As we bid adieu to 2009 and ring in a new year—and decade!—we asked 10 of our favorite green fashion designers what they hope 2010 will bring. Find out why Bahar Shahpar is championing the return of the “incomparable trouser,” what John Patrick has to say about “fat cats” and the economy, and why Alyce Santoro of Sonic Fabric wants to arm everyone on the planet with a needle and thread. What are your wishes for fashion in 2010, gentle reader? Sound off in the comments below!
As we embark upon a new decade-birthing year, there are three fashion wishes I’m crossing my fingers for: First, that more brands embrace sustainable production methods and focus on beautiful, timeless styles instead of trend-based fast fashion; second, that we continue to see more of the more daring, experimental styles made popular during the it’s-all-gone-to-shit-might-as-well-have-fun-with-it recession era.
And lastly, that we welcome back a long-lost wardrobe staple, the incomparable trouser. I adore a pants-less outfit as much as the next legging-lover, but seriously, did we forget how awesome pants are?
KAREN STEWART & HOWARD BROWN (STEWART + BROWN)
The ethical fashion movement needs to remain true to it’s core mission; to lead by example and shift the paradigm toward sustainable business and production practices. Opportunistic grandstanding and hollow gestures from the fashion establishment do nothing meaningful to change the status quo yet compromise the mission and integrity of the ethical fashion movement.
The path toward sustainability does not pass through fast fashion retailing. Remember what Bucky Fuller said, “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
JOHN PATRICK (ORGANIC)
That there will be an organic bank established that will actually lend money to people who need it and not the fat cats that have bankrupted the economy. The bank will also support sustainable design of all areas and will have loans starting at $100.
That the Obama administration will enact a WPA-like program that will extend to rebuilding our dilapidated urban areas and support new sustainable businesses that are embracing permaculture. There are so many tremendous new concepts and ideas in the areas of architecture and fashion and industrial design and we all need to work together simultaneously to make changes both large and small.
LIZZ WASSERMAN (POPOMOMO)
i guess my hope for 2010 is more of a long-haul hope: I’d like to see, through designer’s/design company’s initiatives and consumer demand, a move by fabric mills and sewing companies toward eco-friendly and sustainable changes, innovation in fabrics, respect for their workers and their clients.
I’d love for there not to be any “green lines” because the industry has a whole has made complete, sustainable changes. Also, I’m interested in seeing the evolution of the pop-up store. It used to be exciting; now it’s pretty normal and sometimes totally boring. I think there’s more opportunity to mix it up!
LEANNE MAI-LY HILGART (VAUTE COUTURE)
In 2010, I wish for more slow fashion, less racing to the landfill after one wear. More investing in quality pieces and then savoring, sharing, swapping, and renting. I wish for more people to feel empowered by their choices in fashion (as in life) that add up to make a better world, to choose based on how, where, and of what theirs are made of, as well as where they’ll go when they’re done.
I wish for our societal view on animal fabrics from factory farms and slaughter houses to be equated with cruelty, not luxury, and to recognize that when we exploit others—whether directly or through our purchases—it affects us all.
I wish for conscientious fashion to inspire mainstream fashion. For new developments in sustainable animal-free fabrics. But most of all, for clothing to not cover us up, make us fit in, steal the world of who we are…but to bring out the individual beauty in each of us and let us brighten the world together.
ANGELINA RENNELL (LINA RENNELL)
In 2010, I would love to see even more sustainable resources be made available. Be it recycled, salvaged, or thoughtfully/ethically made textiles, faux green leathers, yarns and dyes and trims. I would love to see a revival of crafts people in the USA, skilled sewers, embroiderers, knitting contractors, printers, and weavers reopening their doors instead of closing them. And of course, for the press and public to continue to appreciate higher-quality goods and workmanship.
It would be wonderful to see great minds in fashion who are currently working alone come together to form a more solid and lovely sustainable machine of style and idea. And perhaps less doubt and more joy.
My hope is that more brands will collaborate in interesting ways. That we will remember to have fun with our collections and that people will have fun with what they wear but still enjoy putting on their most favorite comfy garment they know they look fabulous in—and know that they earned it.
Through the difficult times our country faces, I hope people will find solace in what they love, and I hope that eco fashion will be their first choice when making decisions this year.
TARA EISENBERG & INESSAH SELDITZ (SUBLET CLOTHING)
We’d like to see more collaboration and innovation not only between designers (fashion, graphic design, textile designers), but also between interrelated businesses and services. For example, say we did a collaboration with a textile designer and developed a fabric print, and we designed a garment based on it, then a graphic designer would put together an eco-friendly way of presenting it.
Or on a bigger scale, if we got together with several other designers and invested in creating a fair-wage production facility, so we could all share and foster local business. This will also give designers more control over their product by increasing the amount of vertical integration in their business. I think what we’re hoping for is innovation between people and businesses to create more opportunities, increased collaboration, and more control over their product.
JULIANNE APPLEGATE (JULIEAPPLE)
For 2010, I want to see increased innovations in sustainable and equitable design. I hope for a steady return to prosperity so consumers can make sustainable decisions without drastic sacrifices. For instnace, in this era of the two-paycheck family, buying organic and sustainable can be the best environmental choice after a real recovery happens: when women’s pay equals men. I want it to be the obvious choice.
I look forward forward to being part of a fashion community where new opportunities for productivity are based on making a brighter and more sustainable future.
ALYCE SANTORO (SONIC FABRIC)
Please allow me qualify (or disqualify) myself up front by admitting that I am more of a conceptual artist who works with repurposed materials than a fashion designer! That being said, I’d love to see more people taking advantage of thrift stores and clothing swaps to supplement their wardrobes.
Granted, it may take a bit more time and effort to discover something truly “you” in a bin at the local thrift store or in a heap on the floor of a friend’s living room, but these methods of acquisition are so much more rewarding than the traditional kind in so many ways—they provide enormous added value in the form of opportunities for personal creative expression, community, and conservation.
In my ideal world, everyone would have the space and means necessary to have a sewing machine (or at least a needle and thread) handy and the little bit of know-how needed to repair, revamp, or construct a few simple items from scratch.
I think people would be happy in the knowledge that they’d rescued something beautiful from the landfill, and would feel a great sense of satisfaction at creating something special for themselves or for a loved one. If thrift shopping, swapping, or sewing is out of the question for you, then supporting green-conscious designers who work with upcycled materials is certainly the next best thing!