The must-have dress of the fall season is also sustainable
“There has been a stigma in the past surrounding sustainable fashion not being cool,” says Sola Desgagne, marketing director for Vancouver-based collection Obakki. Ready-to-wear retailers have been retooling closet staples behind the scenes to help reduce the manufacturing impact on the environment, but design-forward fashion has been slower to embrace environmental ideals. The tide is turning, however.
Winner of this year’s Canada’s Sustainable Fashion Award, Obakki is here to prove that sustainable practices and high-concept style can happily coexist. The Spring 2018 collection features garments in flattering, drape-y fabrics with simple silhouettes in Vancouver-inspired oceanic blues and seafoam-y greens that convey a certain ethereal sensibility.
Obakki draws on the skill of expert seamstresses to create its garments by hand using 90 to 95 per cent natural fibres, sourced from countries with stricter environmental regulations, like Japan and Italy. The decision to manufacture everything in-house alleviates the carbon footprint that comes with freight shipping. In addition, Obakki strives to have zero fabric waste: Any fabric left over from the creation of its collections is sewn into blankets for Vancouver’s homeless population or donated to charities like Dress for Success.
The brand also has a charitable counterpart, the Obakki Foundation. The Foundation works in South Sudan, Uganda, and Cameroon, where it focuses on pillars of development including clean water, education, agriculture, women’s initiatives, vocational training and medical care. To date, it has drilled more than 1,000 water wells and built 12 schools in these areas, amongst other accomplishments. The fashion line absorbs the administrative costs associated with the charity to ensure that the full value of donations goes toward those who need it most.
The commercial success of Obakki’s fashion line — it’s carried in boutiques as far away as Japan — has allowed more money to be put toward the foundation’s initiatives. Looking for an easy way to support its work? Check out Obakki’s “Foundation Product” collection, which channels 100 per cent of the proceeds to fund specific projects. Our recent fave is the taupey modal blend scarf for $29 that pledges toward a clean water well in the village of Coloc Gak. Add it to your cart next time you’re in the market for an everyday fall accessory. It’s a small opportunity to do good — and look good doing it