This month, Parvati Magazine caught up with Eco Fashion Week, whose next biannual event is April 19-24, 2015.
PMAG: What is Eco Fashion Week and why is it relevant at this time?
Ashleigh Said, Eco Fashion Week: Eco Fashion Week (EFW) is an international platform for designers, brands, buyers, media and manufacturers to all come together and discuss and highlight the global fashion industry’s most innovative solutions to critical environmental, social and ethical challenges. EFW also raises public awareness in an effort to help fashion lovers make sustainable choices no matter what their own personal style is.
PMAG: What inspired the creation of Eco Fashion Week?
AS: President and Founder of EFW, Myriam Laroche, had been in the fashion industry 15 years at the time she created EFW. Having being a buyer and stylist in Montreal for most of her career, she was very aware of the waste and unethical practices that the fashion industry creates. Upon moving to Vancouver, Myriam was inspired by Vancouver’s goal to become the greenest city in the world by 2020, this sparked the idea for EFW. For EFW to thrive it needed to be in a forward thinking city where the whole community, from artists to politicians cared about the ecological structure of the city.
PMAG: Eco Fashion Week is now in its ninth season and fifth year. What is your favourite thing about bringing it forward every year?
AS: Our favourite thing about moving the event forward every year is how our message and event is growing internationally. We are excited to be continuing our partnership with global thrift retailers SAVERS Value Village (US), international fashion powerhouse H&M (Sweden) and of course the amazing independent designers that come and show at EFW (This season we will see designers from the likes of Croatia and Germany on the Vancouver runway).
PMAG: How has the industry changed over the nine years?
AS: Over the 9 seasons and 5 years, one of the biggest changes we’ve seen is how the bigger names in fashion are stepping up and taking responsibility. Vancouver has always had amazing independent designers that have been conscious in creating sustainable collections, but to see bigger brands (the ones with the biggest carbon footprint) take action is truly amazing to us. For example, one of the reasons we are so excited to be working with H&M is due to their Garment Collecting initiative – global movement that encourages customers to bring unwanted garments of any brand and in any condition to H&M stores to be given a new life.
PMAG: What are some looks or brands you’re particularly excited about featuring?
AS: I have already mentioned H&M – Eco Fashion Week will mark the British Columbia launch of their Spring 2015 Conscious Collection. The Swedish brand’s eco friendly initiatives make conscious choices desirable and easily accessible for many shoppers. The entire collection is made from sustainable materials such as organic cotton and recycled polyester.
Thrift Chic Challenge Presented By Value Village – A trend-focused event where three stylists are given a $500 allowance to create ten runway worthy outfits using only gently-used clothing from Value Village, the Thrift Chic Challenge has become without a doubt one of Eco Fashion Week’s most anticipated runway shows. This year’s stylists are: Megan-Magdalena Boure, Lucy Yun and Dominique Hanke
The 68 Pound Challenge Presented By Value Village – Established Canadian designer and Project Runway Canada Season 1 alumnae, Carlie Wong brings her strong couturier skills to the Value Village 68 Pound Challenge. Sixty-eight pounds is the amount of clothing and textiles the average North American throws away each year and serves as the inspiration for this fashion challenge – creating a brand new collection from sixty-eight pounds of gently-used clothing from Value Village.
Celebrating its 8th season, Eco Fashion Week (EFW) is informing and inspiring the fashion-conscious, and sustainable-minded, alike, in a way that harmonizes beauty and the environment.