Succeed in Eco-Fashion (And Get Sold in Barneys): 6 Tips From Pratt Panel

by , 01/29/10   filed under: Events, Features, Green Designers

Sustainable Fashion Panel at Pratt Manhattan Gallery, pratt institute, pratt, sustainable fashion, eco fashion, green fashion, julie gilhart, barneys, caroline piebe, uluru, mary ping, slow and steady wins the race, sustainable fashion panel

Another day, another ho-hum panel on sustainable fashion? Not when you’re presented with the likes of Julie Gilhart, Barneys New York’s fashionista-in-chief, Caroline Priebe, the designer behind Uluru, and Mary Ping, founder of Slow and Steady Wins the Race. Held at the Pratt Manhattan Gallery in New York City on Tuesday—and moderated by curators Francesca Granata and Sarah Scaturro—”The Sustainability Equation: Ethics and Aesthetics in Contemporary Fashion” was far from academic. We even caught Gilhart on camera dishing advice to designers looking to launch their own sustainable collections, as well as how they can land on the radar of high-profile stores like Barneys.


Photo by Uluru


Demand for sustainable evening gowns is outstripping supply, and Gilhart reported that Barneys received a ton of requests for eco-friendly formalwear this past year that it wasn’t able to fulfill. “We failed,” she admitted, since it can’t sell product it doesn’t have. What this means for designers, however, is that a gaping hole in the market is ready and waiting for you to start a sustainable evening gown business—and fill it.


Photo by Uluru


Cooperation, not competition, will work out to everyone’s benefit, noted Priebe of her fellow sustainable designers. “We are the underdogs,” she said. “There is a team mentality. I want everyone to win because when they win, I win.” Priebe added that she shares all her fabric sources and techniques with her industry colleagues, a trend that seems unique in the eco-fashion business and one we hope has staying power.


Photo by Uluru


People want things no one else has, Gilhart said, even if it means moving away from marquee names like Lanvin and Chanel to some small guy no one’s ever heard of. Coming from someone who has direct insight into the wants of some of the world’s most influential consumers, her observation means that the old model of fast-fashion purveyors stealing looks straight from the runway and pages of Vogue is no longer attractive. “By the time it comes in the store, I’m so sick of it, I don’t want to look at it,” joked Gilhart.

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2 Responses to “Succeed in Eco-Fashion (And Get Sold in Barneys): 6 Tips From Pratt Panel”

  1. […] You have until February 20th to check out this exhibit, so if you are in New York take a few minutes and walk through. If NYC isn’t anywhere on your radar, you can buy a catalog (only $10) of the exhibit (click here for info) which comes with a free Smockshop pattern. Designers, don’t miss this great recap of the panel, including video, over at Ecouterre: Succeed in Eco-Fashion (And Get Sold in Barneys): 6 Tips From Pratt Panel. […]

  2. […] and Ecouterre. Invited panelists include Greta Eagan (FashionMeGreen), Caroline Priebe (Uluru), Sarah Scaturro (Fashion Projects/Cooper-Hewitt Museum), Titania Inglis, Shabd Simon-Alexander, and Laura […]

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