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BioModa: Ecologically-conscious fashion gets attention with wild designs

Colombian design institute uses live plants - yes, live plants - in a competition-fashion show to stress the need to switch to sustainable materials, Ahram Online highlights innovators

Ahram Online , Tuesday 29 Nov 2011
BioFashion Habitat
Cali, Colombia, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2011. The eco-friendly fashion show showcased designs made with organic elements such as leaves, seeds, flowers and natural fibers, among others.( AP Photo)
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Sunday a competition held by a shopping plaza, Jardín Plaza, in Cali, Colombia, is a reminder to the fashion world that the earth is number one. “Preservation” is their mantra and making “Live Clothing,” is their aim.

As part of the BioFashion Habitat’s fourth fashion competition and runway show, students from the San Buenaventura University and the Professional Sketching Academy put their creativity to work, inspired by nature itself:

Orchids, mushrooms, vines, corn leaves, feathers: everything was natural and not processed. In fact, once worn, they can be returned to nature to decompose, per the cycle of life. Ok, so it's not actually wearable unless you live in Hawai'i but it certainly does make it's point.

And, of course, this isn’t the first, and won’t be the last eco-friendly fashion show (see link at end).

Sustainable fashion should include organic materials, clean production methods, natural fibres, recycling of materials, fair trade, energy conservation and any other methods to reduce the impact on mother earth.

That means avoiding polyesters and gravitating towards materials such as hemp and bamboo (which can be very soft).

One such creative mind is Anke Domaske, a fashion designer that won the 2011 innovation award from Germany's Textile Research Association. She used her biochemistry background to create a material out of milk proteins.

One benefit over cotton is that it takes much less water to make than her invention, qmilch (quality + the German word for milk).

For people with sensitive skin and allergies, qmilch is a soothing relief.

Finally, she stresses she only uses discarded milk. The “discarded” part is important because there have been controversial breakthroughs where, for instance, crops can be turned into fuel to power motor vehicles... but that pits fuelling cars against feeding people. A dangerous choice to be made: feed a poor continent food or a rich one fuel?

Fortunately, there is also a site that promotes ethical fashion that highlights and awards designers with a conscience. First, take a look at the Ethical Fashion Show.

Also this year, the Ethical Fashion Forum site lists the Innovations USA and UK 2011 winners, with the highly ecological winners being: Soham Dave, Eko, who rely on eco-friendly, sustainable materials, while Caipora makes beautiful jewellery of natural or recycled materials.

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Click here to read about politically-minded designers at the Dubai Fashion Week

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