REthinking the role of fashion

 EOS Eco-Energy hosts fashion show as part of Climate Change Week

“It’s great to think about where your clothes come from and the impact they have on the environment,” said Derrick Dixon, who featured clothes from his store Hounds of Vintage in the show. Yu-Sheng Chiu/Submitted

Last Wednesday, as part of the eighth annual Tantramar Climate Change Week, EOS Eco-Energy partnered with Hounds of Vintage to host a fashion show exploring the role of fashion in our society.

EOS Eco-Energy is a local non-profit in the Sackville community. “We empower local solutions to climate change,” said Lauren Clark, the company’s energy projects coordinator who co-organized the event with Derrick Dixon. “During [Tantramar Climate Change Week] we try to talk about climate change awareness and celebrate local solutions.” The organization has several waste- and emission-reduction programs in place in the area; as well they monitor watersheds in the Chignecto Isthmus region.

The fashion show featured nine gowns by Dani Juha, a slow-fashion designer, who moved from Syria to Moncton last year. “Each piece has its own story,” he said. “I get my [inspiration] from nature, especially here in Canada; it has a lot of forests, lots of shapes of trees, of mountains [and] from the ocean.”

The show also featured looks put together by Derrick Dixon, the owner of Hounds of Vintage, who co-organized the event with Clark. Hounds of Vintage sells refurbished second-hand clothes in downtown Sackville. There were 25 looks featured on the catwalk, from stylish cowboy to 1950s housewife with flair.

“The whole evening was based around the idea of rethinking what it means to be fashion,” said Dixon. “[Second-hand clothing] is definitely something that people are leaning more towards lately, considering the environmental impact of the clothing industry. I just try to provide people with good quality, affordable alternatives to fast fashion, and things that last longer and are based more on quality and timeless design.”

Alongside the show, EOS Eco-Energy had a booth set up to talk about their work. The Pedvac Foundation – a charity that runs a food bank, an employment information centre, and other services in the Port Elgin area – were also present, selling homemade, upcycled mittens and other accessories.

“The carbon footprint of the fashion industry is actually huge when you look at it, in terms of the amount of resources it takes to make new clothing [and] to transport it around,” said Clark. “I think thrift stores get a bad rep sometimes [because] people don’t realize the gems you can find … but I think it definitely helps to lower your carbon footprint if you shop second-hand.” The clothing industry is responsible for 10 per cent of the Earth’s annual carbon emissions. That is more than both the annual emissions of international flights and maritime shipping combined.

The fashion show was evidence that thrifted clothing can even be high fashion. “It was incredible to see what one can do with second-hand clothing,” said Casandra Power, a fourth-year English major. “The outfits were all so unique. It really made you question the way in which society looks at clothing: why are we spending so much on fast fashion when we can express ourselves for less?”

Julianna Rutledge
Julianna Rutledge is a third year English major at Mount Allison University. She grew up outside of Toronto (which she never quite liked) and moved to Sackville for university (which she would like better if there were less exams). She is an Arts and Culture reporter at the Argosy.