Monday, December 22, 2008



Words, Judith Ecochard, Imgaes courtesy of Paul Gerben

December 11th, 2009

Allsteel Inc. Showroom, Park Avenue South, New York

“Making conscience lifestyle choices is not a fad, nor a trend, but a shared responsibility for all of us as stewards of this planet to uphold”

A ‘green’ fashion industry mash-up last week- guaranteed a lively discussion on the current state of sustainable fashion- including words on the economic downturn’s impact on designers, retailers and consumer spending...and how the garment/textile industries can “create pathways towards” meaningful change.

We’ve met many of the dedicated professionals at this event prior-including the moderator Barbara Kramer, co-founder of the well attended bi-coastal tradeshow Designers & Agents (that includes the sustainable trade event, the “Green Market”),

Giusy Bettoni-a textile industry veteran who founded Creativity Lifestyle And Sustainable Synergy showrooms and resource centers of eco-textiles --- with Sandy MacLennan-himself a creative force in all things fabrics including Innovation Laboratory that develops unique textile pattern designs using the latest low impact digital printing techniques and eco-sensible inks imprinted on a wide range of organic cloths, eco designer and materials consultant Bahar Shahpar who partners with the aforementioned in The Four Hundred-an eco-design showroom, and activist/model/entrepreneur Summer Rayne Oakes.

Acknowledging, “that a change needs to take place – a change towards efficiency, innovation, and more responsible use of our resources…” the panel touched on issues such as the now willing consumer who gets the social and environmental issues of the 21st century, the “green” aspects of the manufacturing and delivery processes, including energy needs, innovative technological research practices, the adverse impact of the fashion biz on developing nations, and successful solutions that are out there- with respect to raw materials and packaging.

Mercifully, fashion forward and stylish garb abounds IMHO.

The challenge of affordability, especially in this economy… and availability of desirable sustainable/eco textiles – are the key issues manufacturers and designers now have to deal with.

Most interestingly for us was Rayne Oakes (collaborating with PAYLESS!!!) remarks on the creeping “boredom” of all things green, and the need to create a new vocabulary that excites the consumer. Given that many magazines have dropped their “green” issues …we think she hit on a new reality that hasn’t been talked about.

The ‘green washing’ phenomena of ‘talking the talk but not walking the walk’…was also noted…and the role media plays in sniffing out the fake claims.

And given the nationalities on the panel, the US vs. Europe’s long history of eco efforts and direct government incentives- were also discussed. Fittingly, Obama’s commitment to new energy efficiency was cheered.

Shahpar finished the panel with a fashionable blurb on how eco-textiles have evolved.
“You can see in weave and color and style and drape there are infinite possibilities and that is the change we hope to bring to the marketplace and completely debunk the myth that producing fabrics that are competitive, that are aesthetically beautiful, are high quality and technically perform well, that you cannot do it sustainability. The capability is there.”

And that makes us ☺.

FYI: Other participants, included Sergio Sessini of CadicaGroup a labels’manufacturer, Emanuele Bertoli of Italian based BerBrand that’s the sole company in the world producing
sustainable buttons in Mother of Pearl, and Paolo Garotta of Relight, a renewable energy developer, and Elinor Averyt of LEAF an organization setting the standards for putting a unifying labeling (certification) program into place..

SPECIAL THANKS: Beyond yummy ‘farm-to-table’ catering by Silkstone Bespoke Events-an environmentally friendly event producer founded by chef Ben Towill and party designer Phil Winser. Naturally, a compost bin and the bio-degradeable utensils used = nice touches.

ABOUT ALLSTEEL, Inc. (and we liberally quote from the press release)…
Allsteel designs, builds and delivers progressive and relevant workplace furniture solutions. Products are thoughtfully designed to solve real problems, and its members are resourceful and committed to addressing customers’ business and social goals. The company has Resource Centers in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, New York, San Francisco, Santa Monica, Washington, D.C., and Toronto, ON. For more information about Allsteel, visit

C.L.A.S.S. New York, USA
286 Spring Street, Suite 202, New York, NY 10013
Bahar Shahpar
PH +1 212 206 8319
C.L.A.S.S. Milan, Italy
Corso Venezia, 35, 20121 Milano
Giusy Bettoni
PH +39 0276018402
Antonio Lettieri
PH +39 0276018402
C.L.A.S.S. London, UK
1 Ezra Street, London E2 7RH
Sandy MacLennan
PH +44 020 7729 4749