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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, December 17, 2001

Eco-friendly clothing offers fashionable alternatives

USA Today

LOS ANGELES — Celebs are giving a green thumbs up to eco-friendly clothing lines with names such as Cool Not Cruel and Trash-a-Porter.

Eco-fashions can be recycled or made from organic materials. Or they can be environmentally correct, such as Eco-Drive, Citizen's light-powered watch.

Fans include Amy Smart (spotted in a recycled denim skirt), Alicia Silverstone (custom-made hemp skirt), Wendie Malick (recycled cashmere sandals and a laminated newspaper handbag) and Rashida Jones (seaglass necklace).

"I've had a great response to wearing eco-friendly clothing," says Smart, who appeared in the films "Rat Race" and "Road Trip."

"There are so many different amazing fabrics that you do not have to kill animals to wear, and just the pure consciousness of people deciding to do that is great," she says.

Vegan Woody Harrelson probably didn't know what he started when he showed up at the 1997 Golden Globes in a Giorgio Armani tuxedo made of hemp. Now, the Armani Jeans collection available at Emporio Armani offers hemp jackets and sweaters, recycled jeans and organic cotton shirts.

Hermes Beverly Hills sells Garden Party Amazonia tote bags ($1,150 for the grande and $920 for the petite) made of a natural linen that has been coated in 100 percent natural rubber. No tree is cut or scarred in obtaining sap for the rubber.

At Fred Segal, celebrities are snapping up designs by Koi, which pieces together vintage cashmere into gowns, skirts and tops.

"I think maybe a lot of celebrities buy them not because they're eco-friendly but because they look so fantastic," says activist Danny Seo, who has been called the organic Martha Stewart and is helping teach celebrities, and others, how to live and dress in an eco-friendly way.

Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo chased down a stranger last winter in New York to ask him where he bought his hat, according to the hat's maker, Kathleen Tesnakis. Six years ago she founded E ko logic, which sells headwear handmade from recycled sweaters. Natasha Wagner and Peter Buck of R.E.M. are among the fans of E ko logic, which can be found in 150 stores across the country as well as Japan and London.

Although top designers such as Vera Wang, Betsey Johnson, Todd Oldham and Nicole Miller have incorporated eco-friendly items into their lines, Seo admits there are skeptics who think the designs aren't stylish.

"A lot of eco-friendly products are ugly," he says. "You can't deny that. What I'm trying to do is not call it eco-friendly but 'conscious style.' That's my mantra. I'm sort of the middle ground. I'm not the person who doesn't care, and I'm not the militant who lives in the tree. I'm trying to make it accessible and approachable but exciting and fun."