Eco-Fashion Goes Couture

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Green looks like it will continue to be fashion's new black in 2008. And as environmental concerns escalate, it sure feels good to be able to indulge in a cute new dress or a pair of shoes without any fear of hurting Mother Earth.

There are a few easy ways to shop and dress “green.” You can buy new clothing from an eco-fashion company that uses organic fibers or other earth-friendly materials. You can also buy gently used clothes from thrift stores, consignment shops or even off of Craigslist. By reusing clothing, you can keep it out of the landfills and find some unique looks at the same time.

But when it comes to eco-friendly haute couture, the coolest thing I’ve seen in a long time caught my eye in the Albuquerque airport, of all places, which is displaying a fashion exhibit called “Recycle Runway.” As a lover of both runway fashion and recycling, I was definitely intrigued.

Santa Fe-based artist and fashion designer Nancy Judd started the project as a way to “raise the consciousness of the public about the benefits of recycling,” she explains. Judd works with large corporations such as Toyota, Target and Coke to get commissions for specific outfits using recycled items from their product lines, and has created more than a dozen intricately tailored and beautiful looks from some pretty unlikely materials. Her Toyota dress is made from convertible soft tops and electrical wire, and her Coke dress uses post-consumer cans cut up into tiny shapes and sewn into a strikingly elaborate pattern. She’s even created dresses out of crushed glass and plastic bags.

While Judd’s dresses are more like works of art than anything you would realistically wear (which, come to think of it, is the case with most haute couture), they certainly catch your eye. And by taking a closer look, you’ll be amazed at how gorgeous something that was once destined for the landfill can become.

The Albuquerque exhibit came down last week, but rumor has it that Judd is in negotiations to showcase her work at airports in several more cities, and Denver just might be one of them. Keep your fingers crossed. And in the meantime, check out Judd’s dresses and learn about recycling and reusing materials at her website, www.recyclerunway.com. -- Aubrey Shoe


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