Photo by Vegan Baking

It’s Tryptophan Stupor Day, so what better time to give thanks to the people, innovations, and events that have rocked the eco-fashion world this past year? In no particular order, we pay homage to eight sartorial watersheds of 2009, all of which have nudged the industry to a brighter, greener future. Our cup overfloweth.

The GreenShows

THE GREENSHOWS

The first event of its kind, The GreenShows painted the New York Fashion Week runway a brilliant verdant hue with some of eco-fashion’s hottest names: Bahar Shahpar, Lara Miller, Tara St. James, Mr. Larkin, House of Organic, Izzy Lane, and Bodkin.

+ The GreenShows

Emma Watson for People Tree

TWEENS TURNING GREEN

Not one but two screen ingenues with considerable fan bases will be storming tween hearts and closets come spring. Harry Potter’s Emma’s Watson is working on a capsule collection with PeopleTree, one that will not only use 100 percent organic- and fair-trade-certified cotton, but will also be stitched by fair-trade groups using hand-weaving, hand-knitting, and hand-embroidery techniques. Her counterpart from across the pond, Disney phenom Selena Gomez is dreaming out loud in organic cotton.

+ Love From Emma

+ Dream Out Loud by Selena Gomez

Project Green Search

PROJECT GREEN SEARCH

Beauty met brains with the inaugural hunt for America’s Next Top Eco-Model, a groundbreaking event designed to inspire people to align their careers with their ethics, as well as connect passionate people (and potential brand ambassadors or spokeswomen) with progressive businesses and non-profits. Who knew doing good could look so good?

+ Project Green Search

The Uniform Project

THE UNIFORM PROJECT

For Brooklynite Sheena Matheiken, one nondescript black frock is merely a launching point for 365 distinct looks, one for every day of the year. The Uniform Project, which kicked off May 1, is an online record of Matheiken’s daily attempts at reinventing an unvarying silhouette, which she switches up by wearing the dress frontwards or backwards, buttoned or unbuttoned, styled simply or layered with vintage accessories. The experiment in sustainable fashion has garnered attention from the blogosphere and Twitterverse at an almost unparalleled frenzy, paving the way for a much-needed dialogue about fast versus slow fashion.

+ The Uniform Project

PACT underwear

GAME-CHANGING UNDIES

PACT’s organic cotton skivvies aren’t just for dressing up your tush—they’re also vehicles of social change. The nascent company, which launched in August, was developed with in partnership with industrial designer Yves Béhar and his San Francisco-based studio, fuseproject. Featuring designs by Béhar and other artists, each collection is dedicated to an organization that pushes for social and environmental change, including Oceana, Global Green, and ForestEthics. (PACT earmarks 10 percent of each sale to support these organizations.)

+ PACT

Levi Jeans

LEVI’S CARE TAGS

In October, Levi Strauss & Co. partnered with Goodwill to create new care tags for their iconic jeans. The redesigned tags direct wearer to wash the jeans in cold water, line dry when possible, and send them to Goodwill instead of trashing them. Considering that the care and treatment of your togs has as much of an impact as their manufacture, this is one small move that could pay huge dividends in the future.

+ Levi’s Cares

Timbuk2/Poptech FLAP bag

Photo by Dan Austin

TIMBUK2 FLAP BAG

Attendees at this year’s PopTech conference were handed the Swag Bag to End All Swag Bags: a messenger that transforms into a portable, solar-powered light source. A collaboration with Timbuk2 and the Portable Light Project, the FLAP (Flexible Light and Power) is a next-generation messenger bag with solar panels that can be charged in the day, then used to power a built-in LED light—or a small mobile device—at night.

+ Timbuk2 FLAP Bag

Bahar Shahpar for Cri de Coeur Spring/Summer 2010

RECYCLED ULTRASUEDE

Synthetic vegan textiles are rarely synonymous with sustainability (case in point: PVC), but in April, Toray Ultrasuede introduced a new 100 percent recycled microsuede made from post-consumer polyester. It was the introduction of this innovative material that persuaded designer Bahar Shahpar to work with Cri de Coeur on a vegan shoe collection. The result: Three haute-to-trot silhouettes that are a shoe-in on the aesthetic, performance, and sustainable fronts.

+ Cri de Coeur for Bahar Shahpar