At $425 a pop, VIP tickets to Seattle's inaugural Green Fashion Week ought to come with a lease to a Prius. Such is the cost of high fashion...

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At $425 a pop, VIP tickets to Seattle’s inaugural Green Fashion Week ought to come with a lease to a Prius. Such is the cost of high fashion — but when it involves eco-friendly designs, at least you’re not paying with your conscience.

That’s the idea behind the first-ever Green Fashion Week, starting Tuesday with a series of shopping parties, trunk shows and an educational book launch leading up to a high-fashion runway finale at Pier 66. The Saturday runway show will be hosted by model/activist Summer Rayne Oakes and feature clothing by eco-conscious regional designers, as well as a few specially created pieces by Diane von Furstenberg, Heatherette and Oscar de la Renta. Proceeds from Green Fashion Week will benefit Earth Pledge, a nonprofit organization dedicated to green initiatives.

“We want to show there is a connection between luxury and being green,” said Michelle Taylor, founder of Bellevue-based The Zella Company, which is producing the event. “Yeah, it may cost a little bit more, but you’re saving the environment.”

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Taylor, whose associates call her a “walking fashion plate,” wanted to bring the excitement of New York Fashion Week to Seattle, but with a Northwest twist. She once lived a block from the fashion tents at Bryant Park in Manhattan.

But in Seattle, matters of fashion often take a backseat to those of the environment. “Green fashion” evokes the color khaki, which probably describes the pants you’re wearing with that polar-fleece. So forgive us for imagining “Green Fashion Week” as looking like something out of the recycling challenge on “Project Runway.”

That’s just the attitude Seattle designer Aiden Dinh plans to defy on the runway with creations from his two clothing lines: Sling & Stones and GoodSociety.

“I’m going to relay the message that if you buy green, you don’t have to look green,” Dinh said. “We design both lines to make them not look granola. All of my jackets have a really fun ’80s vibe, but redone to make it look a little more classy. The organic cashmere sweaters look like something you would buy at a hipster store like Blackbird.”

And with prices to match — organic premium denim by Sling & Stones, with its signature gold-square button, goes for $295 a pair. GoodSociety has a more moderate price point, with jeans for about $100, twill jackets for $120 and trench coats for $150.

“We try to convince the consumer this is the right thing to do. They’re buying the other brand because of the name recognition,” Dinh said. “We’re giving them the great option of clothes that look like everything else, but are also green and organic.”

Portland designer Anna Cohen, who will show what she calls “Italian Street Couture” on the runway, purposely avoids using colors associated with the green movement in her designs — no eggplant purple, nothing resembling a potato sack. Previous collections have, however, included items like a soy halter dress and bamboo tank top.

“It’s a new thing to think that something that is aesthetically pleasing can also be environmentally responsible,” Cohen said. “I think it’s interesting for people to digest that.”

Certainly, fashion and the environment draw diverse — and divergent — crowds; will they converge on Green Fashion Week?

“There are still a lot of people who don’t get it, [but] the sentiment is shifting. We’re hoping that people will come see what we’re talking about,” Taylor said. “It’s a risk, but it’s a calculated risk that we want to take.”

Pamela Sitt: 206-464-2376 or

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