by Marion Ada Holland
A friend of mine, looking at some of the clothes on display at fashion week and in recent fashion magazines, was disturbed by the tendency to make women look like little girls or dolls. Initially, upon hearing this I protested. I personally like the childlike playfulness that comes from dressing women like animals; Bjork’s swam dress was an amazingly gutsy move which made me love her even more, not a fashion don’t. I had a ton of fun at the New York Couture show at Webster Hall, it was like some 1980’s New York club dream. I am even OK with the bunny ears recently sported by the likes of Madonna and an Olson twin. But on thinking about it bunny ears in the office or an afternoon meeting? Probably not.
So, as much as I love my gold lame, I could see where my friend was coming from with a desire for beautiful,
un-gimmicky clothing. To this end, I was very happy and excited to have the opportunity to see the Ekovaruhuset show as part of Green Fashion Week. It managed to balance a serious interest in ethical clothing production with a serious interest in beauty.
The brief but beautiful show of fair trade and fairly made clothing was at the aptly named King of Greene St. (Greene St. for Green Fashion Week….get it?). Various eco-bloggers, fashion editors, and designers gathered around the raw plywood catwalk sipping on bottled water which supports sustainable water projects in Africa. When the show began, the audience was shown how sustainable can be beautiful and elegant.
The clothes were mostly fluid and wearable dresses. Wearable can be a subject of debate in a world of super skinny fashion models, so let me tell you that though the models were certainly tall and lanky, they looked like they ate. One sported a set of ripped abs to enhance a nice cropped shirt ensemble. The music was also fairly (and well!) made, with a live band headed by TV on the Radio’s Jaleel Bunton on guitar; which together with a drum kit beat out the rhythms of the models strutting.
Lots of things about the green movement are synonymous with old fashioned, and old fashioned was in appearance here in a good way. In the new House of Organic collection, hemp, linen and wool see heavy use and these fabrics are coaxed into modern pleating and intricate seersucker details. Much of the saturated brilliance of resort wear comes from bleaches and harsh dyes. This clothing line uses more natural methods of coloring the clothes as well. As a result, the colors tend on more of a grey pallet (a good thing) and are saturated and jewel-like.
The line House of Organic (or Ekovaruhuset in Swedish) is headed by Johanna Hofring, a Swedish designer, and former Lower East Side rocker, who started the House of Organic in Sweden in 2004. The lines other designers (including the innovative threeASFOUR group) come from a diverse range of places including Taiwan, Peru, Japan, Israel,Palestine,Russia, and Manhattan. Green fashion; as illustrated by Ekovaruhuset’s international swath of stores in Paris, Sweden and New
York, is a global concern.
Photos via Ecouterre and Treehugger