For Earth Day, Designers Launch
Array of Eco-Friendly Fashions

By Daniel Altiere   FOXNews
When fashionistas talk about styles they "dig," they rarely mean it literally. But on Earth Day, "digging clothes" can have an entirely new meaning.

William Tolan/Fox News
Various materials are made with recycled plastic

At Manhattan's Citicorp Center Thursday some of the most celebrated names in fashion — Betsey Johnson, Nicole Miller, Tommy Hilfiger and Gene Meyer — worked together with America's top design students from eight elite colleges to put together the annual Master Apprentice Collection. The material used, although not directly from the earth, can certainly be found there in one form or another.

The collection is made from 100 percent recycled plastic bottles. The new, cutting-edge textile is particularly exciting to work with for established designers. And teens and younger designers, who are more environmentally aware than previous generations, recognize its importance as an earth-preserver.

"[The collection] is the perfect way to prove that these bottles have an afterlife — coming down the runway as elegant and appealing garments," said Rob Meyer, vice president of innovation development for Pepsi-Cola, who presented the event.

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Hillary Day, a graduating Rhode Island School of Design student, apprenticed with Vera Wang

The Master Apprentice Collection attracts teens in bushels — it's a mix of edgy fashion, awareness about recycling and, well, mall culture — shopping as entertainment.

Teens have staggering spending power — Women's Wear Daily estimates Generation Y has purchasing power between $90 and $150 billion annually. They're into fashion trends, new music and think it's hip to be concerned about the environment.

Last year, the Mall Tour section of the presentation included numerous promotions designed specifically for young people, including a performance by teen babe-rocker Britney Spears and a teen model search audition.

The event is in its fourth year, but this is the first year the public will see the collection before it is presented to industry insiders at 7th on Sixth during American Fashion Week. The 1999 collection will be the largest collection yet with 70 creations designed by professional-student teams.