The 15th cycle of DC Fashion Week has officially kicked off! Last night I was lucky enough to get to help out at DC Fashion Week’s first Eco-Fashion show; sponsored by Inova Health System and premier design firm Perkins + Will. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I found the suspense to be energizing and exciting. I biked over (in true eco-fashionista style) to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) building where the show was being held. If you’ve never seen the inside of the WWF building before and are able to stop by, you should. The lobby of the building is pretty impressive.
World Wildlife Fund shares the building with other folks, including Perkins + Will. It makes sense that the inside of the building is beautiful, after all, Perkins + Will is the number 1 design Firm according to Architect Magazine. The interior is straight out of an architect’s dream. It’s like you’re entering a cool and colorful glass palace from the future. The space for the runway show was equally impressive, inspired by sleek shapes and modern design.
In the time crunch leading up to the show, I was quickly paired up with bridal and evening gown designer Elizabeth St. John. Her impressive work has been featured in places like the Martha Stewart Weddings website and Ritz-Carlton Weddings Magazine as their choice for bridal designer for Spring 2011. In other words, she’s a big deal.
The show itself didn’t last very long, but making sure the models were in the correct order with the correct dress and accessories was more chaotic than I pictured. I learned that being flexible and efficient are necessary qualities to run a fashion show. You’ve got to be ready to take on anything at any time. It also helps if you’re handy with safety pins zippers, and scissors.
Needless to say, I felt pretty exhausted when the show was over. That might have had something to do with the fact that I had just completed a ten hour work day (between my 9 to 5 and the fashion show). Most days feeling that exhausted would have resulted in crashing on the couch with some Netflix, but this time I couldn’t help but smile. I have to admit that I loved the craziness of putting on a fashion show and can’t wait for what’s in store this weekend. Stay tuned for more updates from behind the scenes of DC Fashion Week.
For the past three months, I have been on a journey to DC Fashion Week. When I first found out about DC Fashion Week, I signed up to receive their email updates in the hopes that I might be able to get tickets. I was an outsider looking in on a world that I only dreamed of being a part of. Things started to change in May when I took the first real steps of my journey. I met Amy Hall, Director of Social Consciousness at Eileen Fisher, while we were both participating in a charity bike ride. We talked about the greening of the fashion industry and ways that I could create opportunities for myself. I started searching online, connected with Splash Entertainment, and started working with them as one of their promotional models. Amy gave me the encouragement and ideas, while Splash gave me the experience and a foot in the door. Feeling a new sense of confidence, I entered into DC Fashion Week’s print model search. I knew it was a long shot because I didn’t have much experience; but a few days later, I received an email notification that I was a finalist. I didn’t end up winning, but it gave me the chance to meet the folks at DC Fashion Week and learn about other opportunities to work with them. Now I’m getting the chance to volunteer and assist with their eco-fashion show. The outsider from several months ago had become an insider. Mission accomplished?
DC Fashion Week, Photo Credit: Phelan Marc, Designs by Berry Couture
I’ve reached a short term goal with DC Fashion Week, but I’m still just at the beginning of a longer journey. In a way, D.C. is the perfect place for me to start: as I’m figuring out where I fit into the fashion world, the city is also establishing itself as a fashion center. There are the well-known fashion capitals of the world: New York City, Paris, Milan, and London. But what about the other cities trying to make a name in the fashion industry? It seems that finding a niche market is the way to go. Miami fashion week is known for the latest in swimwear while Portland fashion week is the hub for eco-designers. Where does Washington D.C. fit into the picture? According to Ean Williams, Executive Director and Founder of DC Fashion Week, the nation’s capital is quickly becoming one of the biggest fashion weeks in the country. The international appeal of Washington D.C. attracts designers from all over the world including countries like Nigeria, Thailand, and Kazakhstan. It gives designers the opportunity for international exposure without the cost and competition of New York Fashion Week.
Looking for a way to stay informed? Subscribe! I’ll be posting DC Fashion Week news, upcoming events, and behind-the-scene happenings. DC Fashion Week 2011 is taking place September 17-25. For more information and a list of the week’s events, please check out their website.
A hobby that combines two of my interests? Tell me more!
Project Runway Season 8 - Gretchen Jones
In an industry dominated by glamour and luxury, recycled material isn’t necessarily the first word that comes to mind. However, as people are becoming more aware of their environmental impacts and making changes to live more sustainably, fashion is jumping on to the green bandwagon. Companies like Eileen Fisher have developed a commitment to social consciousness that looks at supporting women, human rights, and sustainability. Project Runway Season 8 winner was Portland, Oregon designer Gretchen Jones, who runs the sustainable label MothLove. Green is in.
Being someone who cares about the environment: from food production to energy consumption to how products affect the environment, I decided I should also be looking at where my clothes are coming from. After all, I wear clothes every day (no nudist colonies for me). I also love making things. I don’t think I’ll ever outgrow the satisfaction that comes from making something and actually using it. There’s just something about creating with your own hands; even if it’s more convenient to just buy an item. Put together craftiness and environmental consciousness, and you’ve got upcycling! Think of upcycling as rearranging your wardrobe: mixing up things you already have and seeing them in new ways.
Blue Wrap Made Into High Fashion
Lately, I’ve been finding all these great projects (thanks to Pinterest) using things I already own to make something completely new and different; like making a fabric necklace out of a tie or a gathered shawl out of an old t shirt. I’m all about finding a new use for something I already have because that means I don’t have to buy anything. All I need is my sewing machine and some creativity. But upcycling isn’t just for people at home. Fashion designers are in on the trend too. D.C. Fashion Week is having an eco-fashion show in September to promote sustainable practices in the fashion industry. They’re asking designers to incorporate blue wrap material (used in hospitals) in their clothing lines.
Looking to green up your wardrobe but don’t want to hit up the sewing machine? There’s another eco-fashion trend popping up: swapping malls. They’re like a bartering yard sale where people can turn in clothes they no longer want or need. I haven’t found any swapping malls the D.C. area yet, but I have a feeling the trend will eventually catch on across the country and around the world. For more information on eco-fashion, be sure to check out these sites: Ecouterre, Ecostiletto, and Eco Fashion World.
What are your thoughts on greening the fashion industry?