Washington embassies and museums are embracing fashion’s growing eco-friendly green movement just in time for Earth Day.
The Embassy of Finland kicked off “Fabric Re:Defined” on Friday, an exhibition celebrating Finnish eco-design company Globe Hope. Globe Hope collections are made from recycled materials-Swedish military textiles, weathered sails, film reels, parachutes-though methods like dyeing, printing, and re-sewing to create new clothing and accessories, a practice commonly called “upcycling” in Europe. Popular items include jewelry made from electronic waste like old computer keys and crossbody bags sewn from airplane and automobile seat belts.
The company’s founder Ceo Seija Lukkala developed Globe Hope in 2003 to bring “quality ecologically aware fashion to people who value sustainable development.” Since then, the company has bought large quantities of military supplies, hospital bed sheets, and fabrics from non-operational Russian textile mills to produce new collections.
The exhibition highlights the repurposing branch of fashion’s green movement, popularized by do-it-yourself bloggers and the fashion industry’s growing focus on sustainability.
Melissa Massello, founder of Shoestring Magazine, an online green lifestyle magazine, thinks the recession has popularized the repurposing movement in fashion. “Repurposing was commonplace during the [Great] Depression, and artists have always repurposed trash to create art,” said Massello. “Now consumers and the fashion industry are embracing the practice for both environmental and economic reasons.”
The Textile Museum is also showcasing green repurposing exhibitions this month. On April 16th, the Museum will open “Green: the Color and the Cause” featuring the works of 32 contemporary artists who have incorporated recycled and sustainable materials into their artwork . The Museum is also showing “Second Lies: The Age-Old Art of Recycling Textiles” through January 12, 2012.