Chicago Eco-Fashion Focus Cafe: Hosted by City of Chicago and Conscious Living TV

It was an exciting night of fashion and environmental responsibility recently at the historic Chicago Cultural Center. Hosted by Melissa Gamble, Director of Fashion, Arts and Events at the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, and Michael and Bianca Alexander of Conscious Living TV, the Fashion Café brought home an important message: you can take responsibility for the environment and still dress fabulously!

Abigail-Glaum-Lathbury-1-737606.jpg

 The event offered eco-fashionistas both a tactile and an intellectual experience: first, guests were treated to wine cocktails while shopping from    sustainable vendors and boutiques like Pivot, McLemore’s Closet and Frei Designs. Then, attendees sat down for the main attraction: an  exclusive interview with two of the hottest stars in eco-fashion–Lara Miller and Abigail Glaum-Lathbury, both based in Chicago.

 First, we heard from Lara Miller, one of Chicago’s most lauded sustainable designers. Her clothes have been worn by celebrities like Angelina Jolie,  and were recently featured at the People’s Choice Awards. With a down-to-earth, accessible candor, Lara discussed her philosophy of placing a  premium on style, comfort, and being fashion forward. Although she offered a basic education on new options in environmentally-friendly fabrics,    including tencel, linen, hemp, and rayon, she prefers to use materials like bamboo, organic cotton, and peace silk, which does not harm silk worms in  the manufacturing process. 
Lara is a huge proponent of fair trade, which means paying fair, livable wages to all workers involved in the design and textile process from beginning to end. Perhaps the most unique aspect of her design aesthetic is the fact that all of her styles are reversible and can be worn flipped upside down, which allows the wearer to style each garment in a variety of ways and make it their own. As a whole, Lara sees Chicago as a great city for designers, and is happy that eco-fashion is not only making Chicago more sustainable, but also making it a generally cooler city in the process. To check out Lara’s designs, visit http://www.laramiller.net/

Then, we heard from Abigail Glaum-Lathbury, voted best designer this year by the Chicago Reader. Inspired by a more organic, body-conscious approach to design, Abigail initially began her design career by working with remnant fabrics, then worked her way into using more environmentally friendly, natural fabrics. Almost all of Abigail’s work is inspired from shapes and organisms found in nature, which she incorporates thematically into all of her garments to create a futuristic, organic feel for the wearer. Abigail also uses lots of screen printing in her work to set each piece apart, and believes that true fashion should transcend season and age. During the interview, she also stressed the importance of supporting fair trade design which allows workers to be paid a living wage, an idea that has not been stressed enough in the eco-fashion industry. Feel free to learn more about Abigail’s designs at http://www.abigail-glaum-lathbury.com/.

During the conversation, both Lara and Abigail emphasized the importance of using recycled fabrics as a solution to our global climate crisis. By using mill-end or remnant fabric, the leftover fabric from another designer, we can more effectively keep fabrics out of landfills. It was also noted that even plastic can be recycled and made into fabric. Both designers see recycled fabrics as the future of eco-friendly fashion.

After the presentation, attendees were encouraged to once again shop to their hearts delight with eco-vendors like Organik Revolution and Elise Bergman. Here’s a recap of highlights from some of the incredible eco-friendly fashions and designers featured at the event:

Bryant McLemore Smith, a Chicago-area vintage stylist, showcased his collection of retro clothing and accessories for men and women. Bryant’s items date back to the decades of the forties through the seventies and come from a variety of sources including estate sales and vintage boutiques from around the country. His designs have also been featured in award-winning films. To learn more about Bryant’s vintage collection and his styling services, feel free to contact him at Bryant.mclemoresmith@gmail.com.

Mountains of the Moon is a line of organic fashion for women, whose styles range from casual, everyday wear to chic, comfortable dresses. A highlight of the collection is the coco dress, made of organic cotton, hemp, and tencel that comes in a range of vivid colors. To check out the coco dress as well as the rest of the collection, go tohttp://www.mountainsofthemoon.com/, which now features a 30% discount with the coupon code WA30.

Pivot Boutique is the #1 eco-boutique in Chicago! Eco-fashion pioneer Jessa Brinkmeyer selects the hottest clothing, jewelry, purses and body products by a variety of sustainable designers, including the purple, hemp, futuristic Nature vs. Future shift dress Bianca wore during the discussion. Check out their website, http://www.pivotboutique.com/, or check them out on twitter, pivetcofashion, to stay up to the latest on eco-fashion in Chicago.

Julia Failey hopes to inspire ecological appreciation and awareness by handcrafting beautiful, high quality jewelry made from reclaimed, deoxidized sterling silver to reduce the need for destructive mining. Deoxidized sterling is 92.5% silver alloyed with tin rather than copper, making it tarnish resistant and easily recycled. A highlight from her collection are the dragonfly earrings, and the little rose vine ring, which was recently ordered by actress Kate Bosworth. You can find these pieces along with the rest of Julia’s collection at http://www.juliafailey.com/ 

Frei Designs by Annie Novotny featured a dramatic array of dresses, tops and skirts made from voluminous feminine fabrics with sleek men’s tailoring. Annie prides herself on avoiding mass-manufacturing in the production of her line, which is fair trade, 80% organic, pesticide-free and made from renewable resources using no/low-impact dyes. Frei Designs has been featured in many publications and can currently be found in the following Chicago area boutiques: Robin Richman, Pivot, Florodora, and Asinimali in Evanston. Annie is also planning to open a new store in August at 818 West 18th St. in Pilsen. For a look at Frei Designs' Fall '09 Collection and to locate one of the many boutiques across the country where Frei Desgins are sold, check out http://www.freidesigns.com/.

Organik Revolution has set out to prove that it is possible to produce a clothing line without the detrimental effects to the Earth’s soil, water, inhabitants and climate without compromising style or comfort. Designed by co-owner Kristin Hassan, Organik Revolution’s offers a modern, affordable approach to being green with ethically made pieces like the Cassidy dress, now $24.99, a versatile three-quarter sleeve soy jersey dress with a zipper in the front that comes in a variety of colors such as black, blue, red, yellow, and maroon. Bonus: Organik Revolution is now offering a 15% discount on everything on their website,www.organikrevolution.com/shop, with online code FC609, and offers a free t-shirt with every purchase.

Elise Bergman also believes in multi-functional outfits made from sustainable materials like luxurious silks, organic cottons, hand-dyed and hand-woven materials, and rare vintage fabrics. Her signature multi-wrap can be styled a whopping twelve different ways including a strapless dress with either a straight or a sweetheart neckline, a one shoulder dress, and a high-waisted skirt. The multi-wrap also comes in a variety of different colors and prints, including bronze, metallic purple, turquoise (which Elise modeled so beautifully for us at the Fashion Cafe), and yellow. Check out Elise’s entire collection and bridal couture athttp://www.elisebergman.com/

Thanks so much to everyone who attended the event. A special thanks to Melissa Gamble, Pivot Boutique, Kailia Footwear, and Fanta Celah Creations jewelry for donating their designs, and to the Conscious Living TV crew, including Production Coordinator Morgan Greenwald, for helping us to report live from the event!

For more information on Chicago Fashion Focus, visit http://www.chicagofashionresource.com./ To watch highlights from this Fashion Cafe, visit the Conscious Living TV style page athttp://www.consciouslivingtv.com/style.htm.

Related posts:

FREE Apple Movie Magic Summer Workshop for Kids
(Video) DIY cut out skull t-shirt for Halloween via @GiannyL
(Video) UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Orlando Bloom spends a day with South African Children

48 Comments

  • This website is amazing. I will tell about it to my friends and anybody that could be interested in this subject. Great work guys!

  • This website is amazing. I will tell about it to my friends and anybody that could be interested in this subject. Great work guys!

  • This website is amazing. I will tell about it to my friends and anybody that could be interested in this subject. Great work guys!

  • This website is amazing. I will tell about it to my friends and anybody that could be interested in this subject. Great work guys!

  • This website is amazing. I will tell about it to my friends and anybody that could be interested in this subject. Great work guys!

  • This website is amazing. I will tell about it to my friends and anybody that could be interested in this subject. Great work guys!

  • This website is amazing. I will tell about it to my friends and anybody that could be interested in this subject. Great work guys!

  • Wow! This site is great :) I will recommend it to my brother and anyone that could be interested in this object. Great work girls!

  • This website is amazing. I will tell about it to my friends and anybody that could be interested in this subject. Great work guys!

  • Hey! Your information is amazing. I will tell about it to my family and anyone that could be interested in this topic. Great work girls!

  • This website is amazing. I will tell about it to my friends and anybody that could be interested in this subject. Great work guys!

  • This is nice! This website is amazing ;) I will suggest it to my family and any person that could be enticed by this topic. Great work guys :)

  • Simply desire to say your article is as astonishing. The clearness in your post is just great and i could assume you are an expert on this
    subject. Fine with your permission allow me to grab your
    feed to keep updated with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please carry on the gratifying work.

  • This is a very good tip especially to those new to the blogosphere.

    Brief but very precise information… Thank you for sharing
    this one. A must read post!

  • It’s an amazing post for all the internet users; they will take advantage from it
    I am sure.

  • At this time it appears like BlogEngine is the preferred blogging platform out there right
    now. (from what I’ve read) Is that what you’re using on your blog?

  • Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew of any widgets I could add to my blog that automatically tweet my newest twitter updates.
    I’ve been looking for a plug-in like this for quite some time and was hoping
    maybe you would have some experience with something like this.
    Please let me know if you run into anything.
    I truly enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to your new updates.

  • Everyone loves it whenever people come together and share opinions.
    Great website, continue the good work!

  • Wonderful blog! Do you have any recommendations for aspiring writers?
    I’m planning to start my own site soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
    Would you propose starting with a free platform like
    Wordpress or go for a paid option? There are so many choices out
    there that I’m completely confused .. Any ideas? Bless you!

  • Hello to all, the contents existing at this website are in fact remarkable for
    people experience, well, keep up the nice work fellows.

  • I’m extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your weblog.
    Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself?
    Either way keep up the excellent quality writing, it is rare to see a great blog like this one today.

  • Good day! I simply would like to give you a huge thumbs up for the excellent information you’ve got here on this post.
    I am returning to your blog for more soon.

  • An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto a coworker who had been conducting a little research on this.

    And he actually bought me breakfast simply because I discovered
    it for him… lol. So let me reword this….
    Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending time to talk about this issue here on your website.

  • Appreciating the persistence you put into your site and detailed
    information you present. It’s nice to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same old rehashed information. Excellent read!
    I’ve saved your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google
    account.

  • I got this site from my buddy who told me about this website and
    now this time I am visiting this site and reading very informative posts
    here.

  • Wow, this article is pleasant, my younger sister is analyzing such things, therefore I am
    going to tell her.

  • Hello, this weekend is pleasant in favor of me, because this time i am reading
    this fantastic educational article here at my residence.

  • Very shortly this web page will be famous amid all blog
    viewers, due to it’s pleasant articles or reviews

  • Wonderful beat ! I wish to apprentice at the same time as you amend your website,
    how could i subscribe for a blog site? The account helped me a appropriate
    deal. I have been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast provided vivid
    transparent concept

  • Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew of any widgets
    I could add to my blog that automatically tweet my newest twitter updates.
    I’ve been looking for a plug-in like this for quite some time and was hoping maybe you would have some
    experience with something like this. Please let me know if you run into anything.
    I truly enjoy reading your blog and I look forward
    to your new updates.

  • Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog
    and wanted to say that I have truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts.
    After all I will be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you
    write again very soon!

  • Hi, I do think this is an excellent blog. I stumbledupon it ;
    ) I am going to return once again since i have book marked it.
    Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide others.

  • I am sure this paragraph has touched all the internet users, its really really fastidious post on building up new webpage.

  • It’s genuinely very difficult in this busy life to listen news on Television, thus I simply use internet for
    that purpose, and get the hottest news.

  • Very energetic article, I enjoyed that bit. Will there be a part 2?

  • Today, I went to the beach front with my children. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4
    year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her
    ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.
    She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is completely off topic but I had
    to tell someone!

  • Greetings I am so glad I found your blog page, I really found you by mistake, while I was looking on Digg for something else, Anyhow
    I am here now and would just like to say thanks a lot for a remarkable post and a
    all round interesting blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to read through it all at the moment
    but I have bookmarked it and also included your RSS feeds, so
    when I have time I will be back to read a great deal more, Please do keep up
    the excellent work.

  • If you would like to increase your familiarity simply keep visiting this site and be updated with the most up-to-date
    news update posted here. Gamefly 3 month free trial

  • Hello! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a group of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the same niche.
    Your blog provided us beneficial information to work on. You have done a
    marvellous job!

  • Its like you learn my thoughts! You seem to grasp so much approximately this, like you wrote the ebook in it or something.
    I think that you simply could do with a few % to drive the message house a bit,
    but other than that, that is fantastic blog. A great read.
    I will definitely be back.

  • We are a group of volunteers and starting a brand new scheme
    in our community. Your site provided us with useful information to work on. You have
    done an impressive job and our whole group will be thankful to you.

  • Hello there, just became alert to your blog through Google,
    and found that it’s really informative. I am gonna watch out for brussels.

    I’ll be grateful if you continue this in future.
    Many people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  • I believe everything posted made a lot of sense.

    But, think about this, what if you were to write a
    killer headline? I mean, I don’t want to tell you how to run your website, but suppose you added a post title to possibly get folk’s attention? I mean Chicago Eco-Fashion Focus
    Cafe: Hosted by City of Chicago and Conscious Living TV – TheGreenGirls.com — TheGreenGirls.com is a little plain. You ought to glance at Yahoo’s home page
    and note how they create news headlines to get people to click.
    You might try adding a video or a related picture or two to get readers interested
    about everything’ve written. In my opinion, it
    could bring your website a little livelier.

  • This website was… how do I say it? Relevant!!
    Finally I have found something that helped me.
    Many thanks!

  • Thank you a bunch for sharing this with all folks you actually know what you’re
    talking about! Bookmarked. Kindly also discuss with my web
    site =). We can have a hyperlink trade agreement between us

  • Hey there! I simply wish to give you a big thumbs up for the great information you have right here on this post.

    I’ll be returning to your website for more soon.

  • In fact no matter if someone doesn’t understand after that its up to other
    users that they will assist, so here it occurs.

  • Hello colleagues, its impressive post on the topic of teachingand fully
    defined, keep it up all the time.