Local consignment store window display aims to make powerful Earth Day message


An Oak Bay consignment store hopes its Earth Day display sends a powerful message about the fashion industry.

House of Savoy changed its usual fashion-forward window display into a giant pile of clothes to visually represent what fast fashion, wasteful practices and the fashion industry does to the planet.

Owners Zenija Esmits and Emilie Hamel said the pile represents what an average four-person household in Canada might throw out and send to the landfill each year.

When doing their own research, the pair found out the fashion industry produces 12 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year and uses 93 billion cubic metres of water, which is enough to meet the needs of five million people.

“I’m very shocked,” Hamel said. “Saddened that it’s still to this amount in 2023.”

They decided more people should know about the environmental impacts the industry makes.

The goal of the display is to make people think more consciously about where they are buying their clothes, why they are buying them and how they are getting rid of them.

“We just want the information to spread so that hopefully people start consigning more or realizing that if they have an item that is damaged, or has a hole, there is another option than putting it in your garbage can,” Hamel said.

The display has been getting a lot of good feedback, according to the owners.

“People are really thankful for the message and reminder. Horrified by some of the facts, but again it’s a good reminder where our money goes and how it impacts the earth,” Esmits added.

CHEK News spoke to some residents on Saturday who said the display had changed their thought process on buying clothes.

“I was like, oh my god, I’m contributing to that every time I buy something new, so it really encouraged us to try other places today. So today we only went to second-hand places, which was kind of fun,” Isabella Lee said.

Robin Jones told CHEK News it’s a good thing to be conscious about where we put the things that we don’t want. “It’s good that they are showing visually what it’s all like,” he added.

The owners said House of Savoy, and many other consignment stores in Victoria, will accept clothing donations with a small hole that can be patched or repurposed. For items that are significantly damaged, they suggest donating them to WIN Resale Shop, or other donation centres, where they can break down the items for their textiles and sell them in bulk.

RELATED: More types of plastics, paper, metal accepted for recycling in B.C.

Mackenzie Read

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