May 27, 2017 was the First Installment of Design Forward, Canada's Sustainable Fashion Award presented by Pure + Simple where 10 Canadian designers were each presenting 3 eco-conscious looks on the runway. They will then face the Design Forward jury and mentors of fashion industry which included: Barbara Atkins (Business mentor, retired VP Fashion Director Holt Renfrew) , Robin Kay (President of the Fashion Council of Canada), Odessa Paloma Parker (Fashion Editor at the Globe & Mail), Anjli Patel (Fashion Lawyer), Tara St. James (Designer & Founder of Study NY) , Adria Vasil (Journalist), Sarah Jay (Fashion Stylist, Filmmaker), Sarah Power (Founder of INLAND) , Jeff Rustia (Executive Director & Founder of TOM & TW Toronto Women's fashion Week) and Michelle Germain (Founder of Shopgirls Gallery Boutique). The 10 semi-finalists were: Jennifer Glasgow, Eliza Faulkner, Peggy Sue Collection, TJ Indigo, Bronwyn Seier, Lisa Aviva, Noémiah, Omi Woods, Stevie Crowne, Clothing Co. and Triarchy. Then, the list will be narrowed down to only 3 finalists who will battle it out to become the grand winner of Canada's Sustainable Fashion Award in the Fall at the Expo for Design, Innovation and Technology (EDIT). The Design Forward show wasn't only about fashion competition. Proceeds from the event supports Canada's only sustainable fashion non-profit, Fashion Takes Action.
Photo Credit: www.blogwithlips.com (Designers from left to right: Omi Woods, Stevie Crowne, Lisa Aviva,Triarchy, Bronwyn Seier)
The top fashion designer will be awarded a prize valued at 50,000$
Use of title "Winner of Canada's Sustainable Fashion Award"
Collaboration with Michelle Germain to design a unique piece for retail at Shopgirls Boutique
Host a Trunk Show at Showgirls Boutique
Exclusive 6 foot space at Fall INLAND (September)
FTA Premium Industry Membership
Mentors Circle - receive one hour of mentorship with jury members of winners choice
Presentation at the World Ethical Apparel Roundtable (WEAR)
Complimentary ticket to attend WEAR2017
H&M's Green Carpet Challenge & The Vanguard Award
The event took place at the Bram & Bluma Appel Salon in Toronto in support of Fashion Takes Action, where guests enjoyed cocktails, a silent auction, networking with like-minded attendees and had a chance to contribute and participate in the H&M's Green Carpet Challenge by bringing their used garments to be collected, pose on the Green Carpet and posting a picture on Instagram with the hashtags #FTAgreencarpet and/or #closetheloop for a chance to win multiple prizes. For every 1lb of clothing donated, H&M donated 1$ to FTA.
Before the big fashion show started, Annie Thompson, was presented with the very first of its genre, the 2017 Vanguard Award. Celebrating an established Canadian designer who continuously commits to design and create ethical and sustainable fashion pieces. With more than 35 years of being a leader in the fashion industry, Mrs. Thompson as always demonstrated the ability to design beautiful and timeless clothing by staying true to her beliefs that fashion can be done with environmentally conscious fabrics therefore creating the smallest carbon footprint.
Photo Credit: www.blogwithlips.com (Annie Thompson accepting The Vanguard Award)
As I was sitting front row at the Design Forward fashion show, it dawn on me that a six hour drive led me here from Montreal to Toronto, where the event was taken place. That's dedication! So, my expectations was somewhat elevated. Well, to my delight, I wasn't disappointed. What made this runway event more special is to know that each participant designers are contributing to making our world a better living place by using natural, upcycled and eco-friendly fabrics while approaching a zero-waste mindset. We as consumers, need to start evaluating our role when it comes to the many environmental and social issues whether it's locally or globally. These eco-chic designers are more than trendsetters, they are leaders, artists, visionaries and examples that you can look great by doing good. Here are my top 5 standout conscious pieces of the night. Enjoy!
1- Omi Woods
Florals! Florals! Florals! This collection is classy, bright and versatile like the designer intend it to be. With floral prints and vibrant colors, Omi Woods love for timeless silhouettes, rich cultural textiles and ethical practices can't go wrong.
Photo Credit: www.blogwithlips.com (Designer: Omni Woods)
2- Lisa Aviva
Lisa Aviva designs is a luxury brand for sustainable minded women sizes 10+ and she didn't disappoint. Her signature fashion wear were undeniably all about simplicity and diversity representing outfits for curvy feminine silhouettes and showing us that looking fierce and beautiful is for every type and shapes.
Photo Credit: www.blogwithlips.com (Designer: Lisa Aviva)
3- Peggy Sue Collection
Everything about this look needs to find its way in my closet. From the fringed denim mini skirt to the denim fringed swing coat, each garments complimented the overall look. Upcycled Denim never looked so stylish!
Photo Credit: www.blogwithlips.com (Designer: Peggy Sue Collection)
4- Stevie Crowne
Stevie Crowne designs, showed a more edgy grunge look theme without no clashing of colors while maintaining harmony throughout each statement pieces.
Last but not least, my 'coup de coeur" of the night was from Montreal designer Noémiah. I loved everything about every pieces she presented. Her collection showcased a fabulous breath of fresh air with light and pink color shades accessorized by cute little parasols giving you the illusion that you're taking a beautiful peaceful walk in the prairie.
While the selection of the different models were nothing but significant, I just wish there were more choices represented for the curvier fashionistas that wants and have a desire to shop ethical and sustainable clothing. If the option is not given, how we as the consumer (including myself) be a part of the solution?
The winner of Design Forward: Canada's Sustainable Fashion Award 2017 will be announce on October 5th at the Expo for Design, Innovation and Technology (EDIT). For more details, go to www.fashiontakesaction.com
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