With creation of Eco Fashion Week, Vancouver joins the list of forward thinking Fashion cities such as New York, London, and Paris who all are holding similar Eco Fashion events. In New York city, as part of the New York fashion week, there’s the eco fashion event called the Green Shows. In Paris, during Paris Fashion week, there’s the Ethical Fashion Week. In London, as part of London Fashion Week, there’s Estethica, which was started four years ago by the British Fashion Council. As BFC states: “All Estethica designers adhere to at least one of the three Estethica principles of fair-trade and ethical practices, organic and recycled materials and are selected for both their ethical credentials and design excellence.” The Esthetica collective currently consists of 37 members. One of their members this year was Jeff Garner. He opened London Fashion Week, and he was one of the fashion designers at Eco Fashion Week Vancouver as well.
I interviewed Eco Fashion Designers Jeff Garner ( Prophetik ), Lara Presber, Nicole Bridger, and Kim Cathers ( Kdon ), and Owner of Green Sapphire, Regina Noppè who brought EDEN Mens wear and the Green Sapphire by Patricia Moura Biojoias collection to Vancouver.
One commonality amongst these four designers was that their fashion was not just about design, but lifestyle as well. They all consciously practiced an eco-friendly and simple lifestyle on a daily basis, so the “eco” in Eco Fashion was very personal to them. They had always been recycling things, reusing things, repurposing things whether it was before fashion or after. This was a thread that had been in all of their lives. They were also people that had travelled all over the world. In all their cases they all ended up going back home. Jeff returning to Franklin, Tennessee; Laura to Calgary, Alberta and Nicole and Kim back to Vancouver, BC. It is very clear from talking to these rising stars of Eco Fashion, that home and family is very important to them and how they live their lives and pursue their careers.
Jeff Garner spoke with me about being a Designer and showcasing his work at Eco Fashion Week. He was recently nominated for most sustainable line by the Global Fashion awards. Prophetik manufactures locally in Tennessee using sustainable fabrics like hemp, organic cotton, peat silk, and linen. They spent about a year developing a way to create their own natural plant earth dyes, which they have been coloring their fabrics for the past year. Jeff told me that it’s an ongoing learning experience to balance making the dyes affordable yet sustainable. He said that Prophetik plans on sharing the knowledge and creating dye for other companies as well, because they don’t use a chemical process and would be providing dyes that few dye houses create in North America.
Jeff Garner dresses like he’s from another time, wearing clothes similar to those in his collection – solid, earthy, romantic, masculine vests and cotton shirt. There is an earthiness to the way he speaks, he has an easy pacing to his speech, that reminds me of a down home southern Gentleman. Jeff says that living in Tennessee on a farm, keeps him grounded on what he is doing. He agrees that location greatly influences his collection, having that old world feel, souther renaissance style with the ballroom gowns, and men’s vests. The style isn’t based on a trend as Jeff doesn’t read magazines or watch TV, so he can stay true to his vision. Prophetik is selling to about 40 Boutiques in North America, and London, other parts of Europe, and Japan.
The collection is kind of a combination of something that an English rider might wear on a fox hunt, or a young woman might wear in a romance novel. There’s an aspect of romanticized history of country, rural. There was a lot of attention to detail. The clothing was well-made, the fabric looked rich. It was clear that it was natural, there was a softness to the colour. The influence of his interest in rural life was evident in his collection. The men wore riding boots, and he himself wore riding boots. At the end of his collect there was a country Jamboree band that played. His personal presence is humble and sincere in the way that he talks about his work. But his collection stands up on his own. I think he will continue to be a rising a star in the fashion community.
Listen to Jeff Garner interview:
Eco Fashion Week Vancouver Photos by Jonathan Hanley ( hanleymade.com | http://www.flickr.com/photos/pixelate )
Additional Photos by Kris Krug ( staticphotography.com | http://www.flickr.com/photos/kk )