Be Fashionable While Saving The Earth? Oh Yes, We Can

Fashion and us, women, are two inseparable things. We cannot live without expressing and identifying ourselves through what we wear and, admit it, we sometimes can be obsessed with it. However, not many of us exactly understand how fashion products are made, and what impact it gives to poor Mother Nature. Did you know, fashion is one of nature’s biggest offender, both in Indonesia and in the world?

Eco-friendly fashion must be enforced stronger. Unfortunately, to many fashion-lovers, eco-fashion is still such a strange concept. To change that and help greenifying the fashion parts of our life, Enviloka (an eco-foundation) and Leo Cosmo Jakarta Teens (a youth social organisation) collaborated to create ECONIC, a two-day eco-fashion awareness event on 21-22 October 2011, which programs consists of:

1. Eco-Friendly Fashion Design Competition

For months before, ECONIC’s committee spread the news of the design competition to fashion design schools and institutes, and as a result, they’re flooded by loads of amazing submissions. But what exactly were they looking for in the eco-friendly design? At ECONIC’s press conference, ECONIC’s project officer and Enviloka’s head committee Futri Zulia explained the nine focal points:

  • Local – do you realise, that by buying imported products, you have contributed in fuel emission for the transport? By choosing local products, fuel emission for long haul transport is cut down. Think about it.
  • Recycled or reused textiles – using scraps old fabrics will not only lessen waste, but, in my opinion, also push you to be more creative. Mother Nature would be so proud.
  • Sustainable fashion (materials and process) – good eco-fashion clothes are made using organic raw materials, such as cotton grown without pesticides or silk made by worms fed on organic trees.
  • Vegan / animal free – needless to say, animal testing and using animal parts are huge crimes in fashion and beauty industry, and there is never any justification for those acts. Please do your research first before buying a brand.
  • No chemical used / low impact / vegetables dying – yes, it is indeed possible to use vegetative or natural colourings to dye your clothes. Much, much more eco-friendly and sustainable than chemical ones.
  • Fair traded – aside from animal testing, you should also choose brands that practice fair trade, such as giving fair wages to their workers and banning child labour.
  • Craft – artisan and custom – you can never have enough batik, songket, and other traditional fabrics. Buying or using them not only helps preserving our heritage, but it also means supporting home industries that are low energy and much eco-friendlier than mass, factory-made products.
  • Vintage / second hand – no need to automatically throw away your last season’s clothes! It could be trending again. Remember, fashion rotates. Conversely, buying or getting secondhand clothes is eco-friendlier than buying new pieces.
  • Resource efficiency – this means that in producing clothes, one should always be conscious with its resource efficiency. Be aware of the water and energy usage.

For months, the committee has received numerous submission, which all comes down to 18 finalists who produce their designs and flaunt them on the fashion show.

2. Fashion Show

ECONIC’s fashion show was sprawled into two days, featuring young designers such as TIKShirt, Geulis, Nikicio, and Vera Abi. However, the main stars of the fashion shows are the 18 finalist of ECONIC’s Eco-Friend Fashion Design Competition, who showcased their competing designs for the judges to see. I happen to come on Saturday’s fashion show event, therefore I got to see TIKShirt, Geulis, Vera Abi…

TIKShirt with Geulis

TIKShirt with Geulis

TIKShirt with Geulis

TIKShirt

TIKShirt

Rave by Vera Abi

Rave by Vera Abi

…and the 18 finalists.

It’s more than a fashion show, I would say, as the event also put some of Jakarta’s renowned musicians on their stage, including Twentyfirstnight, Soulvibe, and Maliq & The D’Essentials. What’s more, the ticket sales would be donated wholly to social causes.

Maliq & D’Essentials

Although I could see that the fashion shows are not a professional one per se, but the clothes are well-flaunted and the message is well-conveyed: local and eco-friendly products are just as amazing and comparable to international ones. At the end of the day, Anisa Dilla Qolbi from Universitas Sebelas Maret (2nd runner-up), Eka A.P from Kriya Tekstil ITB (1st runner-up), and Budi Ramadhan from Kriya Tekstil ITB (1st winner) proved that with their stunning designs.

Winners with judges and ECONIC’s committee

3. Bazaar

ECONIC also set up booths where local designers and brands—especially those who are eco-friendly—could sell their products. Vendors include Nikicio, Kaia, SPADA, Mishoundtooth, Zaakunika and many more (check out our picks here!). Aside from displaying their products for the guests, they also got new knowledge of eco-friendly fashion from the event.