* NY Fashion Week aims to be carbon neutral
* Going green now seen as mainstream, chic
By Rebekah Kebede
NEW YORK, Feb 17 New York Fashion Week is the
place to spot new trends and, if this season's event is any
indication, going green is definitely in style.
Sponsor Mercedes-Benz aimed for the semi-annual event to be
carbon neutral for the first time, and several of the
designers unveiling fall and winter 2010 collections
emphasized organic materials and sustainable designs.
Mercedes-Benz said it bought enough carbon offsets to have
net zero carbon emissions at the huge tents erected in
Manhattan's Bryant Park, where many of the shows are staged and
require power and heat.
"Fashion is using a lot of fuel and heat. It's a win-win
all around," said Fern Mallis, senior vice president of IMG
Fashion which organizes the event.
Some observers noted a greener Fashion Week is a sign that
ecological consciousness is no longer a fringe interest.
"This whole issue of sustainability has become very
mainstream now," said Patti Pao, founder of the New York
City-based market research firm Pao Principle.
"It's become something that is sort of chic and OK to talk
about, and so the fashion industry has embraced that and has
really taken that cause ... under their wing," she said.
SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS CLOTHING
Green chic was evident on the runways, where designers
showcased sustainable design from the recycled metal jewelry of
Native American Maria Samora to c. marchuska's ecologically and
socially conscious clothing line.
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection
partnered with Aveda, maker of skin and hair products, to help
reduce consumption of bottled water by setting up tap water
stations for Fashion Week attendees.
The green effort was not without its critics.
Dahlia Algunaim, visiting Fashion Week from her home in
California, said she was puzzled by most of the tap water
stations that were located several blocks from the shows and
posed a painful walk for someone like her, clad in tall boots.
"I wouldn't walk six blocks to have tap water... not in
these shoes," she said.
RUM, COOKIES, DRY SHAMPOO
Others suggested designers send invitations via email,
rather than paper, and noted many of the goodies given free to
attendees probably end up as trash.
This season, the Mercedes-Benz goodie bag contained a
keychain, tiny bottles of rum, cookies, dry shampoo, an iron, a
suitbag, earbuds, a bottle of nasal sanitizer and a stain
remover kit, among other things.
"I just don't pick them up because I just know that it's
going to go to waste," said Erica Allen, an assistant at BCBG.
(Additional reporting by Ellen Wulfhorst and Michelle
Nichols; Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Cynthia Osterman)