Eco Fashion Week: Fashion with a Cause

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Last week marked the start of Eco Fashion Week’s fourth season! Read on and see what makes Eco Fashion Week one of the most highly anticipated fashion events of the year.

Amidst the many fashion events in Vancouver, Eco Fashion Week (EFW) sets itself apart from all others with its humanitarian and environmental vision. Founded in 2009 by eco-stylist and entrepreneur, Myriam Laroche, EFW began with the goal to improve the fashion industry. Did you know that the lucrative fashion industry is also one of the most detrimental to the environment? While ranking in hundred billions a year, fashion is the third most damaging to the eco-system. But Eco Fashion Week wants to change that. Their mission: “[To] position Vancouver as the International Capital of Eco Fashion, as Paris is to Haute-Couture.” Just for that, EFW has won me over. Now in its fourth year, EFW stands stronger than ever.

“Vancouver is a very young city, and it was tough to attract people [to EFW] at first”, said Laroche. “They have been disappointed with the fashion industry, and it happens. I don’t blame them. But that is why we have been going on for four seasons now, so the world can see that Vancouver really is serious about fashion and the environment!”

 

This year, with major sponsor, Value Village (one of the leading thrift stores in North America), EFW proves that you don’t have to be wasteful to be fabulous. All featured designers and creations, like Adhesif, Mala Imports, Indigenous, Kreati-ka, and many many many more,  showcase reclaimed fabric, recycled material, handmade jewelry, fair-trade beads and the like. EFW also hosts eco-seminars and sustainability lectures after the runway shows, during which everyone comes together to discuss the ways fashion can help promote environmental welfare.

Everything in the EFW just screams out organic and vintage (which I love!). Speaking of vintage, if you love the old colors and style of the retro years, check out Myriam Laroche’s runway show featuring vintage garb from Value Village!

Another support to thank are the ladies from Miss World Canada 2012! Together, EFW and the Miss World Canada aim to raise awareness about the environment, and the needs of the world. “EFW and Miss World Canada are very similar,” said Ike Lalji, director and chairman of the Miss World Canada, “We are beauty pageants with a humanitarian platform. EFW is helping the fashion industry as well as the city, which is a good match to our charities and fundraisers”.

The opening runway show featured four lovely ladies from the Miss World pageant, all of whom are also wearing recycled clothing from Value Village. “It’s nice for people to be fashionable and look good,” said Lalji, “But it’s even better to use these to help promote awareness about the environment. This is what I like most about EFW, and this is what the Miss World Canada does: to promote awareness to the environment, children’s rights, people who are sick, sustainability and everything else that needs to be addressed. We all need to get together and help each other.”

With all its charm and vision, EFW is set to get even bigger in the next few years. And who knows, maybe Vancouver really will be the Eco Fashion powerhouse, just as Laroche hoped it to be. “What I am excited about is Vancouver being a young city where everything is about to be built!” said Laroche, “For years, you can all the local fashion shows trying to imitate larger cities like New York, Paris, or Toronto, and that’s okay if you’re a teenager city. But now, it’s like, NO: We have our own identity, and we can do something about it. People all over the world are now talking about Vancouver, because the ratio of talent in this city is extremely high, and they are really coming together to help each other out”.

For more pictures and details about the wonderful designers that participated in EFW (and they really are wonderful!), check out the EFW website, and the EFW Facebook page. There’s a lot of vintage style and tribal/ethnic designs for you there!

And remember: Let’s help promote sustainability in fashion!

-Jenica C.

Photos are courtesy of Eco Fashion Week Vancouver and Kuna Photography.

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