Eco Fashion Week 09 Challenges Fashion & Convention

ECO Fashion Week wrapped last Friday and for Vancouverites who love fashion and creativity, the environment, eco-education and a darn good challenge, it was the place to be.

The opening night at the Fairmont Waterfront was an outstanding gathering of Vancouver’s most trusted and read stylebloggers, media darlings, well-dressed fashionista and the talented stylists and the designers of EFW.
Personalities CollageAmid the clamour of complimentary wine glasses clinking and cell phone flashes, important business was being conducted. EFW unofficially acts not only as a fashion meet and greet but also as a think-tank for the eco-minded and on opening night that discussion definitely revolved around the Conscious Exclusive collection from sponsor H&M and corporate responsibility.

Forsaking the traditional runway format, EFW founder Myriam Laroche surprised all with the H&M adorned models mingling and posing with attendees. Everyone was able to view the garments up close and see how they move on real women. Who knew that recycled polyester could look so gorgeous and have such presence!

HM Clothes Collage
The runway presentations began on the second evening. The Thrift Chic Challenge had three hand-picked local stylists creating collections with a $500 budget from Value Village. On the surface, this challenge is every thrift connoisseurs dream, but in reality when you have such a huge palette to choose from, where do you even start?

Dominique Hanke chose pink for her soon to be named “On Wednesday We Wear Pink” collection. A palette of sherbet sweetness soon blossomed into a delicious runway that combined retro looks with Mean Girls attitude. The styling was spot on with creative hair-pieces and flirty make-up by the La Biosthetique team which included two people whose work we admire, Dylan Beatch and Sara Jayne Burke.

Dominique Hanke

Eco Fashion Week - Dominique Hanke
Originally from the UK, Dominique is a valued and beloved artisan in Vancouver. As a milliner, her bespoke creations have impressed on both sides of the ocean. To be cast as a stylist at EFW isn’t a change of pace or a challenge for her.

Primarily known as the milliner to the who’s who of Vancouver, how does adding stylist to your brand further your vision?

Millinery has and always will be a huge passion, but my love of fashion isn’t limited to headwear. Styling was a very organic transition and addition to my work. I have always had to work with the whole look when adding in a hat to my client’s outfit, or when putting together a photoshoot or runway show. So, unknowingly I was styling as soon as I became a milliner; I have just allowed it to grow alongside the millinery and become a part of what I do.

You have had the privilege of attended numerous seasons of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York. How does attending this internationally revered fashion week assist a milliner/stylist in your creative vision and opportunity for future endeavours?

Experience and culture always add to any creative palette. MBFW is the epicenter of the North American fashion calendar, bringing in the world’s fashion elite. That can’t help but be inspiring.

Now that EFW has wrapped with your runway decidedly one of the highpoints for attendees and media, where does Dominique and Hive Mind Millinery go from here?

This was a real opportunity to showcase myself as a stylist, which I am so grateful for. I had so much fun with this collection and I was so delighted that I could share that fun with everyone who was there. I will be working on both brands as the year progresses. In the run up to the Deighton Cup, things for Hive Mind Millinery get very busy, but I am pretty confident that you will be seeing some very exciting projects coming from my styling business too, so keep your eyes peeled!

Megan-Magdalena Bourne
In addition to Dominique, the Thrift Week Challenge showcased alt punk photographer Megan-Magdalena Bourne, who presented a chic collection of primarily black and white with patterns and great textures – very street savvy and wearable with any pair of big black boots.
Lucy YunDesigner Lucy Yun’s collection was modern collegiate in soft colours with stripes, pleats and interesting hemlines.

Carlie Wong
Designer Carlie Wong was chosen to tackle this seasons 68 Pound Challenge. Her darkly seductive collection was lush and romantic, blending shiny to sheer fabrics in varying lengths and layers conveying lust and love. With the final garments being so composed and natural looking, it is impossible to imagine the 68 lbs of waste garments that were deconstructed to create them!

Check back soon for review of Day 3 and interview with Vancouver designer Jason Matlo.

All images by Kuna Lu Photography. Courtesy of Eco Fashion Week.

(This article written by Helen Siwak was originally published in VancityBuzz.com).

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