Highlights of Vancouver's Eco Fashion Week

Jeff Garner with a model at his show for Eco Fashion Week in Vancouver
  1. Myriam Laroche once owned 100 pairs of shoes, but now she's leading designers, buyers and fashionistas along the eco fashion path with the launch of Vancouver's Eco Fashion Week.
  2. Eco fashion is about standards and good production practices, but it's also about taking small steps towards a more holistic and caring lifestyle.
  3. Jeff Garner is a Southern gentleman and a designer, who would be working on a horse farm if he wasn't conquering Eco Fashion week in Vancouver or opening London Fashion week.
  4. Being stylish and caring about the planet isn't just for hippies anymore. (I was a hippie, so I should know).
  5. Kim Cathers is a really nice person, contrary to the hatemail she recieves everytime there's a rerun of her season on Project Runway.
  6. Vancouver may be becoming a green city, but this is only the first Eco Fashion week event. New York, Paris, and London are already putting on large scale Fashion weeks focussed on sustainable clothing design and eco fashion.
  7. Nicole Bridger's clothing labels say "I AM LOVE", which isn't the reason why she recently won the FTA's Design Forward award.


These are just a few of the many reasons that Eco Fashion Week was a success. The fashion was both stylish and wearable. The designers, promoters, producers and sponsors all showed that it's possible to combine sustainable solutions while also running a successful business. The rest of the fashion industry will start to take notice because this is a lifestyle now and not just a passing trend.

Readers may not know this, but I was in fashion design 25 years ago. I had an interest in sustainable development; I was one of those people always making my own clothes, and people kept suggesting that I go into fashion design. So I went to VCC to study fashion design, then moved to Montreal and worked in the fashion industry for 5 years. I decided to get out of the business because the industry was very wasteful and there was no vision of eco fashion in 1985. I always had ideas about recycling clothing and reusing fabrics and so forth, but back then people were just not interested in those ideas. So here I am, 25 years later at Eco Fashion Week to figure out what people are up to now, how things have developed and what young designers are creating for 2010 and beyond.

I attended the opening night and met with organizer Myriam Laroche about the event. She was very excited about creating an annual industry event that would grow into something similar to the Fashion Week events in New York, Paris, and London. Myriam told me that while she wasn't neccessarily an eco-friendly girl, she was passionate about fashion and at one point owned 100 pairs of shoes. After being involved in the fashion industry for 15 years in Montreal, she moved to Vancouver and has been here for three years. While she loved the fashion world, she started getting overwhelmed by the industry's tendency for over-consumption. After attending EPIC!, she became inspired by city councillor Andrea Reimer to make Vancouver the greenest city in the world. Thus Eco Fashion week was born with the dream of Vancouver becoming the international capital for eco fashion.

Photographer Kris Krug, Creative Director of Aveda Canada Ray Civello, and Aaron Handford of EcoFashionworld.com at Eco Fashion Week opening night.

Myriam told me the objective of the event was to provide tools for both designer and buyer to take the green route. As an industry event, EFW offered seminars such as: Eco as a Movement not a Trend, led by Carly Stojsic from Worth Global Style Network; and Paul Raybin from AirDye talked with Mark Trotzuk in a presentation about the life-cycle of fashion. Note: AirDye offers an alternative and sustainable method that provides a sustainable alternative to traditional cationic or vat dyeing processes.

Myriam Laroche wants EFW to be about helping people making small changes in their life rather than expecting people to be 100% eco. By showcasing eco fashion designers and companies, it will help both industry and the general public learn more about becoming more conscious in their design and lives.

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