Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Field of (Recycled Shoe) Dreams

UK artist Dominic Wilcox recently created a grassy field from over four hundred eco-friendly shoes at The London Design Festival. Sponsored by Terra Plana, the ethical shoe company, Wilcox applied a touch of gardening magic to the recycled shoe laces as they rose up in unison towards the window's light, creating a dazzling field of renewal.

*images and video courtesy of Dominic Wilcox

Monday, September 28, 2009

Ariel Clay: The Fresh Face of Eco Style

I have to admit, I am definitely not one for beauty competitions or contests that rank fellow sustainalistas, but I have to speak up about Ariel Clay and her decision to compete in the upcoming Project Green Search competition.

I love and admire all that Ariel stands for when it comes to redefining our ideas about beauty and personal style. Her physical grace and wholesome look is as alluring as her mission to do good and live a holistic, creatively-infused life. Granted I am rather partial to Ariel's being from San Francisco, one of my absolute favorite towns, but it is Ariel's history of modeling for eco-conscious labels and outspoken causes, that really makes her a standout and perhaps sets her apart from the modeling wanna-be pack.

In addition to being gorgeous and discerningly smart, Ariel is passionate about Fair Trade and innovative development projects for craft production and trade. She currently works with green-minded companies and organizations in the Bay Area and also volunteers (sweating and weeding a lot) with the Golden Gate Parks Conservancy. An avid yoga practicioner, who has appeared on the pages of Yoga Journal, Ariel is also a big supporter of the arts as well as one of my favorite organizations, The Permacouture Institute.

I will be following Ariel's progress over the next few weeks and months, but if you want to learn more about her commitment to the future of true green style and environmentally-conscious outreach, read her profile here and visit her website here. You can also meet Ariel via her lovely video below. Just be your true self, Ariel, and you will be totally brilliant, on stage and off.

Ariel Clay: Project Green Search from justin wiener on Vimeo.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Ceca's Green Jewelry from Summer 2009

The colorful autumn leaves will soon be swirling all around us, but I am still nostalgic for these fresh green jewelry experiments by Bulgarian artist friend, Ceca Georgieva. Stay tuned for a winter 2010 project that Ceca and I will initiate at her studio hide-a-way at the base of Mount Vitosha outside of Sofia.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Brian Jungen's Totemic Recycling

Very excited to hear that Brian Jungen's exhibition, 'Strange Comfort' opens at the National Museum of the American Indian on October 16. "This major survey of Brian Jungen (Dunne-za First Nations/Swiss/Canadian) transforms the familiar and banal into exquisite objects that reference themes of globalization, pop culture, museums, and the commodification of Indian imagery. Jungen first came to prominence with Prototypes for New Understandings 1998–2005), for which he fashioned Nike footwear into masks that suggested Northwest Coast iconography." My favorites, though, are the recycled, woven sports jerseys pictured at top.

*images courtesy of Catriona Jeffries Gallery

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Way Beyond Fashion

Flora Project by Carla Fernández

Finishing up writing assignments and then I am off to Tribeca to see A Way Beyond Fashion at apexart. I hope to report back on Carla Fernández and her 'Square Clothes for Rounded-Minded People' installation. I love her Flora Project - 'a mobile workshop/fashion-laboratory that travels Mexico visiting indigenous
 communities, especially women’s cooperatives and creators of handmade textiles. Flora
 has developed a unique pedagogy where participants in their workshops
 can communicate through design even in those places where only indigenous
 dialects are used.'

Stay tuned. In the interim, here are more Flora workshop photos.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Suno New York Makes Waves for S/S 2010

Suno New York is sailing into another season of fair trade and fair winds enterprise for designer Max Osterweis. These stunning Kenyan textile-inspired pieces are travel friendly and globally appealing. It is great to see the high-style of Kenyan artisans making such waves in the contemporary fashion realm.

*Suno New York

Sunday, September 20, 2009

How To 'Colonize' London Fashion Week

The last time that I met with designer Ada Zanditon she asked me if I could keep a secret about her current fascination with bees, their nest colonies, and the eye-opening book, A World Without Bees.

Little did I know that she has these amazing designs and prints in the works. So genius, Ada Zanditon's Spring/Summer 2010 Collection - COLONY - which showed last Friday night at London Fashion Week.

I am sad that I missed Ada's show at Vauxhall, but I am happy to know that designers like her are thinking long and hard about the common characteristics and environmental issues that have resonance for us, both on and off the runway. Ada Zanditon is more than one to watch, she is one to feel truly hopeful about.

*all images by Paul Perksy

Thank you, Anna Star

I am taking a moment on this beautiful first Sunday back in Manhattan to thank my amazing summer research intern, Anna Myint. Anna was a brilliant 'virtual' assistant while I was in Europe this summer, and I am excited that she is now starting new post-grad coursework at Parsons as well as a paid internship with the fashion house of her choice. It was so energizing to have Anna's input on my blog Ecco*Eco, a non-commercial resource for ideas on sustainability, textiles, and their intersections with the arts.

You can follow Anna's very witty blog about her adventures in the New York fashion world here. Her FNO coverage is totally heart-warming as a new girl in town. Anna's words of wisdom: "Never give up on something you think about everyday."

Thank you again, Anna, for sharing your ideas and wisdom with me. *Shine on*

Saturday, September 19, 2009

'Creative Dreams' Sofia Photo Shoot

photography by Abigail Doan

photography by Abigail Doan

photography by Abigail Doan

Creative Dreams photo shoot in Sofia in preparation for EcoChic Geneva 2010. An eco couture, natural fiber collection by designer Evgeni Petkov, with my mentorship during the Summer of 2009. Details to come.

(Photographer: Ivomir Peshev; Model: Julia Urevich/Expose Models; Designer: Evgeni Petkov; Hair: Polia Atanasova for Schwarzkopf; Make-Up: Adelina Caneva)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Goodnight Sofia, Good Morning New York

Beautiful silver leaf/foil haute couture wedding dress as the finale for the Jeny Style (Evgenia Jivkova's opening night show) at Sofia Fashion Week this evening

I will be traveling from Sofia to Paris to New York over the next day and night. I am sad to leave Sofia behind, but happy to see friends and family soon in New York. Thank you, Bulgaria, for teaching me so much this summer about eco textiles, the seamless integration of nature, and the beauty of tradition. You gave me a magical send off this evening at the first night of Sofia Fashion Week. See you when the crystalline snowflakes begin to cloak Mount Vitosha.

The Shape of Things To Come

deux fm's 'Eliza Dress', made sweatshop free in Canada

Nothing spells fashion-forward like a timeless dress that you not only covet but can play shapeshifter in - sustainably. I just featured the above deux fm ruby-hued Eliza Dress, available at Green Is Black, for a Canadian eco fashion round up on Eco Fashion World. This dress is hot, but not because it is red. It has so many cool permutations for wearing that it might just rival The Uniform Project.

*visit Green is Black for more great eco fashion

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tara St. James Democratizes NYFW

'Gold Fringe Zipper Necklace' by Tara St. James

'Striped Jersey Fringe Necklace' by Tara St. James

'Ruffled Pearl Necklace' by Tara St. James

Eco Fashion designer Tara St. James of The Square Project and the new collective Study NY will be showing her latest sustainable creations as part of The GreenShows at New York Fashion Week today. The professed math nerd and totally innovative designer did not get to the shows by simply hobnobbing, though. Her resourceful spin on the discarded bits of the fashion industry have found new life in her latest collection with its wink to the 'beauty in numbers' method of her designs.

Determined entrepreneur that she is, Tara also rallied community support by asking friends, neighbors, and like-minded 'sustainalistas' to contribute to the fee for showing at NYFW. It seems as if fashion week has not only been cleaned up and greened up this year, but democratized a bit for the masses who are hungry to take part and implement change. Good luck to Tara and all of the other GreenShows designers, who I will be highlighting over the next week. Stay tuned also for a fresh green surprise from the sustainable style team over at Inhabitat, who have a bit of fashion democratizing going on as well.

The Square Project from Jesse Benjamin on Vimeo.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Andean Collection at Nolcha FW 2009

Congratulations to Amanda Judge on today's presentation of her totally inspiring, socially conscious Andean Collection at Nolcha's Ethical Fashion Preview/New York Fashion Week. I have featured AC and their talented artisans on ecco*eco before, but the latest Fall 2009 collection is even more timely and fashion-forward in spirit. My favorite new piece is the Circle Cascade Necklace, hand-carved from tagua by artist Christian Romero.

Artist Olga Lucia Moran, age 31: Not long before working with The Andean Collection, Olga she was selling grain at the local market, forgoing meals in order to feed her children

Read more about the Andean Collection's Fall 2009 sustainability mission and The Andean Project on their blog.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Arise: African Promise Collective Spring 2010

A hearty congratulations to the spirited and textile-adventurous designers of the Arise: African Promise Collective Spring 2010 runway show. Mercedes Benz Fashion Week is finally acknowledging that the arts and aesthetics of Africa are an integral part of the global fashion scene. To learn more about ethical sourcing in Africa and Asia, visit the Ethical Fashion Forum's Spotlight on Sourcing page. Also, do not miss my June 2009 write-up on Loza Maléombho's Côte d'Ivoire Chic, definitely one to watch for fashion weeks to come.

*images courtesy of Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week/Getty Images

Friday, September 11, 2009

Organic by John Patrick for Spring 2010

Organic by John Patrick (Spring 2010)/image via

Organic by John Patrick (Spring 2010)/image via

Organic by John Patrick (Spring 2010)/image via

In this current era of health care reform finger-pointing, recession survival tactics, and negativity regarding the reputedly selfish American agenda, it's nice to see some good wholesome efforts coming from creative types who are pushing the wagon in the budding movimento Americano verde. John Patrick is one of these golden chaps, and I am happy to see that his Spring 2010 Collection reflects such stellar commitment, though in a wash-and-wear manner. These are solid pieces with the longevity of your Mum's favorite cardigan or your boyfriend's rumpled cotton pajamas, cleverly cinched and belted at the waist. It does not hurt that Shalom endorsed this latest collection, but like all good friends weathering the storm together, it's not who you know per se but who you remember and support when the going gets rough. This, my friends, is the true American spirit.

* Organic by John Patrick

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Obsession of the Moment: Maria Mastori

Perhaps one of the best ways to feel inspired when *fashion week hoopla * is swirling all around you is to stop to consider what goes into the creation of a look - a supremely styled moment - a pivotal shift in our thinking about personal style and who we want to and can be. All of the above images featuring Maria Mastori's incredible sculptural accessories make me want to be a more creative and resourceful person. This is what fashion should to do to us - make us feel included, not excluded. If dressing up can pick us up and help us to do good, well then, it just might be the cure for what ails us and our environs.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sophia: A Virtual Fashion Week Odyssey

These captivating film stills from SOPHIA featuring Maria Mastori and Filep Motwary's F/W 09*10 Collections might be the perfect carbon neutral way to experience a state-of-the art fashion week, i.e. gorgeously crafted pieces, no jet plane travel, and a transporting magical narrative. Sit back, make tea or a cool drink, and enjoy the odyssey. You can also read an interview with the designers on