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Canadian designers make clothes with recycled material

A group of fashion designers in Canada have shown that eye-catching creations can be made using discarded candy wrappers or yarn made from old plastic bottles.

A total of 17 designers showed their lines at the three-day Eco Fashion Week in Vancouver earlier this week.

The show, now in its fourth season, was all about what can be achieved in promoting sustainability in the fashion and clothing sectors, said Xinhua.

Show founder Myriam Laroche said the industry generates massive sales of about $300 billion annually, but is also a heavy polluter and energy consumer.

The designer pointed to the amount of electricity, manpower and water consumption it takes to create the denim for one pair of jeans. The answer was 3.5 litres of water, she said.

"But how many pairs of jeans do you think we produce per year? When I produce my jeans, am I being the most responsible? That's the message we want to give and we want to give the support to the industry to shift and be more responsible," she said.

With a lot of stylish creations at the show made from recycled materials, or purchased from second-hand stores, Laroche said for many people there was still a taboo around wearing someone else's clothes.

"So what I say to the people is, 'Okay, if you buy 10 pieces of new clothes per month, try to buy one second-hand, keep the nine others new and just see how you feel.' And most people say, 'It's not that bad and I save money. Let's try it for another piece,'" she said.

"Sometimes we resist change and we don't want to try new stuff. So I'm just saying, 'Hey, try it.' I guarantee you you won't die. You'll be fine if you try second-hand clothing and it might make you feel good."

Melissa Ferreira, who promotes her day-wear creations through her Adhesif Clothing Company, said she became an eco designer by accident.

With her love for vintage clothing and the abundance of discarded textiles available, she started using such fabrics in place of new materials to create her pieces.

When she first started selling her pieces a decade ago, she said some people questioned why would they buy clothes with recycled material.

"It's sexy to be wearing something vintage. Vintage is all over the map, all the celebrities wear vintage. So really it's definitely become more of a chic, more hip thing to do."

"I think people like it because the pieces end up being one of a kind. It's almost like having something custom made. I think people want that more and more now. They want something more original, more unique and not so generic or mass produced or kind of run of the mill I guess," Ferreira said.
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