Eco-fabulous fashion from waste
London - Forget the animal-unfriendly fur coat and the painted-on pants made from polluting petroleum-based products. A runway show in Copenhagen on Wednesday aimed to show that "green styles" - some of them stitched in fabrics made from recycled agricultural or industrial waste - can be just as fashionable.
Held at Copenhagen's Opera House - across the Danish capital from where delegates from 192 countries are gathered to hammer out an agreement aimed at stemming global warning - the display brought together 20 designers from five Nordic countries and representatives of such retailing heavyweights as H&M and Barneys.
Designers each presented two looks made from organic cottons and silks, polyesters made from recycled plastic bottles or new fabrics made from waste left over from industry and agriculture.
Never heard of Crabion? It's made from by-products from the crab industry. And Ingeo? It's made out of corn scraps and can be made to mimic the smoothness of silk or the glossy sheen of PVC. Ditto, Milkfibre, which, you guessed it, is milled milk: from the powder left over from boiled milk, more precisely.
"It was an exercise to show that you can replace traditional textiles with innovative new ones that are being made in mills in Japan and Italy and that are less polluting," said Stine Hedegaard of the Danish Fashion Institute, the organiser of Wednesday's display - which doubled as a design contest. A jury of fashion insiders judged the show's 40 looks and attributed a prize of $6 720.
Finland's Saara Lepokorpi took the award for an asymmetrical cocktail dress in muted gray tones with what appeared to be panels of ruched silk, though organiser Hedegaard said Lepokorpi made her two looks from organic wool, Ingeo and Milkfiber.
"They were really nice materials to use and I intend to use them again," gushed Lepokorpi.
Other looks included an oversized, joker-collared wind-breaker in a green and black print that mimicked graffiti tags and a cocktail dress in iridescent purple with a strappy bodice that looked like the model was getting a bear hug from an octopus.
"The fashion industry is full of good ideas and creative people, people who are always ahead of time," said Denmark's Australian-born Crown Princess Mary, who delivered the prize. "It is an industry that picks up on and mirrors the developments in our society."
The show attracted nearly 700 guests, Hedegaard said.