The success of this year’s Project Earth Day eco-runway show which took place in April in NYC was a brilliant indication that green fashion is no longer just a fad. The energy-packed show featured today’s hottest eco-lines as well as a student competition which challenged the brightest designers of tomorrow to whip up their own sustainable garments. All of the designs were brilliant, but in the end, FIT student Stacy Longo‘s mod, hand-woven outfit prevailed, winning her the grand prize. We were lucky enough to catch up with Stacy to pick her brain about the inspiration for her design and what eco-fashion means to her.

We met Stacy at the Wholefoods near FIT right after her classes ended for the day and were pleasantly surprised to see a troop of mannequins in the window wearing fashions crafted from Lauren Bush’s FEED bags, which benefit the UN World Food Program. FIT students were asked to come up with ensembles using fabric from the FEED bags. Upon further inspection, one of the designs had a basketweave style that we found very familiar. It was Stacy’s! This fun urban-camper look won her a coveted spot in the window.

project earth day winner, stacy longo, fit fashion student, eco-fashion, green fashion, sustainable fashion, sustainable style

After a quick walk to a nearby Starbucks (yes, even we treehuggers need some commercial coffee once in awhile), we got down to business and asked Stacy what inspired her award-winning garment. “Being in the studio all day, I saw that there were so many scraps of fabric being left there and wasted. I wanted to make something out of them.” Looking at the finely-tailored look of the garment, you would never think it was made of a bunch of scraps that would’ve otherwise been swept off the floor and thrown away! “When we first showed our designs to my professor, he looked at mine and laughed. He just didn’t think I could pull it together.” But he wasn’t laughing after Stacy won. “He admitted then that it looked good.”

We wondered if other students in Stacy’s program had sustainability on the brain as well. After all, one of the best ways to see whether or not a movement is gaining momentum is to look to the industry’s future. Sadly and surprisingly, Stacy’s expression when we asked her whether her peers were just as enthusiastic about using eco-materials was a very telling “ummmmm…” face. She went on to explain that the cost of using sustainable fabrics discouraged the vast majority of her classmates from pursuing a green focus to their designs. So to any sustainable materials manufacturers or distributors reading this, perhaps a good investment to guarantee future clients is donating some of your wares to poor fashion students who have a good chance of being rich and famous in a few years? And for any fashion students reading this, you can always do what Stacy did and get your materials for free – it could win you an award!

So what’s in store for Stacy now? Aside from continuing her education (it’s her last year before graduating so if you’re a fashion house looking for an extremely talented designer, now’s your chance to scoop her up before anyone else does), she is participating is the Address Psoriasis Fashion Show hosted by Tim Gunn of Project Runway to raise awareness of psoriasis and recognize people with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis who try not to allow the condition to inhibit their personal style. We congratulate Stacy again and will definitely be following her progress.

+ Stacy Longo