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September: A Month for Fashion, Climate and Connection

by Marie Heffernan

September marks the start of the fall season, a season of change. September is also the time for both fashion week and climate week in NYC. So it’s no wonder the past month was filled with many exciting eco fashion events, where connection with sustainably minded change makers flourished.

I was lucky enough to attend a few of these events, and I have to say one of the things I love most about eco-friendly and ethical fashion, is the community of incredible individuals who support it. This September I attended the Esabitchin’ event put on by Esa, the fashion show launch of Livari, and “Bridge to a Sustainable Future: A Jazzy Rooftop Marketplace” which was put on by Dopper.

A. Bernadette
A. Bernadette

Esabitchin’ was a great way to kick off fashion week. Willa Tsokanis and Julia Valencikova created an event specifically to showcase and celebrate brands who are creating change through eco-friendly and ethical design practices. The event took place at Zen House in the lower east side, which was such a beautiful green space to host designers AMA NWOKE, Rosina Mae Swim, A. Bernadette, Spratters & Jayne, and Zero Waste Daniel. The designers had their looks showcased on models, who lounged in the beautiful space, and interacted with party goers creating an event with a casual, relaxed atmosphere centered on connection. At Esabitchin’ I got the chance to reconnect with designer friends and see their current collections, as well as discover new brands doing exciting things in the world of sustainable fashion.


Left: Zero Waste Daniel, Right: Rosina Mae Swim

AMA NWOKE
Mid-fashion week, Livari launched with a spectacular show, in collaboration with IVY at KiaStyle360. The show began with a video by their carbon offset partner, Cool Effect, whose scientists individually vet certain projects worldwide based on their ability to offset carbon and cool down the planet. After we learned a bit about the ways we can help offset carbon, we were treated to a beautiful performance by Frida Sundemo. Just before the models sashayed down the runway, we were shown another video and got a sneak peek into the upcycling and zero waste design process of Livari. Livari is designed by Claudine DeSola, Alysia Reiner, and Tabitha St. Bernard-Jacobs. The energy of this show was truly that of women’s empowerment and diversity. One of the most beautiful capes, woven from offcut fabric remnants, was paired beautifully with a bright red hijab. Another model showed off her Livari look accompanied by her baby, showing that women can mother, work, and look fabulous while doing so. Quite a few of the looks were versatile, providing different outfits from the same garment. My favorite example of this was a red pleated evening gown that transformed into a shorter cocktail dress with the removal of the outer skirt. This is the type of innovation that I love, which will bring a new mindset to shopping. Having a few key pieces to be worn in various ways will hopefully become the new normal. After the show, the designers invited the audience to come and see the clothes up close and chat with the models and ask the designers questions about the collection. Yet again, the eco fashion brand focuses on embracing connection with others.

Livari
Fashion week was followed up by climate week with a great rooftop event “Bridge to a Sustainable Future” put on by Amer Jandali from Dopper, with help from Richelle Rice, at Starrett-Lehigh Building in Chelsea. The event was inspired by Dopper’s founder, Merijn Everaarts’ vision to recreate the BrooklynBridge using plastic bottles to show the impact single use plastic has on the planet. On the way up to the rooftop, there was a pop up shop for showcasing eco-friendly designers and organizations. SatNam Babe, Malaika, Minan Wong, Noorism, The Regeneration Magazine, Co2 Logic, Sunrise Movement, Surfrider Foundation, Suyo, Hack Trash NYC, and Lightfoot Market were just some of the vendors exhibiting at the event. After catching up with old friends and new at the pop up shop, I made my way to the roof, where I happily soaked in the stunning September sunset among the green rooftop garden and party goers. I enjoyed fresh fruit infused water and a salad from Ancolie, while meeting new people and learning about their projects and passions around sustainability. As I chatted there were performances going on by the Kennedy Administration and Natchie. The event ended in the best way possible, with lots of dancing under the city lights and night sky. 

Bridge to a Sustainable Future
Attending eco and ethical fashion events is one of the best ways to learn more about the ways to make a positive impact through fashion. It’s also a great way to connect with people for developing ideas and future collaborations. The events are always a lovely time, but the most valuable part are the connections made, and recognizing that we are not alone in our search for an eco-friendly, ethical, fashionable future.


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