Amsterdam International Fashion Week (AIFW) and the Dutch ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV) launched the Green Fashion Competition this past week for the International Year of Biodiversity. The competition, which consisted of eight designers hailing from all over the world and picked from over 180 participants included sustainable sweetheart and New York City mover and shaker Eliza Starbuck. Starbuck, who you might know from the famed Uniform Project and You Bright Young Things, was there to promote biodiversity with her own NYC spin.
While the Green Fashion Competition is a challenge for seasoned entrepreneurs in the fashion industry like Starbuck, each participant was asked to provide a vision of what the future of fashion could look like while sustaining biodiversity.
EcoSalon was fortunate enough to catch Starbuck and have her answer some questions before the competition finale yesterday and a quick follow up after. Starbuck, although disappointed with her third place win, says she feels very good about the overall experience.
“The competition was fiercely steep but I think we’d all agree that the first prize winner deserved to win. The second prize however might be questioned. Granted they were a shoe company, but I thought sending the models down the runway naked was taking eco fashion a bit far!”
So as a designer, how does she intend to promote biodiversity?
Starbuck says via email from Amsterdam: “I promote bio-diversity by promoting diversity in style and slow fashion practices. That may seem like a stretch, but just imagine a world where everyone’s style is individualized! All things made local, upcycled, recycled, custom, and one offs would be ideal for supporting biodiversity because it would support slow fashion. So to support that vision I produce multifunctional clothes that encourage my customers to play with their personal style and to buy less. I also produce locally, in New York City, and I use materials made of renewable materials, recycled accessories, or materials salvaged from the local fashion industry run off. I also managed to use all of the scraps in the garment’s under structures, making these zero wastage looks.”
While her now well worn black frock has become a wardrobe staple with Bright Young Things everywhere, Starbuck says for this competition she’s presenting some new looks that represent BYT’s “heirloom” fashion.
“This capsule is a bit dressier for the “Lady of the 21st Century”. The trick will be that the two runway looks I’m presenting are actually the same three items in different colors, but all of the items will be styled so drastically different that to the average viewer it will appear as six items. Of course I’ll be wearing my infamous LBD as my travel item of choice,” says Starbuck.
While the immediate prediction for Starbuck’s fashion will most certainly always include her LBD, she says the future is all about diversity.
“I think the mass produced look of the second half of the 20th Century is going to fade away like a boring memory. People are going to start coveting items that customize and differentiate their own style from others, which means a lot more people will be DIYing and searching out one of a kind items. Sure it sounds like an idealized dream now but with today’s resource limitations, social media info sharing, and the economic downturn, it could quickly become a reality,” says Starbuck.
Eliza Starbuck dress images courtesy of Team Peter Stiger
Top Image, Eliza Starbuck walking the Amsterdam Green Fashion runway, from Closet Pique