Fashion Week kicks off with environmental focus, new designers

Vancouver Fashion Week kicked off two weeks ago with the various nations participating, showcasing a slew of new designs.

One of the most recognizable of the shows on Sept. 19 was the Australian-based Green Embassy, the second time the designer was featured on the Vancouver runway.

“Every time I come out here, I look for those designs that just make me say ‘wow,’” Tania Martinez said as she took in the show. “This is what I come out here for. It is all about the new styles that I have never seen before.”

Martinez said she has attended Vancouver Fashion Week religiously for the past eight years. She says each year presents something new but it is all about finding original pieces that make a person take notice.

“Many designers regurgitate the same styles that they have featured in past years,” she said. “It’s like a car company that can never really move away from their base style. My mission is to find the styles that really blow me away.”

VFW suggests designs are now incorporating a more socially-conscious tone. For example, Green Embassy featured clothing that was made to Global Organic Textile Standards certification, which indicates a zero-waste production.

The environmental focus in this year’s show was not necessarily the point for all who are involved. Another new feature of was the emerging designers showcase.

A Growing Event

Vancouver Fashion Week celebrated its 13th year, from Sept. 15 to 21, in its largest season so far. Seventy designers from 25 different countries showcased their work.

As a main attraction, Procter and Gamble returned for its second season and held its show at Queen Elizabeth Plaza under a tent. Proctor and Gamble featured its products CoverGirl, Olay and Pantene jun presenting the show.

The prestige of Vancouver Fashion Week is growing. Traditionally, cities such as London, New York, Tokyo, Paris, London and Toronto have been renowned for their fashion exhibits. The Vancouver fashion world has not yet broken into the big leaguers, and this could be because of the bad reputation the event has had, said blogger Olivia Law.

“In the past, Vancouver Fashion Week has come under fire for an unprofessional running of the event, with huge proportions of the staff made up of volunteers” she said.

However, efforts were made this year to ensure there were teams at each of the stations that would maximize efficiency and control. But much of the event still relies on volunteers. These volunteers were people such as students, aspiring designers and stylists, and people who simply love fashion.

The volunteers perform tasks such as promoting a newly-launched beauty treatments and surgery website, where they dressed in masquerade masks and handed out swag boxes that contained gift certificates that were worth up to $500.

“I love doing this,” said Niko Kieslowski, an Art Institute of Vancouver student and volunteer. “This is such an exciting event and I am honoured to be a part of this.”

This year’s local and international talent included Andrea Lazzari from Italy, Joffrey Mongin from France, Olya Shishkina from England, Karen Yang from Australia, Renata Buzzo from Brazil, Zampolini from Germany, Antti Asplund Heterophobia from Finland, Elise Lucas from Belgium, Lubov Tumanova from Russia, Goldie from Canada and Melow Par Mellissa Bolduc from Canada.

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