I'm too sexy for this footprint: Eco-designers take on fashion's carbon footprint

What does fashion have to do with climate change? When you have new "It: bags and shoes coming out every season, made with toxic dyes, often with leather, flown and driven to stores across the globe, it's safe to say fashion's carbon footprint is a size XXXL.

A growing number of eco-designers are trying to change all that, by using production processes that are gentler on the environment and all natural materials, such as hemp and cotton. (Watch the video below -- this is not your mother's hemp.) And their pioneering efforts are making an impact on the industry as a whole. This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

On Tuesday night during New York's Spring 2010 Fashion Week, The Green Shows feted Tiffany & Co. for switching its iconic pale blue shopping bags to environmentally-certified recycled paper versus the rainforest-endangering variety from Indonesia, the largest producer of luxury shopping bags and the third largest contributor to climate change because of its rapid deforestation.

Tiffany & Co. C.E.O. Michael J. Kowalski said it was easy to make the switch, and that more designers need to follow suit -- it's simply an issue of awareness. "Industry has a leadership role to play that requires a social license to operate," says Kowalski. "We try to do what we can in our own sphere of influence." That includes addressing the issue with other members of Jewelers of America, as Kowalski plans to do.