Eco Fashion Designer Draws Awareness to Our Fragile Oceans
By Robbin Whachell, The Bahamas Weekly News Team
Mar 22, 2017 - 7:42:59 AM
Eco designer Zuhal Kuvan-Mills attaches re-purposed fishing net to a model at a
VFW preview event at Studio Club 30 in Vancouver on March 19th, 2017. (Photo: Robbin Whachell)
Vancouver, B.C. -- One could say it’s serendipitous that Canada’s largest fashion event coincides with World Water Week, and Australia’s eco designer, Zuhal Kuvan-Mills of Green Embassy will be showcasing her Empty Oceans series on the runway at Vancouver Fashion Week (VFW) this Sunday, March 26th at 8pm.
As an environmental activist, designer and artist Kuvan-Mills believes art and fashion impact our emotions and can move us to value our blue planet. This is her third time to VFW and she says she was inspired to return after hearing about the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion and its threat to local waters, in particular that her current collection is her emotional response to the world's troubled oceans. She is currently supporting the world’s leading direct action ocean conservation organization, Sea Shepherd (Australia).
Green Embassy is Australia’s first internationally recognized organic fashion label who base their work on the protection of nature, and natural resources, while focusing on bringing public attention and education to environmental issues. In November 2017, Kuvan-Mills will launch the inaugural Australia Eco Fashion Week in Perth. During her stay in Vancouver she hopes to inspire other designers to go ‘eco’ and has talks planned with Kwantlen University and Blanche Macdonald.
"Vancouver has such a rich and beautiful coastline that should be protected for generations to come. I know that the First Peoples of its territory are as connected to their land and water, as Aboriginals are Down Under. Water connects us. Water is life. I hope to bring this awareness to local and international audiences."
Vancouver models wearing the "Empty Oceans" series by Green Embassy VFW preview event at Studio Club 30 on March 19th, 2017. (Photo: Silvester Law)
While forging her own path in the ‘slow fashion’ scene by not only designing and creating garments for quality and longevity, most of her fabrics come from the alpacas she raises on her farm in Perth. Her dyes are made from vegetation, like flowers, leaves, or vegetables. Focusing on modern, minimalist, functional and alluring garments for earth-friendly consumers, Zuhal finds inspiration within the textile crafting traditions of ancient times. Inspired by marine life and the ocean’s diversity of forms, shapes, colours, and textures, Kuvan-Mills used industrial fishing net remnants and recycled polyester made of trash, plastic bottles, drift / ghost fishing nets as her starting point for Empty Oceans. Using 100% certified organic Australian alpaca, merino, silk and recycled natural fibres, each artisan haute-couture Empty Ocean piece is a handmade collectible with higher meaning.
"Fashion is a tool for me to reach larger audiences in my mission and passion to save just one tree from being cut, or save one wild animal from poachers. It is also my aim to support and help indigenous communities across the world," says Zuhal who will have Tsleil-Waututh Nation children dressed in traditional regalia walking the runway on Sunday at VFW. It is her hope to create a collaborative event between the First Peoples of both Canada and Australia whereupon dance, music, fashion and the arts can be shared.
Zero waste philosophy, as fish net scraps are re-purposed into bow ties. Green Embassy "Empty Oceans" VFW preview event at Studio Club 30 on March 19th, 2017. (Photo: Silvester Law)
Green Embassy has been seen on the runway in Paris, London, Beijing and Vancouver, and with more and more concern being placed on fast fashion and the environment, Kuvan-Mills is quickly becoming a sought after guest speaker, and has been interviewed for television on SBS World News and national radio on ABC, Australia. In 2016, the Empty Oceans collection caught the attention of Pamela Anderson, who has her own foundation to help environmental causes.
Kuvan-Mills' commitment to sustainability, organic agriculture, art and slow fashion is expressed in each extraordinary textile piece as a labour of love.
Zuhal Kuvan-Mills (center) of Green Embassy seen at her VFW preview event at Studio Club 30 in Vancouver on March 19th, 2017 with Charlene Aleck (right) who is the granddaughter of Chief Dan George and an elected Councilor for the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. Also seen is Aleck's daughter, Ocean, and her granddaughter Maya. (Photo: Robbin Whachell)
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Models and contributors stand with Zuhal Kuvan-Mills wearing Green Embassy "Empty Oceans" collection at a Vancouver Fashion Week preview event at Studio Club 30 on March 19th, 2017. (Photo: Silvester Law)
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