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Beauty and the beach salute Earth Month

Eco-friendly fashions on parade at Rituals Colour Salon in Valencia

Posted: April 25, 2009 9:36 p.m.
Updated: April 26, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Models and participants in the "Project Earth: A Green Carpet Event" held at Rituals Colour Salon in Valencia.

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When a passion for fashion meets an effort for the environment, eco-friendly fun is the inevitable outcome. In honor of Earth Month and to support efforts for cleaner beaches, Rituals Colour Salon (Aveda) in Valencia recently held a “Project Earth: A Green Carpet Event.”

“It’s wonderful to throw an event that makes people feel good and teaches them that they can make a difference,” said Renee Kaehny, Rituals Salon co-owner and creative director.

Kaehny invited community members, family and friends to partake in the afternoon of fashion fun while hosting the Santa Clarita Valley’s first ever eco-friendly fashion show to benefit the Surfrider Foundation, a corporate partner of Aveda and a nonprofit environmental organization that works to protect the world’s oceans, waves and beaches.

The Valencia salon was converted into a cosmopolitan fashion house for the afternoon, gathering curious guests who anticipated the runway show of environmentally conscious fashions. The models who sashayed down a green carpet catwalk were adorned with striking hair and make-up which used Aveda products.

Each model sported avant-garde, creative designs from 100-percent renewable, reusable and recyclable materials such as bamboo, mud silk, seaweed and other unusal materials such as plastic and brown paper bags, among others.

“We just want people to see that there are many uses for items in our everyday lives,” said Erica Randall, 22. Randall, an eco-friendly model, wore a dress of delicate recycled silk.

“We all have options when we buy new items that aren’t good for the environment. We just need to be aware of what those options are and how to use them,” she said.

Other models in the show shared Randall’s strong feelings about proper care for the planet.

“I never used to be this conscientious,” said model Sarah Lochelt, 21. “It’s not that I didn’t want to help, but I just didn’t know how. I feel like recycling has become much more accessible and now it’s easier to do than ever before.”

Guests nibbled at savory samplings made fresh and donated by the Valencia Bristol Farms, sipping wine served from the hair-service-station turned-cocktail-bar set up in the back of the salon.

A silent auction offered prizes donated by local businesses who joined in the salon’s effort to boost environmental awareness, with proceeds to benefit the Surfrider Foundation.

“We are so fortunate to know the people of this community and call them friends,” said Michael Kaehny, salon co-owner. “They have hearts the size of Texas and remind me every day that the more you give, the more you end up getting.”

The variety of unique fashions were designed by local designers and fashion lovers alike including luxury couture and eco-designer, Linda Lowdermilk, whose fashions have caught notable attention as stylish, yet sustainable recycled creations.

Designer Lauren Nakagawa, 22, was among the innovative designers to try their hand at recycled fashions.

“I hope to create environmental awareness with everything I do in the future,” said Nakagawa, whose creation was a carefully placed white trash bag, fitted and tied at the waist on model, Emily Largey, 18.

Another creative eye-catcher was a design made entirely out of empty bottles and boxes from used Aveda products.

The Kaehny’s 18 year-old daughter Shannon, proved that a love for the planet runs in the family. Shannon Kaehny worked tirelessly to perfect a tea-length dress, carefully crafted out of Aveda product material, which she cut and pasted onto brown paper. Held together by recycled string the dress was a definite showstopper as Mariah Aguinaldo, 18, showed off the “garment.”

“I love our environment,” said Aguinaldo, who was asked to model the creation by her close friend, Shannon Kaehny. “To help with it’s survival, I will do whatever it takes.”

“There is more to us than just another salon,” said Renee Kaehny. “Here, we look at the bigger picture and continue to gain inspiration by making differences in our world.”

Aside from the day’s green gala event, Surfrider member Renee Kaehny and her staff are involved in various local charities and other environmental projects.

The salon participates in beach clean-up days, which focus on particular stretches of nearby beaches, dedicating their efforts to picking up trash and collecting recyclable items.

One member of the modeling team explained her own beach clean-ups.

“When I am at the beach with my friend, we clean up whatever we see,” said youngest fashion model, Chloe Sawyer, age 9. “We do it without anybody else telling us we should, because someday we might not even have a beach to go to.”

Sawyer wore a skirt made out of Whole Foods bags donated by Tina Landrum, Valencia Whole Foods marketing supervisor, Tina Landrum, who also modeled in the show.

“It is an event like this one that brings like-minded people together to create a stronger effort. As more people come together on helping our planet, they may get inspired and more creative with ways to reuse everyday materials,” Landrum said.

Conservation creativity was brought to a whole new level by the show’s models and salon staff, who shared ways to reuse, renew and recycle household items. More environmental ways to dispose of depleted batteries and the use of old dryer lint as compost, were among some of the ideas explored. Not to be thrown out, is each piece of hair that is cut by staff at the salon each day.

“We keep the hair that we’ve cut and send it to the nonprofit organization, ‘Matter of Trust,’” said Renee Kaehny, of the organization which uses fibers like hair, wool, fur and feathers to make items that can naturally soak up oil spills around the world.

“It is really amazing how many different ways we can help. Hair is a natural absorbent, so we put it to good use after it hits our floors,” she said.

On a daily basis, the salon staff uses Aveda, products that are 99 percent naturally derived from pure plant and flower essences.

The staff actively employs daily conservation and care of the earth’s natural resources.

“At Aveda, every day is Earth Day,” said salon Manager Vanessa Todd, 23. “We strive to represent going that extra mile. The environment is our home and we intend to always treat it that way.”

“I am always looking to do green projects,” said community member, Danica Lynch, who attended the event in support of her eco-friendly friends. “I would love to see more opportunities for people to come together in the community. Differences can be made which just one person connecting to another for a good cause.”

For more useful tips on how to conserve and to learn more about the Surfrider Foundation visit www.surfrider.org. Rituals Colour Salon, 26918 The Old Road, Valencia, (661) 799-9910.

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