At this year’s Sundance Film Festival, the stars of “Hustle & Flow” received sheepskin-soft scarves knitted by designer Linda Loudermilk. Her yarn of choice? Soda bottles.
Loudermilk created the scarves from a combination of recycled cashmere, cotton and EcoSpun, a fiber made from 100% recycled plastic bottles.
Why use environmental products? Designers say that the best reasons are the selfish ones.
Loudermilk declares a plaid fabric made from bamboo to be “like the best silk combined with the best wool you’ve ever touched,” while Carol Young at Undesigned calls her organic cotton “super fuzzy and soft.”
Nor is style suffering for sustainability. After years of showing in Paris, Loudermilk’s spring 2006 ready-to-wear collection hit New York’s runway at the recent Fashion Week.
Young’s Undesigned line will have its debut on Oct. 14 at Gen Art’s Fresh Faces in Fashion show, which kicks off Fashion Week in Los Angeles.
“There’s always been a designer who does a dress out of something like recycled trash bags,” says Loudermilk. “But it’s never been done to this extent. And it’s not granola, and it’s not Birkenstock.”
Here, five Los Angeles-based designers out to save the planet, one soy silk gown at a time.
Designer: Deborah Lindquist
The natural look: Hemp, organic cotton and bamboo. A recent collection by Lindquist, who’s dressed Charlize Theron and Gwen Stefani, reinvents vintage kimonos as floral-embroidered bustiers and corsets.
Eco-advantage: Lindquist says she loves the strange and beautiful details that each recycled piece brings to her creations. “Instead of getting a bolt of fabric that anyone down the block could buy, using recycled materials creates a more individual look.”
Where to buy:Fred Segal Fun, Planet Blue Essentials, Tracey Ross, deborahlindquist.com
Designer: Ashley Paige
The natural look: Known for her knits, Ashley Paige incorporates soy silks and organic cotton yarns into Brazilian-cut swimsuits and bikinis that have graced the beach-going bodies of Jennifer Lopez and Christina Aguilera.
Eco-advantage: “When I found out there was a soy silk yarn, I had to use it,” says Paige. “It’s so soft, way softer than pima cotton.”
Where to buy: Saks Fifth Avenue, Crush, Jigsaw, Tracey Ross
Designer: Linda Loudermilk
The natural look: From sasawashi (a Japanese leaf used to roll sushi) to soya (a silk-like soybean fiber), Loudermilk’s exquisitely earthy materials and designs have lured the likes of Debra Messing, Rosanna Arquette, Jennifer Beals and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Eco-advantage: “I find that the purity of these products creates a different feel and luxury,” says Loudermilk.
Where to buy: Crush, Heist, La Bella, Long Beach, luxuryeco.com
Label: Park Vogel
The natural look: To create their European-quality T-shirts requested by Jennifer Connelly and Kate Winslet for Todd Field’s upcoming “Little Children,” designers Julie Park and Vanessa Vogel use fabric from an energy-efficient Australian mill that helps curb air pollution by recycling its chemicals.
Eco-advantage: “This cotton has a bit more shine, so it works well with designer fashions,” says Vogel. “You can wear it to the office, out at night, or to bed.”
Where to buy: Bloomingdale’s, Anthropologie, American Rag, Fred Segal Trend, parkvogel.com
The natural look: Hipster-chic hemp denim skirts, recycled cotton knits and recycled soda bottle fleece.
Eco-advantage: Young recently started using fabric made from recycled T-shirts.
Where to buy: Undesigned, Ethel Rue de Mimo, undesigned.com.