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April 20 2014

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The Green Scene

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About those real, cherry-pit buttons that Behnaz Sarafpour has been using in her collection: “It’s not from me baking cherry pies in the summer,” the designer said with a laugh at last night’s CFDA & Lexus Hybrid Living Eco Fashion Challenge. “We found someone professional who gets the pits, cleans them, and turns them into buttons.”

It may not be the work of her own hands, but it is environmentally friendly, one reason among many that Sarafpour found herself up for a $25,000 award from the CFDA and Lexus last night, alongside Jeffrey Costello and Robert Tagliapietra of Costello Tagliapietra, Marcia Patmos of M. Patmos, Maria Cornejo, Monique Péan, John Patrick of Organic, Mary Ping of Slow and Steady Wins the Race, and Justin Giunta of Subversive. The criteria: Collections had to be at least 25 percent organic and, of course, 100 percent stylish. Péan, for example, uses recycled gold and sustainable buffalo horn; Costello Tagliapietra create the dyes that color their collection in an ecologically friendly way; and Cornejo emphasizes sustainable manufacturing practices and the use of fabrics like cupro, which are typically discarded during the production of cotton.

Péan, Costello Tagliapietra, and Zero + Maria Cornejo won the day, but Cornejo was quick to note eco-friendliness is a work in progress. “We are trying, and it’s an ongoing process. Every season we try to bring more and more of that into the collection,” she said. “We have gotten creative within those parameters of 25 percent organic. 100 percent is hard, but this we can do.” Robert Tagliapietra (pictured, with Jeffrey Costello) agreed with the Chilean-born designer’s do-what-you-can ethic. “For us, it’s always been about introducing things that felt organic to the brand,” he said. “We are not using organic as a branding tool—just as something you should be doing.”

Photo: Last Night’s Party/Courtesy of Lexus

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