Eco Fashion Week 8th Edition - Thrift Chic Challenge and 68 Lb Challenge

All images courtesy of Peter Jensen Photography

For four years - 8 seasons - founder Myriam Laroche has been offering her message of environmentally responsible fashion to the Vancouver audience through her brainchild - Eco Fashion Week. The event has grown each season - maturing, honing and fine-tuning it's message. Venues embraced have included The Salt Building in the Olympic Village, Storyeum in Gastown, Robson Square and Holt Renfrew Vancouver's Project H shop. International designers such as Jeff Garner of Prophetik and Jánosi Matild of Tildart have graced the runway. Want to know more about Laroche and her vision? Check out Creating a Movement.

A few front of house shots!

Value Village night - now in its 5th edition - is my hands down favourite each season. I was thrilled as always to see what edition 8's new talent had to offer. When I first talked with Laroche in the spring of 2010, one focus that came through strongly was the need to reduce waste by embracing used and vintage clothing as well as the upcycling of used garments. This night showcases both. Each stylist brings their own personal aesthetic to the experience and no 2 collections are ever the same. The location this year was the beautiful Fairmont Waterfront.

Marc & Anna Riese - The talented duo behind the hair and make-up looks.
Special thanks to the Marc & Anna Riese of La Biosthétique who, along with their very talented team of artists, created the amazing hair and makeup looks we saw this evening. You can read more about them in my previous article - Backstage at Eco Fashion Week with Marc & Anna Riese - La Biosthetique.

Great dance performance between the Thrift Chic Challenge and the 68 LB Challenge

The Thrift Chic Challenge

Hey Jude (Lauren Clark and Lyndsey Chow), stylist Jerome Insorio (student at the John Casablancas) and editor/stylist Ghazal Elhaei (One1One Magazine) took on the Thrift Chic Challenge.  Each is given $500. Then by shopping only in Value Village, they must create a cohesive collection from the gently-used garments available - complete head-to-toe looks that are runway ready. EVERYTHING has to be purchased from Value Village including shoes and accessories, and shown as is. Judges who helped select the 3 participants this year include a team from Value Village and West Coast Editor of Fashion Magazine, Joy Pecknold.

Hey Jude - 

Lauren Clark and Lyndsey Chow are the talented styling duo responsible for the unique vintage collection - Hey Jude.. After bonding over their shared passion for vintage - as well a love of live music, New York and wearing wild ensembles - they joined forces in 2010 to launch Hey Jude.  "We love all the creativity that goes into imagining how a piece someone else has given up can be reinvented into a outfit that is on the cusp of what's happening in fashion that season. It exercises our imagination and creative energies and has found itself to be our personal art...There is something so personal about vintage and really lends itself to an individual creating their own unique style."

For the EFW challenge, the first thing they did was decide to take a different approach than what they normally would when shopping for their business. Instead of selecting unique, sell-able pieces that stand out on their own, they had to visualize what they wanted the entire show to look like stylistically and then select pieces that could be used to create looks that fit in with this aesthetic. The designers shared, "We wanted to play around with edgier pieces of pastels, pattern mixing and some men's looks too since we've never had men on the runway for our brand."

Backstage notes from Marc and Anna Riese - 
Key Words - Grunge, Last Nights Make-up, Edgy meets delicate, Dark, Nude Lip, Wet looking Hair
Products Used - Heat protector -combination to make look wet. High gloss finish. Shine on crazy - paste. Style warp smooth and piece and hold
Make-up - Grunge. Smokey. Went out all night slept in makeup, pale skin, matte nude lip

Ghazal Elhaei -

Ghazal Elhaei is a stylist, brand consultant and Editor-in-Chief of ONE1ONE Magazine who will be expanding her personal branding in 2014 through the launch of Style Chord.  Always a performer, her first love was music with an album released in 2011. Then fashion called and it was back to school.  When One1One launched, those 2 interests were united. The door also opened on styling for magazine editorials and individuals. She shared, "Styling comes from my love of expression, for me I just want to leave an impression on our generation. I want to make a difference and get a message out there. I don't know what role I'll end up being in with years to come but I will always express myself in various forms and in turn aim to inspire others."

For EFW, Elhaei created a collection titled, "MAN UP" - a reference to style deriving from self expression, a man becoming vulnerable by saying exactly what is on his mind. Inspired by movie personae such as Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando, Cary Grant and Gregory Peck, the looks channelled the male ideals of classic charm, sex appeal and power. The stylist wanted the audience, "To take a moment to value tradition and modern aesthetic through an attainable medium: thrifting." Most looks were worn by male models, but a few sleekly styled women offered male inspired outfits as well.

Backstage notes from Marc and Anna Riese - 
Key Words - Menswear inspired, Bold Brow Focus, Neutral, "Don Draper Look" Matte skin, Powerful, Sharp, "a Guy who likes to smoke and drink whiskey", Low pony-tails, very shiny hair
Hair Products Used - Matt clay and Formule Laque - helps smooth and set hair. Also finishes the hair and helps hold.
Make-up - Eyebrow focus. Strong Brow. Matte finish

Jerome Insorio -

While Jerome Insorio may still be a student at John Casablancas, he has already made a name for himself through his blog site - “LabelDeficiency.” His styling formula? Finding that perfect balance between casual and formal - not always easy. While labels have become de rigueur in today's fashion world, he feels truly great style comes from unique, quality pieces that feature excellent construction.

Insorio's Thrift Chic collection was titled “Journey." The concept wove around a person who doesn't really have time to "fix" herself, but still pulled together a great style.  They were the relaxed looks of someone who travelled - easy going and comfortable.  Accessories were inspired by the craftsmanship and colour of Tibet. The title also held a second meaning for this designer, "The term “Journey” is also a reflection of myself as I am still a student who is just starting out in the industry. With the collection, I hope for it to reflect my personality."

Backstage notes from Marc and Anna Riese - 
Key Words - Loose un-classic up do's. Texture, In Motion, Movement, Strong yet delicate, Healthy and Pretty
Hair Products used - Fine volume powder - adds texture and volume; Volume mousse - adds hold and texture; and Formule Laque - helps smooth and set hair. Also finishes the hair and helps hold
Make-up - Main focus – Ombré lip. Healthy, dewy and glowing skin.

68 Lb. Challenge by Young Oak

Just in case you don't know, I would like to share a little about the concept for this challenge.  68 pounds is the amount of clothing and textiles thrown away by the average North American each year. For this challenge, the designer must select the same amount of of textiles from unsaleable goods to rework into a brand new fashion-forward collection.

Young Oak designer Tammy Joe picked up the gauntlet this year.  The designer grew up the youngest of 3 and quickly became weary of wearing the endless stream of hand-me-downs. From her teen years on she loved shopping secondhand shops, bazaars and garage sales for unique finds. Inspired by the textiles and vintage garments, she began making small alterations. Eventually these became full deconstructions and Young Oak was born. 

Every previous designer I have talked to has talked about how overwhelming this challenge was. They find themselves at 4 a.m. digging through piles and piles of discarded garments trying to select just the right 68 pounds of materials to work with.  But Joe was excited by the prospects, “It’s all about encouraging people to do something with their waste,” she says. “Something as simple as changing its neckline or hem can really update and bring life to your garment. At the same time I really wanted to show what can be done with recycled and less conventional materials and some of my favourite looks came from the bed and bath textiles section. The collection was inspired by transformation and from moments or phases from my adolescents until now. One of the most challenging things about this project is to stick with a set plan because from the moment you start picking your pieces from Value Village the collection keeps transforming."

Backstage notes from Marc and Anna Riese - 
Key Words - Sleek, Pony-tails, Hair is an accessory, Young, Healthy, Fresh, Spring, Fun, Pop of colour, Girly.
Hair products used - Spa luxury oil - sleep and shiny - not oily. Volume mousse - add hold and texture. Formule Laque - helps smooth and set hair. Also finishes the hair and helps hold
Make-up - Focus on the eye. Eye Shadow- gold undertone and mixed with colour. Spring inspired colour. Fresh. Baby blues. Orange pink

Some candids at the mayhem backstage!

Special thanks to Dona Sheer, Manager of Front of House Registration this evening, for all her amazing efforts towards making this evening such a great success. Her personal touch made everyone feel welcome.  And thanks as well to EFW sponsors Value VillageLa Biosthétique, Tickets Tonight, The Fairmont Waterfront and SIGG.