Mimi Lauzon at Eco Fashion Week. Photo by Peter Jensen.

Atelier B at Eco Fashion Week. Photo by Peter Jensen.

Mimi Lauzon
atelier b

There is more and more talk about sustainability in fashion these days. Some brows are being raised as to whether or not this is possible in an industry that is constantly offering new clothes for sale, but for those of us who are looking for alternatives that are friendlier on the environment, we are finding more and more options.

Surprisingly  H&M, one of the world’s largest retailers, is at the forefront of sustainability. Their Conscious Collection (featuring  french singer/actress Vanessa Paradis) is made using sustainable practices and organic fabrics, and as a brand, the company is the number one user of organic cotton in the world and regularly implements new environmental efforts. In an effort to further reduce the fashion world’s footprint on our earth, H&M allows shoppers to drop off unwanted clothing, in any condition, to their stores in exchange for a voucher; $5 off your next $30 purchase. H&M then processes the clothing and recycles the fabrics, leaving nothing to waste.

The concern over sustainability is global, with projects like the Nordic Initiative, Clean and Ethical, which is leading the way in social and environmental issues.  The initiative offers help and support for industry leaders who want to be more sustainable, as well as create awareness on the topic of fashion and the effects it has on the environment.

Recently, in a partnership between VOGUE and H&M, a live panel discussion was held at Condé Nast, addressing the future of sustainable fashion. The hour long talk touched on  ideas such as having young designers start off using sustainable practices so the process becomes engrained in their system. Simple ideas such curbing over-consumption and buying quality pieces that will last a longer. As consumers we have the power to affect the choices of large companies.

And right here at home, Vancouver’s Eco Fashion Week, founded by Montreal-born Myriam Laroche, gets underway just in time for Earth Day, running from April 21-24. The event, which takes place twice a year, is in their 6th installment, showcasing some of fashion’s most eco-responsible talent from Canada and around the world. You should leave your granola filled preconceptions at the door: along with informative seminars, you’ll find events such as the 68 Pound Challenge, where a designer reworks 68 pounds of used clothing into completely new pieces and styles. With thousands of global guests, Eco Fashion Week brings out industry leaders, buyers, stylists, designers, photographers, and media over the three day event, which showcases womenswear, menswear, and accessories. ecofashion-week.com

– Natacha Medeiros