Vancouver’s fall/winter 2012 Eco Fashion Week, I did a double take. The first name I expected to see was Nicole Bridger, who is one of Canada’s best-known socially conscious designers—and who has been a big supporter of Eco Fashion Week since its launch two-and-a-half years ago. So why didn’t she show this season? “I’ve decided to shift my strategy and start showing my collection in-season,” she tells me when we meet up for a chat at her almost-year-old boutique in Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighbourhood. “The majority of the people that are filling our runway shows—and we fill to capacity—are our [retail] customers, and they want to see stuff that they can buy now, not six months from now, especially with shows going up on the internet immediately,” she says. The decision also makes good business sense because it creates tighter lead times, reduces sampling costs and generates less waste. “I wouldn’t be surprised if more businesses adopt the idea.” So what can we expect to see from her fall/winter 2012 collection—which she’ll be showing at the next Vancouver Eco Fashion Week (scheduled for fall 2012)? “Next season I have our fist print coming out in silk. It’s a beautiful abstract floral, and it just became available to me from a mill I’ve been working with in India.” And what can we pick up right now to wear this spring and summer? “This spring/summer collection is called ‘Allowing Grace.’ It’s all about having a vision or a desire for something in your life, and realizing that you just need to let go and let grace put into place what needs to be in your life. So the collection has a really soft surrendering feel to it, but joyful and hopeful. There is colour, but it’s softened, so it helps portray that mood.”
Nicole Bridger's uplifting jacket, ease top and liberty shorts.Nicole Bridger’s Vancouver store has many eco elements including recycled wood that came from a local church, limestone fresco walls that give off negative ions (to counter the positive ions that come from computers), energy-efficient radiant floor heating, a chandelier made from recycled resin, a recycled quartz and paper countertop… and more.