Project Earth Day Fashion Show in NYC

By Olivia Zaleski and Starre Vartan

The above video, filmed by Brian Clark Howard, with Olivia Zaleski as host and Starre Vartan as producer, was recorded the night before the fashion show. Check it out to hear from some of the designers who showed their stuff, as well as learn about the sustainable aspects of the show’s set design.

NEW YORK, Thursday, April 19th – Who knew organic cotton, hemp, and recycled soybean fiber could be so hot? Well, we at Eco Chick had a pretty good idea, but thanks to EGBNY’s Project Earth Day Fashion Show, the rest of the world is catching on. The show featured two sections: a student-design competition, and a local NYC eco-designers showcase, proving once and for all that green is beautiful, sexy, and fashion-forward, not frumpy.

Amber Nelson
Set & runway designer Amber Nelson
Image by Starre Vartan

Organized by EGBNY (which stands for Emerging Green Builders New York, and is part of the national US Green Building Council), and co-sponsored by Teknion, Green Drinks, and 02NYC, the event pulled out all the green stops by reducing, reusing, and recycling on all levels, including a sustainable runway made from 100% recycled plastics, re-using shipping pallets (which will be returned to the warehouse after the show), and modular carpet samples made from recycled fibers. Even the hardware securing the runway was salvaged.

Project Earth Day fashion show coordinator Molly Garretson says, “EGBNY wanted to host a fun annual event to celebrate Earth Day and to encourage learning, networking, and sharing new ideas about green interior design and eco-fashion.” Mission certainly accomplished!

Part One: The Student Competition

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The winning student design, by Xay Xiong
Image by Josh Wiese

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Second-place winner from designer Kacie Rushton
Image by Josh Wiese

pants detail
Rear detail of Rushton’s recycled polyester pants and hemp jacket
Image by Starre Vartan

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Third-place winner Jennifer Kim’s futuristic creation
Image by Josh Wiese

red dress
Red Dress
Image by Starre Vartan

back red dress
Back of Red Dress
Image by Starre Vartan

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An Honorable Mention went to for this Chanel-print-inspired coat by Caroline Hur.
Image by Josh Wiese

garbage bag dress
Dress made with recycled fabrics and a bodice woven from a plastic bag

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Student designers with their models
Image by Starre Vartan

The judges’ table (from L to R): Jennifer Busch of Contract Magazine, Randy Fahey of Gensler, Christian Larsen from MoMA, Jill Danyelle, of FiftyRX3 (and a designer herself) and Margaret Lydecker of GreenDrinksNYC.
Image by Starre Vartan

Part Two: Local NYC Eco-Fashion Designers

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Bahar Sharpar dress

AuH2O 2
AuH2O reworked top (from men’s pants) and skirt
Image by Josh Wiese

AuH2O 1
AuH2O restructured/recycled dress
Image by Josh Wiese

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Doie dress
Image by Josh Wiese

Ekhovarhuset 1
Dress from Ekhovarhuset
Image by Josh Wiese

Ekovarhuset 2
Dress from Ekhovarhuset
Image by Josh Wiese

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Yellow Loyale frock
Image by Josh Wiese

nyc d 1
Image by Josh Wiese

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Image by Josh Wiese

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Image by Josh Wiese

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Men’s organic cotton denim jumpsuit
Image by Josh Wiese

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Charcoal Hemp Suit
Image by Josh Wiese

For more pictures, check out the Flickr photostream.
For more coverage, go to Inhabitat

About Olivia Zaleski


  1. Great job on the eco-fashion show report, but come on…leather isn’t “harvested.” Here’s how they get the stuff. They raise some cows, who eat lots of stuff people could eat. They fart greenhouse gases, They defecate in the ground water. When they’re done doing that, they get carted off to a slaughter house with other terrified beasts crowded onto the back of a truck. When they get there, they herded into pens, scared shitless (more crap in the ground water), and smacked on the head so they’re semi-conscious. After that their heads are chopped off and their skins are torn off their bodies. There’s blood everywhere, amidst the bellowing of terrified animals who know they’re next. If you believe that’s harvesting, then you also buy the idea that Applebees a nice family run neighborhood restaurant.

  2. Good point, Michael. Plenty of people in the eco-design world believe that vegetable-tanned leather is a more eco-friendly option than plastic, or PVC (which many bags and belts are made of), which from my research, seems to be true, but certainly doesn’t get around the animal-treatment issues. When I told the owner of Entermodal that I would never buy one of his bags since I’m vegetarian, he said (I’m paraphrasing here) “We don’t want to convince people who don’t wear leather to buy our stuff. But if someone IS going to buy leather (and certainly, people will continue to do so as long as they’re eating meat) then we want them to buy a bag like ours, that will last for 50 years or more, and is as eco-friendly in its production as possible.” (as highlighted in the video)

    Even though I’m not a huge leather fan, I’d rather see people buying something like one of these bags, one time, than going through 10 bags that pollute the environment (tanning leather is a water-pollution monster) and create more greenhouse gas emissions in their lifecycles in the same amount of time.

    Vegans can love the beautiful bags from Mad Imports, which were made from sustainably-harvested plants (and are such fun designs).

  3. There’s always sustainable organic hemp as an alternative to PVC – no greenhouse gases, no cruelty, no junk.

  4. Thanks for such a great post! Beautiful pictures and video- Olivia and Starre are amazing eco-chicks. And if there are any more pictures could you link to them? Thanks! Peace, Kate AuH2O

  5. These designs look lovely. And enough about “eco chic doesn’t have to mean frumpy.” No apologies needed. I’ve seen plenty of polyester and traditionally manufactured frump in my day. Just look at Hillary and Condi and Laura Bush and….

  6. Mike Frieze says:

    Hey! Great shots. The second to last picture shows a male model but doesn’t credit the bag he’s carrrying.

    It’s a ‘sustainable leather’ bag by Entermodal, if you’re wondering. Check for info on the world’s most rocking eco-friendly bags.

  7. Starre,

    Starre, it’s Tami minnesota mom here, who appreciates keeping up on things here at ecochick! looking for a way to share some green news, not directly fashion related. it’s the real deal. People can make a difference by using chemical free gardening and lawncare practices, whether they are in apartments in New York City or ocean front in San Francisco. I’d like to share more on an educationally founded productline we have discovered, what’s the best way? thank you for taking a quick peak and giving it your open mind! you can look great gardening too!


    Tami Molitor

  8. Pingback: Coverage of Project Earth Day fashion show--

  9. These are some pretty amazing clothes! Thanks for putting these up. Must spread the word that being green DOES equal looking good!

  10. Joshua Wiese says:

    More pics of Project Earth Day here:

    and of the Earth Day Swap-o-rama rama at NYU here:


    MtvU is searching for a college student that would like to partner up with a big name for a major cause — saving the Earth. Dedicated to conserving the environment? Tell us what you have done so far and why you would like to work on a new planet friendly project at [email protected].

    Please type EcoActivist in the subject line and include your name, college and year.

  12. Hi there,

    I am a stylist interested in getting samples from the following designers: Caroline Hur, Loyale and Ekhovarhuset- do they have a website or PR contact?

    thanks so much

  13. Great posting! Lets hope more people get into eco-fashion.

  14. Great pictures and ideas 😉

    As long as there are great ideas, and alternatives of textiles, more people will be switching over.

  15. Caroline Hur says:

    “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.”

    ~ Albert Einstein

  16. I am a huge fan of the Entermodal messenger bags. If anyone is interested I found them for sale online at Actually they have a lot of cool stuff there.

  17. Congratulations, Xay. I have not seen you for a long time. Just like big sis, huh? Don’t be a stranger.

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