Tag Archives: green

Emerald: 2013’s Colour of the Year

17 Jan

Take a page out of Kermit’s book and go green for your New Year’s fashion resolution. Emerald was selected as Pantone’s Colour of the Year for 2013. A global leader in manufacturing colours, Pantone sets the standards for the design industry. A shade is chosen for Colour of the Year after observing trends in fashion, art and interior design.

Emerald lace trench coat at Burberry Prorsum’s spring show.

Emerald lace trench coat at Burberry Prorsum’s spring show.

Emerald made a splash at a number of recent spring collections. Burberry fashioned one of its illustrious trench coats using a lace version of the green hue. Stella McCartney sent a few of her models down the runway in sporty, oversized emerald outfits. And though the colour spectrum was fully embraced at the shows of Vera Wang and Akris, it was the emerald pieces that really stood out. The luxe shade was even included in a few of the pre-fall collections that were just revealed, such as at 3.1 Phillip Lim, Gucci and Oscar de la Renta.

These emerald wide leg trousers are definitely not for the shy.

These emerald wide leg trousers from Ruche are definitely not for the shy.

A vividly lush green, emerald represents renewal and growth — perfect for a fresh start to the year. Compared to previous Colour of the Year winners such as tangerine tango, a bright red-orange, and honeysuckle, a cheerful reddish pink, emerald is more versatile and easier to incorporate into daily ensembles. Emerald green is known as a universal colour, meaning it’s flattering towards all hair colours and skin tones. So break out those pieces usually reserved for St. Patrick’s Day and work them into your wardrobe rotation.

Depending on your love for the colour, emerald can be worn as an accent piece or layered with other green tones, such as the ever popular mint, for a bold trendy look. When it gets warmer, try an emerald skirt with a pale mint blouse for a cool outfit that screams springtime. To prevent going overboard with green layers and looking like a leprechaun, find printed or patterned pieces with green shades in them. It’ll help tie the look together without being a green overkill.

Turn some heads with this verdant embellished dress from TFNC.

Turn some heads with this verdant embellished dress from TFNC.

Jewel-tones such as emerald, ruby or sapphire, are always great options for evening outfits if you want to veer from the traditional black. To bring out the vibrancy, go for fabrics with sheen like silks, satins and velvets — emeralds will look more luminous. Just think of Keira Knightley’s slinky emerald silk dress in Atonement or Viola Davis’ green Vera Wang number at last year’s Oscars. For even more flash, opt for an emerald sequined piece.

Emerald will also go wonderfully with the neutrals that will be trendy for spring (black and white, in particularly, were huge on the runways). Michael Kors mixed black and green together in rugby striped tops and geometric dresses for a polished elegance. To make a bolder statement pair emerald pieces with bright, complementary colours such as cobalt or a deep purple.

Add some subtle glam with Simon's emerald earrings.

Add some subtle glam with Simon’s emerald earrings.

If adding emerald clothing to your style is too extreme, ease into the trend with accessories. Emerald is a great colour for bags and shoes, since green is a standard colour for croc or snakeskin accessories and easy to find in stores. Plus the shade stands out even more against gold or silver hardware. Emerald costume jewelry is also a classic and nice to have for cocktail parties or dinners.

Brighten up your fingertips with green polish, such as Essie’s Pretty Edgy.

Brighten up your fingertips with green polish, such as Essie’s Pretty Edgy.

Another simple way to wear emerald is on the nails. One of my favourite polishes is China Glaze’s Emerald Sparkle, a deep green jelly with glitter. For the daring, try emerald liner or eye shadow. Green eye makeup was used on the models at Michael Kors, Stella McCartney and Derek Lam this season. The colour provides a modern balance to peach or pink cheeks and lips. Use a cream or gel liner for a more intense look and pencil for a softer one.

Daytime or evening, there are a variety of fun ways to include the Colour of the Year into your fashion repertoire.

[Article first appeared in the Jan. 16 issue of Richmond Review.]

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Eco Fashion Week in Vancouver

17 Oct

Too often the phrase “eco-friendly fashion” calls to mind visions of scratchy hemp tunics and hippie tie-dyed tees. It’s a perception the sustainable fashion industry is reinventing by showcasing aesthetically appealing, comfortable clothes — pieces you’d actually want to wear regularly. Since we’re in the midst of Eco Fashion Week, I take a look at local eco-friendly designers and talk to the founder of the event about the importance of environmentally-responsible clothing.

Since 2009, Eco Fashion Week has presented the collections of Canadian sustainable designers. Myriam Laroche, the president and founder of Eco Fashion Week, says the event helps generate attention in finding a balance between the environment and the fashion industry.

“The manufacturing of clothes, as it is right now, is in a very unhealthy space,” says Laroche. “We need to find solutions — eco, ethical, responsible or smart clothing offers solutions. It’s illegal to be naked, so we will continue to create apparel. We just need to do it the healthy way.”

A reworked sweater dress from Adhesif Clothing.

For a brand to be considered eco-friendly, Laroche says there are a variety of factors that come into play.

“At every step of the product development cycle, there is a choice to be made that will be less damaging to humans and the Earth,” she says. “Materials can be organic, recycled, upcycled. We look at the amount of wastage; chemicals in dyes, treatments, finishing; energy consumption; carbon footprint from creation to the consumer; packaging.”

While it may be difficult to decipher which garments are designed sustainably without first doing research on the brand, there are some key terms to look out for when shopping for eco-friendly clothing. Labels marked with third-party certifications such as the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), SA8000 and Oeko-Tex Standard 100, for example, all independently assess the garment’s impact on the environment. For a product to be certified by GOTS, it must meet the strict requirements of being made at a minimum of 70 per cent organic fibres and also meet the standards of the International Labour Organization, which requires living wages and safety for workers. Similar to GOTS, an item marked with the SA8000 label means it meets their checklist for humane working conditions. The Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification is a check for harmful chemicals in the production of a garment.

Upcycled leather vest and zebra dress from RISE.

There’s a wide selection of eco-friendly designers in Metro Vancouver. Adhesif Clothing creates their collections by upcycling, a process where vintage or recycled materials are used to create new garments. RISE is also another label that uses upcycling. Designed by local upcoming fashion designers, RISE takes donated clothing and turns them into hip, wearable apparel. Nicole Bridger, a highlight of Eco Fashion Week, is one of the bigger eco-fashion labels to have come out of the city. Creating chic, feminine collections using biodegradable fabrics and GOTS certified wool, the majority of Nicole Bridger’s pieces are manufactured locally.

A rain slicker from Nicole Bridger, made with recycled materials.

Though buying sustainable clothing may not be for everyone, it’s definitely something to think about when shopping. Buying locally helps limits your environmental footprint in addition to boosting the local economy. And for us living in Metro Vancouver, shopping eco-friendly is made all the more easier with the abundance of eco-designers nearby. Laroche believes our landscape also helps us appreciate environmentally-conscious fashion more so than other cities.

“I think that being surrounded by nature has a big impact on Vancouverites’ lifestyle,” Laroche says. “It’s a slower pace here where people take the time to be responsible. Also, the City wants to be the greenest city in the world by 2020 — I’m sure the citizens are motivated to reach that goal as well.”

Eco Fashion Week runs until Oct. 19.

[Article first appeared in the Oct. 17 issue of Richmond Review.]

Sweat in style: The basics of activewear

2 May

The view from my hike last summer at St. Mark’s Summit near Vancouver.

With the spring weather finally kicking in, it’s time to start shedding those heavy layers of clothes and absorb some much needed vitamin D. For most, the warmer temperature means ramping up fitness goals to get the body summer-ready or prepare for marathons. Whatever your objective, there’s nothing like a bright new gym outfit to inspire you to stick to a workout plan.

High-tech textiles

One of the key factors when looking for activewear is fabric. Read the tags to see what material the item is predominantly made out of and whether it will suit the type of exercise you’ll be doing. For moderate activity where you’re less likely to sweat, such as hatha yoga, try activewear made with a combination of spandex (or Lycra) and other breathable fibres. Spandex is durable and ideal for workouts dependant on flexibility. Keep in mind that although cotton is breathable and popular, it also loses its shape easily and absorbs perspiration, making the garment feel heavier at the end of a workout.

Great for layering or wearing alone, this Sugoi tank works for any exercise.

For high-impact, sweat-inducing activities such as running, hiking the Grouse Grind or hot yoga, look for moisture wicking fabrics. These are designed to move perspiration away from the skin and through the fabric where it can be evaporated quickly, leaving you dry and cooler in body temperature. There are a variety of synthetic, moisture wicking fabrics, with some of the major names being Coolmax, made from polyester fibres, and Supplex, made from nylon. Also, bigger companies carry products made with their own moisture wicking fabrics — Nike has Dri-FIT and Adidas uses Climalite — so check the labels to see if the item is made with the performance fabric you need to stay comfortably dry.

Stay dry in your cardio classes with Nike’s moisture wicking shorts.

Go green

If you’re looking for a more eco-friendly alternative, there are a lot of green options as well that don’t just cater towards yoga tops and pants. Many of them are locally-based, such as brands Tonic, Silver Icing and Public Myth, to name a few. All three use bamboo jersey in their designs and two (Tonic and Public Myth) even do their manufacturing locally. A good eco-friendly fabric to look for when shopping for gym clothes is Tencel — it’s soft, breathable and absorbent, so it’ll keep you dry in the sweatiest of workouts. Tencel, which also goes by the name Lyocell, is durable yet biodegradable.

Flexible fit

The other factor to consider is fit. Make sure the activewear you throw on is supportive, comfortable and allows for plenty of movement. The last thing you’d want is to be distracted by your clothing when you should be focusing on downward dog. Avoid loose, long pants in cycling or running, where it can get caught up in pedals or under the heels. It’s also a good idea to dress in layers for any outdoor activity. An easily removable zip-up jacket is a must have; bonus points if it includes enough pockets to stash your iPod, keys and other necessities.

This lululemon zip-up in a cheery orange is perfect for those early morning runs.

Keep in mind the conditions and alter your activewear accordingly. The weather is fickle even in late spring, so look into gear with water repellant properties if you exercise outside often. Moisture wicking fabrics are great for both the heat and the cold. Don’t forget about your accessories either: a cap for the rain or sun, a watch for time trials, reflective details for those jogging or biking at night and, most importantly, shoes with ample support.

From ASOS, a pastel blue Timex watch to time your laps.

A majority of stores now carry activewear lines so gym gear is readily available at all price points. And with the athletic look in demand on the runways this season, you’ll be looking on trend as you work toward your fitness goals.

[Article first appeared in the April 18 issue of Richmond Review.]