Green Fashion Competition

On Thursday, Amsterdam Fashion Week showcased a unique event, the Green Fashion Competition. The show featured numerous designers, big and small, from around the world and the Netherlands.

Hosted by Lonneke Engel, (a famous Dutch model), the jury included esteemed panelists such, and H.R.H. Princess Maxima of the Netherlands sat in the front row as well.

The show opened by a presentation of Elsien Gringhuis’ latest collection. She won the competition last year, the Engel wore one of her dresses during the show. The pieces were very simple and wearable, I loved the regal deep emerald colour she carried throughout the collection. In the introductory video, she explained how she used organic and cruelty-free silk. That means that the silk is collected after the worm becomes a butterfly, instead of boiling and killing the bugs. It’s more humane and it exposed me to a new method of vegan textiles.

The competition had two categories: 1 and 2. Category 2 consisted of up-and-coming labels with a green edge. The prize was €15,000, and New Yorker, Carrie Parry took the prize.

I liked her three looks. They were very commercial and wearable. While the other designers in her category might have been more innovative, I can see the potential for this line to do well in a North American market. The beautiful heavy wool and tweed fabrics combined with the bright, poppy colours reminded me of American heavyweights, J. Crew and Kate Spade. I definitely could tell she was in a New York state of mind.

The second half of the show was category 1. This portion of the competition was reserved for established designers, and the lucky winner would receive €25,000.

A myriad of designs came out. From the easy-breezy resort wear by STAT Divisions to the raw and textured pieces of SPRB, these designers had a more defined aesthetic. Personally, I loved STAT Divisions because it was more in line with my own look, but I could see why Studio JUX took home the big prize.

Created by a Nepali tailor, the line outsources creation of the garments to an impoverished and underdeveloped nation. My own personal green philosophy revolves around keeping things local. I love supporting local Canadian designers, and I constantly try to think about putting money back into my own economy.  Just like I try to buy Ontario produce, I like to do that with my garments as well. Once you factor in shipping and the carbon footprint, I don’t understand how their line can be green. But is it socially conscious? Yes.

To see highlights from the show, watch the video below.

It was interesting to see what kind of eco-friendly methods designers are implementing in Europe. In Canada, the focus seems to be on localizing fabrication and using green components for practical daily wear, while in the Netherlands, the fantasy seems to grow a bit more. Pieces are convertible and flexible, defying the conventional way of dressing.