Eco Fashion Week celebrated Season 10 in true eco-style with six days of runway collections by local and international designers, designer meet and greets, an eco-friendly shopping area and a series of panels and conversations, all coordinated by the team led by founder Myriam Laroche.
The 10th season also mixed up the usual format of having all events take place at the Fairmont Waterfront. The opening invitation only event was held at newly launched RYU in Kitsilano amidst the sports garments and athleisure wear. Interspersed within the space were large textile and story boards, where attendees, while noshing and sipping, could learn more about the people and the science that goes into the brand.
Day 2 saw the Balmain Chic Sheets Challenge hit the runway. Eight EFW alumni were tasked with creating garments inspired by the legendary fashion house of Pierre Balmain with 2-4 sets of used bed linens from the Fairmont Hotel. These designers created a wonderfully diverse collection of pieces which are currently on display in CF Pacific Centre and fans of upcycling can vote on their favourite until April 30th.
There were two runway collections that evening. The steampunk and futuristic over-sized statement pieces that we are so familiar with, created by Carolyn Bruce Designs, were shown side by side with newer cutesy pieces which included adorable upcycled handbags and radios adorned with bright red accessories, butterflies and eyeglasses. A new direction? We loved it.
The second runway was the pinnacle of the evening. Designer Wendy Van Reisen of Dahlia Drive collaborated with renowned Haida Gwaii artist Reg Davidson, to create an eclectic fluttering line of beautiful pieces. Dahlia Drive is known for creating clothing from discarded white curtain sheers and slips upon which various nature and anatomy based images are screened.
Day 3 was a three-part evening starting with designers; then the Value Village sponsored Thrift Chic Challenge and closed the VCAD 81 lbs Challenge. In the first set of designers, Ellen Legro stood out for creating recycling looks for those who participate in winter sports and love the outdoors. Her pieces were earth-toned, warm, and perfect for week-end away in Whistler during ski season.
The ever popular Thrift Chic Challenge, featured three local stylists – Jason Pillay, Nadia Albano, and Natalie Rees – and challenged them to create ten runway outfits with a budget of $500 only using Value Village unsold stock.
Nadia’s collection was lush with texture, patterns and colours which reflected a slightly bourgeois hippy essence and Natalie’s collection incorporated denim, florals and sheers to create a collection that embodied a bohemian look so popular at summer festivals.
The stand-out collection was styled by recent fashion design school graduate Jason Pillay. His collection was incredibly vibrant, texturally alluring, and with diverse styling that oftentimes reflected his own quirky, but striking, style sense that has made him one of the most photographed persons at all of Vancouver’s fashion weeks.
The final Value Village sponsored runway featured a group of grad students from VCAD who were challenged to create a full collection using 81 lbs of unsold garments – the amount the average North American throws into the landfills each year.
Under the guidance of VCAD instructors Jason Matlo, Wen-Chee Liu and Glencora Twigg, the collection had a 1920’s Gatsby theme and the students made the decision to include the accessories – shoes, jewellery and headpieces into the total weight, which made the collection even more amazing.
Day 4 showcased local and international designers including Vancouver’s Laudae bridal collection (sister company to Truvelle Bridal in Gastown) and returning designer Jeff Garner brought his Prophetik collection all the way from Tennessee.
The line was entitled “Ruins & Renaissance” and consisted of a wide range of fabrics that were coloured with all-natural plant and earth-based dyes. The fabrics themselves consisted of hemp silks and denims, vintage French lace and reclaimed leather. The collection was walked to classic country and rock-a-billy tunes which were performed by a duo traveling with the collection, and the evening closed with models and attendees dancing on the runway. Truly a sight to behold.
Day 5 was The EFW Collective Conversation. These panels are part of an ongoing educational series for fashion industry members and the general public that EFW holds each season. It was a day of open dialogue aimed at providing information on the challenges, opportunities and innovations facing the sustainability of the garment and textile industry.
Held at the Waterfall Building in False Creek, Erin Cebula of ET Canada moderated panels which contained guests from Canada and the US, including Tony Shumpert of Value Village, Kyle Ruzinski of Levi and Strauss Co, Vancouver designer Nicole Bridger and Glencora Twigg of VCAD.
This final session concluded with a one-on-one conversation with local footwear designer John Fluevog, who started by saying he did not consider his company ‘eco’ and then told his life’s story with flare and wit, and as with every fashion week around the globe, by the last day, everyone needed a bit of humour to close it down with a smile.
If you are like me, the Behind the Scenes, the fun Media Wall, and the coveted Front Row, are as equally interesting as everything else that is going on!
The great acting coach Constantin Stanislavski said that about younger actors who are not quite ready for leading roles yet. I thought about this for this year’s annual John Fluevog “Step Up for the Carousel Theatre for Young People” (or “CTYP”) fundraiser.
Now in its second year, this fantastic gala and shopping night racked up an amazing $26,000 in just one evening last November, with half the proceeds donated to CTYP, a Vancouver company that trains and puts on productions starring aspiring young musical theatre stars. We may not always see child and youth actors taking centre stage, which is why I’ve dedicated this week’s blog post to the theatre and its young stars, and chosen a knot tied in a vintage Balmain luxury cravat. (Coincidentally, Balmain X H&M’s collaboration on a capsule collection goes on sale at over 250 locations worldwide tomorrow.)
The Murrell knot is a special one in that it’s unexpected and almost inside-out, unorthodox and guaranteed to stand out. The knot is made almost using a standard Windsor , the twist is the little end of the knot then rides through the knot and takes center stage on its own. In fact, you will be working with the narrow end of the tie, rather than the wider end. Start with the big end closer to your navel or belt buckle, and leave some room for the little end because you will need it for the final touch. Create an anchor as you would with the Atlantic knot then wrap the little around the front to cover the two triangles. Bring the little end over the top, and weave it straight down through the centre loop, over top of the cravat itself. The effect is that my tie looks like it is wearing its own tie. This works particularly well with non-monochromatic, two-tone ties with unorthodox patterns, so that the pattern on the little end contrasts against the main design on the rest of the cravat. By analogy, we can also see the smaller supporting player take centre stage, much like the CTYP encourages its troupe of young actors to do.
Here is the secret: it is an easy knot to tie. Once the “Windsor” is in place, that extra flourish makes it just a little bit different, yet special. However, as with the Merovingian knot , the loose little end may look unfinished, so wear a vest or a sweater over top to hide the bottom of the little end.
The Step Up 4 CTYP gala is sure to be a night to remember. Join us to shop for strikingly delicious Fluevog shoes, donate to a fun local charity, nibble and sip on a series of delights from local caterers, and partake in our silent auction. Tonight’s gala, like last year, will once again be hosted by Todd Talbot of Love It or List It Vancouver and shall feature musical performances from some of the young up-and-coming stars of CTYP. Tickets are only $5 online or $10 at the door and include a drink ticket, which you can purchase here. You’ll be sure to find a pair you’ll find in love with, check out the “Privacy” mirrored shoes I picked up for last year’s charity event (which I also wore to the Nordstrom gala).
We’d like to thank Stephen Bailey at Fluevog’s flagship location on Water Street in Gastown, and look forward to seeing everyone at tonight’s gala!
Tie carefully, yours in knotwerk,
(Photography by Helen Siwak of THECloset YVR)