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There seems to be a bit of controversy surrounding the First Lady this week about her particular choice of gown she wore at the state dinner for China.  First I would like to start of by giving myself props for being the first person among my peers to say that I thought Michelle Obama would become a fashion icon.  I was in my History of Fashion class at the Miami International University of Art & Design and our teacher asked who we thought were up and coming fashion trend setters.  This was during the Obama campaigning and I said I though Michelle Obama would become the Jackie Kennedy of our generation.  To my surprise no one really agreed with me (including my professor), but alas, here we are, two years later and Obama has become just that, a trendsetter/icon.  Which brings me to this, Obama has received a lot of criticism for her wearing a SPECTACULAR Alexander McQueen gown to the state dinner last week mainly from American designers saying she should have worn an American designer.  Oscar de la Renta was quoted in WWD saying she should have worn American, whether it be his designs or someone else’s.  Even the CFDA release a statement condemning the First Lady on her selection.  This aggravates me on many levels and here’s why.  First, to criticise the First Lady on what she is wearing is quite petty to me.  She isn’t walking the red carpet at an awards show or movie premiere, she is at a State Dinner.  Also, with all the exceptional work Mrs. Obama has done while her husband has been in office, commenting on her wardrobe pretty trivial.  Don’t get me wrong, I am the BIGGEST fashionista you could find, and I understand the importance of fashion in the world as an art, but maybe we should take a step back and not criticise Michelle Obama on something, that for women is quite personal.  She looked great and I am sure after trying the dress on, something just clicked and that’s how she decided.  I doubt she was trying to make a big political statement.  Second, I find it a little hypocritical for American designers be so annoyed by this choice, especially when most of  their clothes are not even manufactured in the United States.  Ironically enough, most clothes are “Made in China”.  Maybe the CFDA and Woman’s Wear Daily should use their time and resources on figuring out ways to bring manufacturing back to the United State.  That would certainly help OUR economy and unemployment rate.   Maybe, “American” designers should stop sending jobs to foreign countries because of the cheap labor and less restrictive labor laws.  Have you thought about doing that Mr. De la Renta? This is just one sole opinion and not intended to offend (well maybe a little) but I am just putting it out there.  Leave me all the comments you want, good or bad, I will post them.


For my first post of 2011 I want to get a little serious and focus on the need to go green for 2011.  Green is not a fashion “fad”.  “One day you’re in and the next day you’re out.”  That is the famous mantra recited every week by supermodel Heidi Klum on Lifetime’s hit T.V. show, “Project Runway”.  This is certainly true for fashion as a whole, but in light of recent political, economic and world issues, the times, they are changing.  Fashion, in particular, will start to move to the forefront of environmental awareness.  Designers are becoming more and more conscious, not just of the fabrics used, but how and where the clothes are made.  Although, eco-friendly fashion is not quite a novel idea; it is becoming more prevalent in today’s “green” society.  With some of today’s top designers going from Haute Couture to “Organic Chic”, the future of fashion is looking greener everyday!

Images of hemp dressed hippies and “tree people” always came to mind when talking about eco-friendly clothing and materials, with their subdued and monotonous color palette there was nothing exhilarating about them.  However, names like Halston and Oscar de la Renta, moves ecofashion to the next level: LUXURY.  In a 2008 article Starre Vartan stated “change, at least in fashion, starts at the top.”. Fashion is all about creating a “Buzz”.  “Buzz” is created when high end, established designers like Diane von Furstenburg and new, hip and edgy,  up and comers like Philip Lim jump on the band-wagon.  Ecofashion has been embraced by everyone from Calvin Klein to Stella McCartney.  Most of these labels can be found in such powerhouses as Barney’s New York and Saks 5th Ave.  This trend of ecofashion lines is also trickling down to the lower end markets, such as, GAP, Banana Republic, and H&M, all of which have come out with an eco-friendly line.

According to Anna Kuchment, a freelance writer for Newsweek, Barney’s New York has made a “Major contribution to sustainable design, commissioning exclusive ‘conscience’ lines from Theory, 3.1 Philip Lim and Stella McCartney…”.  And then there is the juggernaut know as TargetTarget has in the past joined forces with top high-end designers like Proenza Schuler, Isaac Mizrahi, and Alexander McQueen, to bring their high-end style to the “every woman” that shop at Target Stores.  Of course they will not let this eco-trend slip though their fingers.  Back in May of 2008, Target joined forces with Rogan Gregory to launch an environmentally conscious label “Rogan” at select stores.

Rogan Gregory has gained notoriety among this new crop of eco-designers.  Gregory won the 2007 CFDA Fashion Fund award for rising talent.  However his claim to fame will most likely be his connection to rocklegend and philanthropist, Bono, of the Grammy award-winning U2.  Gregory is the head designer for Bono (and wife Ali Hewson’s) clothing line, EdunEdun (which is nude spelled backwards) was launched in 2005 at about 46 Saks 5th Ave stores and Barney’s New York in New York.  Edun combines two major components in environmental friendly fashion: organic materials and safe working conditions where the clothes are manufactured.  Edun, for example, is produced in family-run factories in Africa and South America, not in sweatshops.

Ecofashion is not just about the textiles and fabrics used for clothing; it is also about how the clothes are made, where the come from, the treatment the fabrics receive, and how those treatments effect the environment around us.  Edun tee-shirts, for example, are all manufactured in Lesotho, the African country with the world’s highest AIDS rate.  The idea of having a manufacturing company in this ravaged country is to generate economic growth to be used for education and healthcare.  Ecofashion is just as much about saving the society as it is about saving the Earth.  There is a major need to cut back on pesticides and chemicals used in the processing of non organic textiles.  The use of new textiles such as organic cotton, hemp, bamboo, and soy are much easier on the environment around us.  All these products require little or no chemical treatments as oppose to the harsh chemical treatments used with other raw materials.  New ways of making clothes are being used everyday, however.  Even the clothing companies themselves are taking large strides to cut down on chemical use and introducing environmentally sound systems of producing and manufacturing clothes.

There are many other companies using new environmentally sound techniques.  The Blue Canoe clothing line uses 100 percent organically grown Peruvian cotton and the company, Earth, carries a line of vegan shoes made of synthetic materials that do not use any animal products.  Cocona, a company based in Colorado, developed its own brand of fibers and yarns by activating carbon from coconut shell.  There is obviously no lack of imagination when it comes to innovation in the world of environmentally conscious fashion.  The future holds even more options for ecofashion, but will there be a market for it?

Fashion has always been about creating a trend and making the masses adhere to that trend.  With this theory in mind it is the responsibility of the high-end labels to put more pressure on clothing manufacturers to adhere to more green procedure when producing their products.  It is up to the fashion press to make green fashion cool and hip.  It is up to the people to buy the product.  As a society we have the absolute power to control our natural resources and how they are used and treated. Slowly but surely the world will evolve into and eco-friendly environment.  Mike Whitaker, former Newsweek editor, observed “convincing 95 percent of the people to be 5 percent green [is easier] rather than getting 5 percent of the people to be 95 percent green”.  Being environmentally conscious will not be an option in the future, it just will be how we live our lives.  The people have proven that change is possible in America and the world this past year.  Lets make 2011 the year of GREEN! Who’s with me??

Elle Woods might not want to believe this, but for Spring 2011, orange is the new pink.  It was quite evident this season, orange appeared on almost every major runway.  It came in evening gowns, summer dresses, accessories, & pants.  It came in every hue, from rust to bright to reddish tones to peachy tones.  It came in every fabric from leather to jersey to chiffon.  So ladies go ahead and add some citrus to your wardrobe!

Pictures above clockwise from top left:

Alberta Ferretti, Alice & Olivia, Badgley Mischka, Carolina Herrera, Celine,  Christian Dior, Diane Von Furstenberg, Elie Saab, Hermes, Alexander McQueen, & Peter Som

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