It was a very vert afternoon when a who’s who of the industry gathered for a quick lunch at The Modern in Midtown. The reason for the nosh? To unveil the winner of the fifth annual CFDA/Lexus Eco-Fashion Challenge Luncheon. Despite a delicious menu, the real highlight of the day was the winners of the $75,000 prize; Katie deGuzman and Michael Miller of K/LLER Collection. Their socially conscious collection of baubles involves the use of recycled metals and tapping into resources that come from family-run businesses. Also receiving honors (and a $5,000 prize) were the two runner ups, Reformation’s Yael Aflalo and Study NY’s Tara St. James. However, the remaining nominees and their environmentally friendly designs were still celebrated through a touching video, which included Aurora James from Brother Vellies, Christoph Frehsee of Amour Vert, Laura Siegel, and Blair Lauren Brown. The committee responsible for selecting the winners included FIT’s Sass Brown, Maria Cornejo, Julie Gilhart, Scott Mackinlay Hahn of Rogan and Loomstate, Melissa Joy Manning, Lisa Smilor from the CFDA, and Parson’s Timo Rissanen.
With all the green chatter going on, we wondered what industry insiders really thought of the phrase ec0-friendly. “It just doesn’t sound very sexy, does it? People buy things because they are good not because they’re eco. But if you can combine the two together, it’s amazing,” mused keynote speaker Maria Cornejo. “I think the phrase is a little tired,” said Amber Valletta. “I don’t call my online store [Master & Muse] an eco-store; I prefer a responsibly-made fashion store.” While James of Brother Vellies noted: “I think the term gets a bad rap when it comes to fashion; people are like ‘Is it crunchy?’ For us, the number one priority is making an amazing collection that can sit on the shelf with any other brand.” Regardless of whether you opt for the phrase green, eco-chic, or environmentally responsible, a socially conscious choice is always in vogue.