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Belkis Navas, one of the designers featured at EcoEquitable. Photo by Tilt Creative Co.

EcoEquitable Fashion Show highlights local, sustainable clothing design

By Alison Larabie Chase on October 11, 2016

Socially-conscious fashion lovers, this one’s for you:

On October 26, the second annual Metamorphosis fashion show organized by EcoEquitable will take place at the Horticulture Building at Lansdowne. The event highlights the work of emerging Ottawa clothing designers working with sustainable and recycled materials.

Theresa Rigby, one of the designers featured at EcoEquitable. Photo by Tilt Creative Co.

Theresa Rigby, one of the designers featured at EcoEquitable. Photo by Tilt Creative Co.

EcoEquitable is a registered charity that provides employment and skill development to people in need with a particular focus on immigrant women. Their boutique in Vanier sells recycled fabric and sewn objects such as bags, wallets, and scarves produced by the women they employ. They also teach sewing classes and provide contract sewing services to businesses and designers.

Kelly Sannes works with EcoEquitable as the project coordinator for the Metamorphosis show.

Apt613: Tell me about how the show came to be.

Kelly Sannes: Last year one of our volunteers wanted to celebrate her 50th birthday by doing an eco-fashion show. She contacted us, and as it turned out a lot of our program participants were interested in exploring the topic. It became a much larger event than we had ever anticipated.

What’s new for this year?

We’re doing two runway segments with 20 local designers plus a marketplace featuring several established Ottawa retailers as well as many EcoEquitable students who have made one-of-a-kind pieces. You’ll get to meet the designers, hear how they got here and what they love about fashion, and you can help them out by purchasing some of their pieces.

We’ve used this year’s show as an opportunity to help our Sewing for Jobs program participants explore business basics: what it is to do custom design work in Ottawa, to start your own business, an intro to entrepreneurship.

What can attendees expect from the show?

The first runway segment starts at 7pm; the second will take place later on in evening, with an intermission where people can shop and explore the brands. Thanks to our presenting sponsor Sleepwell Property Management, we’ve got awesome catering and a glow bar, with light appetizers and a cash bar.

What are your hopes for the participating designers?

We hope that everybody has fun and gets to the point where they’re making money. The point is to showcase their hard work and have people in Ottawa embrace and support their work by purchasing pieces. Our big success story from last year, Robin Whitford, who at last year’s show was just starting her business, is coming back this year as a full-time business owner and entrepreneur with Sew Crazy. That’s the kind of success we’re hoping to see.


Malorie Bertrand, owner of the new online boutique Either/Or, is a participant in the marketplace segment of the show.

Why is this an important event for you to participate in?

Malorie Bertrand: I think EcoEquitable is a really valuable organization in the community with a very admirable mission. They’re tying in fashion and the skills it takes to design and make clothing, along with helping empower disadvantaged women, two very important issues.

Sustainable fashion is such an exciting emerging industry, and I’m excited to see the people behind it promoted as often as possible. As the owner of an online store that sells sustainable Canadian fashion, I want to encourage mindful consumption. Our slogan is “Dress thoughtfully.” I hope to meet women and talk to them about how these pieces might work in their wardrobe and last them a long time.

Megan Duffield of Duffield Design in Dunrobin is participating in both the runway and marketplace portions of the show for the second year. Her line of classic, clean-lined knitwear made from natural and recycled textiles will be available in the marketplace.

Why is this an important event for you to be a part of?

Megan Duffield: What EcoEquitable are doing for the sustainable fashion community on a grassroots level is incredible. They’ve got a great location this year and I think it’s going to be quite a unique show. There’s a wide range of different designers this year, which is exciting because it’s a mix of people just starting out and more established businesses. That mix is magic, because it creates a community and breaks down a lot of barriers and walls that sometimes happen in the fashion industry. It allows new and emerging designers to network with already established designers, creates a sense of help and community within our small fashion world in Ottawa.

The 2016 Metamorphosis Eco Fashion Show and Marketplace takes place on October 26 at the Horticulture Building in the Lansdowne complex starting at 6pm. Tickets are on sale now. General admission tickets are $49; VIP front-row tickets cost $85 and include a cocktail and a gift bag. Group discounts are available.