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Articles by Summer Rayne Oakes

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As expected, we see a lot of energy on the eco-fashion front. More shows, more events, and even more awards for eco-designers. The Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation is giving out an award for sustainability and there’s also London’s RE:Fashion Award. Check out the highlighted events below the fold. I’ll be at some of them and in some of them, but I have work to do in Mozambique smack-dab in the middle of the eco-fashion extravaganza, so unfortunately I’ll have to miss a few.

See any events that I may have missed? Include them in the comments section.

Sept. 4:

AVEDA Caps Recycling Program: Rodarte, Preen, 3.1 Philip Lim, and Alexander Wang are greening it up backstage. This is the kick-it-off cocktail party. Good event to connect with friends.

BeEcoChic: Stars are out to prove something — that environment is fashionable. Good star-sighting at the show; pieces are one-of-a-kind.

Sept. 6:

Alexander Wang after-party … Beautiful people in a beautiful setting. Try as you might, you only can get in if you know someone on the inside.

Sept. 7:

Hess-Natur and Miguel Adrover show —... Read more

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  • Video tours of the eco-pimped Real World: Hollywood house

    In the midst of preparing for the launch of 250 hours of green programming for Discovery Planet Green, I got a call from my good friend Pete Griffin over at Think MTV.

    "We have this idea to build a green house on the Real World," he told me. "Instead of creating a whole new green show, why not build it into one of the most watched programs on MTV?"

    Can anyone say brilliant?

    Well, we had a blast teaching the Hollywood cast a few things about saltwater pools, dual-flush toilets, low-flow showerheads, eco bedding, hybrid cars, and soy candles that double as body lube. They also got a kick that their pad was constructed in the building that once housed the I Love Lucy show. How about that for recycling?

    Check out the video house tours below.

  • High fashion around the globe

    It's been a few months since the Ethical Fashion Show in Paris, but I had a nice chat recently with French fashion designer Annabel Gerenthon, who debuted her fair-trade shoe label Moyi Ekolo there. Annabel was the former fashion designer at Charles Jourdan before it was sold in 2003. Now she's on her own and starting shoes from scratch.

    The vegetable-tanned leather used in the collection's cute ballerina flats and boots is sourced from a social project in Namibia, which she is helping supervise. "There is very little history of footwear production in Namibia, except on the workshop level," she tells me. Annabel also adorns her collections with talismans from Madagascar and Kenya. The figures, carved from horn, bone, and wood, are representative of the traditional artisan techniques of the area.

    And since we are on the topic, Julie Gilhart (senior vice president over at Barney's), who also recently came back from a trip to Namibia, helped put on a stellar Future Fashion event with Earth Pledge this past Thursday with the crème de la crème of the design world. "Many of these designers have been thinking about sustainable fabrics, but didn't know where to start," she told me. "This is all about getting the influencers to do something and getting them involved in the process."

  • Gossip, cool events, and personal vignettes I’ve come across during my travels

    1. Japanese press at NYC show commenting on how no eco-fashion label has hit their fancy yet. (Oh, but how far we have come since a few years ago!)
    2. People Tree (ironically a very popular brand in Japan) has secured 300,000 Euros to help expand its line.
    3. Sofala Investments, the parent company of the African luxury label a.d. schwarz, will plant a tree this October and November at its forest reserve in Mozambique for every registered race participant in The Race against Global Warming, to neutralize each racer's carbon emissions.
    4. Posh labels like Bahar Shahpar and Be Carbon Neutral hit the L.A. scene at the Eco Nouveau show.
    5. "Nice Toms": The passing compliment I got from a girl on the subway in regards to the Toms shoes I was sporting. (For every pair you buy, Toms will give one pair away to a child who does not have shoes ... and rumor has it that the company is going to be doing a shoe drop soon.)
    6. Model before the Ekovaruhuset runway show commenting on how she hopes her nip doesn't slip in her itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny tiny organic cotton bikini.
    7. Plugging the plight of the Great Bear Rainforest (the largest contiguous coastal temperate rainforest in the world, just north of Vancouver, whose surrounding trees are often pulped for junk mail and magazines) at a speech in front of Hearst Corporation executives in NYC (the largest magazine publishing house).
    8. Galicia, a region in northwestern Spain known for its production of wind and solar energy, is bringing back sound textile manufacturing practices and becoming a breeding ground for more eco-conscious fashion labels.
    9. Getting compliments from the boat crew in the Great Bear Rainforest on my stylish (and very functional) recycled PET jacket shell from Nau. It rained every day for eight days straight. That jacket was really working hard for me!
    10. Talks of a "Not Made in China" label.

  • Eco-events all over the world

    There's a rash of "greener" fashion weeks popping up everywhere for the spring 2008 fashion season. And there must be an alignment of the stars or the higher workings of an omnipotent green god, because there is barely any overlap in dates. If you were so inclined, it would be possible for you to attend every single one of the shows listed below -- though the jet lag and carbon emissions from such an excursion might leave you feeling a bit ... restless.

    I'll be in Seattle, Paris, and New York, and maybe San Francisco, so please drop in and say hello if you are nearby.

    As enthusiasm for the green design movement continues to grow and the market becomes more robust and sophisticated, it is my (secret) hope to dethrone the Karl Lagerfelds of the world, who went on record to say, "If you want social justice, be a social worker."

    Down, down with the status quo. Hear, hear for revolution.