Iwas halfway through the park on my way to work when I noticed a menacing-looking bank of black clouds to my left. The night before, I’d been caught outside without an umbrella when Toronto was drenched by a flash flood. I figured I had enough time to make it to the subway. Wrong. Like the proverbial cartoon character, a dark, hellacious rain cloud suddenly appeared above me and unleashed its wet fury. Somewhat ironically, I was listening to an American
Fashion podcast on sustainability and the impact the fashion industry has on the environment. I took off my Apple AirPods and lamely sought refuge under a tree surrounded by bushes. I was considering my options when one of the branches brushed against my hair. I froze. Forget about the rain. My inside voice was screaming “Ticks!!! Run!!!” I had just read a story on Lyme disease in which the writer suggests that it’s the first epidemic of climate change. In the spring, I had pulled one of these blood-sucking arachnids out from behind my left knee after a hike in the Marble Rock Conservation Area near Kingston, Ont. I suspect that the uninvited parasitic guest had been on me for 48 hours before we became acquainted. (For those of you who want the gory details, I thought I was pulling out a sliver—until the “sliver” started wiggling its legs around the tip of my tweezers. I was standing in front of the mirror in my bathroom, so I was able to witness the moment of WTF horror that flashed across my face.) To add to the irony of this scene—of me in the park getting soaked and dodging ticks— we were working on this month’s sustainability-themed package for The Draw. The clothing industry is a significant polluter, right up there with oil, mining and agriculture. It’s easy to be overwhelmed, which is why we wanted our stories to be real, relevant and hopeful. To help us, we brought on guest editor Sarah Jay. The Toronto-based stylist and sustainability consultant is the creative director for Fashion Takes Action, the Canadian non-profit agency that helps companies and consumers change their behaviours to promote positive environmental and social impacts. Jay is also finishing her first feature film, which investigates unregulated toxins in personal care products. She provided insightful guidance on our stories, and she also styled our sustainable clothing and jewellery shoot on page 102. After reading about innovators, like Matty Bovan in “Small Is Beautiful” (page 96), and innovations, like beauty products that are being made from food waste in “The Leftovers” (page 120), turn to page 126 and take our carbon footprint quiz created by our associate editor Pahull Bains. “Doing the research for this project made me realize just how quickly our daily decisions add up—but also that even the smallest changes we make can be significant,” Bains told me. “It was a wake-up call!” Making a difference isn’t always going to be as simple as a walk in the park. But as I learned—physically and metaphorically—it’s foolhardy to ignore the dark clouds on the horizon.
It was a lovely bit of happenstance that we were able to shoot “Integral Style” (page 34) at Integral House in Toronto. Although this story doesn’t appear in The Draw, sustainability is at the heart of this home’s design. According to Canadian Architect, there are 23 geothermal pipes beneath the entry driveway that heat and cool the home’s awe-inspiring performance space and the residence itself. The other highlight for me is that this is the first time FASHION has created a Carbonzero Certified issue. Thanks to Sarah Jay for the brilliant idea and thanks to Holt Renfrew’s H Project for their support. To compensate for the emissions associated with the paper used for this issue, we’ve donated funds to support the Southern Quebec Afforestation Carbon Offset Project.
NOREEN FLANAGAN, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER AND INSTAGRAM @NOREEN_FLANAGAN