Over the last few years, with the looming threats of global warming and climate change, many countries have begun to shift toward a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. Canada is one of these countries and not just when it comes to pollution control and water conservation. Instead, we are also being recognized for trend-setting organic clothing. Earlier this year, Vancouver hosted its second Eco Fashion Week (EFW) to showcase its stance on the green movement.

Often when you think eco-friendly clothing, you think of ugly, unflattering styles (it’s okay to admit it). That is precisely the misconception that EFW wanted to turn on its head, with its new organic, chic clothing that is sure to catch on in today’s fashion-focused world.

But the environmentally friendly fashion week was much more than fabulous runway shows and hot parties. The organizers discussed real changes that are necessary for the sustainability of eco-friendly practice. FLARE magazine’s fashion stylist and writer, Luisa Rino, explained some of the ideas of the week.

“Myriam Laroche, the event’s president, feels there is a need for awareness that goes beyond organic fabrics. Her vision is to open a discussion that includes ethical employment practices, local production methods and up-cycling alongside re-cycling,” Rino says.

But do these events and their push for environmentally friendly clothes actually make a difference in the environment? According to Dr. Scott Slocombe, a professor of geography and environmental studies at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo Ontario, these changes are not in vain.

“Such events and products do help to raise awareness and often provide a simple, first-step to move people to be more environmentally friendly, which hopefully leads to greater awareness and taking bigger steps later,” Dr. Slocombe says.

FLARE, Rino, emphasizes that there are a lot of steps to be taken in order for a movement like this to make a lasting impression and catch on around the world.

She says “it must be a movement – a shift in lifestyle. The goal is too important and those out there who are committed to the environment (of which there are many) see it this way.”

Rino also notes that it is because of high-fashion designer labels, like Jason Matlo, these movements make a difference.

“[They] show us how to be sustainable; there is room for many others to join,” she says. “It will take time, consumer demand and educated awareness, but it’s the job of events like EFW to help create that change.