Toronto Greenhouse, the networking group for environmentally-friendly entrepreneurs hosted its inaugural Green Holiday Party at First Canadian Place on Tuesday. The timely theme was green giving and speakers Rob Grand, founder of Grassroots stores, and Fashion Takes Action's creator Kelly Drennan gave the receptive audience some sound gift ideas like the sustainable womenswear above designed by Thieves and Deux FM (middle) provided courtesy of Toronto enviro-retailer Green Is Black.
Overheard was Green Party candidate Debborah Donnelly espousing the virtues of 5-cent plastic bags. The fee has resulted in the reduction of their usage by over 70%. Good news.
The message of the evening was that eco is now mainstream and business owners who fail to consider their footprint on the Earth will be left behind. Rob Grand, who founded Grassroots 15 years ago, marvelled at the environment's position as #1 national political issue, whereas when he opened shop it was difficult to get customers to commit to green products.
"An educated consumer is a green consumer," he says. "We're not here to send out hard-core messages but to give people things they use every day but in a more environmentally-friendly way."
Kelly Drennan, whose Green Gala (a sustainable style showcase) enjoys the title of Canada's greenest event according to Carbon Zero, ensures every aspect of her fashion shows are mindful of their footprint. Everything from the models' footwear, to hair (no driers or flat irons, please), to food and beverage service (guests sip on local and organic offerings as well as tap water), to LED lighting, are environmentally ethical.
"Fashion events are a lot of fun, but they can wreak havoc on the environment. At the same time, a green event should look and feel just like a regular event."
The fashion pioneer's latest venture is into the world of e-commerce. Shop Sustainable offers locally made, fairly traded goods, which require no batteries!
"These are not burlap sacks or hippie frocks. This is the direction fashion is going. We don't really have a choice."