Eco-fashion subject of Sam Fox symposium

Can eco-fashion outgrow its granola image? On Sept. 18, the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts and the St. Louis chapter of Fashion Group International (FGI) will explore that question with “Eco-Watch … Creating Fashion Solutions.”

A dress made of 100 percent organic bamboo by Miacro Designs. Bamboo fabric is noted for its softness as well as its natural moisture-wicking properties.

The evening-length symposium, featuring a panel of speakers known throughout the fashion world, will explore the future of sustainable fashion, the fastest-growing segment of the garment/fashion industry.

The program will begin at 6 p.m. with a keynote address by Jana Hawley, Ph.D., professor and department head for apparel textiles and interior design at Kansas State University. The lecture, titled “Apparel Sustainability in the 21st Century,” will explore ways apparel companies can approach issues of environment, education and social equity while still giving attention to the bottom line.

Hawley, a Fulbright Scholar to India and a Global Scholar to Thailand, employs cultural anthropology and qualitative analyses to explore issues relating to textile recycling. Currently vice president of operations for the International Textiles and Apparel Association (ITAA), she also has served as adviser for the International Textile Recycling Conference in Japan.

The program will continue with a panel of local fashion professionals, including Lori Allen, owner of Boutique Chartreuse; Nina Ganci, owner and designer of Skif International; and Jennifer McKelvie and Tina Davis-Noble, owners and designers of Miacro Designs. Delcia Corlew of FGI will serve as moderator.

Allen, who has more than a decade of retail experience, founded Boutique Chartreuse, the St. Louis-area’s first eco-boutique, in 2007. The company defines its mission as extending “the concept of green to the world of fashion by offering the contemporary, fashion conscious and socially conscious woman the ability to be well dressed while making environmentally responsible wardrobe choices.”

Ganci launched Skif International (skif stands for “Sweaters Knitted for Freedom”) in 1994. The company creates hand-made and -dyed sweaters and apparel for retailers nationwide and has been eco-conscious since its inception, recycling all excess material.

Miacro Designs is a hand-dyed, hand-printed, ready-to-wear women’s collection based in Springfield, Mo. McKelvie worked under Zakee Shariff before completing her first collection, which won design awards from FGI and the ITAA. Davis-Nobel is a former model who spent 10 years working with Marc Jacobs, Karl Lagerfeld, Vivienne Westwood and other major designers. Before co-founding Miacro, she designed under the label Robin.

Corlew began her career in the 1960s as model/spokesperson for Famous-Barr and later joined KXOK-AM as host of the call-in show “Generation Gap.” In 1985, she opened the Delcia Agency, representing models and actors and, in 1998, became executive director of Cinema St. Louis. Though now retired, she remains an active member of FGI.

Fashion Group International is a global, nonprofit, professional organization with 5,000 members in the fashion industry, including apparel, accessories, beauty and home.

The Sam Fox School is home to the nation’s oldest four-year fashion design program. Alumni have included major designers such as Paula Varsalona and Carolyn Roehm, while recent graduates have worked for major fashion houses and clothing retailers, including Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Christian Dior, Nanette Lepore, Lilly Pulitzer, Nike, Lands’ End and Fitigues.

Both the lecture and the panel discussion are free and open to the public and take place in Steinberg Hall Auditorium.

For more information, call 935-9300 or visit