Green Machine

New York City may not have much in the way of car culture, but that changes during fashion week when private cars stand at attention, taxis are scarcer than front row seats and having a car will draw as many envious stares as the latest Prada baubles. Add an eco-conscious spirit to the formula and you have the second annual CFDA/Lexus Eco-Fashion Challenge. The luxury car company sponsored the green-minded initiative — designers were asked to submit proposals for a sustainable clothing or accessory line — with a cushy $25,000 cash prize for each of the three winners to support their Fall 2012 shows.

The winning trio, Marcia Patmos, John Bartlett and Johnson Hartig of Libertine, are presenting their efforts at Made this week and we got a sneak peek. In her own version of Portlandia, knitwear specialist Patmos took inspiration from the region for her M. Patmos collection, which is less polar fleece and more glamping. "It began with a trip to the Pacific Northwest section of Powell’s bookstore in Portland, Oregon," she explains. She also cites the book ‘The Women’ by Edward S. Curtis as an inspiration. "It features portraits of Native American women from the early 1900s, captured in strikingly modern outfits, mixing plaid trading blankets over traditionally beaded and embellished textiles."

Ohio native and Harvard alum John Bartlett gave his collection a cerebral spin. He calls this season’s look "future rustic." "The entire collection is true to my rugged American aesthetic," Bartlett says. But the materials include cruelty- and animal-free materials like plant-based fabrics, organic cottons, recycled synthetics, repurposed wool and Ultrasuede.

And leave it to the Los Angeles-based Hartig to push it to more bohemian territory. “This season I’ve been most inspired by goats on roofs, families of roaming monkeys, and watercolor paintings by Henry Miller," Hartig tells us. "The latter being so bursting with life and energy that to me they feel as though they’ll explode. Which is a little like how I’ve been feeling lately."

All three designers will present their Fall 2012 collections at Milk Studios tonight. Libertine by Johnson Hartig’s runway show is at 8:30 p.m, while John Bartlett and M. Patmos will be holding their presentations at 9 p.m.

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