Eco-Fashion Popularity Rise!

Garance Burke, Associated Press

Jan. 4, 2008 — In a workshop in the city’s Mission District, Ally Beran’s team of fashion designers is sprawled out over buttons and spools of thread, hoping to stem global warming by stitching new outfits from thrift store finds.

A brown lace applique from a scrap bin could make last year’s castoff cashmere pop, Beran muses. Or, she reckons, swatches from a tattered leather jacket could double as chic epaulettes on a high-end used sweater. Designers of so-called sustainable fashion are not only dominating New York catwalks and urban boutique racks this winter, many also are providing farmers with new markets for their crops.

As with the movement for locally harvested food, ecofashion’s devotees seek to lower their toll on the earth by buying clothes made of recycled materials and sustainably harvested, homegrown fibers.

This year, American Apparel and yoga-gear retailer prAna will start selling shirts spun with cotton grown in California’s Central Valley and sewn just a few hours away, in Southern California, to avoid burning fossil fuels in transporting the materials.

Beran’s creations, marketed under the label William Good — an anagram of the company’s business partner, thrift store giant Goodwill Industries — are only sold online and in stores near San Francisco, also to reduce their carbon footprint.

Last summer, New York’s Rag & Bone hired supermodel Shalom Harlow as the face for its line of filmy “carbon free” T-shirts, which were manufactured domestically in a process that required no greenhouse gas emissions.

Keep your eyes on these designers and more!

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