Despite economic woes, limited finances and more expensive materials, eco fashion is a category that keeps on growing. Like organic food, many people (both designers and clothes-lovers) are realizing that traditional textile manufacture creates a host of environmental and human rights issues that are becoming harder and harder to ignore. Local manufacturing, reuse of materials, upcycling, and sustainable fabrics (like organic cottons and wools, recycled polyester, peace silks, alpaca and bamboo) are just some of the most popular fabrics that can be created with less energy, less waste and less pollution.

 

Dying techniques that rely on natural colors (or at least those that aren't made with water-polluting heavy metals) and hardware that's made from vintage and recycled materials are some of the other ways designers are going green — even at New York's Fashion Week. Check out some of these designers from the last couple of days in NYC. 

 

Assembly New York's first line for women incorporated alpaca (a lower-impact animal than sheep) knits — above — and terracotta-dyed organic cotton, for a collection that was very earthy-urban. See more of the Assembly NY show at Eco Chick. (Photo: Starre Vartan) 

Crop by David Peck saw the designer using digitally printed lightweight silks that were imported from a fair trade collective in India and sewn in the designer's hometown of Houston, Texas. See more of Crop by David Peck at Ecosalon. (Photo courtesy Jessica Marati/Ecosalon) 

John Patrick Organic has been featured in the mainstream press, including Vogue, more times that I can remember. He uses all-natural fabrics like organic cottons and wools, and contrasts his more classic, simple pieces with prints like those above for his F/W 2012 collection. See more of the John Patrick Organic show at Ecouterre. (Photo courtesy Jasmin Malik Chua/Ecouterre) 

Costello Tagliapietra is also a mainstream fashion press fave, and the team has won several awards for its use of the nonpolluting, revolutionary Air Dye technology, which is a closed-loop dye system. See more of the Costello Tagliopietra show at Ecosalon. (Photo courtesy Jessica Marati/Ecosalon) 

Gretchen Jones' always-intriguing, sustainable and unique fabrics were set off by a geology/desert theme at her highly creative show. See more Gretchen Jones coverage at Eco Chick. (Photo: Starre Vartan) 

 

Designer Titania Inglis is the most recent winner of the Ecco Domani Sustainability Award. Her collection of punk-meets-princess for F/W 2012 was a sharp contrast to many other designers soft, pretty-pretty materials. See more Titania Inglis coverage at Ecouterre. (Photo courtesy Jasmin Malik Chua/Ecouterre) 

 

Maria Patmos has been creating high-end knits for stores like Barney's for years now; her most recent effort is, according to Ecosalon, "incorporating handwork techniques from women’s artisan collectives in Nepal and Bolivia, as well as zero-waste seamless knitting technology from Japan." See more from M. Patmos at Ecosalon. (Photo courtesy Jessica Marati/Ecosalon) 

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