New York Fashion Week with Gretchen Jones

I never thought I would love a classroom, as I usually lean towards learning outside its four walls. Yet a gaggle of fashionably clad students were in attendance recently at Tara St James’ Study NY A/W 11′ show at New York Fashion Week and their schoolmarm need for attention was met by the excited crowd. Here was a presentation that felt different from the other shows I attended. Warm and cozy, I found myself waiting for the next lesson, next look.

James’ music choice sounded like effervescent bubbles popping and set the tone for a collection that was effortlessly organic: Nubby, rich sweaters of every kind made me rethink my desire for warmer days. I wanted to cozy up in the sweater skirt and textured crew right this second.

Blanket Coats that reminded me of Pendleton frocks I coveted throughout my childhood rekindled the beauty of history and heritage and that ever-rising trend towards quality vs. quantity we are seeing.

The jumpsuit made me think of the ski slopes I raced down as a little girl (but were far more stylish, of course).

The collection is extremely wearable, too – easy to approach and even easier to integrate into your wardrobe, but each with a signature Study NY vibe.

The show stopper? A skirt made from 4,000 silk cocoons by CPALI, “a nonprofit that introduces farmers who have been economically displaced from the Makira Protected Area to new ways of earning income that invests them habitat protection while develop their own sustainable enterprises.”

Stunning and inspiring. The fashion forward potential of sustainable fabrics just keeps evolving.

The show ended my NYFW experience, reminding me of just how unique our industry is. You can be anything you want to be in the world of fashion, and you can push yourself in any direction, so long as you commit.