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Oct 20, 2010

Green Initiative Humanitarian Fashion Show

L.A. Fashion Weekend founder Mikey Koffman is a firm believer in giving back to the community and one of her pet projects is the Green Youth Movement. Every season The Gallery L.A. hosts the Green Initiative Fashion Show. This highly anticipated event celebrates sustainability and is sold out each year.

The Green Youth Movement (GYM) was founded by 18 year old Ally Maize. The goal of the organization is to educate kids on how to live eco-friendly lives. The show focused on environmentally friendly fashion and proved that organic can be pretty and fashionable.

The afternoon show kicked off with Kristinit. Designed by Kristina Lenss the collection, which featured two-toned dresses and one-piece jumpsuits, was inspired by nature, history, and art. This sophisticated line was geared towards elegant, eco conscious women who like to dress comfortably yet chic. Kristina uses innovative organic fabrics. Her clothes are produced by local manufacturers, and she follows fair trade practices. She also donates a percentage of each sale to the International Fund for Animal Welfare and the Pachamama Alliance, which makes me want to purchase her clothes even more.

Next up was Keok’jay (means bright green or fresh in Khmer). Founded by Rachel Faller, Keok’jay is more than just a fashion house – it’s a social enterprise that employs HIV positive women in Cambodia; thus, enabling them to support their families and afford an education. Inspired by urban Khmer life Rachel incorporates organic eco-friendly materials and a unique hand touch into her creations. Rachel’s bold looks paired elegance with comfort and she wasn’t afraid to use lots of fresh colors and unique prints in her collection. Earlier on the red carpet I thought I overheard Bai Ling say she was wearing one of Keok’jay’s pieces. After seeing the runway presentation I’m pretty sure Bai Ling was here to show her support.

Jonano, created by Scandinavian eco-designer Bonnie Siefers, presented a romantic range of dresses, skirts, tunics, and leggings in nudes and greys with a touch of color. Bonnie uses natural fabrics including a trademarked ecoKashmere in addition to a bamboo and corn blend called maize and wild “peace” silk to produce her stylish creations all of which she makes in her tree house studio. Sadly, Bonnie lost her mom to breast cancer in 1985 so each season she designs a limited edition piece for each collection and donates a portion of the proceeds to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Research Foundation. This season’s piece is a bohemian silk linen scarf that can be purchased at

Emily Factor has been a staple at The Green Initiative Fashion Show for a few seasons now, so it’s expected that she’ll close the show and rightly so. Emily’s passion for preservation motivates her to use ethical practices. She uses reclaimed organic materials, non-toxic dye, sustainable fibers, and has a zero tolerance for animal products. The end result often leads to one-off, made-to-order, and limited edition pieces. Emily’s Spring 2011 collection featured whimsical designs with floral prints. Flowy chiffon dresses and floral leggings graced the runway.

Bravo to Mikey and the GYM for exposing us to these talented designers who go out of their way to make a difference. Proceeds from the show’s ticket sales benefited GYM and will be used to support such efforts as the Green Dream Project, which encourages teens to recycle holiday dresses by donating them to less fortunate students.

Narrative by Nikki Neil, Photos by J.

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