Fashion’s Bi-Polar Future
As prices on mass-market clothing drop, and the amount many of us buy continually rises, we can’t help asking: Is eco-fashion really possible? Maybe, but not in the ways you might expect. Welcome to our Fall issue, and discover the secrets to “system” dressing, classic jeans, and how animal rights campaigns against clothing companies are actually hurting many animals. You’ll also meet a rare “jewelry archaeologist” and an expert at restoring classic VWs.
In November, 2017, the doors closed in North Carolina on Cone Denim’s White Oak plant, one of the first, and (for a while) the last, big textile mill in the U.S. to make vintage-style denim. When our correspondent first visited, he discovered that the secret to classic jeans has long come from a strange mix of obsolete machinery and American mythology. Now, after following other companies that moved manufacturing overseas, traditional Made-in-USA jeans might be coming back.
By BRIAN HOWE, with updated reporting by TODD OPPENHEIMER
When you put on a stylish jacket made of rayon, vegan leather, or even recycled plastic, are you sure you’re helping the planet more than if you had bought one made of animal leather? In this journey down a very twisted rabbit hole, sustainable fashion expert Alden Wicker, founder and editor-in-chief of EcoCult, finds answers that may not be particularly comfortable for the animal rights movement.
By ALDEN WICKER
Jill Giordano makes women’s clothing in what might be called sustainable designs: coats, pants, and dresses made with fine fabrics in timeless styles, and in combinations that can be mixed and matched any number of ways. Welcome to the art of “system” dressing—with quality. The goal: Improve your look, save the planet, and save money.
By LAURA FRASER
Other Topics In This Issue
In the middle of the Shenandoah Valley, in Harrisonburg, Virginia, Hugo Kohl has pulled off what might be the ultimate act of sustainability—at least regarding jewelry. Through years of painstaking, costly, often fruitless detective work, he rescued an era of early American jewelry manufacturing technology that was on the brink of extinction. Now Kohl is one of the few people in the world making a class of vintage jewelry that is truly authentic. And he swears that the system in his shop is the only way to do capitalism.
By ALISON MAIN
In a corrugated tin shed that somehow survived California’s massive fires in Sonoma Valley, Gary Freeman labors to keep old VW Beetles and vans—the cars that defined the counterculture of the 1960s—chugging along. Some become great “daily drivers” for as little as $15,000; some get auctioned for more than $200,000. It’s all part of one man’s quest for automotive immortality.
By OWEN EDWARDS
Photography by ANDREW SULLIVAN