By Tristan Thackray
Ryerson’s annual fashion show, Mass Exodus, has decided to hop on the environmental bandwagon and work to reduce the production’s carbon footprint.
The idea to go green is the brainchild of Jonathan Aiken, the teacher liaison who has worked on the show for the past five years.
The production has created a special environmental department in order to kick start the ecofriendly approach. Their first order of business was to look at how the show was going to get its energy.
Production manager Sophie Santerre said, “I thought it would be a lot more difficult to deal with. But with the way the world is going, it’s good practice for students to learn how to make things more eco-friendly.”
Mass Exodus will turn to Bullfrog Power, a provider of locally generated renewable power, to dish out the watts. The company will supply the production with an energy credit, said Meaghan Orlinski, the show’s environmental coordinator.
Orlinski has worked on other events like the Green Living Show where Bullfrog Power has been used before.
The megawatts of eco-friendly power will be used to light up outfits from sustainable collections by designers such as Heidi Ackerman and Niamh McManus.
A sustainable collection uses earth-friendly fabrics like organic silk and hemp. Another decision made by the production team was to build their sets without using Luan wood, an inexpensive wood commonly used for design because it can be easily cut into small pieces.
However, the wood comes straight from the rainforest, so the show is using to mostly Canadian firs from forests where every tree that is cut will be replaced.
“It’s easier to take resources from someone who you know is going to replace it than from someone who won’t,” Santerre said.
While most of the focus of a fashion show is on stage, the environmental eye has taken a look backstage.
An attempt will be made to remove disposable water bottles, a staple at a fashion show, and replace them with reusable, plastic ones.
As well, the audience programs will use waterless printing methods on certified forestry paper.
The production office of Mass Exodus is also stressing the importance of double-sided printing and is using an electronic call board in lieu of a paper one.
Going green takes more effort than people might be used to, but production coordinator Sarah Jones said most of the work is done in the planning stages.
“Eco-friendly is more expensive, but it doesn’t have to be that bad,” she said. “It’ll get easier every year. Every year, people will get more educated, and get better and better at it.”