Winnipeg designers promote fashion sustainability

Independent designers in Winnipeg put on a fashion show Sunday, displaying their efforts in how to make the industry more sustainable.

According to organizers of the event, Canadians throw away around billion of pounds of textiles every year. Andréanne Dandeneau, the owner of Anne Mularie is doing her best to change that with clothing that keeps the environment at the top of the list.

“There’s two big problems in the fashion industry,” Dandeneau explained. “Number one is reducing waste. Number two is carbon emissions.”

The show was held at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights on Sunday, with collections from sustainable and often recycled fabrics.

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According to Sarah Sue MacLachlan, the owner of Sarah Sue Design, Winnipeg’s history as a major clothing manufacturer before the rise of overseas production means it’s a prime location to transform the industry.

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“There’s another handful of people here in Winnipeg trying to bring that fashion industry back, and we’re all doing things on a slow fashion, small-scale level,” MacLachlan said.

Another focus of the show was stressing the importance of doing things locally and by hand.

Designer Andreanne Dandenau uses what she calls a “circular approach” to keep clothes out of landfills by using fabric scraps, decomposable material like cotton and bamboo and being innovative about sourcing.

“We also have collections like the zero waste, where we reuse the fabric from our past collections,” Dandenau said. “And then we also have the resale market, where people bring back clothing that they don’t use.”

Customers are also encouraged to think outside the box by painting on a stained shirt or mending damaged clothes by hand.

Designer Lennard Taylor believes the most important thing consumers can do is educate themselves on where their clothes came from.

“You gotta pick up that needle and thread and learn and educate yourself on how to change things,” Taylor said. “That is the number one thing to transform this industry. We have to educate ourselves about what we’re doing.”

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