I recently had the opportunity to attend my second Eco Fashion Week in Seattle. The four days filled with fashion, friends, food and far too much wine amounted to yet another memorable press trip. The first Eco Fashion Week I attended left a lasting impact on my sense of style, so I was excited to be going again. In retrospect, I would consider the time between my first and second Eco Fashion Weeks a period of significant evolution in my personal style. If you have not yet read my first article, or are in need a refresher, you can find it here.

We all know I love fashion and it is probably the thing I am most passionate about in this world. As a child, I had a unique and rather silly sense of style (as seen through photographs taken by my mother), but things started to change as I grew up and the powerful influencing forces of the world came into play. I went through a bit of an oversized soccer shorts phase, then an everything Roxy phase, followed by a “trying to look like the cool girls” phase, then a boho phase, which turned into a hippie no shoes for days phase. Then at some point I traded my crochet tops for sequins and feathers, which led to a very costume-y phase, which turned into some weird variation of raving club queen with neon platforms, studs and cotton candy pink lipstick. Then the blog happened and I embarked on a journey to essentially document my sartorial endeavours and how they reflect my growth as an individual. This notion was the basis of my very first blog post and is still alive on A Piece of Elise today.

As A Piece of Elise grew over the past two and a half years, so did the factors that influence it. Instead of looking inside myself for a sartorial voice, I began looking at what was around me. Although gathering inspiration from one’s surroundings is both relevant and expected, I had forgotten that it was also important to use that inspiration to create something of my own. Essentially, my sense of style became a direct representation of what was “in fashion” at that time. A Piece of Elise had become a combination of youth, fear and pressure and resulted in my forgetting the meaning of fashion as individual creative expression, which was why I started this journey in the first place.

Now, in a very roundabout way, this brings us to the subject of Eco Fashion Week. During my first EFW, I was able to experience the creative fulfillment that comes from shopping at small boutiques and thrift stores. By removing myself from the creative constraints of the world’s leading retailers telling me what to wear and how long to wear it, I found myself in touch with my inner sense of style once again. This reconnection has, in the seven months since, allowed me to have more fun with my personal style than ever. With all this in mind, I was excited to be heading back to Eco Fashion Week again. And this time in Seattle. I was keen to both reflect and expand upon the fact that my sustainable fashion journey had somehow evolved into something bigger.

I was raised to be mindful of how and what I consume. I grew up in a environment where I was able to take action towards a more sustainable lifestyle. I spent six years in a developing country where the negative effects of modern consumption habits were unavoidable. So why couldn’t I change the way I shopped? Finally, one and a half years after posing this question in my article with IOM X, I realize that my experience a few weeks ago at Eco Fashion Week Seattle had given me the answer.

I believe that the vast success of everything that is fast fashion stems from a place of internal discomfort. The industry takes advantage of our weaknesses and provides us with extensively marketed sartorial trends that we are convinced we need in order to be fashionable, or that will make us feel fulfilled. With all of these strong external voices telling us what to do, listening to a seemingly small internal voice is scary. The idea of walking into a store without any kind of curation or attention to current trends can feel overwhelming. This is what was keeping me from changing how I shop. It wasn’t a lesson in sustainability that I needed to change, it was a lesson in being comfortable with who I am.

Because of my experience at Eco Fashion Week, I learned that the best kind of fashion speaks to the individual. Through embracing your inner stye, one’s closet can provide a sense of creative fulfillment that no amount of fast fashion can. By changing my relationship with clothing, I changed the way I consume. My closet is significantly smaller, the vast majority of it is second hand or from local boutiques and I love each piece enough that I wear it repeatedly. Seriously though, who would have guessed that it would take this entirely roundabout away to get me to shop more sustainably?

Now, with all the seriousness aside, here’s a little photo diary of all the wonder that was Eco Fashion Week Seattle. I hope you watched my Instagram Story too!!

The Shows

This Eco Fashion Week featured an endless array of designers who work sustainable initiatives into their collections. There was also a beautiful show curated entirely from items within Value Village. Eco Fashion Week’s founder, Myriam, was as inspiring as ever.

The Fairmont Olympic

We were lucky to stay at the Fairmont Olympic, a palazzo style building in classic turn-of-the-century American taste from the 1920’s with a lobby that reminded me of the Titanic. I basically wandered around wearing pajamas the entire time becuase it seemed fitting.

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My Outfits

Many of my EFW outfits were put together from items found in Value Village. I even picked up some Chanel shoes! I also made a new friend, Erin, from Lyral Media. We spent an afternoon exploring Seattle and shooting various outfits. She’s amazing!

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Green Eileen

We visited Seattle’s Green Eileen which is a store made up entirely of secondhand Eileen Fisher clothing. It’s a unique concept that I would love to see more of. It’s inspiring to see established brands like Eileen Fisher “claim ownership for the full lifecycle of garments”. Oh, and in case you missed the Instagram story, they have a rotating clothing rack!!!

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Wanderfish Poke

I had my first Poke Bowl at Wanderfish. All made from locally sourced organic ingredients, it was seriously delicious. I could probably eat there daily.

CaffΓ© Vita

I had my first coffee “cupping” experience at CaffΓ© Vita with their master roaster. It basically resulted in a next level obsession with coffee (it was already pretty obsessed). It was also one of the more caffeinated days of my life.

Brick & Mortar: AldenΒ Custom Bootmakers

We visited Alden where they custom make shoes and boots that are perfectly fit. With craftmanship like I’ve never seen before, Brick & Mortar is a must visit when in Seattle.

Filson

I hadn’t hear of Filson before this trip, but I don’t know how because it’s such an all-American brand. Founded in 1897, Filson has a beautiful flaship store attached to its Seattle factory where you can watch first hand as your bags are being made. Did I mention that they come with a lifestime guarantee?

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I would love send out a big thank you to Myriam, Vee and the entire Eco Fashion Week team for another unbeatable experience. The role you have all played in my journey with fashion is a big one and you will always hold a place in my heart because of it. Thank you!

Note: the below glasses are not a statement of fashion, but a safety necessity within the Filson factory.


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