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It’s Easy Being Green: Fashion Forward

Vancouver’s eco-fashion industry will strut its stuff at the Winter Olympics this week and an upcoming international eco-fashion event in April.

Models sport outfits made from soybeans, bamboo, and silk at an eco-fashion show in Mexico City in 2008. Vancouver will host its own eco-fashion show in April. (AP/Alexandre Meneghini)
Models sport outfits made from soybeans, bamboo, and silk at an eco-fashion show in Mexico City in 2008. Vancouver will host its own eco-fashion show in April. (AP/Alexandre Meneghini)

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The 2010 Winter Olympics begin this week, and host city Vancouver hopes to showcase yet another cultural side of its quest to become the Greenest City by 2020—eco-fashion.

The City of Vancouver will host an Eco Fashion Forward Fundraising Night on February 19 to coincide with the Winter Olympics and in anticipation of its Eco Fashion Week on April 20-22, 2010. Taking its cues from New York’s GreenShows that was launched last September during Fashion Week, as well as Portland’s annual eco-fashion week, Vancouver’s Eco Fashion Week, or VEFW, will solely focus on environmentally friendly designers and practices to promote the sustainability of style.

Sustainable fashion means a garment is created with consideration of the impact its production and use will have on the environment, the workers, and the wearers. The founders of VEFW hope that by showcasing eco-friendly designers in a fashion week dedicated to sustainable style, they can prove that eco-fashion is not a fleeting trend but represents a fundamental shift in an industry that uses more water than any other except agriculture, and whose very essence rests on buying and discarding clothes each season. VEFW is a chance for the fashion industry to show they are aware of their massive carbon footprint and are offering alternatives to fashion lovers everywhere.

The purpose of VEFW is threefold: “To celebrate sustainable principles and styles, to identify and refine sustainable industry practices, and to educate and inform about eco-friendly fashion.”

VEFW wants to put the spotlight on designers who have broken away from unsustainable traditions to use recycled, ethically produced, organic garments and the retailers who support them. And it aims to educate the average consumer about eco-fashion through seminars and informative resources and boost collaboration among designers, buyers, models, agencies, fashion directors, and international media to assert that eco-fashion is not simply a Vancouver initiative—it’s a global one.

If the fledgling Vancouver fashion industry becomes fused with the “new” and “permanent” trend of eco-fashion—as blessed by Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour—the city may have found its international style niche and be one step closer to earning the “greenest city” title.

Read more articles from the "It’s Easy Being Green" series

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