Fashion: Who has the Eco Factor? - Features - Fashion - The Independent

Fashion: Who has the Eco Factor?

It's not easy being green. To buy an Anya Hindmarch I'm Not a Plastic Bag last summer, you had to start queuing at 5am only to discover the "eco-bags" weren't organic, and had been flown halfway across the world. That said, there's no escaping the fact that this year, fashion developed a conscience: former Topshopper Jane Shepherdson joined the Fairtrade label People Tree; Lily Cole walked the catwalk for eco-label Noir; and Stella McCartney launched the organic skincare range Care.

Now that eco-warriors have abandoned the Swampy look, the fashion industry is seeking a generation of ethical designers to clothe them: Make Your Mark In Fashion a not-for-profit campaign endorsed by both Gordon Brown and the more fashionable Laura Bailey is hunting design teams to create eco-friendly lines.

Nine labels will act as judges and mentors in an X Factor-style competition, including Junky Styling, Enamore, From Somewhere, THTC and Makepiece, all of whom have exhibited at the eco-fashion exhibition Estethica at London Fashion Week. Also involved is Ciel, worn by Cate Blanchett and Sienna Miller; and Liv, an underwear label by the people behind holistic skincare brand Dr Hauschka.

As Orsola De Castro, who founded From Somewhere in 1991, explains: "Now that awareness for the environment has increased, it's up to us to change the fashion industry permanently."

The three winning teams will have their designs showcased at OnOff at London Fashion Week next September. Entries should be submitted by 31 January 2008 (www.makeyourmarkinfashion.org)

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