It’s that time of year again! Redress Raleigh’s annual fashion show has come and gone and I am still in awe of the craftsmanship and talent of the 2016 designers. Redress Raleigh is a local non-profit organization dedicated to promote eco-friendly fashion practices while simultaneously promoting local and independent designers. I had the wonderful pleasure of going to one of their conferences in 2013 and fell in love instantly with the work they were doing. So many of the designers and organizations they work with do such impactful work, for the environment and the community. Redress Raleigh has a great variety of events and social gatherings to encourage people to “give a damn” (one of their actual goals on their website) about sustainable methods for fashion and textiles, while also making fashion more engaging. From conferences and fashion shows to clothing swaps and meet n’ greets, there’s a lot of amazing things this organization is doing.
And their fashion shows are always a big hit! This summer’s fashion show was just spectacular. This year, the event was held at CAM (the Contemporary Art Museum) in Raleigh and featured six incredible designers. Each collection was unique and beautiful, and the quality of the designs was outstanding. Each designer incorporated some kind of ecologically friendly practice into their designs and, unique to this year, they all completed a mentoring program that educated them on the “business and manufacturing aspects of responsible fashion.” This year I had the privilege of sitting in the front row where I got to experience the designs up close.
To read the designers’ bios, click here!
Designer: Mary Ashlyn Thomas
Used mainly silk and organic cotton
Designer: Timothy Cohen
Used eco-fabric printed by the company Spoonflower
Designer: Katina Gad
Used 100% organic and naturally dyed cotton from a women’s organization in Guatemala
Designer: Juliana Fadl
Used natural dyes on hand woven cotton
I had the privilege of speaking with two of the designers, Ashley Mason and Piper Honigmann, about their collections and what made them interested in eco-friendly fashion.
Designer: Ashley Mason
Ashley started working at Spoonflower about two years ago and would sew the majority of her own clothes. She got great positive responses from coworkers, friends, and even strangers about her creations. She knew of Redress Raleigh and was inspired by their efforts to “try and change the landscape of fashion from the inside.” Ashley’s collection for the show was inspired by the late seventies/ Studio 54 era where feminine power and strength shone through. Her designs encourage women to love their bodies and to be confident with their own style. The pieces are meant to be interchangeable so clients can mix and match to create different looks. Many of Ashley’s garments use fabric printed by Spoonflower, and two of the jackets she designed are “dyed by hand, using recycled yardage that the factory produces as part of its’ printing processes.”
Designer: Piper Honigmann
Piper started her college career as a biology major at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, but realized that what she truly loved was fashion design, a hobby she had since she was a little girl. She followed her passion to the Savannah College of Art and Design where she got her degree. Piper has always been concerned about the environment, and after living on a sailboat with her daughter for a few years she witnessed just how bad plastic waste was in our waterways. This experience helped her decide to make her collection out of “natural fiber textiles and, better yet, local and organic.” She chose to use fabric from a local company in Asheville, North Carolina called Spiritex. Piper chose fabrics from their online distributor, Organic Cottons Plus, and started with fabrics that met her sustainability requirements. Piper wants her designs to be available to more than just those who can afford the high price of a lot of sustainable garments, saying “I want everybody to choose local organic biodegradable options, so I’m trying to make my clothes accessible.”