What I Love About Pittsburgh Earth Day’s EcoluItion Fashion Show

By Natalie Bencivenga


MARCH 30, 2024

When you think of a typical fashion show, “eco-chic” may not be the first thing that comes to mind for most people. But leave it to a group of forward-thinking Pittsburghers to create one of the most fun – and eco-friendly! – fashion events around. Ecolution began several years ago and I remember being involved as one of the first judges for the event and then later as the co-emcee. Watching Pittsburgh-based designers strut their skills down the runway was impressive to say the least. A gown made from blue plastic bags? You got it. A dress created out of broken CDs and forgotten computer parts? Absolutely. The creativity and ingenuity never ceases to amaze me from year to year. But what makes a design sustainable?

Let’s break down the process:

  1. Sustainable fabrics: Designers are charged with creating pieces from discarded materials that aren’t recyclable, but in the real world, sustainable clothing can be made from organic cotton, hemp and recycled polyester.
  2. Upcycling: One person’s trash is another’s treasure! Creating new and fabulous pieces from vintage clothing, deadstock or textile waste is the new way to be sustainable and sophisticated.
  3. Zero-waste design: Can you imagine a world where every piece of fabric is used in the final look? It takes more time to prepare, but less waste is better for us all in the end. 
  4. Plant-based dyes Incorporating natural, plant-based dyes for a safer, more sustainable approach to coloring fabrics. 
  5. Eco-friendly packaging: It isn’t just the design itself that could use some eco-love. How we package clothing and accessories is equally important, with reusable bags or biodegradable packing materials being put in the mix. 

What are other ways we can create a fashionable and healthy world? Share them with us in the comments below! 


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Check out her weekly show on, “In Conversation With…” every Saturday from 2-5pm EST.

Learn more about the issues impacting our communities with her regular series for Penn Capital-Star, “Facts Over Fear” and “Dare to Care.”