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Your Lunch Break To-Do List: ECO + FASHION at City Hall By Mikala Jamison of the Philadelphia Citypaper

January 27, 2014

If you have an extra moment during your travels around the city — or just need to be in a warm place for like two freaking minutes, jeez — you'd do well to stop into the current exhibit in the City Hall Art Gallery — ECO + FASHION, which craftily blends the sustainable with the sartorial.

The exhibit features 18 artists' pieces in the mediums of found objects, eco-friendly materials and, well, trash. Some are quite wearable (a minimal organic cotton sack dress), some not so much (a gown made of bike chains and gears — uh, ouchThe 18 participating artists are:
 Ellen Benson & Paulette Heilbrun, Lucy Bigham, Katie Coble, Mary DeMarco, Georgina Gozum, Lesley Haas, Melissa Madonni Haims, Donnetta Irvis, Marilyn Lavins, Joanne Litz, Lauren Marsella, Sienna Martz, Maria Nevelson, Bernice Paul, Eva Preston, Katya Roelse, Kendal Wilkins and Natalie Zuk.

ECO + FASHION is small, delegated to the one City Hall room and two cases in the hallway, but it's certainly thought provoking: from the intricacy of a dress woven from strands of "plarn," a mashup of plastic and yarn, to the deeper meanings behind earrings made of credit and gift cards — artist Marcella Marsella writes of those baubles in particular, "it is possible to transform them into something beautiful and functional, to assign new meaning to their power."

Clothes often are, after all, just another material we discard, adding to our towering landfills — the EPA says Americans throw away more than 68 pounds of clothing per person per year. We might not all be able to craft our sundresses from live moss or organic pineapple fiber, but it's worth checking out the people who give it a shot.

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