Front row attendees include Sara Maino at The New Normal show during Helsinki Fashion Week - July 24, 2018 Front row attendees include Sara Maino at The New Normal show during Helsinki Fashion Week - July 24, 2018

“For me there isn’t such a thing as ecofashion, there is only fashion that follows the right values.”

So stated Evelyn Mora, the 26-year-old founder of Helsinki Fashion Week. If, along with most of the fashion set, you’ve been craving a truly fresh, global perspective, look to this entrepreneur, who backs up her bold words with decisive action. In July, the Spring 2019 edition of HFW presented a range of exquisite outfits from designers with proven commitments to sustainability.

Going further, HFW offered options for every aspect of green living, from Tesla transport and solar-powered lighting to “waste-to-taste” salvaged food. Guided by the principle of circularity, 2018’s “EcoVillage” setup outlined a complete blueprint for sustainable living. It’s sci-fi verging on utopian, for sure. But as HFW demonstrated, it’s also very doable in the here and now thanks to the most modern technological advancements.

“It’s not an actual village, right? It’s a proof of concept. We’re showing you all the ingredients for living this way,” Mora explained to Vogue Australia. “I’m a very impatient person and I believe in impossible things, by which I mean that I believe that everything is possible,” she added. “I read all these sustainability commitments from the big brands saying they want to do x, y, and z by 2030 or 2040. Okay, I get that, but it is possible to make change much quicker.”

HFW set a dictum on the fashion industry to do exactly that. Complete with several seminars, the event vividly illustrated “the next level cross-industry approach and collaboration on sustainability in terms of fashion but also lifestyle,” as Mora put it.

Some of the most powerful voices in fashion stand behind Mora and her vision, and they were in Finland for HFW. The five-day summit brought together industry leaders including Vogue Italia’s Sara Maino. As head of Vogue Talents, Maino has been responsible for bringing many next-generation designers into the spotlight.

“Fashion is a very big industry and [sustainability has] not been respected until a few years ago,” said Maino during one of several HFW seminars. “I think it’s a matter always of cultural change,” she explained. “And it’s happening, we cannot expect that it’s going to be from one day to another, it’s going to take time. The important thing is that people begin to do it and don’t stop.”

To that end, HFW provided an appealing pivot point. “Next there is the new business models that will give the fashion world a shake, led mostly by the new generation,” stated Mora.

In addition to lecturing around the globe and taking on projects such as The New Normal initiative, Mora is already preparing for HFW 2020 in July 2019.

In the meantime, HFW ’19 has certainly given the fashion industry much to think about — and actively work on — in terms of shifting toward a more sustainable future. — jas