Shopping at Vancouver Eco Fashion Week’s Tradeshow

Vancouver Eco Fashion Week's tradeshow features cutting-edge, one-of-a kind pieces from local designers such as Erin Templeton, Billy Would, Pure Magnolia and Spark. 

Credit: City of Vancouver

Day three of Vancouver Eco Fashion Week saw a bevy of one-of-a-kind pieces for sale from local and international designers but only a scant few shoppers to appreciate it


The Eco Fashion Week tradeshow at the Creekside Community Centre was a one-day shopping destination for people who style themselves in pieces as unique as they are well edited. Sorry if you missed it, but you weren’t the only one. Perhaps it was the venue, or even a lack of publicity, but it certainly wasn’t for lack of cutting-edge fashion that the foot traffic was so low.


No matter, all the better for those of us who were treated to a room full of top-notch (sustainable) shopping without competition for the one-of-a-kind pieces found at each booth.



Vancouver designer Erin Templeton crafts upcycled leather bags from leather jackets.


Erin Templeton upcycled leather goods

You could practically smell the buttery leathers in Erin Templeton’s booth before you spotted her. The woman has been ripping apart people’s discarded leather jackets and pants for more than a decade, magicking them back together as stunning handbags for every conceivable occasion.


Her bestselling Purse Tote is a “strong subtle bag that has the confidence not to be flashy.” Lucky, Teen Vogue, Marie Claire, Fashion and Flare have all come knocking on the door of Templeton’s tiny Gastown shop.


“I’m still local,” she quips. “It’s all made here [in Vancouver]. Anyone can come down and watch me if it makes them feel better.”


Billy Would (left) restructures everyday objects to create eco jewellery, which could
go nicely with the bamboo and organic printed t-shirts from S2S (the No Fear design pictured right).


Billy Would accessories and S2S art Ts

There was no cruising past the Billy Would accessories collection without fondling an ebony bangle or two. Designer Adea Chung explained that every pendant, belt buckle and pair of earrings on the table was once part of a skateboard, guitar or furniture. Several pieces would have worked beautifully with S2S’s bamboo and organic cotton Ts, each unique design created by a random artist and voted on by the public.


Pure Magnolia eco wedding gown

Vancouver gown designer Pure Magnolia creates eco wedding dresses out of hemp/silk blends.


Pure Magnolia eco wedding gowns

The sparkle and embellishment of Pure Magnolia’s collection of wedding gowns stood out—ecofashion doesn’t usually come across so flashy. But what could best be described as a granola gown (think: a simple but beautiful naturally hued dress in hemp/silk blend) was right there, hanging on the rack beside what could only be described as a princess gown (its recycled lining tucked beneath a full tulle skirt flowing with a silk charmeuse flower appliqué).


The hardware seen on some dresses was courtesy of her sister’s label, Spark, and glittered with recycled silver from computers and cell phones. Where better to make a loud statement about ecofashion than one’s wedding day?


Eco Fashion Week, a fashion week Vancouver can be proud of

Speaking of things that last forever, more than a few fashion weeks in Vancouver have not, although each claimed they were next in line to become legendary. Eco Fashion Week is finally one that deserves to stand the test of time.


Progressive, environmentally responsible and stylish, it’s a good fit for 21st-century Vancouver. Whether it will continue year after year or not is likely to come down to two things: its ability to garner sponsorship (Aveda stepped forward to make it happen this year), and the capacity of the public to realize that ecofashion loses very little, if anything, in being ethical so is well worth checking out.



Kate MacLennan

Kate MacLennan is a freelance journalist and one of Canada’s foremost trend experts on matters of lifestyle ranging from fashion to music to surfing. She can be found online and on Twitter.