THE MEDIUM IS THE MESSAGE
Bettoni’s audience included several finalists from the CFDA + Lexus Fashion Initiative, among them Erin Isakov of Erin Snow, Britt Cosgrove and Marina Polo of apparel label Svilu, Christopher Kunz from Nicholas K, and Nepalese-American designer Prabal Gurung.
She stood ready with sample cards and fabric swatches. Textiles are not an abstract notion; they demand to be seen and touched.
As the group turned into a small petting zoo—”You have to feel it,” Gurung purred at one reporter—Bettoni explained that the problem with “sustainable fashion” is one that spans the supply chain. Suppliers largely remain uncertain about the commercial viability of sustainable materials. Compounding the issue, designers have trouble identifying and obtaining the premium fabrics they desire.
Then there’s us.
“The average consumer still believes ‘sustainable’ doesn’t equate with quality,” Bettoni said.
But if sustainability is poised to save the world, innovation has to first save sustainability.
“I’m not going to buy something just because it’s sustainable,” she said. “Emotion is the king; we cannot do fashion without fashion. Products have to be beautiful, inspire creativity, and perform. No sacrifice—just something more and better.”
It’s only recently that technology has begun to catch up with our values, Bettoni said.
Beyond organic cotton, linen, and—dare we say it—hemp, here are seven fabrics that she’s most excited about.