|CONFERENCE SESSIONS AT VANCOUVER ECO FASHION WEEK|
|Written by Mary Hanlon - Monday, 07 March 2011|
EDUCATION FOR CHANGE
The conference sessions at Vancouver ECO Fashion Week (VEFW) were designed and edited to help bridge the gap between responsible education and the business of fashion. If you are familiar with Social Alterations (SA), this would not come as a huge surprise; our organization is mandated toward this end. Myriam Laroche, VEFW President, brought us on board as a partner last year for this reason—to facilitate dialogue and assist/support designers and the industry to make responsible business choices at VEFW.
PowerPoint presentations and study notes will go live on SA soon. In the meantime, however, I thought I would highlight some of my favourite takeaways from the day.
Scott McDougall of TerraChoice brought a sophisticated humour to the stage when he presented 'Green Marketing 101.' In reference to Unicycle Creative, McDougall wittingly called us all RAW NUTZ, proving just how complicated the 'green' marketplace truly is.
While Michael Smith of Sears Canada presented on sustainability, he also made himself available to designers and delegates throughout the week to answer any questions and/or concerns they had on how Sears Canada might work to support responsible designers.
Linda Mitchell, Christina Klee and Mandy Quinsey of the Department of Homeland Security came up from the States and stepped right out of their comfort zone to perfectly deliver an educational presentation on the classifying and country of origin labelling of textiles/wearing apparel for NAFTA.
Dr. Rick Smith of Environmental Defence Canada helped us solidify 'guinnea pigged' as a verb in his presentation, in response to his research into the toxic chemicals we are exposed to each and every day through his book Slow Death by Rubber Duck. After Dr. Smith broke down what Environmental Defence Canada calls the "seven deadly syn-thetics," I can safely assume that all delegates obediently ran home to throw out their Colgate Total. Unbelievably ridiculous high levels of Triclosan? No thanks!
The conference closed with a special focus panel on educating responsible business. Joining McDougall and Dr. Smith was the inspiring Denise Taschereau, CEO and Co-founder of Fairware, promotional products for your conscious. For this intimate session, panellists were tasked to answer the overtly broad question: Within the context of education, what is/are the biggest challenge(s) facing responsible business? A key takeaway from the panel was the important role responsible business can play in empowering a community.
On a personal note, what I will truly takeaway from this day was the graciousness of each speaker, kindly crossing industry boundaries, speaking to an audience they may not have normally been exposed to, all to support responsible education in fashion.
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