Today’s sustainable designers think beyond bamboo and organic cotton to find eco-fabrics + 20% off. Peace silk, anyone?

What’s next? Today’s sustainable designers are thinking beyond bamboo and organic cotton,
working in eco-fabrics created from recycled materials and/or
cruelty-free processing. In the past, we’ve covered exercise gear
created with fabric made from recycled plastic. Last month we—and what seems like every stylist in Hollywood, including Anne Hathaway’s—discovered Casey Larkin’s gorgeous dresses made from milk.

But our new favorite eco-fab is Cupro, which is the centerpiece of designer Elaine Kim’s
jaw-droppingly gorgeous collection. Made in Japan, this is essentially
a fabric from recycled materials: Using a closed-loop system in which
any chemicals used in processing are captured and reused, rather than
dumped, Cupro is created from regenerated cellulose fiber from
discarded cotton husks or wood pulp. But in contrast to Tencel, which
is manufactured in a similar way, Cupro feels like no other fabric
we’ve found: Heavy like satin and smooth as silk, it has a rich matte
appearance and flows like liquid, especially in Kim’s body-skimming
concoctions such as high-waisted, full-legged pants, deconstructed
dresses and sexy off-the-shoulder tops.

And old favorite that’s been sustainably reborn is silk. For those
of us who take their animal rights activism to the max, silk has been a
PETA no-no since we discovered that it’s harvested by boiling the
silkworms alive in their cocoons, so that producers could easier
unskein a single continuous thread of silk. “Peace silk,” also known as
“vegetarian silk,” allows the silkworms to emerge from the cocoons and
live out their lives naturally. For some reason, we’re seeing a lot of
Peace silk concoctions coming out of Canada. (Something in the water?)
Standouts are the gorgeous dresses created by Sonja den Elzen, the genius behind Toronto-based Thieves, whose aesthetic is asymmetrical and angular with ribbons and flowing fabrics that add a feminine, romantic touch.

Through the end of April 2009, get 20% on everything Elaine Kim—even what’s on sale!—by reading up on this week's Fashion post. Trala!

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