Setting Sustainability Examples at Coterie

On September 17, our Sustainability and the Future of Fashion class attended the Coterie women's wear trade show at the Javits Center in New York.


This year, Coterie collaborated with the United Nations to support their Sustainable Development Goals’ Conscious Fashion Campaign to promote sustainable brands and drive conscious consumerism. There is a misconception that brands that are sustainable and eco-friendly are not profitable. By inviting brands like Mar Y Sol, Liverpool Jeans and Wrangler, Coterie is proving the skeptics wrong!

Entering the Javits Center, you could feel the buzz in the air. People from all over the world, from all walks of life, were just excited to be there. Once you entered the actual show, the atmosphere was amplified tenfold. Brands from all over the world—Bec & Bridge (Australia), AAKS (Africa) and Legami (Italy)—showed apparel, jewelry, leather goods and shoes, and invested a lot of effort into grabbing your attention. No stall was empty, with buyers and onlookers drawn to the impressive collections and displays.

Our mission at Coterie was not only to explore the show but also to focus on brands that were changing the face of sustainability in fashion. That is how I came across Valerie James Showroom, a boutique distribution agency that brings luxury European women's wear to the American market.


Valerie was there with her team showcasing two brands, one of which was Annette Görtz. While chatting with Valerie, she explained that she was introduced to Annette Görtz’s brand through friends in the industry. Annette’s belief that fashion doesn’t need to be disposable allowed her to focus on sustainable manufacturing processes. Her clothing is made using organic linen and organic cotton sourced from Europe and manufactured in Germany using fine Italian fabrics, while her bags are made in Spain. The other garments are produced using the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)—certified organic cotton made in Europe under fair-trade conditions. GOTS is the world's leading textile processing standard for organic fibers.

Valerie showed me a lightweight linen coat, designed by Annette, for her SS19 collection. From looking at the care label, I noticed that 100% organic linen is used and that the fabric is dyed without heavy metals using ecological coating. The accessories are made of natural materials or nickel-free metals and all labels are made from cotton. Qualities are described as breathable (air-permeable), temperature equalizing, skin friendly and biodegradable. Even the care instructions are sustainable. Spots can be cleaned using a sponge as opposed to washing the whole garment; organic detergents are desirable when washing.

While chatting with Valerie, she told me Annette Gortz did a whole winter collection using materials from recycled bottles.

From my experience at Coterie, it is evident that fashion brands can be sustainable and profitable at the same time. Annette Görtz alone is stocked at over 100 retailers worldwide.