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The Future of Sustainable Fashion Might Be In Costa Rica

Costa Rica Entertainment – You hear a lot about sustainable fashion in New York City, out west in Los Angeles, and Down Under in Australia, but what about Costa Rica? The small Central American country might not be on your radar, at least not in terms of its fashion scene. But eco-conscious shoppers will be happy to know that sustainability is ingrained in Costa Rican design, mostly as a result of the tropical landscape—Costa Rica is one of the most biodiverse regions in the world, and a quarter of its land is protected for parks and reserves.

Maison de Mode’s founders, Amanda Hearst and Hassan Pierre—who launched the site in 2012 as a destination for stylish yet sustainable clothing, accessories, and home goods—wanted to learn more. They recently attended the very first Costa Rica Fashion Summit, which coincided with Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week San José, where they met local designers and attended panels about the country’s sustainable efforts. The event was plastic-free and carbon neutral; any plastic was replaced with glass and yucca-based biodegradable alternatives, and all emissions calculated were offset by planting trees.

“Ninety-nine percent of Costa Rica’s energy comes from renewable sources, and 51 percent of the land is protected as natural reserves,” Hearst tells Vogue. “Coupled with the fact that Costa Rica is the most-visited country in Central America, San José is emerging as a leading sustainable fashion city. We were excited to see the commitment to the environment by so many beautiful brands and designers, and we want to further our investment in artisanal work from Central and South America.”

“[There is] no formal, organized fashion industry here, but tons of artisanal craftsmen,” Pierre adds. “It’s only natural that designers in San José would apply a conscious sensibility to their [collections]. There’s a common quote among the fashion leaders in San José that shows just how serious they are about creating a sustainable fashion industry: ‘If not here, where? If not now, when? If not us, who?’”

Above, Hearst and Pierre share a few more highlights from their trip and talk about the up-and-coming Costa Rican designers you should know—you might just see them on Maison de Mode in the coming months.

by EMILY FARRA, Vogue.com

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