SeanBlog: Sustainable Sean goes to Washington

That's right...I finally made my way to Washington, DC. Although I can't say I changed politics as much as Mr. Smith, I did meet a lot of great people, checked out some local cafes and businesses, and of course saw many museums, monuments, and other sights. The opportunity arose from an invitation from friend and sustainable fashion colleague Priya Patel to take part in a responsible fashion presentation at the World Bank/IFC along with Geoffrey Geist from Gap social responsibility and the fabulous Starre Vartan, author of The Eco Chick Guide to Life: How to Be Fabulously Green and chief blogger at Priya works at the IFC and has organized a group there called Fashion for Development. The panel went really well, there were lots of great questions, and I made many new connections with folks interested in or already working in the sustainable fashion world. I was very happy that a good friend and former board member of Sustainable Style Foundation, Jenny Clarke, was able to attend the presentation. Jenny now works for the Fair Labor Association in DC. That evening, we all attended a fashion event at the National Zoo organized by Avani Ribbon and hosted by Zoolights and the Greater Washington Fashion Chamber of Commerce. The event was quite fun and I was very pleased to see some men's clothing in the mix. I also got a chance to have a great talk with Sarah Perelstein and Pierre Grzybowski from the Humane Society of the United States who are working on the HSUS fur campaign.

The other big sustainability highlight from my trip was meeting with Pamela Skarda, ED of SBNOW (Sustainable Business Network of Washington). We had a tasty lunch at the National Museum of the American Indian and talked shop on lots of sustainable business topics. Afterwards, I spent the whole afternoon touring the incredibly impressive museum.

Finally, I was given a copy of Van Jones' recent book, The Green Collar Economy, just before my trip to DC. I took it with me for the plane ride and ended up finishing it in DC. The book is impressive enough on its own but to be reading it in DC in this period of major change was quite profound. I even read a portion in the Library of Congress which was really, Really, REALLY cool.

All in all it was a really fun and productive trip for me. I very much look forward to 2009...good things ahead.

photos: World Bank/IFC lobby; models at 'Fashion night at the Zoo'