Five Years After FiftyRX3

A reflection on a moment in time that drove fashion for the better.

A few years ago a lot of online publications including PSFK were enthralled by the a project by Jill Danyelle called FiftyRX3. For a year between 2005 and 2006, Danyelle photographed herself each day as she pursued a sustainable fashion ideal based on the environmental mantra ‘reuse, reduce, recycle’.

Today this eco-conscious life-caching seems like a common activity but back when bloggers still hid behind faux names, Danyelle was pretty much a pioneer in revealing herself to achieve a greater awareness among many. Danyelle recently looked back at the project and posted some thoughts about it:

fiftyRX3 was active during a time when a neo-green wave seemed to be building in all directions.   Today green lingo has become part of household vocabulary, an abundance of green products have hit the marketplace and sustainability is a course you can take in college.  When I studied design at Parsons and FIT, I could barely drum up motivation for recycling the tremendous amount of pattern paper we threw away daily. Now I have friends teaching courses on sustainability at three different schools in NYC.  When the “Designer of the Month” feature began on fiftyRX3, I wondered if I would be able to find twelve green designers that I wanted to feature that year.  I spent hours scouring the internet for anybody not only designing cool sustainable clothing, but presenting them in a beautiful and engaging way. … There was barely any dialogue about sustainable textile use in fashion.

…[Today] Good things… happen in the world of sustainable style.  There are many green fashion events, including the consistently successful Green Shows here in NYC… Several well known designers and larger fashion retailers have started to experiment with organics.  More importantly, the sustainable textile industry has grown. 

…Still, with all of this progress whirling around it, “the industry” can be slow to catch on.  Just this week, almost exactly five years after fiftyRX3 began, the CFDA (finally) acknowledged sustainability in fashion.  Two steps forward.  However, I have mixed feelings about the event, which elicited FutureFashion 2008 flashbacks, as many designers committed to sustainability were left on the sidelines.  One step back.  The event was sponsored by Lexus Hybrid Living and awarded financial support to three designers whose collections were at least 25% sustainable.  Those designers I mentioned, the ones left on the sidelines, most of them are operating at probably three or more times that level of commitment.  The websites of both Lexus Hybrid Living and the CFDA were lacking in information about the event or what sustainability in fashion means.  There was one page on the Lexus Hybrid Living website where people were asked to choose who was the most eco designer of the several listed.  It was completely unclear how this list of designers was even chosen.

Jill Danyelle

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