Upcycled wears and local talents to be showcased at Vancouver’s Eco Fashion Week

    1 of 3 2 of 3

      Eco Fashion Week, Vancouver’s premier sustainable style event, has announced the lineup for its 10th edition, which will take place at various venues across the city from April 9 to 14.

      This year’s 10th anniversary marks a period of growth for the environmentally friendly affair, which will feature a number of renowned designers, new partnerships, and speaker events. Together, they will promote the slow fashion movement while encouraging consumers and industry workers to reevaluate their textile consumption.

      “The apparel and textile industry is the second-most damaging industry on the planet,” says Myriam Laroche, founder of Eco Fashion Week, during an interview with the Straight at a press preview. “We have to do something, period.”

      This year’s Eco Fashion Week will kick off with an opening party on April 9 at RYU (1745 West 4th Avenue), an eco-conscious athletic apparel company that opened its first standalone store in Kitsilano last year.

      The runway shows will kick off the following day at the event’s main venue, the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel (900 Canada Place), where eight designers will present Balmain-inspired wears created solely from discarded bed sheets for Chic Sheets: The Bed Linen Challenge. The high-fashion looks will be exhibited at Pacific Centre (701 West Georgia Street) after the show, from April 14 to 30, where the public will be invited to vote for their favourites.

      A look from a previous collection presented in Eco Fashion Week's 68-Pound Challenge.
      Peter Jensen

      Eco Fashion Week’s signature show, the Thrift Style Challenge, takes the stage on April 11. A popular favourite among show-goers, this year’s iteration tasks Vancouver-based stylists Jason Pillay, Nadia Albano, and Nathalie Rees with crafting three complete collections using pre-loved wears from Value Village.

      “I think Vancouver right now is a city to watch from a fashion standpoint,” says Laroche, “because Vancouver knows how to make functional, sustainable, durable clothes because of the lifestyle we have.”

      The 81-Pound Challenge, formerly called the 68-Pound Challenge, will then see fashion students from the Visual College of Art and Design compile a collection from thrifted threads that weigh 81-pounds altogether. The name-change reflects a new statistic provided by Value Village, which represents the total weight of clothing and textiles that the average North American tosses each year.

      Environmentally conscious designs presented at previous years' Eco Fashion Week in Vancouver.
      Alfonso Arnold

      Show-goers can also look forward to the new Collective Conversation on April 13, which will bring together a number of local industry vets, including John Fluevog, Nicole Bridger, and Jenny Hughes, in a panel discussion about decreasing textile waste and the future of North American manufacturing. The talk takes place at the Waterfall Building (1540 West 2nd Avenue) and tickets will be released at a later date.

      “For me, this is a discussion and conversation that we need to have and that’s the part that is so important to me,” says Laroche, “so I’m really excited to host that this year.”

      As with previous years, a number of designers from both at home and abroad will present environmentally friendly collections nightly at the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel from April 10 to 12. Among the lineup is Prophetik’s Jeff Garner and North Vancouver designer Wendy van Riesen, who has collaborated with Haida artist Reg Davidson.

      For more information about Eco Fashion Week, including the full schedule and ticket information, click here.

      Eco Fashion Week is also offering Vancouverites a chance to win tickets to the shows. Simply drop off recyclable items at any London Drugs location in the Lower Mainland between this Friday (March 25) and April 1 and you’ll automatically entered to win a pair of tickets.

      Follow Lucy Lau on Twitter @lucylau.