Metro Vancouver wants to reduce thousands of pounds of textiles going to local landfills each year, so we joined Eco-Fashion week to discover local fashion designers finding innovative ways to minimize waste. The results are profitable and eye catching.
It looks like a normal runway fashion show, but this one has a twist.
“Today is a big day, it’s the Value Village day,” exclaims Myriam Laroche. “It’s all about preloved fashion.” It’s part of Eco-Fashion Week, which aims to educate and inspire the fashion community about becoming environmentally sustainable.
Held twice a year and now in its fifth year, it’s the brainchild of Laroche. “Our goal really is to help the industry shift towards more responsible or healthier ways to manufacture, distribute, market, sell clothes, and for the consumer also to educate them on how to buy, how to use their clothes and dispose of their clothes after.”
Value Village Keeping Textiles Out of Landfills
Value Village has been a pioneer in the world of second-hand fashion, by taking used clothing that’s been donated and reselling it in hundreds of stores across Canada and the U.S.
“Over 90 per cent of what is donated is either recycled or repurposed or purchased in our stores,” explains Sara Gaugl, director of marketing and communications for Value Village. “So last year alone we kept more than 650 million pounds of reuseable merchandise out of our world’s landfills. We are very proud of that.”
Part of the show featured the 68-Pound Challenge, which is the amount of textiles each person in North America throws away every year. Carli Wong is a designer who participated in the Challenge, selecting 68 pounds of Value Village rejects, taking them apart, then using the second-hand fabric to create new items.
Wong is an experienced ‘thrifter’ as she calls herself, and thinks used textiles are beginning to be seen as a valuable resource.
“I think that’s where the world is moving, there’s a lot of wastage right now, it’s a clever way to reuse and also it’s popular right now because people want to be different , you know if you pick something that’s old, you know there’s more of a story to it, it’s more one of a kind.”
Fashion Practices Impacting Environment
Metro Vancouver hosted a textile waste dialogue at the event, featuring experts in the field of textiles and fashion sustainability and moderated by Metro Vancouver waste committee chair Mayor Malcolm Brodie.
“Events such as eco fashion week allow us to engage with the organizations in the textile sector as well as the individuals who share our objectives related to waste reduction and re-use,” said Brodie.
It’s estimated the fashion industry is worth more than three trillion dollars a year and studies have shown it is the third most environmentally damaging industry in the world. Eco Fashion Week seeks to change that, one outfit at a time.
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