Woman in white hat, eco-friendly fashion, eco-conscious fashion, woman looking at green wall

Why Conscious Fashion Matters

This story originally appeared on The Shops at Columbus Circle.

It’s going to be an eco-chic September at The Shops at Columbus Circle, which is highlighting sustainable shopping during the second annual 360 Wellness series. The Shops at Columbus Circle will be showcasing the future of fashion not only with its green-minded retailers like Eileen Fisher and H&M, but also through an exhibit created by The Canvas by Querencia, an organization working with sustainable designers to stylishly save the planet. We caught up with Devin Gilmartin and Tegan Maxey, Cofounders of The Canvas by Querencia, to find out what’s on the horizon.

Querencia Studio looks and the interior of The Canvas in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

What does conscious fashion mean to you?

Conscious fashion is about taking responsibility. The fashion industry has a significant global footprint, and people and businesses need to consider how they can help move forward the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

How is your work impacting the global fashion community?

The Canvas is a community of brands from around the world who are aligned in their belief that fashion can be a vehicle for change. Having these brands under one roof in Williamsburg, Brooklyn gives us the opportunity to shine a spotlight on their stories. Each brand is tagged with the respective Sustainable Development Goal they are striving to address. Whether a bag is made from upcycled awnings from Greece or B-Corp certified jewelry, by crediting the individuals whose hands were involved in their crafting, our customers are leaving with more than just a product.

Querencia Studio, Querencia Studio's The Earth Suit, Cara Delevigne

A look from Querencia Studio's The Earth Suit Project, Cara Delevigne wearing Querencia Studio, and another look from The Earth Suit Project

Tell us about your collaboration with The Shops at Columbus Circle.

The Shops at Columbus Circle is a premier destination for fashion, and we’re honored to be the curators of this year’s exhibit. By providing this Conscious Fashion platform in September, The Shops at Columbus Circle is facilitating an interaction between consumer and producer in a mainstream environment. This is where change can — and will — occur.

Give us a snapshot of the designers you've selected to be involved in the exhibit.

Each of the six companies brings a unique aesthetic sensibility. OSIER is a vegan fashion brand creating luxurious, faux leather bags. Zellerfeld believes that footwear designers should be reaching for their full creative potential and their goal is to enable them to do so through 3D printing technology. Clandestina is Cuba's first independent fashion brand made up of a collective of designers, artists, entrepreneurs, and creators who believe in a more sustainable, fair, and ethical fashion industry. PIXIE Won't Play preserves its ethical values by emphasizing sustainability using recycled materials and eco-friendly dye. KMANA is a family-run design company that produces genderless leather travel bags and accessories handcrafted by skilled artisans from Bali and Jakarta. Lastly, Querencia Studio believes that as the climate of our planet changes, so will our clothes, and our Lead Designer Kate Walz explores future fashion systems through a collection of technical and speculative wearables based on fundamental human needs.

A Clandestina installation at The Canvas and a perceptual art display at The Canvas

A Clandestina installation at The Canvas and a perceptual art display at The Canvas

Why did you choose to collaborate with Ashley Zelinskie, who designed the 3D-printed showcase?

We’ve collaborated on various projects with Ashley, who brings the ability to bridge technology and art. This 3D-printed case through which the guests of The Shops at Columbus Circle will see the exhibit was designed to show a cohesive environment while paying tribute to the individual characteristics of the brands we are displaying.

How can consumers support conscious fashion?

It begins with asking questions and being, literally, conscious of the decisions you are making and the ramifications they have on the world. Consumers must take responsibility for their purchases and hold brands accountable. In turn, brands must increase transparency and provide the information necessary for a fully informed decision to be made.

Anything else in the conscious fashion space you’re excited about right now?

The energy is palpable. The world’s most influential fashion businesses are now paying attention and, even more importantly, taking action. The wheels are spinning and creativity is blossoming. We are excited to have a role in this global collaboration at such an exciting moment for this movement.

A fashion illustration workshop at The Canvas, Ashley Zelinskie's 3D sketches, and a Querencia Studio dress

A fashion illustration workshop at The Canvas, Ashley Zelinskie's 3D sketches, and a Querencia Studio dress

The Shops at Columbus Circle’s 360 Wellness series will focus on three areas of wellness: Movement Matters (July), Clean Beauty (August), and Conscious Fashion (September). Visit theshopsatcolumbuscircle.com for details.