Eco Education Important Component at Canada’s Fashion Weeks


Fashion Weeks around the world have taken the headlines by storm with coverage from NY, Paris, Milan and London. And thankfully, each of these international shows have featured sustainable fashion on their runways.

Here in Canada, we tend to hold our Fashion Weeks a bit later in the season, mainly so that our top fashion media outlets don’t have to be in two places at once. This week we are hosting both Montreal Fashion Week and Eco Fashion Week (EFW) Vancouver.

For the first time, Montreal Fashion Week has teamed up with non-profit organization FEM International to present ModEthik, which will feature an exhibition and collective runway show, as well as an educational discussion around ethical fashion and responsible consumerism.

Vancouver is taking it to a whole new level with the first ever Eco Fashion Week. The three-day event will be focused on sustainable fashion and includes a trade show and seminar component as well. I caught up with the organizer, Myriam Laroche, who hopes that buyers will put EFW on their calendars twice a year and that Vancouver will become an international eco fashion capital.

“Our mission with EFW is to make it easy for the fashion industry to take the green road”, states Laroche. “In order to do this, we feel that the educational part of it is extremely important. The runway show presents the look of the collection, and is an opportunity to show buyers how to wear and style the clothes. The trade show provides a platform for designers and buyers to deepen their understanding of eco fashion, and at the same time meet and develop business relationships.”

Eco model, activist, designer, author and sustainable pioneer Summer Rayne Oakes is one of the presenters at Eco Fashion Week Vancouver. Delegates will learn about her new company, Source4Style (which is currently in private beta) – the world’s first online marketplace for designers to search and source leading sustainable textiles. I had a chance to chat briefly with Summer about her talk and the importance of having sustainability sessions at Fashion Weeks across the globe. Here is what she had to say:

“Sustainability is still such a black box in the fashion industry. It’s not uncommon to have workshops and presentations designed to elucidate and untangle its inherent complexities. And if attendance to these talks is any indication of people’s interest, well then I don’t see any sign of it stopping.”

And I couldn’t agree more. The industry is becoming hungry for this information. They want to understand the social and environmental impacts of their work, and how they can do their part. And it makes good business sense for Fashion Weeks to provide the venue for such growth.

Image: Courtesy of Montreal Fashion Week