Sustainable fashion house hosts runway experience to build city's scene

Sustainable fashion house hosts runway experience to build city's scene

· The Pulse

Fresh off an appearance at Vancouver Fashion Week in April, the founder of an Edmonton-based sustainable fashion brand is set to hold a multimedia art and fashion event of her own.

Maria Wozniak of Augusta Fashion + Textiles is overseeing Mirage, a runway show meets art installation meets live-music experience that will run on June 13 at the Pendennis Building at 9660 Jasper Avenue NW. The show will include four other Edmonton fashion designers — Azach, Threads by Thea, Ndidi, and Gio & Rio.

"The show is all about supporting local designers here in Edmonton and promoting our fashion scene," Wozniak told Taproot.

Wozniak earned her master's degree in Fashion and Collection Design at Polimoda in Florence, Italy, and worked in the fashion industry there for two years. "It was a real eye-opening experience to how much waste is created in the fashion industry, the ethical issues that go on, and the amount of water that's used," she said.

The experience prompted Wozniak to start her own brand after returning to Edmonton, one that she could ensure was sustainable. "Sure, there's not maybe as much opportunity within the fashion industry (in Canada), but there's also opportunity in the sense that not too many people are doing it, and it's sort of an emerging art form here in our city," she said.

Augusta gets its fabrics and textiles from Albertan artisans and from dead stock from Italy. Large luxury brands often have excess high-quality fabric that they sell to other designers. This keeps costs down, and it's more eco-friendly, Wozniak said. "You're using something that's already in production in a way, so you're not creating something new," she said. "Nothing in fashion, unfortunately, is perfect in terms of sustainability, but it is a more sustainable option for sure."

Sustainable fashion may conjure images of oatmeal-coloured muumuus, but Wozniak said this is not the case with Augusta's offerings, which are versatile, functional, gender-neutral, and have creative, bold prints. "We like to call it 'Dressing for being and not just having,'" Wozniak explained. "We're trying to create clothing that is timeless and that you can have for many years to come."

Wozniak said before she left Edmonton for Italy there wasn't much of a fashion industry in Edmonton — no shows to volunteer with, nowhere to learn about fashion. Now, she takes interns from the MC College fashion design program, and mentioned the Nulla Art & Fashion Collective, which supports emerging local designers. "I just keep meeting new designers that keep popping up," Wozniak said.

Augusta got its opportunity to showcase at Vancouver Fashion Week after being noticed at a Nulla show in 2023, and Wozniak said she hopes her event can be a similar opportunity for local designers. Tickets are on sale on Augusta's website.

Image: Augusta Fashion + Textiles takes the runway at Vancouver Fashion Week 2024. (Supplied/Augusta Fashion + Textiles)