January 14, 2010

Pratt Manhattan Gallery hosts Panel Discussion

Pratt Institute
Installation view Slow and Steady Wins the Race
Pratt Manhattan Gallery
Photo: Harry Zernike Photography

As senior vice president, fashion director of the most forward-thinking big store in New York, Julie Gilhart spearheaded the development of an all-organic collection of casual, sexy clothes that are available in every Barneys New York store in the country. She has inspired many designers to develop “sustainable” products and she was instrumental in the creation of Barneys’ 2007 holiday campaign “Have A Green Holiday,” which focused on fashion products that were environmentally conscious. As Barneys opens more stores, her most important task is to have the store speak to the customers in a way that educates them as well as to educate the many designers Barneys partners with in a new and more thoughtful way.

Mary Ping is founder of Slow and Steady Wins the Race, an experimental “laboratory” line that started from a desire to dissect the fashion vocabulary, and led to an exploration of patterns of consumption and brand identities. The label’s mission is to “promote and produce interesting and significant pieces from the simplest fabrics and materials.” Following a product design model, the company is intent on slowing down the fashion cycle by creating non-seasonal pieces focused on specific and fundamental characteristics of clothing design. In addition, the designs are produced in limited numbers and sold at a contained price.

Caroline Priebe’s designs for Uluru are tightly focused for maximum ecological impact. For example, Priebe’s Westlake dress has only two seams, creating a sophisticated, simple look that is reversible and has pockets. The Kathleen coat, a classic design based on her grandmother’s coat, highlights the longevity of design and its relation to personal and historical memories. The recycled cashmere sweater, adorned with appliqués hand-sewn by the workshop of Alabama Chanin, underscores the collaborative nature common to sustainable fashion.

The exhibition “Ethics + Aesthetics = Sustainable Fashion,” the first American exhibition to investigate the sustainable practices of American fashion designers, many of whom are based in New York City, continues through February 20. “Ethics + Aesthetics” is guest- curated by Francesca Granata and Sarah Scaturro. Granata is a fashion theorist and independent curator who is completing her Ph.D. in fashion history and theory at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London. She also lectures at Parsons The New School for Design. Scaturro is a textile conservator at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and adjunct instructor at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

The full color catalog is made possible by a generous grant from the Coby Foundation, Ltd., a New York-based organization that funds projects in the textile and needle arts fields. The majority of the Coby Foundation’s support goes to exhibitions and education programs that combine excellent scholarship and effective interpretation. For more information please visit

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