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April 21 2014

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2 posts tagged "Dalai Lama"

The Nordic Fashion Association Has A NICE Idea

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Hopenhagen, a.k.a. Copenhagen, isn’t hosting just the United Nations Climate Summit this week. Yesterday, the Nordic Fashion Association held a summit of its own in Denmark’s capital. Featuring lectures, networking, and locally sourced cuisine (herring, anyone?), the day closed with a runway show of sustainable fashions by 20 emerging designers, four each from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, the countries that together form the Nordic Initiative Clean and Ethical. The $10,000 prize, sponsored by H&M, was presented by Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark to Saara Lepokorpi. The Finnish designer’s astronomy-inspired Supermassive project, which featured two dresses and a printed and treated jersey jacket that looked like leather, was, refreshingly, chic rather than crunchy.

Among the event’s speakers were PPR’s Laurent Claquin, Edun’s Christian Kemp-Griffin, and the Financial Times‘ Vanessa Friedman. Barneys New York’s Julie Gilhart made a surprising admission during her speech: She almost quit the “wasteful and money-driven” world of fashion. What convinced her to stick with it? A call to action from none other than the Dalai Lama, with whom Gilhart had an audience, and who encouraged her to—among other things—preserve culture and create beauty. “Making the decision that this [issue] is important” is the first step, said Gilhart, who believes that “sustainability is the new creativity.” It will take artistry and cooperation, the fashion summit made clear, to change the fashion industry. NICE work if you can get it, eh?

Bodkin and The Dalai Lama

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“It’s not easy being green,” quipped Bodkin designer Eviana Hartman at her presentation Monday afternoon. “People seem to forget that that’s how the song goes: It’s ‘not.’” Maybe so, but Hartman is making the creation of green fashion look like a breeze. The ex-TeenVogue and Nylon staffer has earned beaucoup press and plaudits for her less-than-a-year-old label. And this season, Bodkin became the first sustainably produced brand to land one of the coveted Ecco Domani awards. But as Hartman took pains to point out, Kermit had the green thing right all along. “Working sustainably imposes constraints,” Hartman acknowledged. “You can’t just think, ‘What do I want to make right now?’ You start there, but the next question is, ‘What’s possible? Can I dye that color organically? Is there a recycled fabric that exists that gets me to the right look?’” But the constraints also open up redemptive possibilities: For instance, Hartman’s Fall ’09 collection includes a berry-dyed patchwork dress made from silk blessed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. “I needed to find a silk that hadn’t been treated synthetically,” she recalled, “and that led me to a factory that produces silk without killing the silkworms. So the factory was blessed by the Dalai Lama, and I guess that means all the silk it makes is blessed, too.” And she who wears the silk dress will be blessed, as well? “Hmm,” replied Hartman, looking skeptical. “I’d rather people just wear the dress because it looks cool.”

Photo: Don Arnold / WireImage