DC Fashion Week: Bead & Reel + Maven Women
by Sica Schmitz | Posted on February 23 2017
Something that I simply can't stress enough is that changing the fashion industry (and, thereby changing the world) is a team effort. There is not just one person, one brand, or one group who is going to create this shift, but instead it is something that we all need to (and get to!) do together. This idea of collective action really came together beautifully for our show and I hope it inspires you to find ways to bring it into your own events, brands, and closets as well.
Ethical fashion is gaining momentum, and there are now spaces where it is finally starting to get the attention it deserves. Eco Fashion Week and my annual Fair Trade Fashion Show are both dedicated to promoting and showcasing sustainable fashion, but what excites me even more is seeing a mainstream fashion show featuring eco-fashion - in fact, it was the theme of DC Fashion Week's opening night. It is this growing interest in bringing people together from both inside and outside of sustainable fashion that is going to allow real shifts to start happening around the ways we create and consume fashion.
This desire for collaborative change was really at the heart of our runway show and the reason why it was such a natural fit to partner with Maven Women, a new, organic, fair trade line debuting this year. This exciting brand was founded by Rebecca Ballard, public interest lawyer, soon-to-be new mom, and passionate advocate for human rights who brings together her knowledge and aesthetic into a truly sustainable line of versatile dresses for professional women. With her unique Co-Creation concept, customers can vote on their favorite styles, allowing the most popular ones to move into production using a process that is thoughtful about material waste and what women truly want. Voting is live now, and you can probably figure out which dress I am most partial to (hint: it's The Sica!).
Rebecca started as a Bead & Reel customer and soon became an ally, friend, and now collaborator. When she invited me to partner with her for this fashion show I was extremely honored to be joining together to share a meaningful message: that it's important for sustainable businesses to be present at mainstream events; it's important for businesses to collaborate towards change; and it's really important for women to continue to lead the way - together - in providing education and solutions that protect the most vulnerable.
Our runway theme was Head-To-Toe Ethical Fashion, giving consumers back their power to change the world through each item they wear. We featured Maven Women's classic sustainable dresses and Bead & Reel's range of vegan jewelry, shoes, bags, and outerwear, each piece having a story and a clear set of values behind it.
I helped style the looks from Los Angeles and Rebecca led the event in D.C. - it was truly a testament how we - the sustainable fashion community - can bring together our seemingly different cities, coasts, and time zones into a message that transcends location.
Fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world, but it doesn't have to be. I am so thrilled that we were given the opportunity to show a new audience that not only is eco-fashion readily available and affordable, but it's also really pretty.
Shop the looks (L-R):