Thursday, March 26, 2009

GREEN FASHION by homeless designers!

What if someday being decked from head to toe in the latest trends and carrying around a copy of Vogue could send a message to the world that you are green, sustainable, sweatshop free and committed to helping your community?

Fashion gets criticized for being superficial, but people like Lauren Hope Silverstein see the potential it has to be anything but.

Silverstein, who designs for a leading fashion house, recently met with Reciprocity students to discuss green fashion and design.

The general feeling in the room was that while we all want to give back and carefully use our precious natural resources, nobody wants to sacrifice on style, and nobody has to.

For young, homeless designers, this conversation was particularly important. Having experienced so much difficulty, these youth know that in order to feel good about their contributions, they want their work to tell their stories and help others.

The reassurance that designing the perfect pair of jeans has the possibility to send a positive message of awareness and change, and keep the planet healthy, further inspired these already motivated young adults.

Reciprocity has been offering training in green and socially responsible start-ups since 2004, long before the trend truly took off, but as Terry Swack of Sustainable Minds pointed out "the challenge is the lack of accessible, easy to use information that design teams can integrate into their processes to design greener products."

Reciprocity is helping to bridge that gap, and by asking practical questions, Reciprocity students are pushing industry professionals to articulate just how we can all work together to make this trend the standard.

Silverstein, for example, is offering students guidance on portfolios, and recently led a Reciprocity project that resulted in the creation of a chic, eye-catching, green, organic, sweatshop-free tote bag, sales of which benefit programming for homeless youth. Now that is one multi-tasking accessory!
Written by Sarah Autumn Feeley

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