A mere babe on the fashion week scene, Helsinki Fashion Week has taken a giant leap into the future. This year the fashion week, first launched in 2015 by entrepreneur Evelyn Mora, will be showing 30 sustainable brands in an eco-village environment. “Who needs yet another fashion week in yet another town? Helsinki Fashion Week has to be about something we need,” Evelyn said on a Skype call from Helsinki. We need solutions.

Helsinki Fashion Week founder

This year the event will be held between 20 – 25 July in a venue created as an eco-village based on the circular and sharing economies. Designers who have shown interest in participating are currently undergoing background checks to ensure their designs have sustainability credentials. In these background checks, Evelyn says she is looking for designers with solutions to becoming more sustainable using biodegradable yarns and upcycling or recycling existing ones. In addition, transparency and social responsibility are being considered.

We are in partnership with Tesla

Evelyn said that her intention for the fashion week is to connect with other industries to create a utopian and progressive environment in which the shows will take place. “We are in partnership with Tesla and other clean tech and robotics companies for the fashion week,” she said. “We cannot change the industry on our own, or the world without all industries and stakeholders being part of the change.”  Evelyn believes the greatest obstacles to becoming sustainable are “a lack of knowledge and seriousness within industries. And when you do want to take it forward, you are labeled a dreamer or a hippy”.

You’d think plastic was the great new hope

The announcement that Helsinki Fashion Week will be an eco-forward event, comes hot on the heels of a weekend opinion piece by Lucy Siegle who wrote in the Guardian that to view Calvin Klein or Chanel’s recent catwalk shows, “you’d think plastic was the great new hope. These shows were awash with see-through capes and souped-up plastic macs accessorised with cloche hats, all made from the thickest, shiniest plastic that positively oozed fossil fuel…” Lucy is dumbfounded by brands creating more plastic and showing little responsibility by manufacturing “a desire for a demonstrably unsustainable material.”

In another groundbreaking project called The New Normal Project, Evelyn has been collaborating with Infinited Fibre Company and World Wildlife Fund Finland to design a sustainable clothing range. The process of innovating, collaborating and designing will be documented and shared with all designers and consumers. “We’re currently running tests on the fabric and by April we should have the results,” she says. “It’s been a slow process but the goal of the project is to facilitate design thinking through the engagement of a global creative community. We offer a unique possibility to receive feedback directly from consumers – improving the proposed design, producing an innovative item and promoting it on a global scale.” Half the proceeds from sales will go into WWF Finland activities and the other half will cover the cost of the research and production.

Although Evelyn wants to put sustainability front of mind, she is determined that sustainable fashion must be creative and exciting. Often brands producing sustainable fashion have very boring looks – simple black and white outfits which they believe are commercial. “The consumer has so many options and is very creative.”

“We can’t be boring,” she says of future designers.

Photo credits: Supplied