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October, 26th 2020

Brazil eco fashion week – the space to be illuminated by apparel and words of wisdom. This year’s virtual event aims to inform and inspire eco-conscious fashionistas through its array of activities, from fashion catwalks to roundtables, seeking solutions for circularity in fashion.

Words By Lida Ormol

Brasil Eco Fashion Week (BEFW) hosted its first catwalk in the year of 2017, in São Paulo, Brazil. This yearly event has become a worthy and rewarding meeting point for Brazilian fashion brands to exchange on all things sustainable, alongside holding various activities to stimulate the growth and development of sustainable practices in the fashion industry. The BEFW has delivered three public shows since its launch, all of which were held at Unibes cultural center in São Paulo, and lasted three days each. However, this year’s edition will be hosted virtually due to coronavirus and will run for five days, from 18th to 22nd November.

The BEFW has numerous ‘spaces’ for its different events, most notably, the ‘catwalk space’. Here, the participating brands are selected through a rigorous process where they are evaluated against sustainability, environmental and cultural criteria. Only brands who meet these criteria can showcase their aesthetically engineered statement pieces.

Mercado Eco overview

The ‘knowledge space’, Espaço Conhecer, offers lectures and workshops covering an array of topics, such as the value chain of fashion development, mindful consumption, and other behavioral and cultural topics that may interest both fashion industry professionals and the general public. Illuminating discussions are also held in this space, exploring potential avenues for cementing circularity in the fashion industry.

Espaço Amazônia, a newer and considerably smaller program, is entirely focused on exhibiting clothing and accessories from the Amazon. These include fabrics made from vegetable fibers that are planted along the Amazonian river, generating an income for the local communities. Relevant lectures are also held in this space, where the audience can learn about sustainable sourcing that supports indegenous communities.

Espaço Fornecer presents the fabric suppliers, services that include; receiving and further reselling scraps and leftover fabric rolls, and other existing projects in the fashion industry that offer more sustainable solutions for the fashion production chain.

Espaço Beleza, the ‘beauty space’, is a market selling only natural, organic and vegan cosmetics, whilst Mercado Eco, ‘eco market’, sells clothes from slow fashion brands. In addition to these various divisions, BEFW has been organizing roundtables between consultants, entrepreneurs and buyers to create new partnerships as part of its recent events.

BEFW believes that circular fashion holds immense potential for the industry’s future by introducing innovative ways of eliminating waste by upcycling unwanted or scrap materials. In view of this, the show’s slogan for this year is ‘Connect to regenerate fashion and the planet’. Their opening day will focus on discussions around finding alternative practices within fashion that are less detrimental to the environment. Such issues will be addressed throughout the show, delving specifically into the fashion value chain in relation to the environment, society and culture, with the hopes of encouraging good socio-environmental practices in the Brazilian fashion industry. 

“The circular economy belief is that we are able to transform the scarcity perspective to an abundant one”

BEFW spokesperson

In order to reduce the environmental footprint of the shows, BEFW will be planting trees to neutralize the event’s carbon emissions. Moreover, a company has been hired to collect residues from food truck area and common spaces that are directed to recycling, composting and controlled landfills. Additionally, only food with biodegradable packaging will be sold at the event. These actions demonstrate the sustainability principles that are embedded in the show’s DNA. 

Aside from BEFW’s upcoming virtual events in November, a multitude of other projects are in the cards for this forward-thinking fashion unity. The creation of an online platform is one of these projects, where Brazil Eco Fashion will share sustainability inspired content throughout the year, alongside their recently launched blog. A second project will involve the internationalisation of slow fashion Brasilian brands, that started with support of Apex Brasil and consultants associated with Milan Fashion Week. Lastly, the Brazil Eco Fashion lab will be launched as a hub for supporting the experimental initiatives of BEFW throughout the year. The lab will support upcycling projects, including the development of biomaterial and other innovative upcycling methods, alongside offering courses on such techniques. The results from the lab will be presented in the next edition of BEFW.