Fashions fit for a panda

By Sarah Jay, “Green” stylist
For Ziya Tong, host of Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet and WWF 2012 Panda Ball MC extraordinaire, only eco would do. Stylist and eco fashion expert Sarah Jay highlights sustainable style for WWF’s second annual celebration of life on Earth.

Reuse: Vintage Couture

It is estimated that approximately 12 million tonnes of textile waste ends up in landfill each year. And more often than not, garments are only gently worn – formalwear gentlest of all. Vintage Couture’s Lynda Latner provided the ultimate LBD for Ziya: backless, lace-up, floor-length perfection. We also chose an eighties epoch by Perry Ellis, paying tribute to one of the world’s most beloved species: the critically endangered Amur Leopard. Wear your heart on your sleeve, or your skirt, and remember that old’s cool.

Photo credit: Tom Sandler

Photo credit: Best of Toronto

Reduce: Sarah Stevenson

Did you know that only the oil and paper industries exceed fashion’s consumption of freshwater? That 70 million tonnes of waste water is generated each year in the name of keeping us on trend? Designer Sarah Stevenson’s maxi V in yellow foliage is made locally. With textiles as her canvas, she features original impressionistic patterns inspired by nature using a waterless printing technique. H20MG!!!!

Photo credit: George Pimentel

Rework: Ashley Winnington Ball

Against the backdrop of vintage and waterless gowns, we featured upcycled jewelry by Ashley Winnington-Ball. Ashley finds inspiration in objets trouvés ranging from bits of weathered metal to abandoned beehives. Artfully coating these curios in layers of resin, she gives a shiny new context to unexpected ornaments. Always one of a kind, AWB designs valuables with values. And this is the future of luxury.

About Face: Celebrity makeup artist and eco beauty expert Jackie Shawn achieved Ziya’s look using Earth-friendly products. Tarte for face and eyes, Live Clean for hair, Butter for nails and Ziya’s favourite Bobby Brown Lip Color in Pale Pink which uses beeswax instead of palm oil – an ecologically devastating alternative to petroleum-based emulsifiers, the production of which destroys orangutan habitat. To learn more and help give Canadian cosmetics a makeover, support Just Beautiful.

Live Clean Styling Spray, Tarte eye shadow pallet, Bobbi Brown lipstick, Butter nail polish

In conscientious conclusion:
For me, the degree to which something is fashion forward is the degree to which it is sustainable. Designers and retailers have a responsibility when they bring garments into the world, to do so with integrity and consideration for our planet’s resources and inhabitants. And you – the consumer, the clotheshorse, the trendsetter – play an important role in shaping the future of fashion with every purchase, tweet and “like.”
So the next time you find yourself in front of a sale rack or computer screen FULL of options, ask yourself:
What is this made of?
→Look for organically grown, natural fibers.
→When choosing synthetics look for recycled polyesters.
→Consider upcycled materials and deadstock fabrics when possible.
Where is it made?
→ Locally made has a smaller carbon footprint, and supports local economy.
→Look out for lines that nurture community development, have a one for one mandate, or use carbon offsets.
Consider the care instructions.
→The largest environmental impact of a garment occurs in the post-consumer phase of its lifecycle. That means: how you care for it. Avoid dry clean-only garments altogether. Remember to wash in cold water with eco detergent and hang to dry. Consign, donate, or swap old clothes instead of disposing to landfill.
For further fashion council, you can always call me. Until then, sustain style. Dress responsibly 🙂

Stylist Sarah Jay. Photo credit: George Pimentel