VCAD Fashion Design Alumni in Sustainability


Published: Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Published: Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Sustainability and fair trade initiatives at the forefront in this year’s 6th National Fair Trade Conference

Three budding fashion designers from VCAD participated in a showcase at this year’s 6th National Fair Trade Conference – a conference dedicated to the growth and success of Fair Trade in Canada. The conference is run by Canadian Fair Trade Network - an organization committed to implementing global change through fair trades initiatives.

VCAD Fashion Design Alumni, Jae Esmane, Alisha Rempel and Kayla Garcia, have spent the last couple of months designing and crafting their fashion garments. Partnering up with Mandala Apparels, a manufacturer of organic, fair trade clothing and accessories, they had the opportunity to bring their designs to life with Mandala fabric – a certified fair trade cotton weave material, and 100% organic cotton.

While more of an investment, clothing made with premium fabric is known to be more durable and long-lasting, more unique in style, and a cost-effective solution in the long run. For fashion designers, working with quality fabrics plays a huge part in the success of the final garment:

“I find quality is when you're not getting corners and so much more can be accomplished,” says Alisha. “The fabric we're working with is softer lighter and has a better drape to it …. It's so much more beautiful to work with and easier to get a better result and to actually accomplish what you're looking for. When you get a better quality fabric, it makes all the difference as to how the design communicates the vision behind it.”

Mandala Apparels are committed to the fair trade movement. They carefully source supply chain partners who are 100% organic, practice fair trade practices such as health insurance and training for employees, and produce zero waste apparel.

While fast fashion has been driving the fashion industry over the last decade, mindsets are changing. The sustainable model is gathering momentum as consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the part they have to play in damaging the environment through their shopping habits. Furthermore, the whole supply chain process is coming under increasing scrutiny, with fair wealth distribution, and empowering individuals at the heart of fair trade initiatives.

More individuals are looking to realign fashion’s future along a more eco-friendly path, and match their design philosophies with a sustainable future. Upcoming fashion designers like Jae, while excited by fashion, are aware of the impact of their passion on the environment, the textiles they’re using, as well as ensuring communities are fairly compensated for the work done:

“People think they're buying a ready made garment on the rack, and they're looking for an interesting design detail but they're not willing to pay for the price, says Jay. “The cost of something should equal the labour.”

Looking stylish and being a conscious consumer can work hand-in-hand. Artisans have a role to play in educating consumers and moving fashion to a more sustainable future. Hear more of the sustainability story with our VCAD Fashion Alumni and their project.


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