Yesterday's Thursday Styles section in The New York Times featured "Uncruel Beauty," on the latest in "vegan-friendly fashions." However much hard-core environmentalists may cringe at the advent of fashion reporters covering green news, it's a win on at least two fronts. Where once we had to dig deeply into the typical daily press offerings to find environmental stories, now they're getting so mainstream that they've catwalked over from the science news to the style section, in the Grey Lady, no less. And, haute green design is being embraced by some of the most creative and entrepreneurial talent in our culture.
The article is fun reading (more fun that reading about polar bears falling through the thinning Arctic ice, that's for sure), even with the obligatory nod to the stereotype of hemp-clad whole grain fashion cretins in the first paragraph. The sooner the green-type goods on the shelves of MooShoes or Organic Avenue on the fashion-forward Lower East Side (just two of the stores profiled in the article) percolate out to the shelves of Target at Atlantic Center or Kmart at Astor Place, the better for a sustainable future it'll be.
As Bruce Sterling nailed it in the Viridian Manifesto seven years ago:
What is culturally required at the dawn of the new millennium is a genuine avant-garde, in the sense of a cultural elite with an advanced sensibility not yet shared by most people, who are creating a new awareness requiring a new mode of life. The task of this avant-garde is to design a stable and sustainable physical economy in which the wealthy and powerful will prefer to live. Mao suits for the masses are not on the Viridian agenda. Couture is on the agenda. We need a form of Green high fashion so appallingly seductive and glamorous that it can literally save people's lives.
Image: Vegan high-heeled maryjanes from MooShoes