NOW ’10: For Eco-Fashion Designers, Collaboration Not Competition is Key

NOW Showcase 2010

With New York Fashion Week only in a few weeks, we’re pleased to announce our media sponsorship of one of the most buzz-worthy eco-fashion events of the season: NOW Showcase, an emerging cooperative show with one of the best rosters of eco-conscious designers around, including SDN, Naturevsfuture, Jai Active Wear, Turk + Taylor, She-Bible, Sust, and Kelly Lane. We spoke with Raina Blyer of Ryann, along with Alice Wu and Moriah Carlson of Feral Childe to suss out why fashion lines need to collaborate instead of compete in this economic climate.

Feral Childe Spring/Summer 2010 Collection

Photo by Feral Childe

HEY NOW NOW

NOW is unique among the fashion trade shows. For one, it started as a response to the recession, notes Blyer, who organizes the showcase in addition to designing her own line. “Everyone in the industry had taken a hit,” she tells Ecouterre, “and it was a way for us small brands to work together and pool our resources to collectively forward our brands.”

Because NOW is a co-op show, exhibiting designers are peer-selected, which means the participants are directly responsible for how the show shapes up. “Normally you might expect designers to be competitive and fiercely protective of their sources,” say Wu and Carlson, “but the fact is if any of us small, independent designers want to survive we have to help one another.”

“Together, we are not just selling clothes, we are part of a movement.”

In the off-season, the designers combine resources and offer support and encouragement. “The march to sustainability requires strength in numbers,” they say. “Together, we are not just selling clothes, we are part of a movement.”

Ryann dress from Spring/Summer 2010 Collection

Photo by Ryann

ALL FOR ONE

Rallying together also makes good business sense for the entire industry, Wu and Carlson note, especially when being lean and green in the fashion business isn’t so easy after all. “Many greener options are not yet cost-effective or practical for small volume producers such as ourselves,” they say. “While the variety of sustainable fabrics and trims is still limited, if we band together, suppliers will start to see there’s a true demand.”

“If we band together, suppliers will start to see there’s a true demand.”

For Blyer, NOW’s success is evident in its rapid growth in only four seasons. “So many designers want to participate now that we have to turn brands away,” she says. “We are hoping next season to grow into a bigger space that can accomodate more brands, while always keeping the intimate and personal feel to the show.”

+ NOW Showcase

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