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An Eco-fashion Pioneer

Submitted by on May 15, 2010 – 8:00 pm

If you’re still not convinced that fashion can be stylish and sustainable, let me tell you about New Zealand’s pioneer in the area of sustainable fashion design… Starfish.

This Wellington based label has always been one of my most coveted. I bought my first Starfish dress seven years ago and it’s still a wardrobe favourite to this very day! Enduring style is a sentiment expressed in their design philosophy “When designing our ranges we consider the lifespan of the clothes beyond what is fashionable at the time so that they will become lasting favourites in your wardrobe” says Starfish founder and head designer, Laurie Foon.

Foon opened her first store in Wellington’s Wakefield Markets selling remodeled vintage clothing back in 1991 and Starfish grew from there. Her vision for an approachable designer fashion label with humanist values paid off and in 2007 Starfish was the first New Zealand fashion label to win a Sustainable Business Award. Their winter 2010 collection Brave New World is their first collection to deliver eco-conscious elements across every single garment. This collection was inspired by an era of adventure and discovery, which has been reflected in the labels groundbreaking journey to its innovative use of natural and recycled fabrics. Their latest collection includes New Zealand grown and knitted merinos, bamboo and silk blends, Tencel, organic cotton and a breakthrough recycled fibre mix, Koplon (which is a beautiful feeling fabric that I happen to be wearing as I write this).

As with any ground breaking endeavour, Starfish has to continually negotiate challenges in its quest to produce beautiful garments with as little impact on the environment as possible.

“While all our garments are made locally, sourcing sustainable fabrics causes us great dilemmas”  says Foon.

“Take hemp, for example, a Starfish favourite. It’s a wonder plant – not only does it require very few pesticides and leave the soil in better condition, it feels great and lasts forever. It has to be the fabric of the future. But it travels from China to the States before it gets to New Zealand as a fabric. Everything has an impact, so it’s about striking a balance”.

“We’re learning to identify opportunities where we can make a difference. It’s about viewing problems in terms of what we can do within our means to make the range more sustainable rather than living with absolutes,” says Foon.

When I decided that I wanted to bring stylish and sustainable fashion to a mainstream audience and start The Thread Loop, Laurie was at the top of my list of designers who absolutely HAD to come on board. Laurie’s enthusiasm and support for my endeavour really made the website possible – she signed up before I even had anything solid to show her and she gave me a bit of credibility when approaching the other great New Zealand design talents featured on the site. Thanks Laurie!

So for the first time, Starfish is accessible to everyone, everywhere via The Thread Loop. Check out the confident silhouette’s and uniform-esque features of Brave New World, the winter 2010 collection from Starfish.

Jo Blundell

www.thethreadloop.com

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