wonder, was he talking about eco-style?

Learn more about Vanessa.

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