Over the last few weeks, Ecouterre's Lori Zimmer and Clifford Champion have been on top of some awesome news in the world of men's sustainable fashion. Here's a breakdown: • New Balance unleashes newSKY, a shoe made from 95% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles. Drew Speith, lead designer says “A typical shoe has a lot of different types of materials. What’s really interesting about this is, aside from the foam and the little rubber components [on the outsole] and a little bit of water based glue, the only material here is the recycled fabric.”
• Armani Exchange alum Lucio Castro tries his hand at eco fashion. While there are a few vegan options available in the collections, I find it interesting that Castro included animal's skins since the collection is named after the line from The Smiths' song "Ask":" Nature is a language, can't you read?" Morrisey is a vegetarian and would never wear leather.
From Lucio Castro's website:
The Spring-Summer 2012 collection called "Nature is a language, can't you read"*, is inspired by Fernand Deligny (1913-1996), a French filmmaker and experimental educator. Deligny's studies on teenager outcasts influenced many artists and directors such as François Truffaut and his film "The 400 Blows". The collection was developed following Deligny's theory of an "elevated simplicity", which calls for a strong observational spirit in order to appreciate the intricate complexities in nature). Deligny created a strong textural language by portraying human beings, animals, landscapes, objects and clothes with equal importance within the frame and the narrative.
I love the design elements, but I also long for the day that "eco" designers come to terms with the fact that leather and wool can never be eco on a large scale, as livestock production, especially wool-producing sheep and cows used for both cheap and "fine" leathers, cause many of the worst environmental problems from GHGs to water pollution, erosion, and resource consumption. And that's without even considering the horrible cruelties involved. Leather is never "eco", even if it is greenwashed in "vegetable" tannins. Animals are not simply sources of textiles, they are living beings like you or I who'd probably prefer to keep their skin.
That being said, it is still exciting that Lucio Castro and other powerful fashion players are beginning to "speak the language of nature", although it make take a while to become more fluent.