Monday, July 26, 2010


Hotel Adlon, Berlin Germany


Words, Images Judith Ecochard

Sustainable fashion and beauty products –means a lot of different things--- with a wide assortment of criteria that goes into earning that ‘eco” label.

We take the top down overview of the cradle to cradle aspects…that includes energy use, natural resource needs, carbon footprints of transport, packaging, how raw materials are sourced and used---etc. when it comes to what goes into a so-called green garment or “natural” skincare product.

From a purely design side of things, the “green” label gets tossed around fairly casually on both sides of the Pond, so-called green-washing.

On a positive note, ---the fabrics and talent that uses green materials has grown up in a way… seems not to make a huge difference when it comes to fashionista style.

And a whole lot of good looks were on display at this intimate runway show, sponsored by the GREEN SHOWROOM---a moniker for a short showcase of brands committed to some form of the eco or fair trade practices.

The catwalk was set-up in the glorious Hotel Adlon, an elegant throwback to 30’s Berlin, carefully restored to old-world elegance.

Divided into three show blocks (SINGLE OUTFIT, MINI COLLECTION, COLLECTION), there was an abundance of on trend, sale-able fashion and accessories on the models from 13 companies.

Afterwards, we had a chance to get a closer look at some of the items and chat with the designers/owners of the brand.

RoyalBLUSH’s Jana Keller (co-founder of GREENROOM with Magdalena Schaffrin with her eponymous collection)---is a modern collection of accessories and jewelry made in European factories (short shipping, less CO2).

Standouts are the plush leather bags with braided trim, deeply vegetable tanned with bark and roots, instead of caustic chemicals.

The haulers are lined with bio-cotton using recycled leather rests for support.

LOVE: A bracelet made from Nanai salmon leather, a material that acquires a rich patina with age--- from fish skins sourced from bio salmon farms in Ireland is another winner.

TOP PICK FOR SAFE FASHION ACCESSORY: After briefly cruising by the Fashion Helmet exhibit at Bread & Butter---we were happy to see this hand-crafted, made in Italy collection (all with E3 omologation) safely laid out here.

We chatted with the Italian Massimo Lonigro, the founder (since 2004) who was rightfully proud of his current inventory ---

--- (FYI: The company is in the process of meeting USA guidelines for helmets---so they can sell here---they already meet the strict European standards.).

It was all very cool--- we admired the classic style, old-school looks---agreeing, “too much tech is too much.” (Though the tech part really is hidden---it’s the construction that’s 21st century).

ADDED PLUS: Liners made from breathable, anti-allergy linings…exteriors made with colors and graphics we’d love to top any outfit we own.

One helmet is very eco---the neat looking head covering made from the plant derived plastic Inego® (we’ve written about this material prior and are thrilled it is being used a lot).

RED HOT: The Scarlett Johansson Helmet.

CURIOUS: We are convinced that oftentimes, there are totally different companies (license arrangements) for the same named labels ---in Europe and the USA. How else to explain the huge gap in design quality.

Fashion Helmets have done special limited editions for the likes of Tommy Hilfiger etc---all vegetable dyed, leather numbers that are so nice.

Sold in Europe at the hippest boutiques in Amsterdam, Naples Milan, etc…the website has the shop list 


GREEN AGE is a modern looking collection of handmade, natural jewelry using the finest eco materials from Colombia, South America.

We saw some striking examples made from the native Tagua nut, really a palm seed from the rain forest, sourced from a fair-wage local cooperative. Amazingly this nut has the look and feel of ivory. Even the peel is used---“nothing is wasted.”

LUXURY FAIRCRAFT® is the brainchild of Lukardis von Studnitz, a well traveled, German born individual who has literally sourced the world for beautiful, high-quality items that ooze subtle luxury These select items, “not for label Queens”---are from craftspeople who she feels---makes their products, ethically with eco sound practices, and pay fair wages.

We loved the selection on display, including a highly lacquered, (12-14 layers) worth (from a tree, btw) duck shell that takes on a whole new life.

Other examples of smalls fro  ”a rich cultural heritage… and transferred to our western world” include luxe shagreen boxes, laboriously hand drilled Ostrich eggs from Namibia---with a very modern looking archaic design pattern, 

super soft hand woven cashmere from Nepal, feather-weight light soapstones from Thailand---shaped as leaves…and some delicate embroideries stitched by Syrian and Palestinian women---who toil away in home based, a necessity, given their restrictive lives.

Anika Organic Luxury is a new approach to luxury---a luxury that is re-interpreted in a sustainable way.

Beginning right off with the eye-catching packaging, made of FSC certified paper, and printed with organic inks that are free of mineral oils. 

And to some they wouldn’t matter except the mesmerizing, lush swirling pattern of the box is simply stunning…and the heft of the box and inserts is as eye catching as any high end spa collection we have ever seen/felt.

We tried out the Eye Serum, in a solid recycled glass vessel that has a top that automatically closes after a small pump---genius--- so not a drop is wasted.

The eye serum smells divine (distilled Moroccan rose water-)-- and unlike most under eye products we try, or avoid, there was no burn after application. One drop under each eye---- readily absorbed…

What really wowed us even more---the ingredients…that prevent pre-mature aging and stimulate new cell in...

Soothing organic aloe vera, guarana (loaded with natural anti-oxidants/caffeine), licorice root, seed oils like strawberry, natural vitamin E  …raw materials all freshly sourced from the actual source--- from indigenous people…

AND: Given the authentically GREEN modus operandi of the company, not some pre-packaged “lifestyle” machine---every little aspect is thought out for its impact-like 100% renewable energy…

The line includes body and perfume that are also as rarified in terms of composition…and is used by top spas throughout Europe. 

Live ensemble pleasant