It’s ‘Green’, full of challenges and can pull glam on a shoestring budget. Eco Fashion Week (EFW) has been running for 11 years now, with the latest edition having taken place November 1st – 4th 2016, predominantly happens between in Vancouver, Canada and Seattle in Washington State, USA. However, it is open to international designers too (You’ll notice a very familiar flag in the video below – aka #PERIS by Henry Wanjala, Kenya). It’s the first and largest sustainable fashion and not-for-profit organisation that is on a mission to raise global awareness to direct the fashion industry in a more socially, economically and environmentally sustainable direction.
This platform, which started in 2010, incorporates two days of runway action, showrooms and industry panel discussion to address the ethics of the fashion industry complete with tangible solutions or suggestions to result in more closed loops systems. (Remember these closed loops? Read more about it here)
Interesting highlights of EFW
- Value Village Presents: EFW Collective Conversation
This is a space for open dialogue where challenges, opportunities and innovations in the garment and textile industry for sustainability can be shared. This year, Value Village – a for-profit, global thrift retailer offering great quality, gently used clothing, accessories and household goods – presented key findings about the barriers and motivators to the reuse culture. Other issues discussed include:
- Innovations and solutions or the future of the industry – not just for the impacts and issues we currently see, but also the possible impacts we may face in the future.
- How to build a community of conscious shoppers and methods for communicating sustainability initiatives – the main reason behind designers sharing their closed-loop and environmental efforts publicly so that people can subscribe to a common vision, making it an attractive stance for others.
- How to drive real and lasting behaviour change through reuse and recycling practices – This panel highlighted the successes in communicating about the importance of reuse and recycling and exploring what hasn’t worked so as to drive real and lasting behaviour change in the community at large.
- Runway Reimagines | Project 8.1
This is another collaboration with Value Village that presents a series of hybrid challenges to explore the ‘rethink and reuse’ concept with textile waste. For example their “81lbs Challenge” that takes the average annual weight of North American textile waste produced and turns it into a runway-ready collection. Designers such as Fair Weathers Clothing, Boho Republic, Recycle Runway, KLAD Apparel, and House of 1000 Corsets took part this year, deconstructing old garments to make new pieces. While stylists – Tannya Bernadette, Jerome Insorio, Mark Humphreys, Jason Pillay, and Heidi Valencia – were involved too, making minimal alterations to clothing found at Value Village and had to style outfits from the pieces as they were.
Chic Sheet Challenge from Spring 2016 showcase:
- Runway Diversity
It has to be applauded that the models walking the runways hail from different ages, gender, sizes and ethnicity groups. It’s definitely following in the direction of inclusive runways the industry is being pushed to adopt.
The Eco Fashion Week website goes a step further from showing what people can do. It also has a platform to help new designers’ companies, brands and individuals to practice sustainability. You can see their eco recipe here. With such a large Second Hand Clothing situation in the country and agriculture as one of our leading sectors, who knows what possibilities we could tap into to make our local fashion greener? Especially if we tap into practices such as zero-waste production, environmentally-conscious textile treatment and development, as well as shift the perception on overall consumption and use of clothes; both old and new.
We leave you with some of the highlights from this year’s EFW.
Canting Hijau – Eco Fashion Batik, Indonesia.
Ecobling – an Australian label that uses up-cycled materials to produce beautiful and contemporary planet-friendly accessories.Julie Danforth – Based in Seattle, Washington, specializes in couture gowns.
Kimmi Designs – Bridal line made from memories of the past through beautiful ‘found’ laces are transformed into one of a kind wedding dresses. (USA)
Kromagnon – Is a sustainable and eco-friendly high street label featuring both menswear and womenswear that sources earth friendly materials that are renewable, organic, natural and biodegradable. Most of the fabrics they use are hemp blends with other sustainable fibres such as tencel, peace silks, organic cotton, and recycled water bottles (PET). They use natural dyes as well. (USA)
Rimpy Sahota- One of Vancouver, Canada’s fastest growing Women’s ready-to-wear brands.
Nube9 – An active lifestyle brand with a mission to inspire conversations about responsible fashion. (USA)
Fioravanti – Based in Seattle, their line is functional, and works in layers, or stand-alone pieces.
Nicole Bridger – Their mantra, I AM LOVE, manifests in their business in three parts. That is, do what is right for the Earth, People and Spirit. (Seattle, USA)
Totemmi – This USA brand is making a difference in the studio and in landfills through sustainable, artistic, innovative and eco-friendly yoga/active wear.
Vyayama – They use Tencel, a naturally plant based fabric that is made from sustainably farmed eucalyptus trees. Their products are also naturally pH-skin friendly, anti-odour, non-toxic, hypoallergenic and easy to care for.(USA)
Tetyana Golota – The Ukrainian born Canadian believes that anything can be re-cycled, re-designed and re-loved. That is her ECO-formula for creating garments and fascinators.
Henry Wanjala – Kenyan Designer, created the ‘PERIS’ collection, from recycled crotchet and traditional trays made out of reeds.
VALUE VILLAGE CHALLENGE