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Vancouver Eco Fashion Week FW 2012: Day 2
Written by Meg Orlinski - Friday, 27 April 2012
Indigenous, Photo by Bill Stuart

Indigenous opened Vancouver Eco Fashion Week’s second day. It was a cold, rainy day typical to the temperate rainforest region, providing the most perfect backdrop to present their cozy and beautiful signature knits and accessories. As the audience’s breath frosted in the damp humidity, warm and inviting knits paraded down the runway.  To give a background on Indigenous Designs, they were one of the cleanest and commercially available brands presenting at VEFW, priding themselves in using natural free-range alpaca wool, organic cotton, GOTS processing, and Oekotex 100 low-impact dyes. Their collections are skillfully created by artisans in Peru, and the company ensures fair trade standards, working with Fair Trade USA and is certified by B Corporation.  

Indigenous, photo by Bill Stuart

For Fall 2012, Indigenous offered up a great selection of traditional yet modern ponchos, light wool jackets, soft jersey knit tops and dresses, warm cardigans, textured sweaters and accessories. Cable details were reminiscent of Scandinavian fisherman, long backed tulip tops, and pops of bright colour against cool greys and blacks were the main themes. The line of accessories including hats, barrettes, gloves and scarves were either dark black, or bright colors like green and white.  Gloves that caught my attention were adorable rosette black gloves. This collection was very well produced; cohesive, on trend, totally wearable and true to their roots and cause. Bravo Indigenous!


Ollin Army Candy by SNG Imports, Photo by Jason Hargrove

It’s great when a brand breaks away from the fashion seriousness and has pure fun. Ollin did just this, sending their models down the runway to upbeat pop music, with stylized burlap sacks that poke fun at the eco-fashion stereotype, while at the same time providing a great backdrop to best display their bags and accessories.

Created in Mexico, artisan workers weave together salvaged candy wrappers that have been printed on with a technology that breaks down a pattern into a puzzle. Using a battle-ship like code, they reweave together the strips and put together a pattern puzzle that creates the final look. Bolwer bags, clutches, headbands, mini backpacks, wristlets and keychains all come in a variety of fashion colors and prints.

When I was at university, I worked for the now closed Green is Black, where we sold candy-wrap bags that flew out of the store. This take on recycled candy-wrap bags is just a bit more grown up, and a bit more polished than your conventional candy wrap bags. Salvaged leather straps, inspiration from Piet Modrian, and popular prints take this collection to another level. Fun, stylish, on trend and very sellable best describes this collection.



Cute, cute, cute, cute, cute; sums up SVENSK from Sweden. The collection of fair-trade and sustainable alpaca knitwear by designer Diana Svensk was for me a show-stopper. Set to the lovely yet haunting music of Swedish artist Miss Li’s “I heard of a girl,” a parade of nerdy-chic models presented a rich and uber girly collection of dresses, cardigans, ponchos, mitts, scarves and hats.  (All of these items had velvet bows on them, which made me so happy.) The traditional raw wool alpaca colors of greys and creams were the foundation of her pieces, accented with bright reds, soft pinks and blues. She had a stunning arrow and heart knit pattern that showed up on a sleek mini-dress and poncho sweater combo that resembled a luxuriously frosted wedding cake. This collection is for Liz Lemon in the latter seasons when she becomes a (still nerdy) stylish fox.

Svewnsk partnered up with her friends and fellow craftsmen at Beak Boots. Hand stitched leather that comes straight out of a traditional Swedish clothing revival added great accents to the collection. The best were these unique and unconventional red boots with pointed toes (think gnome meets biker), that made me want to run away into scandinavian woods and stomp my way through pure white snow.


Adhesif Clothing, Photo by Jason Hargrove

On the corner of 4th and Main in Vancouver you can find the CUTEST little boutique Adhesif, where you can purchase vintage shoes and purses, locally made accessories and their line of remade vintage clothing.  Self-taught designer and owner Melissa Ferreira had been vintage shopping since she was a child, and working as a vintage buyer before starting her line.  She was inspired to give beautiful, unique vintage fabrics a new life by applying modern design.

Ferreira presented a collection with personality, that was very Canadian with tweeds, plaids, faux furs and leathers remade into jackets, shorts, bustle skirts, vest and riding tights.  Some pieces that caught my eye were the plaid skirt bustles on leather skirts, a long tweed vest, a bollero vest with faux fur accents, a shift dress with leather shoulder details and obi belt, and a 70’s plaid jacket in red. Her main colour palette stuck to Burgundies, yellows, teal, browns and beiges.  Well done, well presented, and sure to be seen on all the hip Main Street girls this fall.


FiveLeft, Photos by Jason Hargrove

Designer Lincon Heller grew up the son of the only lawyer in a small logging town in Washington State. Always feeling a bit different, he came to study fine art at the prestigious Emily Carr in Vancouver, and never left the city. Merging his passion for art with his love for practical craftsmanship, he created FiveLeft.



I have seen FiveLeft in Vancouver before, and drooled over their superb craftsmanship and unique design aesthetic, which is not often come by in this modern world. Painting and staining only vegetable tanned leather, he creates one-of-a-kind pieces of wearable art. For Eco Fashion Week, he showcased his myriad of bags from small clutches to large travel bags. I particularly loved a fish-scale like clutch that for some reason reminded me of the yak-nipple dress that sent the internet into a tizzy last fall. Another favorite was his take on the accessory of the moment, the mini-knapsack. Purses and clutches looked like lovingly painted origami. Briefcases and bags were rugged yet refined, which is how you would picture the men who would carry them. The show ended with Heller himself dragging his creations down the runway in a net of rough raw rope. A statement ending for a collection of statement pieces.


Prophetik, Photos by Jason Hargrove

Prophetik’s Jeff Garner did it again. The closing collection for Eco Fashion Week was a feast for the eyes and soul. Before we get into the dresses, I valued that the opening set also had a call to support the Laurence Anthony Foundation, which protects Rhinos in South Africa. The namesake of the foundation had sadly passed only a short time before on March 2nd, 2012 after a lifetime of activism. It’s been a long time since Rhinos have been in the media spotlight, but they are sadly at risk again because of the high cost of Rhino horn due to bogus health claims that it can cure Cancer.  I know what you’re thinking- WHAT? Ignorance is sadly alive and well in this world, fueled by fear of the C word and greed of poachers. Jeff Garner knows that if you have time for fashion, you have time to help vulnerable creatures.



Back to the collection- Garner’s inspiration from the Civil War was present once again, with gowns and suits almost best suited for historical movies. This season his color preference was for soft ruffles, pastels of peaches and pinks, or bold white, gold and black structured cocktail dresses. The men were as dandy as ever, in long coats, shirt coats and riding pants. An inspiring collection for an inspired life.




 EFW writer Meg Orlinski is a Deadly Nightshade.

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