Last night kicked off what is probably the most important fashion week in all of our fashion calendars. Even more important than Paris Couture. Or at least, it should be.

Eco Fashion Week happens in Vancouver twice a year, and is a relatively small affair when compared to New York, London, Paris, Milan, as well as the other smaller fashion weeks that happen around the globe. But it is the week that I’ve decided to keep an eye on.

Not to be preachy here, but Imma gonna lay some facts on you. According to Eco Fashion Week’s website, the fashion industry is a $1 trillion a year endeavour that is the third most environmentally damaging industry in the world (if I had to guess, I’d say right behind oil and agricultural).

And these are the facts that go right to the heart of what my blog, Sense of Aesthetic, is all about. I love fashion and I love beauty. I love the feeling of dressing up, of displaying a facet of my personality through my appearance. I love beautiful things that appeal to me, and I love playing with all of it. And I believe it’s all a part of the human experience. But when I think about how damaging it can be — to my health, to the social wellbeing of other people, and to the environment — I realize that this sense of beauty that I possess has an ugly side to it.

But I don’t think things have to be this way. Fashion doesn’t have to be dysfunctional. Beauty doesn’t have to be harmful. And that’s why I think Eco Fashion Week is so important.

68 Pound Challenge

Sense of Aesthetic | Eco Fashion Week

The week opened with a launch party for H&M’s conscious collection, and continues until April 24th with fashion shows, of course, and dialogues. And the most exciting event for me, the Value Village 68 Pound Challenge. The idea behind this challenge has to do with the amount of textile waste in North America today. Every year, North Americans throw out an average of 68 pounds of clothing each. So at Eco Fashion Week, a designer is challenged to put together a collection from 68 pounds of discarded clothes.

I think the idea is brilliant, and I’m excited for the results. It’s the sort of creative challenge that I live for. In fashion, trends are adhered to, fashion house aesthetics are adhered to, and colour schemes are often rigid. But there’s a different sort of freedom that comes with having to rework the old into something completely new.

Less Fast Fashion, More Conscious Choices

Eco Fashion Week is also a great reminder for me to refocus my creativity in the clothes that I buy and the way that I style clothing. I’m as guilty as the next person of being seduce by fast fashion: when budgets don’t quite stretch far enough for that coveted designer piece, fast fashion is often the next best thing.

Or it is? More and more, it seems there are tons of resources for finding beautiful, stylish, on-trend clothes that don’t break the bank, other people’s livelihoods, or the environment.

And so, in honor of Eco Fashion Week, I’m going to highlight some of the resources that I’ve found for the rest of this week. Watch this space for shops, apps, and websites where you can find conscious fashion that will appeal to your sense of style, your wallet and your conscience!

And let me know if you have any personal resources and/or tips that you’ve picked up! I would love to read about them in the comments!

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