graduate Daniel Silverstein is making his mark on the New York City fashion scene.
A little more than a month ago, on the third story of a converted apartment building on Ninth Street, he and Marge Bacon put the finishing touches on their Fall 2012 collection for their first show during New York Fashion Week.
The fashion line, 100% NY, is a Park Slope-based, environmentally responsible high fashion house that started a little over 14 months ago. In that time they have built two collections, Spring 2011 and Fall 2012.
“It’s a small operation,” said Silverstein, the line’s creative director and co-founder, while sitting in 100% NY’s 12-foot by 14-foot studio, where they make each piece by hand. “I still take out the trash and sign the checks.”
However, the small operation found itself in the big world of New York Fashion Week, which draws close to 300,000 visitors each year, to showcase their autumn collection, entitled Aquarius, at a private presentation on Central Park West.
According to a report by the Daily Record, the company's line of women's clothing is being sold at SoHo boutique Curve.
The fashion line focuses on sustainable, eco-friendly clothing made out of organic and sustainable fabrics, like Supima cotton and repreve, a fabric made from recycled soda bottles.
“We want you to look cool, look edgy, but leave the eco-friendliness to us,” said Bacon, who is the head of design. “Your job is to just keep looking great.”
The young duo, Bacon is 24 and Silverstein is 23, who met while attending F.I.T. started their green high fashion line with the intent of wasting zero percent of the fabric used to make each garment.
Silverstein said on average they use 99.5 percent of the fabric they cut. One piece, a dress called the Spiral Siren, they use every inch.
To make the Spiral Siren, they cut 13-inch square feet of organic cotton, wrap it around a mannequin and instead of actually severing the fabric in pieces, they use a “cut-in” method.
The method is completed by partially cutting the fabric, reapplying the piece and sewing it on top of itself, making their signature embellishment, which looks like a vertebrae and they call the “spine.”
The spine is on each garment they make, jeans, T-shirts, skirts, dresses, sweaters and a leather jacket.
But what they say sets 100% NY apart from other eco-friendly fashion lines is their commitment to aesthetics.
“The problem with eco-fashion is that it can be tragic. A lot of designers are not making eco-friendly fashion that is sexy, a lot of it is ugly,” said Bacon, who received a BFA in fashion design, with a concentration in intimate apparel from F.I.T. “We look like we put fashion first, because we do while organic and sustainable fabrics.”
Bacon and Silverstein's design aesthetic draws inspiration from astrological signs, Greek mythology, “1960s New York Beatnik” culture and even Pablo Picasso.
Their leather jacket, the Guernica Biker which retails at $975, was inspired by the eponymous Picasso painting.
All of their leather products are made from what Bacon calls “responsible leather.” The garments are tanned with vegetables and a reduced chrome.
Even their sewing machine, made by the company Juki, is eco-friendly. They use the company’s green series, which uses a minimal amount of oil and shuts off after each cut.
“I compare it to a Prius,” Silverstein said, explaining that most sewing machines run constantly, until they are turned off, and use a lot of oil.
Silverstein said their clothes, the fabrics they use and the way in which they are made create a fashion line that is like potato chips that are “low-carb-full-flavor."
“Our line is like diet fashion in terms of the amount of waste and pollution we produce,” Silverstein said while holding up the leather biker jacket. “But in terms of high fashion, our clothes are not compromised—we are the real thing.”