Green sleeves: eco-fashion wins new ground

Fashionistas around the world will go green with envy, as RT surveys the latest trend sweeping Russia’s catwalks; eco-friendly clothing.

Although many fashion critics believe that combining couture with conservation is a dead end, Russian designer Lyudmila Narsayan does not.  She has faith in her vision to mix style with eco-friendly practices.

“In the first 25 years of our work, natural fabrics have dominated in fashion collections and textiles,” Lyudmila told RT. “The 21st century generation of fabrics started to appear eight or 10 years ago. I’ve been working with them since then. I like both synthetic and natural materials of a new generation because they are environmentally friendly. Their production is economical in terms of energy or water consumption and the chloride content in dyes.”

For her collections, Narsayan uses natural yarns from Switzerland and Austria, as well as polypropylene that wipes moisture away from the body and is recyclable.

“It has a thermal effect and a sanitary effect: for example, you can wear your pants for two weeks without washing,” the designer told RT. 

Two weeks of wear may put some off the idea but Narsayan is sure that there is a big future for this kind of style.

“In five, maybe 10 years, no more, these high technology yarns will come in mass market industry,” she said.

Apart from traditional fabrics, the designer even also teflon and even steel – Narsayan says it keeps shape very well.  

On a more conservationist note, there are other possibilities as well, their historical home in the Vologda region of Russia is trying to boost its use through festivals and exhibits.

“We want to show and to prove that linen is in fashion,” Nikolay Aleksov, President of Vologda Textile, told RT. “Linen clothes are comfortable and make great casual wear, but linen can also be used for party clothes and even cocktail dresses. It is important today to have as much linen in your house as possible. People spend a lot of time in their houses. Environmentally friendly, organic materials are in high demand, as the global trend towards health and healthy lifestyle is getting stronger.”

While Russia has been producing linen for centuries, the Zhanna Praskeva company has been working in this market since 1993.

The firm’s artists hand paint teh finished items, and wool is used in the winter collections. Nadezhda Klyamuris’ daughter, Tamara, designs, as Nadezhda sells wholesale throughout Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus.

“We buy it from the Kostroma region in the Russian North,” Klyamuris told RT. “This is an authentic Russian fabric which dates back to Slavic times. We take raw fabric and make a finished product. Then we boil the product to make it softer. Then we cover it with environmentally friendly natural dyes and apply hand painting to it. All our products are impeccably pure in environmental terms.”

The average retail price for an ordinary item ranges from $100 to $200. In the old days, only rich people could afford wearing linen, because it was difficult to come by.

Linen is no longer difficult to make and can be died  to beutifully brightly colored garments, so there is plenty to do with it.

The difficulty designers have is taking their creations and making them popular in the main stream, because essentially eco-friendly shoppers are shoppers. They want to fall in love with the fashion first. As soon as silks and other sexy fabrics can be replaced with eco friendly alternatives, the big designers are likely to use them – but not until then.

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