photo by Kris Krug

written by guest blogger Blair Kaplan

Living in “Lotus Land,” also known as Vancouver, one would wonder why no one thought of creating an Eco Fashion Week before. Luckily, Myriam Laroche acted on the idea, which came to her in May 2009 while attending EPIC, Vancouver’s Sustainable Living Expo. She wanted to help in achieving Vancouver’s goal of being the greenest city in the world by 2020. From that day forward the Vancouver fashion world had changed, with the implementation of Vancouver’s Eco Fashion Week (EFW).

The week was held at Creekside Community Centre, which is a LEED Platinum Facility, and presented by AVEDA. Monday, September 27th, 2010 marked the first day of the inaugural Eco Fashion Week, where eco-friendly fashion designers and companies gathered for an exclusive VIP opening Night Party hosted by AVEDA. The night marked the beginning of the Vancouver fashion world changing the way we see fashion.

Jeff Garner (Prophetik), Myriam Laroche (President of Eco Fashion Week) and Nicole Bridger (Nicole Bridger)
photo by Kris Krug

The week was also infused with seminars from Carly Stojsic, Canada’s Market Editor for Worth Global Style Network, who is also a freelance trend forecaster for multiple clients. The keynote speaker, Dr. Andrew Weaver, a professor at the University of Victoria, shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore for “efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change.” But what would a fashion week be without designers, who came together from around the world? Some of the designers included Emesha from, Jeff Garner from Franklin, with his line Prophetik, Chicago-based Lara Miller, as well as local Vancouver designers Nicole Bridger, Lav and Kush, Kim Cathers of Kdon and Nixxi, to name a few.

Lara Miller
photo by Kris Krug

Dr. Weaver educated his attentive audience about the mixed messages and inaccurate stories that the media sends us about global warming science. He said that in order to deal with global warming, our future greenhouse gas emissions will need to be fully reduced to zero. Everyone can help by reducing their carbon footprint like buying clothing from local designers and designers using local materials in their designs.

Carly Stojsic spoke about how “eco” isn’t a trend but a movement, and that the eco fashion industry is beginning to lead the way for all genres of designers and companies associated with fashion, like Mattel (the creators of Barbie). What she spoke about was beautifully executed by designer Nicole Bridger.
Nicole Bridger
photo by
Peter Holst

Bridger showcased a wearable line where any woman in the audience could imagine herself in her designs. Her socially conscious and modern line displayed outfits made from eco-friendly and sustainable fabrics, which were both sexy and sophisticated.
photo by Peter Holst

The show that really took my breath away was Prophetik’s collection titled “Midnight Garden.” Garner has a natural eye for infusing eco-friendly fabrics with fashion, which really showcases his Tennessee roots. The runway was dressed in a strip of grass, and models came out to a live performance by a bluegrass band, followed by a vocalist singing to music composed by England’s Benjamin Ellin. His line included Southern ball gowns, tailored jackets and waistcoats for both men and women. Designs incorporated an interesting infusion of antique buttons, lace and leather ropes. All the garments were made from sustainable fabrics such as hemp silk, ramie, organic cottons, linen and reclaimed leather. His presentation was the right way to end three exciting days of shows.
Sigg bottle designed by Gisele Bündchen

SIGG was one of the larger sponsors and they handed out custom designed water bottles to the participants. Naomi Roberts, part of the SIGG team, heard about Vancouver Eco Fashion week and says she “knew you couldn’t have an Eco Fashion Week with plastic water bottles.” Together EFW and SIGG teamed up with supermodel Gisele Bündchen to design her first ever SIGG bottle. Not only is this bottle beautiful but I would consider it the first eco fashion sustainable bottle that I have ever used.

I’m sure that Vancouver Eco Fashion Week set the stage for fashion around Canada and the world, showing that there are ways to look and feel good while helping the environment throughout the whole cycle of fashion. This new event will be a staple to our society for many years to come, bringing together the fashion industry while raising awareness of environmental concerns. Vancouver’s Eco Fashion week proved that you can help our planet and still look and feel great.

Blair Kaplan is the owner of Living Free Canada and inspires Canada to have a fun and healthy lifestyle through elite coupons found on the LFC online community. Her background is in public relations and has worked for lululemon athletica in the past.