Swinging through the air in eco-friendly tights, bodies twisted and bending at all angles - top performers from Vancouver's Circus School aren't the typical high end fashion model. Yet that is exactly the sort of surprising display one can expect at the Spring into Green runway at the Green Living Show in Vancouver next week. In fact, an entire section of the Stadium will be dedicated to fashion and beauty.
Produced by well-known 'mentor to the rising star' Paul K. Holmes, the Spring into Green runway will showcase both the comfort of eco-fabrics, and sexy couture pieces from emerging designer Roberta Cheema.
"The idea is to have fun," Holmes says, "And to highlight how comfortable and versatile these fabrics are, despite being difficult to work with. I mean, if an acrobat can wear it comfortably …"
West coast organic garment company HTnaturals is also a big part of the show, having supplied both fabric for Cheema to work with and designs of their own. The hair and cosmetic products used in the show will also be all-natural.
A veteran of the motion picture business, Holmes notes that the integration of sustainable practices across many industries is quickly becoming the norm.
"We want green to be just normal, not anything we're trying to sell," he says, "It should be part of the obvious. It's part of an ethic, a lifestyle. In two years – max – we won't even think about how to make things greener, we just will. We have to."
Christine Lewington of the successful apparel line Bamboo Clothes Canada echoes that thought. Her daughter, she says, is learning more about recycling and global warming than she did through most of her adult years.
"They've really indoctrinated our children because it starts there. Hopefully they won't be as selfish as our generation."
That change is already happening in big and exciting ways for Lewington, who will appear at the Vancouver Green Living Show as both an exhibitor and part of the Footprints Fashion Show.
"I am just over the moon excited to be around people who care," she squeals gleefully, "I do a lot of trade shows, and not one person wants to talk about the health and sustainable properties of my clothes. That's what I believe in."
Bamboo Clothes Canada, a line that started with towels and linens, offers a trendy line of organic cotton and bamboo yoga wear, casual sweaters, tops, and a very popular line of baby apparel. Despite the lovely, well-tailored apparel, Lewington's philosophy is about green substance over style.
"We can make a huge, dramatic impact by moving totally to organic cotton and bamboo," she explains, "First of all, bamboo is naturally soft and good for you. It's micro bacterial and whisks away moisture – those are just natural properties of bamboo. Secondly, Cotton takes up 7% of arable land and is responsible for 40% of the pesticide use in the world. Just one item of bamboo in your linen closet and your wardrobe can make a big difference."
Further to "walking the talk", Lewington is donating parcels of rainforest land with every purchase of $50 from her Green Living Show booth. As the lucky title-holder of this property, you won't be able to sell it or use it but you will save that piece of land from clear-cutting. With enough donations and green purchases, it's possible for consumers to literally save the rainforest.
Lewington's not the only one inspired by her first trip to the Green Living Show; Caroline Thibault is traveling from her studio home on Salt Spring Island to add a "simple, French style" to the affair. Thibault's line of hemp apparel and accessories, Dancing Bear Co., is a staple at the island's Saturday market.
"The style is timeless," she says gently, "A hippie girl can wear them or an 80 year old girl can wear them. I want to make things that are beautiful but simple."Dancing Bear dresses, made with the natural ecru colour of raw hemp and then dyed stunning colours like apple and plum - by Thibault's own hand in large buckets no less – exemplify the careful effort, and easy beauty, of living green.