Opinion: Fashion Week is a landmark event

Vancouver has heard criticism about and praise for Vancouver Fashion Week, and this year was a testament to just how remarkable the event really was.

Fashion Week has been an event that both fashionistas and businesses look forward to each year. Two components stand out that make this the type of event that can breathe life into Vancouver: It not only brings business to Vancouver, but it also increases the vibrancy of the city.

Clothing retailers and other businesses experience a surge in sales during Fashion Week and this makes it an event that is economically positive for the city. With the increase in the amount of business that results from the people attending Fashion Week and focusing on the clothing industry, Vancouver’s economy improves.

However, the immediate value of the sales is only a small component of the larger picture. Vancouver Fashion Week allows Vancouver to gain prominence, and this helps attract tourists to the city throughout the year. Vancouver Fashion Week helps prop Vancouver up to a new kind of status – rather than being known as being a city that is grey and gloomy – and this adds colour to the city, attracting a diverse range of people.

When more people attend, this means there is an increased value for businesses in the long term. Fashion Week not only attracts people during the week itself, but it also helps to put Vancouver on the map. Being mentioned in the same breath as New York, Milan, Paris and Toronto helps improve the status of Vancouver and sets it beside these other elite cities.

Certainly, Fashion Week does face some criticism. After all, the city does need to pay for the security needed to improve safety throughout the city during Fashion Week. Also, many people criticize the event for being too materialistic, and promoting wearing clothing made from animals, for example.

However, this is not necessarily the case, and many of the designers make a point of creating their clothes with the environment in mind. These designers have actually gained much of their prominence from using recycled material, or material that is grown organically. That improves the global awareness of the issues that are facing the environment, making Vancouver Fashion Week an advocate for the fair treatment of animals and of the environment.

Much of the criticism of Vancouver Fashion Week is due to the previous ideas about fashion, such as that it is not ethical due to the use of furs, for example. However, this view is far outdated because there is actually a higher rate of activism among those who are participating in Fashion Week than in the past.

The only possible criticism of Fashion Week that is warranted is the size of the models. While the fashion industry has come a long way in terms of environmental activism, the size of the models is an area where improvement could be made. For now, Vancouver should be happy with the economic boost and worry about encouraging a more reasonable size of models later.

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