8 Rising Stars On The Ethical-Fashion Scene

Fashion Week in New York City is always a fast-paced, no-sleep, running-on-fumes time for anyone even close to the industry. But, some designers have decided to forgo the catwalk madness and slow down — not only for NYFW, but entirely.
These indie acts are as dedicated to style as they are to how their products are made. And, earlier this month, they all came together in the West-Village based Market 605 pop-up shop. There, you were able to browse clothes, accessories, jewelry, home goods, and gifts from Dirty Librarian Chains, Feral Childe, Gamma Folk, Imago-A, Nettie Kent, Study NY, Kordal, and by / natalie frigo — names you'll know (and be able to shop!) all about in a minute.
Most of the eight brands are designed and produced entirely in New York utilizing sustainable materials and ethical practices. Besides the common thread of using similar production methods, the women in this group also share an idealogical connection — a bond over doing things differently than the mainstream. Obviously, we're feeling it. Click ahead and familiarize yourself with these totally rad up-and-comers — and show your support by shopping away.
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Kordal Knitwear
Mandy Kordal’s entire line, from adorable bralette tops to slinky, ankle-length slit dresses, is fabricated as knit. Expansive and impressive are the only ways to describe what she does with a little yarn and needle. Okay, and machines, but still, the silhouettes are standout considering the absence of any woven material. Playing with various opacities, cuts and colors, sometimes all together, Kordal creates something sleek and beautiful. And, with a dedication to brand transparency, she produces everything in New York using natural materials whenever possible.

Kordal Seed Stitch Wool Hat Black, $66, available at Kordal Knitwear.
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Gamma Folk
Gamma Folk takes jewelry fabrication and turns it on its head. Working in a palette of soft hues from natural dies, designer Lily Piyathaisere is able to rend bona fide jewelry out of fibers and fabric. The pieces completely lack any hint of DIY or kitsch. Influenced by folk art, mysticism, pop culture, and Bauhaus, Gamma Folk delivers soft and refreshing shapes. Each piece is one-of-a-kind and handmade in Brooklyn using the most conscious materials and methods.

Gamma Folk Necklace No. 9 in Indigo, $80, available at Gamma Folk.
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Pronounced ee-mah-go ah, Imago-A is an NYC-based leather handbag and accessories line. The collection, by designer Yegang Yoo, is built upon geometric and sculptural shapes that are both innovative and functional. Yoo expertly executes each piece as a 3-D object, so you'll find tons of cool, origami-like shapes.

Imago-A Multifold Shoulder Bag, $245, available at Imago-A.
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Nettie Kent
Finding inspiration in everything from the sea to cityscapes, Nettie Kent has been a force in New York’s sustainable jewelry design community for some time. This spring, she strays from her strictly reclaimed-brass collections by adding crushed lapis into the mix.

Even the story of how she sourced the the stones is a touching example of sustainable spirit. She bought them (on eBay) from an elderly gentleman who worked at a since-closed mine in Colorado. Over the years, he saved all the pieces that were rejected for having too many other crystals or mineral deposits. The stunning outcome of this history and Kent's work is also soon to debut on model and ambassador of ethical fashion Amber Valletta's online store, Master and Muse.

Shop similar items now on Nettie Kent.
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Designer Tara St. James has been in the trenches of New York’s sustainable design community for some time. And, her skills show in the details. Take a boxy shift dress: St. James adds a line of buttons across the back which can be worn open or closed, allowing the wearer to elect the level of modesty (or flash) they want to employ. While her silhouettes focus on comfort and mobility, there's a definite sexiness to her straightforward style.

Study Shirt.1, $180, available at Study.
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by / natalie frigo
Natalie Frigo doesn’t fix what ain't broke. The designer relies on ancient practices of metalsmithing and lost-wax casting to hand-make her jewelry collection in her lower Manhattan studio. Cats, bird claws, and less-defined organic shapes are present throughout, as the artist takes inspiration from early metallurgy, textile designs, and architecture. Frigo personally selects the ethically sourced gemstones, and uses recycled metals, for her pieces.

by / natalie frigo Playing Cat Cuff, $295, available at By Natalie Frigo.
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Feral Childe
It’s not difficult to fall in fast love with Feral Childe’s wearable and versatile silhouettes. But, the ethereal, custom prints are the line's defining characteristic. Bi-coastal design duo, Moriah Carlson and Alice Wu, make it all happen in New York City using sustainable, all-natural materials. Think: hand-loomed and organic cotton, silk linen, tencel, and hemp.

In a growing world of copy-cat fashion, it’s safe to say that Feral Childe’s spring '14 collection is the only one inspired in part by the Google image search results for “disappearing object phenomenon”, dodo birds, and Aurovillian geodesic domes (yeah, we're Googling now).

Feral Childe Day Coat, $395, available at Feral Childe.
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Dirty Librarian Chains
Veteran sustainable-jewelry designer Susan Domelsmith fashioned her collection, Dirty Librarian Chains, on a zero-waste design model. Each piece is unique, having been sourced from flea markets and vintage stores around the world. Additionally, Domelsmith acquires materials in bulk from the ghosts of US-based manufacturing's past — jewelry factories that boomed from the '60s through the '90s and have since moved production overseas.

Dirty Librarian Chains Initial Necklace, $75, available at Dirty Librarian Chains.

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