DC Eco Fashion Show interview with Model Kori Lei The Green Festival will take place in DC this Saturday, October 23rd and Sunday, October 24th at the Washington Convention Center. I chatted with model-turned-runway-assistant Kori Lei to find out more about the emphasis on eco-friendly fashion at this year's Festival.
You told me earlier this week that DC is an amazing hotbed for eco-fashion. Can you explain why?
Lei: I think DC is just bursting with fashion. The world is changing, America is changing, and in DC we have people from every part of the world. Inherently there is such diversity in this area. We love to be active and are intellectual. So, DC will draw that depth of diversity for the Green Festival.
Can you explain what eco-fashion is?
Lei: Eco-fashion and environmentalism is a personal endeavor. It has to do with a person's relationship with the earth. What I think is eco might be different than someone else's definition. But, it is all about making an impact with your decisions. Everyone on earth gets dressed. So eco-fashion is a way to acknowledge the impact you are having on the planet with fashion, clothes, and beauty choices.
Eco-fashion designers are traveling the world just like mainstream designers. But, eco designers are going to ask questions like where did the fabric originate?
How long have you been modeling? What are your personal philosophies regarding eco-friendly fashion?
Lei: I just started modeling this summer. It has been a crazy experience for me. It's amazing to be involved in eco-fashion because it is a revolution in so many ways.
My philosophy is about small decisions in order to make an impact. My journey with modeling just started. But, for me it is about creating images and having to say something behind those images. For the Green Festival all of the models were asked the question, "What makes your life eco?" Everyone has a different story.
I was supposed to be on the runway, but I broke my foot. I was upset because the concept means so much to me. Eco-fashion is my passion in a big way. So, I just said, "let me see what I can do behind the scenes."
What is the Green Festival? Can you tell me about the fashion events that will take place during the 2-day event?
The Green Festival is a national event. They go to major cities in the U.S. and bring together local business and the community to celebrate green life. There are different speakers and they cover lots of different bases when it comes to living in an environmentally friendly way. The Green Festival really tries to focus on integrity because sometimes the business of green living is about marketing.
It's really DC's eco time to shine. Eco-fashion is only growing and broadening in scope. Eco-fashion speaks to having a sense of purpose with how you dress.
There are a number of different runway shows.
Children's Fashion Show at 11:30am
Teen Fashion Show at 1:30pm
Adult Couture Fashion Show at 3:30pm
Wedding Fashion Show at 12:30pm
Adult Couture Fashion Show at 3:30pm
The designers on the runway will also be vendors. It truly is about eco-fashion instead of having the newest and latest thing. There is a sense of recycling that will go down the runway. One big component is vintage clothing. There are handmade items, new creations, and taking parts of things to make a new element of clothing. Part of the purpose of the Green Festival is to give audience members ideas. It is so people are inspired if they find a random piece of fabric to make something new. The impact can go far.
What are you seeing in the larger fashion industry with regard to switching to eco-friendly practices or materials?
I kind of compare it to what it was like to becoming a vegan. When I started 7 years ago there weren't many options. Now when I go to the grocery store there are so many more options of food that I can eat. It's not like the fashion industry will do it out of the kindness of their hearts - change can come about by marketing.
Part of changing the world is using the market that you are in. Not everyone is passionate for the same reasons, but the end result is the same - changing the world is changing the world.
So, people can start asking questions: is this really handmade? Where does it come from? How do you know? Do the models know about it? How do they feel about it? The Green Festival is asking those questions and hoping that it can influence mainstream fashion.
So, what comes first - the clothing or the mindset that people want eco-friendly clothing? It's kind of a chicken-or-the-egg situation. But, this weekend we are bringing together over 20,000 people. If we can those teach people that you can have fun while making an impact people begin to understand the larger picture.
Many thanks to Kori for taking time to share her thoughts on eco-fashion!
To find out more about the Green Festival or to purchase tickets go here. (For every ticket they sell online they plant a tree!)
To learn more about Kori checkout her Facebook page here.
To learn more about the companies that are working behind the scenes of the Green Festival (Including the Eco Friendly Fashion Association of California and Hi-DEF Creations, LLC) go here.
October 23-24, 2010
Washington Convention Center
801 Mount Vernon Place, NW
Washington, DC 20001