Vancouver Eco Fashion Week roundup: the best of local and international designers
Sustainable fashion was celebrated last week in the city's downtown core during Vancouver Eco Fashion Week. In its fourth season, the event was wildly successful, with standing room only in many of the runway shows, well attended seminars, and packed parties.
Sustainable fashion was celebrated last week in the city's downtown core during Vancouver Eco Fashion Week.
In its fourth season, the event was wildly successful, with standing room only in many of the runway shows, well attended seminars, and packed parties.
From Tuesday, April 10 to Thursday, April 12, UBC's Robson Square was transformed into a runway, becoming a temporary home to local and international designers promoting environmentally friendly fashions.
Seminars covered a broad spectrum of topics: Value Village talked about the importance of donating used clothing and the incredible finds to be had at their chain, while Hootsuite emphasized how social media can help grow businesses - no matter their size.
Overall, the event showcased Vancouver as a trend-setting city on the eco-fashion front, and highlighted the city's creative talent.
Here's a rundown of the designers who graced the runway:
Headlining Eco Fashion Week was Prophetik, from Nashville, Tennessee. Jeff Garner designs the collections from his own spirit, infusing old world charm and techniques with new world fits and fabrics. "A gentleman is reborn to capture the essence of the classic sophisticated lady of the modern world," says the brand's site. "He brings the romance back into fashion." Prophetik strives for sustainable solutions in all aspects of its design - from stamping business cards on recycled paper, to using bark to dye the clothes naturally.
The swimwear and apparel brand, designed in California and made in Colombia, is a collection of colourful pieces featuring detailed hand embroidery. Its sustainable nature comes from both a human and environmental perspective. In Colombia, where the swimwear manufacturing is done, La Isla employs head of household women by bringing the fabric to their homes. This year, the brand has also partnered with Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures society, donating to their cause.
Featuring handcrafted jewelry from Poland, the brand Bitru Fairel includes unique pieces made mostly from natural materials such as ordinary stones, pumice, cinnamon, coconut shell, coral and leaves collected from all around the world. The brand uses ‘specific’ materials, such as coins, wires, electrical cables, shell casings, protective flexible corrugated conduit, nails and extension cords. The brand describes its pieces not as classic jewelry, but as "show jewelry" which could be used as a backdrop for film, a TV show or special fashion events.
Based in Sweden, Svensk is proud to use all organic materials, and produces its items in an environmentally friendly way. The knitwear line mixes outdoor and urban living. Svensk products are manufactured in South America with cooperatives who help local communities to set fair prices for their products. The cooperative consists of large and small alpaca breeders and individual artisans who knit their products from their home.
The line offers original designs for women who emphasize a desire to look different and elegant. The use of silk and wool is prominent in the collection, as is the inspiration of "nature combined with the beauty of women." The women's private label collection features high-end cocktail and evening styles created by Kathy Sabin-Mensah, a French designer living in Seattle. The line in conscious to minimize the use of materials, and uses electronic media for as many aspects as possible.
Recently featured in Elle Canada, Standing Armed features a diverse line of lace, wool and warm colours. It's a melding of sophistication and ease with focus on classic, timeless pieces of the utmost quality. The line caters to the modern woman; elegant and feminine, its understated detail flatters the female form lending confidence and allowing personal style to reign. Standing armed is proudly designed, manufactured and produced locally in Vancouver.
The local brand uses only vegetable tanned leather, thread, and functional hardware that stand the test of time. The leather is derived from an ancient tanning process of soaking cowhides in a ‘vegetable matter soup.’ This process uses very little toxic chemicals and leaves the leather rigid and ready to be ‘tooled’. From conception to production, the bags limit waste by using shapes and sizes that maximize hide use. Fiveleft bags use very few parts, some as little as four pieces of leather.
All garments produced under the Adhesif Clothing label are all locally handmade from reclaimed and vintage fabrics and notions. Many pieces are as much as 90% reclaimed and one of a kind. The self-described whimsical and ecliptic brand has a flagship boutique at 2202 Main Street Vancouver, and is expanding its line to other boutiques nationally and internationally.
Handmade in Bali, Indonesia, Mala Imports jewelry is sustainably harvested, fairly traded, and ethically produced. The jewelry features a unique combination of rudraksha beads and gemstones, from vibrant turquoise, to earthy lava rock. Rudraksha beads grow inside of what looks likes a blueberry, on trees in South East Asia. And each gemstone has its own believed healing quality. For example, turquoise increases love and destroys hatred, while lava is thought to provide strength and clarity. Overall, the jewelry is believed to help provide a calmer mind, body and spirit.
Ollin's Arm Candy is known for mixing bold prints, colors and themes. The bags are made from recycled materials: defective candy wrappers are rescued before being brought to the landfills and used in the construction of each bag. It can take up to four thousand candy wrappers and four days for an individual artisan to construct one bag. No two bags are the same. And while they are made from candy wrappers, gum wrappers and soda bottle labels, they are known for long-term durability.
Indigenous takes a sustainable 100% organic approach to fashion, focusing on attention to style, detail, and luxurious eco fibers, while embracing fair trade principals and the time honored skills of local artisans in Peru. Fifteen years ago, Indigenous embarked on a journey that required a unique, one of a kind foundation with community and the environment as corner stone. Sustainability, passion and love define the seeds that took root to form Indigenous. From the beginning we believed clothing could make a difference in people’s lives and not have to harm the environment.
The men's clothing line based in Vancouver and is a fashionable mix of relaxed and sophisticated collared shirts, sweaters, pants and shorts. On their site they say, "We find clothing is an ongoing human expression, similar to music and architecture. It is not static; clothing is constantly evolving and changing, as do the people who wear it. Our goal is simple: to make quality goods with a following of people that appreciate what we do."
F as in Frank
F as in Frank is a unique assortment of retro fashions. The label sorts 100,000 lbs. of clothing per day, so inevitably, they come across lots of rare and unique vintage pieces. Included in this mix is vintage denim, rare work wear, motorcycle fashions, 60’s and 70’s hippie fashions, rare 40’s to 80’s t-shirts, vintage sweatshirts, WWII military goods, unique hunting fashions, and anything else that they deem interesting. The line has a new clothing boutique located on 2425 Main Street in Vancouver.
Eason Wang's collection Unlokk was featured on the opening night of Vancouver Eco Fashion Week. For this collection, instead of purchasing new yards of fabric, he chose to almost completely design it by reusing the fabrics he already had in stock in his home studio. He describes his newest collection as a combination of new elements, structures, prints and colours. And he describes the type of person to wear his line as "stylish, confident, into quality clothes, fashion forward and hipster."