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Vancouver's Eco Fashion Week proves that saving the environment is always on trend
Anticipation began early for Eco Fashion Week’s eighth edition. With venues such as the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel and Holt Renfrew housing designers like Tammy Joe and Obakki’s Treana Peake, the event had the city buzzing before it had even begun. BCLiving brings you front-row access to this year’s seminars and shows.
The first of the two fashion show evenings began at the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel for the Thrift Chic Challenge and the 68 Pound Challenge presented by Value Village.
With four different collections, there were many models needed for the evening, which meant a backstage room crowded with makeup artists and hair stylists.
Before the show, Sara Gaugal, the Director of Marketing at Value Village, sat down with BCLiving to tell us about the company’s sustainable initiatives. “The whole concept of being sustainable is in [Value Village’s] DNA,” said Gaugal. “When you think about second-hand, some people might have one perspective, but when you see something like the shows tonight, I think they might change their minds about second-hand clothing.”
Designer Tammy Joe of Young Oak graced Eco Fashion Week for Value Village’s 68 Pound Challenge. Representing the amount of clothing and textiles the average North American throws away every year, Joe had to create her collection from 68 pounds of clothing Value Village deemed unsellable for their stores.
With bits of clothing scattered over the runway, the show began with a modern dance number, capturing the audience’s attention right from the start.
Fresh makeup with baby blues and pinks added to the pops of colour Joe incorporated into the collection. A variety of fabrics were used, from sheers to cottons to rugs and blankets, as Joe proved that she could turn waste into fashion.
Holt Renfrew held a charity shopping night as part of Eco Fashion Week. A trunk show on the upper level of the store featured a line of clothing, accessories and home decor pieces made in India. Henna artists were also on hand to give customers beautiful hand art.
Obakki’s spring and summer collection was also featured, as the line is being carried at Holt Renfrew as a part of the H Project, an exclusive in-store shop highlighting artisan products from around the world.
A portion of customer’s purchases from the evening went towards the Obakki Foundation, the company’s philanthropic counterpart that focuses on providing clean water and education in Africa.
Using Holt Renfrew’s escalators as the runway, one of the main higlights of Eco Fashion week was Obakki’s fashion show. Treana Peake, the brand’s designer, was present to thank everyone for attending and to talk more about the Obakki Foundation.
The show itself was fantastic, featuring the spring and summer collections alongside the fall collection. Dark navy, royal blue, burgundy, grey, black and beige were the common colours throughout the collections. Structured dresses with darting details were designed to give any woman an hourglass shape, while flowy silk dresses and tops were classic and sophisticated. The Obakki line houses pieces that are perfect for anything from the office to a wedding to an evening cocktail.
In its fifth edition, the Thrift Chic Challenge is one where designers are given a $500 allowance to create 10 outfits using only clothing and accessories from Value Village. Three stylists were selected to take on the challenge.
Presenting her Man Up collection, Ghazal Elhaei’s looks were tailored with clean lines and pastel colours. Fabrics like silks and tweeds were used, adding great texture to the suit and shirt combos.
A variety of airy beige fabrics graced Jerome Insorio’s collection for Eco Fashion Week. He created beautiful outfits with his use of light cottons and silks, throwing in a sparkly tank here and there. Coral elements could be found throughout, tying the entire collection together.
With its ’90s grunge feel, Lauren Clark and Lyndsey Chow of Hey Jude put together a collection of pastel pinks, blues and mints. Their use of chain-link accessories and flat black sandals made for a cohesive collection that was all about silk and metallic fabrics.
Before and during the shows, attendees had the chance to browse through Eco Fashion Week President Myriam Laroche’s pop-up shop. Hand-picked by Laroche, the collection of vintage clothing was full of beautiful fabrics and designer clothing that demonstrated Laroche’s keen eye when it comes to thrift store shopping.
Eco Fashion Week also included a series of educational seminars at SFU Woodward’s in Gastown. Panel discussions, moderated by broadcast host and journalist Mana Mansour, discussed what certain companies in the fashion industry are doing to be more eco-friendly, giving tips on how other companies can follow suit.
Myriam Laroche, the Founder and President of Eco Fashion Week (pictured above), let listeners in on ways that they can be more eco-friendly when it comes to their clothing purchases. Believing that not everyone goes about being eco-friendly in the same way, she emphasized that people need to find what’s right for them. “Why not be eco without sacrificing?” said Laroche.
Finishing off the seminars was Pierre Börjesson, the Senior Sustainability Specialist at H&M. Börjesson spoke about H&M’s Garment Collecting Initiative, which is a program that encourages customers to bring unwanted clothing of any brand into an H&M store to be given a new life. Highlighting H&M’s eco-initiatives, Börjesson exposed an eco-friendly side of the company that not many consumers may have known about. “How can H&M make each place a better place than what it would have been without H&M?” said Börjesson.