We all know by now that Brooklyn is the center of the universe, and this past weekend, it was the headquarters for ethical fashion.
I arrived at Industry City, a massive warehouse in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, not knowing quite what to expect. I hadn’t heard of any of the designers on the roster, and I was eager to see their offerings.
The first thing I noticed was that this wasn’t like any fashion show I’d attended before – it was the most beautifully diverse scene I’ve ever encountered in the fashion world. Instead of a sea of white people and Anna Wintour clones, multiple races and ethnicities were on the scene and running the show. I liked the vibe immediately. There was a rawness and authenticity you rarely see, even though the event was well-produced and sponsored by the likes of Uber.
After a few cute, quick runway offerings from a dog(!) designer and a children’s clothing line, wearable, sustainable, ethical fashion began to float down the runway. I noted and approved of the fact that it wasn’t just the crowd that was amazingly diverse – the runway was too. The best known designers still can’t get it together around the issue of race – every year they have their token black, brown or Asian face, so they can say they did that. Not here, at Fashion Week Brooklyn – the gorgeous models streaming down the runway came in every possible beautiful hue as they showed us the spring and summer 2015 lines. (Hello, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week – are you paying attention?)
I am not going to lie to you and pretend I have any journalistic integrity when it comes to fashion – I write about the looks that I feel like I’d want to wear, full stop. The first designer I fell for was Born Again Fashion by Bridgett Artise. She offered gorgeous sustainable looks with a Caribbean flair – all using upcycled vintage materials. My fave was a brightly colored afghan blanket turned into a set of fringed short shorts and a sexy crop top. Taking the best of vintage and turning it into wearable, ethical fashion isn’t a simple task, but Bridgett makes it look easy.
Designer – Born Again Fashion by Bridgett Artise
Next on my most adored list was L-L-B by Lisbeth Lovbak from Norway, offering more upcycled designs with a twist — most of these looks can be worn in multiple ways — like a wearable version of a Swedish Army Knife. This summer collection played on the idea construction/deconstruction, offering a lot of pretty denim vests in different configurations. This was ethical fashion at its cutest.
Finally, I loved the quirky, zero-waste designs from Iliana Quander from her Amparo 3 collection. The Bob Marley dress (top) looked light, airy, whimsical and delicious.
Designer- High School of Fashion Industries
Stefanie Iris Weiss is the author of “Eco-Sex: Go Green Between the Sheets and Make Your Love Life Sustainable” (Ten Speed Press/Crown Publishing, 2010) and eight other books. Stefanie keeps her carbon footprint small in New York City, where she writes about sustainability, sexuality, reproductive rights, dating and relationships, politics, fashion, beauty, and more for many publications. Follow Stefanie @ecosexuality.
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All Images via (c) Shawn Punch 2014.
Top image: Designer – Iliana Quander from her Amparo 3 collection