It’s not always easy to stand fast again the tide – particularly during NY Fashion Week, but ORGANIC’s designer, John Patrick, was able to do just that and then some with his ‘American Gothic’ show last Tuesday here in NYC. Presented at the Desmond Tutu Center in Chelsea, the ORGANIC collection for Spring/Summer 2009 was not only an homage to the iconic painting by Grant Wood, but a reverse-the-consumption-trend art happening with models that stood fast and stood still. The entire collection was presented in diorama-like setting with fresh-faced, freckled youth exuding both the “hope” and the promise of good clean organics. If anyone can identify the best threads of American character and style these days, it’s John Patrick ORGANIC with his creative spin on homespun detail and increasingly better definition of sustainable style.
The models at the ‘American Gothic’ show were definitely a breath of fresh-air during a week notorious for champagne swizzling, backstage meltdowns, and late night parties. The ORGANIC Spring/Summer 2009 collection was presented during the morning hours, and honestly I am not sure how the entire show was able to look so impeccable during the first half of such a monsoon-like day.
Before examining the environmentally-friendly materials and incredible thought behind John Patrick’s recent collection, the CFDA Vogue nominated designer really wants us to think hard about what constitutes sustainability, perhaps both as a nation and as concerned individuals.
”People don’t think about the ‘30s as an optimistic time,” the designer acknowledged. “But it’s when the chips are down that you really see the American character. Hope is on our DNA. We beat the Dust Bowl, we beat back the Great Depression, and today, facing challenges that seem as vast, if not vaster, what I see all around me are people working to create something new. They’re rebooting the system,” he continued, “and it’s that kind of crazy resourcefulness I want to celebrate.”
This most recent collection is completely optimistic in nature – organic cotton separates with puff sleeves and mini-skirts; surplus cotton voile prairie print dresses; organic cotton seersucker and madras; slim-fit organic cotton skinny pants and adorable high-waisted shorts; and ORGANIC’s first-ever print, a new “worker-bee” calico, blue-flecked with “seriously un-vintage” flowers. John Patrick is hopeful that the super-clean, digital printing process of this series will inspire other designers to go this route as well.
We could also go on about the socially responsible fair trade and eco-friendly processes behind the ORGANIC label: 70% of the collection was made in the U.S., knitwear is crafted by cottage industry workers in Peru, surplus fabrics find new life in his tailored designs, etc. Not to mention the recent introduction of using abandoned scraps of fabric and metal to create one-of-a-kind accessories as part of a new collaboration, DANA LORENZ for ORGANIC.
If this is not enough to make you feel a bit more hopeful, then we implore you to simply think about ways to “reboot” and be resourceful with the materials that abound in your daily life. Sustainable style truly is about sowing the seeds of hope more than anything you send down the runway.