Honestly, until today I wasn’t familiar with the business model of a fashion week. I’m still not, but I did get the message that a truly Green Fashion Competition is an exception. This year’s Amsterdam International Fashion Week teamed up with the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation and allowed its catwalk to be dedicated to biodiversity for thirty minutes.
The show was neatly organized. Rosemount wine vouchers, green apples by OrganiceYourLife and crispy paper goodie-bags provided an adequate welcome. The models strolled, walked stiffly, or swayed their hips across the forty meters of white catwalk, on a variety of musical interludes. Eight finalists showed their work, ranging from classy, light feminine overalls in oceanic colors, voluminous winter-proof menswear and incredibly put-together pieces of open sandals and woolly socks materials to biodegradable sneakers, shown on a practically nude and spray-tanned Baywatch-model. Diverse it was, indeed. But bio?
Winners of the first and second prize won a respectable financial injection of €25.000 or €15.000. The first prize went to Elsien Gringhuis, who showed “how to combine couture fashion with sustainability”, whereas the second prize was awarded to two guys from the Technical University of Delft, who had researched for two years and engineered a stylish, and decomposable shoe under the start-up name OAT.
So, the biggest cash flow got into Elsien Gringhuis’ pocket, because she wonderfully interweaves complicatedly simple design with sustainably produced materials, showing us that sustainability is not a drawback for creativity or avant-garde aesthetics.
OAT represents a more technical side to sustainability in fashion. They prove that a product based on the principles of closing material cycles can be fashionable, too.
In that sense, the – diverse – Green Fashion Competition jury of a senior banker, former top model, policymaker, fashion journalist, sustainability consultant and a social entrepreneur – accidentally? – awarded an immaterial, as well as a more material and measurable take on green. And the competition gets a second chance, in 2012. But maybe green’s out of fashion by then.