Monday, April 5, 2010

Textile Museum of Canada- not just for knitters

The Textile Museum of Canada is more than just a collection of cloth. According to Beth Sharpe, senior manager of communications and revenue development at the TMC, textiles are vital and relevent to people everywhere. "People live their lives in textiles, you don't live your life in a clay pot," she said.

Sharpe added that with movements like "craftivism" (activisim through craft) gaining popularity, younger crowds, especially women, are making their way to the TMC. "Young women are using artistic expression to take a stand on things," she said.

The TMC has been located on Centre Avenue in downtown Toronto since 1989. This Friday, April 9th, they will be showing a new exhibit featuring artists David R. Harper, Lia Cook and Stephen Schofield. Sharpe says she expects the contemporary exhibit will draw in many young patrons.

In addition to its artifacts, the TMC is well known for its gift shop. Patrons have been known to return to the museum just to pick up a scarf or a piece of art from the shop, said Sharpe, explaining that visitors often fall in love with the carefully-selected merchandise. "Textiles are things people want and need only because they're so beautiful," she said.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Spring fashion is going green

Some fashion retailers are pulling the green wool over our eyes. According to Ryerson University fashion professor Alice Chu, this spring will see stores piled high with greens, blues and turquoises. "Because of the concern for global warming, because of the idea of sustainability, there will be a push for green," said Chu.

The return to nature-inspired colours is "what manufacturers will use to make you feel like you're doing something [for the environment]," she added. Chu explained that, while many companies are becoming more eco-friendly, others use green and earth-toned colours to boost sales through the illusion of environmental consciousness.

This faux-environmentalist marketing strategy is called "greenwashing", said Richard Ivey School of Business marketing professor, Allison Johnson. "Consumers don't have the time to investigate," she said, adding that greenwashing works because the average shopper doesn't research a brand's commitment to the environment.

Banana Republic salesperson Joey Chiu feels cheated by the fashion industry. "It's kind of ironic," she said of the green movement, "because fashion is so not eco-friendly." Chiu added that, when it comes to protecting the environment, she feels most comfortable buying locally-made clothing. The problem is, truly eco-friendly brands often break the bank.

But Chiu has found a way to keep her own closet sustainable. She sticks to a neutral palette and classic shapes and hangs on to her older clothing "because fashion is a cycle, you're always going to come back to things," she said.