Procurify believes in people and organizations that are working to find a better way in their communities and the world at large. We chatted with Myriam Laroche, founder of Eco-Fashion Week to talk about what she is doing to find a better way in the fashion industry.
What is Eco-Fashion week and when was it founded?
Eco Fashion Week (EFW) is an international platform for designers, brands, buyers, media and manufacturers to all come together and discuss and highlight the global fashion industry’s most innovative solutions to critical environmental, social and ethical challenges. EFW also raises public awareness in an effort to help fashion lovers make sustainable choices no matter what their own personal style is. Founded 2009.
Why did you decide to found Eco-Fashion Week, and why is the initiative important to you?
President and Founder of EFW, Myriam Laroche, had been in the fashion industry 15 years at the time she created EFW. Having being a buyer and stylist in Montreal for most of her career, she was very aware of the waste and unethical practices that the fashion industry creates. Upon moving to Vancouver, Myriam was inspired by Vancouver’s goal to become the greenest city in the world by 2020, this sparked the idea for EFW. For EFW to thrive it needed to be in a forward thinking city where the whole community, from artists to politicians cared about the ecological structure of the city.
Is this the first Eco-Fashion week in the world? Where and how often does the event take place?
EFW is in its 9th season and 5th year. The events happen biannually. This is the first and only event of its kind, there are several other events around the world that now have an eco component, but it is not the primary focus
Our favourite thing about moving the event forward every year is how our message and event is growing internationally. We are excited to be continuing our partnership with global thrift retailers SAVERS Value Village (US), international fashion powerhouse H&M (Sweden) and of course the amazing independent designers that come and show at EFW (This season we will see designers from the likes of Croatia and Germany on the Vancouver runway)
Do you believe that you are finding a better way for the world to enjoy fashion with this initiative?
We talk a lot about “Finding your own “eco recipe”. That means showing people how to be responsible, but still allowing for them to remain who they are as shoppers and fashion lovers. For example, not everyone can afford to buy from a local fashion designer or purchase a shirt made from 100% organic cotton. But they can try shopping vintage or second hand. or vice versa, someone who may not enjoy shopping second hand can purchase an item that is of good quality and will last them several years. There are so many ways about it. I think the most important part is that you are conscious about the purchases you make. Over the 9 seasons and 5 years, one of the biggest changes we’ve seen is how the bigger names in fashion are stepping up and taking responsibility. Vancouver has always had amazing independent designers that have been conscious in creating sustainable collections, but to see bigger brands (the ones with the biggest carbon footprint) take action is truly amazing to us. For example, one of the reasons we are so excited to be working with H&M is due to their Garment Collecting initiative – global movement that encourages customers to bring unwanted garments of any brand and in any condition to H&M stores to be given a new life.
What has the response been like?
The response has been great! Not only in regards to the eco aspect, but to the high quality runway shows that the event brings to Vancouver. Eco Fashion Week has been able to mark Vancouver as the international hub of responsible fashion.
What’s next for Eco-Fashion Week?
I have already mentioned H&M – Eco Fashion Week will mark the British Columbia launch of their Spring 2015 Conscious Collection. The Swedish brand’s eco-friendly initiatives make conscious choices desirable and easily accessible for many shoppers. The entire collection is made from sustainable materials such as organic cotton and recycled polyester.
And of course continuing our work with Value Village. and and the 2 events we do with them.
Thrift Chic Challenge Presented By Value Village – A trend-focused event where three stylists are given a $500 allowance to create ten runway worthy outfits using only gently-used clothing from Value Village, the Thrift Chic Challenge has become without a doubt one of Eco Fashion Week’s most anticipated runway shows. This year’s stylists are: Megan-Magdalena Bourne, Lucy Yun and Dominique Hanke
The 68 Pound Challenge Presented By Value Village – Established Canadian designer and Project Runway Canada Season 1 alumnae, Carlie Wong brings her strong couturier skills to the Value Village 68 Pound Challenge. Sixty-eight pounds is the amount of clothing and textiles the average North American throws away each year and serves as the inspiration for this fashion challenge – creating a brand new collection from sixty- eight pounds of gently-used clothing from Value Village.
and then local Vancouver brand http://www.couturetherapy.ca, they make stunning evening wear we are very excited to have them on our runway as well.
About Myriam Laroche:
Myriam Laroche, founder and president of ECO Fashion Week, is a 36-year-old visionary with more than 20 years of experience in the apparel and fashion industry as a head buyer, creative director, fashion marketing teacher and fashion and beauty journalist.
During her tenure as head buyer for retail chains such as Historia and Jacob, she developed clothing lines locally and overseas. She knows every step of product development, from raw material selection to merchandising of collections and retail sales. And she knows just how far-from-green it can be and for what apparel companies are looking in regards to making their businesses more responsible.
To promote more responsible ways to design, manufacture, distribute, sell and dispose of clothes, she launched ECO Fashion Week (EFW) in October 2009, producing the first ECO Fashion Week event in September 2010, the second in February 2011 and the third in October 2011. She wants to educate the industry and the public to be more responsible on how they buy, use and dispose of their apparel.
Myriam’s life is fashion. She has worked with world-renowned photographer Raphael Mazzucco, International model Gisele Bündchen and actress Elyse Levesque. She has been featured in Flare Magazine, Fashion Magazine, Forbes Online, USA Today Green Living Issue, Lufthansa Magazine, Conde Nast Traveler, Vancouver Sun, Westender, Georgia Straight, Le Soleil, Voir Montreal, Voyage Paris, on Fashion Television, Global, CBC, City TV, Shaw TV, Vancouver Television, CTV and in more than 80 national and international blogs.