The Pratt Gallery’s Shades of Green-------
Sustainable design? “It’s nearly impossible,” says Bodkin designer Eviana Hartman. “But I definitely make an effort to try. I really consider fabrics, and not just your usual 100 percent organic cottons.” Looking at a pair of Hartman’s navy shorts in a gorgeous, filmy re-purposed polyester at Pratt’s Ethics + Aesthetics = Sustainable Fashion exhibit, we were impressed by how far the movement has come. Central Saint Martins Ph.D. candidate Francesca Granata and textile conservator Sarah Scaturro co-curated the installation to highlight eco-minded U.S. designers and artists who, they say, tend to get short shrift. “I think the U.S. designers that have been thinking sustainable haven’t been recognized,” Granata explained. “In London, it’s a big part of fashion right now. That’s why we wanted to do this exhibit. It’s not just about using organic material. There are different ways to be sustainable.”
Of course, there are as many ways of designing as there are of being green (or trying to be). On one hand, there’s Mary Ping of Slow and Steady Wins the Race, who creates her collection from existing fabrics such as old school uniforms. On another, Max Osterweis of Suno. After starting his line with vintage Kenyan prints collected over the course of ten years, the designer is now dealing with supplying his rapidly expanding business. (Having Michelle Obama as a fan can’t hurt.) “I’ve had to start doing my own patterns, but everything is still inspired by and created in Kenya,” Osterweis explains. “I’m not so much thinking about how to be ‘green’ as being conscious of what I’m doing. And hopefully along the way I’m offering a valuable design, too.”
Ethics + Aesthetics = Sustainable Fashion runs through February 20 at Pratt Manhattan Gallery, 144 W. 14th St., 2nd floor, NYC, www.pratt.edu.