Couture for a Cause: Runway to Green

At last, the fashion industry has responded en masse to consumer demand for ethical apparel.

Last week, the global Runway to Green initiative was launched in New York City to raise awareness about sustainable practices in garment design and manufacturing, and to generate funds for several leading environmental organizations. In response to growing awareness about the fashion industry’s mammoth carbon footprint, Runway to Green will work in partnership with the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Clean by Design educational program, launched last fall with prestigious lead partner Council of Fashion Designers of America. Most notably, Runway to Green is tapping the talent of several of the world’s most influential fashion designers to integrate more environmentally friendly practices into the production of apparel worldwide, all while showcasing the best of sustainable design.

Some of the most well-known participating designers include Gucci, Prada, Balenciaga, Burberry, Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Jacobs, Diane von Furstenberg, Manolo Blahnik, Oscar de la Renta, Stella McCartney, Jason Wu, Alexander Wang, Tory Burch, Marchesa, Michael Kors, Rachel Roy, Rag & Bone, and Thakoon. To demonstrate their commitment to sustainability, each Runway to Green designer is dedicated to creating a sustainable item of their choosing as part of their Fall 2011 collection.
All pieces will be sold exclusively on NET-A-PORTER, which will donate a portion of the proceeds to Runway to Green. In turn, Runway to Green will donate funds to leading environmental organizations at the forefront of green initiatives, including Alliance for Climate Protection, the United Nations Billion Tree Campaign and the Natural Resources Defense Council.  

Runway to Green will be launched internationally at events in major cities around the world, starting with the Bid to Save the Earth event on March 29, 2011 in New York City. This star-studded evening is being held in partnership with Christie’s, and will bring together the top names in fashion, art and philanthropy, including hosts Francois-Henri Pinault and his wife Salma Hayek-Pinault, David and Susan Rockefeller, Graydon and Anna Carter, and Vogue. The show will be co-styled by Vogue’s Fashion Director, Tonne Goodman and Contributing Editor, Tabitha Simmons, and is set to feature a live fantasy auction by Christie’s Green Auction, which supports environmental non-profits like the Central Park Conservancy, Conservation International, and Oceana.

According to Runway to Green chairman, Lorenzo Roccia, “this collaboration between environmental advocacy groups and couture design community represents one of the most important commitments made on behalf of the fashion industry to learn and address its impact on the environment.  It uses the power and reach of the industry to deliver a global message about the relevance and necessity to be educated on our individual role and responsibility in protecting the environment.” 

For more information on Runway to Green, or to see a sneak-preview of the designer collections, visit: Or, to see ethical haute couture in action on the runway, watch Conscious Catwalk coverage from LA fashion week, on the Style page of

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