At Amsterdam Fashion Week, One More Reason To Go Green

Mere mention of “green fashion” was enough to bring the fashion set out in an eco-fiber-induced rash. But as Dutch supermodel Lonneke Engel, the Bruce Weber-discovered former face of Ralph Lauren and Bottega Veneta, told Saturday night at a party to launch the second global Green Fashion Competition at Amsterdam fashion week, “those days are definitely over.”

Engel, wearing a white organic denim dress by local design duo Twin Couture, spoke eloquently about the “devastating” effects that fashion can have on the environment and biodiversity before introducing some of the big-money competition’s first-year success stories. A racy reel showed the New York-based Engel rocking sultry catwalk looks by last year’s €25,000 first prize winner, Elsien Gringhuis. OAT shoes, runner-up in last year’s edition of the Dutch government-funded contest, presented its new line of “shoes that bloom”—biodegradable leather high tops that literally sprout a bouquet of wild flowers when composted. Not quite tulips from Amsterdam, but almost.

The competition, one of the capstones of Amsterdam’s growing fashion week, provides winners with strategic advice and a platform at January’s shows. (Enrollment is open until September 30, 2011; for more information, visit But you don’t have to be a budding brand to go green, as Lonneke advised—you don’t even have to suffer. Her choice for an eco-friendly bag? Chanel. “I’m not a saint, but I try to make responsible choices wherever I can,” the model, who dispenses sustainable-living tips on her Web site, Organice Your Life, said. “That might mean choosing a classic Chanel bag rather than ten disposable ones that have been produced under questionable circumstances. It can be as simple as raiding your grandmother’s closet rather than going shopping.”