In the past, eco-fashion brought to mind an image of an oversize hemp poncho resembling a potato sack. Now, the picture is a sexy open-back dress made from luxurious raw silk organza and a ruffled skirt created with ultrasoft wild-harvested bamboo.
For the first time, New York Fashion Week hosted a two-day event for eco-fashion designers called the GreenShows Eco-Fashion Week. A select handful of eco-fashion designers showcased their ethically sound, sustainable styles on a stage made of recycled, compostable material. From the energy-efficient lighting to the eco-friendly hair and makeup products, the GreenShows was environmentally sound.
Lara Miller was one of the designers handpicked for the GreenShows, a Chicago-based designer who created her spring 2010 collection with materials like organic cotton, hand-loomed wild-harvested bamboo, raw silk organza and recycled cotton fibers.
Go behind the scenes with Miller at Fashion Week.
Along with being green, Miller is known for garments that can be worn in multiple ways—many of her dresses can be twisted, wrapped or flipped around to give the garment an entirely different look.
As an environmentally-conscious person in her everyday life, Miller naturally gravitated toward eco-fashion. The problem she found with synthetic fibers is that they are often made with plastics and take an abundance of energy to produce. "The amount of water that needs to be used, the amount of waste that goes back into the system ... once you start reading about some of these things, it's pretty scary," she says.
Learn more about eco-fashion and see Miller's collection.
Even a simple cotton T-shirt can be hard on the environment because of the amount of water and pesticides needed, Miller says. "[But] Hemp, linen and bamboo grow quickly, without pesticides and with little water," she says. "They're sustainable fibers that are good for the soil, the land, and turn into really beautiful textiles."