Fair Trade Wedding dresses by Tara Lynn Bridal

Grace Modi modeling for Tara Lynn Bridal at the Connecting the Dots Fair Trade Fashion Show photo by Rick Warne Photography

Tara Lynn was invited to participate in the Fair Fashion Runway , organized by NYC Fair Trade Coalition, and co-hosted by Kate Black of Magnifeco.com held at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City on July 11, 2013.  Her custom made wedding gowns were featured with eight designers whose fashions are eco-friendly, sustainable or fair trade.  The fashion show was just one event at the Sustainable Fashion, Beauty & Health “Connecting the Dots” Symposium organized by The Enterprise Center at FIT. The symposium offered those in the fashion industry an opportunity to network, learn the latest trends and technology, and see the newest designs of the next generation of leaders in the sustainable fashion movement.

The three-day symposium included a natural dye workshop by Kathy Hattori, a tour of NYC with Amy DuFault and a full day conference.

The conference included a keynote address by Giusy Bettoni, the founder of C.L.A.S.S., an international eco-platform that promotes and develops environmentally friendly textiles in Italy.  Her address was entitled “Welcome to the Third Dimension, Where Design and Innovation Meet Responsibility.”  Panel topics included: Sustainable Color and Textile Trends, Ethical Fashion and Fair Trade, Beauty Ingredients and Health: The Impact on People, and Sustainable Business and Marketing. All of the panel discussions were focused on the growth of the fashion industry in ethical and eco-friendly ways. For more information about all the speakers  visit  https://www.fitnyc.edu/12966.asp.

Carmen Artigas is a professor at FIT that teaches a Sustainable Fashion class” states Tara Lynn.  “Her panel discussion was the most inspirational.  She had a number of her students on the panel who were amazing.”  Artigas’ students have used their passions to work for or start businesses such as B-Lab, Mercado Global and MakersRow.  B-Lab is a non-profit organization that serves a global movement of entrepreneurs using the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.  B Corp certification is to sustainable business what LEED certification is to green building or Fair Trade certification is to coffee.  “It was great to see that three Vermont-based companies were featured in the presentation” said Tara Lynn.  Cabot Creamery, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, and Seventh Generation are all B Corp certified. Mercado Global works to link rural indigenous artisans in Guatemala to international markets to break the cycle of poverty that is prevalent throughout the country. They currently work with over 300 artisans in 30 cooperatives throughout Guatemala.  MakersRow is an online networking site that helps designers who want their products “made in America” find factories in the United States.

Attendees also had an opportunity to participate in breakout sessions that included Promoting your Business Online, Creating Your Digital Brand, Sustainable Knit Technology, and Mood Indigo.  The Ethical Fashion Show included designs from Bhoomki, McColl & Clan, Tabii Just, Elsa and Me, Reborn by Soham Dave, Kibonen NY, Simply Natural NY, and Tara Lynn Bridal who showcased her Chiara, Grace, Bella, Persephone, Farfalla, Mariana.  “It was such an honor to be a part of this important event” said Tara Lynn.  “I thoroughly enjoyed working with all of the models and designers and thank Nimet from Soham Dave for organizing the fashion show.”

save the garment center Nanette Lepore

Save The Garment Center posters proudly displayed at Nanette Lepore’s headquarters.

Friday offered a Sustainable Fashion Tour lead by Amy DuFault that included Eileen Fisher headquarters and discussion with four of her experts, a discussion with sustainable designer Tara St. James in Washington Square Park, the Textile Arts Center where attendees tried weaving and natural dyeing, then to the Fashion District and Nanette Lepore’s studio where they enjoyed a “Concept to Creation” tour of the entire facility, and finally to Stoll Knitting where they learned about flat knitting and zero waste denim technologies. “At Eileen Fisher, they have three employees who focus on sustainability and human rights.  They actually go into factories and train workers to know about their rights as employees and as humans” says Tara Lynn.  “Nanette Lepore and other designers have also started a campaign to save the garment district in New York.  They are working to bring manufacturing and jobs back to the United States.”

“It was incredible to be with so many people from the fashion industry who believe as I do, that we can create beautiful designs in a way that minimizes our impact on the environment” stated Tara Lynn.  “I was inspired by so many things that I saw and learned.”  She was also impressed with the message of increased transparency in the garment industry.  “If we are going to label ourselves sustainable, ethical or eco-friendly, we have to make sure our suppliers and factories are also eco-friendly and ethical.”

Tara Lynn will be launching a ready-to-wear collection for Fall 2014 and this event provided an opportunity for her to network with like-minded designers and find suppliers and factory resources to work with.  She is considering several options for the collection including doing small production runs in Vermont.  “I am concerned with the lack of experience in sewn garment manufacturing in Vermont as many factories have relocated outside of the state or closed, and most of the stitchers recommended to me are ready to or have retired.”  She is searching for an experienced sample maker with strong sewn product manufacturing skills. She is also researching factories in New York, other parts of the U.S. and Montreal, Canada.

This glamorous blue dress, Grace, is from Tara Lynn's Vintage Bride Collection

This glamorous blue dress, Grace, is from Tara Lynn’s Vintage Bride Collection Photo by Rick Warne Photography

The Tara Lynn Bridal Custom Collection is expanding to include new wedding gown designs as well as grooms’ suits, flower girl dresses, mother of the bride or groom dresses, and accessories such as veils, ring pillows and purses.  Tara Lynn strives to become the one-stop eco-fashion designer for weddings.

Tara Lynn will be heading back to New York in the October for the Wed/Altered pop-up trunk show.  Visit the Tara Lynn Bridal website at www.taralynnbridal.com to see her designs, read her blog, and sign up for her newsletter.  Photos courtesy of Rick Warne Photography.