Tag Archives: dance

Green Embassy of Australia highlights B.C. First Nation’s plight with Kinder Morgan

Australian designer Kuvan- Mills with the great-grandchildren of Chief Dan George of Tsleil-Waututh Nation, BC, Canada. (Photo left by Arun Nevader / photo right by Dustin Photography)

Vancouver, B.C. — World Water Week has just concluded and although many events took place around the world close to rivers, oceans and streams, the fashion runway may be one of the last places on people’s minds when it comes to water and conservation.  Enter Zuhal Kuvan-Mills from Australia and her Green Embassy ‘ Empty Oceans’ collection…

Environmental activist, fashion designer and artist Kuvan-Mills believes art and fashion impact our emotions and can move us to value our blue planet. Currently supporting the world’s leading direct action ocean conservation organization, Sea Shepherd (Australia) she said she was compelled to return to west-coast Canada for Vancouver Fashion Week after hearing about the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion and its threat to local waters.  This is the Perth designer’s fourth time down the runway of Vancouver Fashion Week, and her Empty Ocean’s collection is in perfect sync with water conservation, and she wanted to share that with the Vancouver audience.

Zuhal Kuvan-Mills wears a Sea Shepherd Australia t-shirt with her models at Vancouver Fashion Week on March 26, 2017 (Photo: Dustin Photography)

“Vancouver has such a rich and beautiful coastline that should be protected for generations to come. I know that the First Peoples of its territory are as connected to their land and water,”  said Kuvan-Mills who connected with Charlene Aleck of Tsleil-Waututh First Nation during her stay.  Aleck’s daughter Ocean and granddaughter Maya, ad her niece Jasmine were asked to walk the runway.  The three, are the great (and great-great) grandchildren of a the late native leader, Chief Dan George.  The Tsleil-Waututh Nation is a Coast Salish band whose Indian reserve is located on Burrard Inlet in the southeast area of the District of North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

The Green Embassy runway show opened with a poignant video by Conservation International which reminded us of the beauty of the ocean, and why we need her. As the video closed,  the First Nation youth walked together down the runway in their traditional regalia covered by one large fishing net.

Maya, Ocean, and Jasmine of Tsleil-Waututh Nation on the runway for Green Embassy’s “Empty Oceans” collection at Vancouver Fashion Week (Photo: Arun Nevader)

“I am grateful to the work of Zuhal Kuvan-Mills,” said Charlee Aleck, who is an elected Councillor for her nation after the runway show, “‘Empty Oceans’ brings awareness to how we are treating/polluting our oceans, and the state of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. She shares our concern and the imminent threats to our salmon bearing rivers and Salish Sea from the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion. ‘What will we leave our children?’ Empty nets?” continued Aleck. “I feel truly blessed to have met this beautiful soul, the passion Zuhal has put into this very important message – water is life!”

“I aim to support and help indigenous communities across the world,” says Zuhal. “The children under the fishing net represents the future of the First Nations, they are being destroyed by all types of abuse and destruction to oceans,” said Kuvan-Mills. “Black coloured fish net was selected to represent death and destruction to the natural environment (coastal waters) for First Nations. It was also over the children like a black cloud as now they are under great danger of losing their coastal waters to pollution with yet another Kinder Morgan pipeline.”

(Photos: Dustin Photography)

It is her hope to create a collaborative event between the First Peoples of both Canada and Australia whereupon dance, music, fashion and the arts can be shared.

Models graced the runway to a mix of sounds of First Nation drumbeats and Aboriginal didgeridoo. Fabrics were soft and flowing like water, in blues and ocean colours, or light and creamy like the sand and sea. Bow-ties, bows, sashes or sleeves were made from re-purposed fishing net remnants. Some dresses were made of recycled polyester sourced from trash, plastic bottles, ad drift / ghost fishing nets. There was the lightest of silk pieces that whispered down the runway, while the woven items were strong and edgy like the ocean’s coral and shells, or soft and warm like the sun’s reflection on the shoreline.

The fabric of many of the coats, jackets, hats and vests were collected, hand spun, processed and dyed by Kuvan-Mills herself on her farm in Perth where she raises alpacas, a domesticated species of South American camelid, similar to the llama. Her dyes are made from vegetation, like flowers, leaves, or vegetables, finding inspiration within the textile crafting traditions of ancient times.

(Photos by Arun Nevader)

Green Embassy is Australia’s first internationally recognized organic fashion label who base their work on the protection of nature, and natural resources, while focusing on bringing public attention and education to environmental issues.

In November 2017, Kuvan-Mills will launch the inaugural Australia Eco Fashion Week in Perth. During her stay in Vancouver she explained her methods at Kwantlen University and Blanche Macdonald, and met with many designers, to inspire them to turn toward ‘slow fashion’ and join her for the event.

Green Embassy has been seen on the runway in Paris, London, Beijing and Vancouver, and with more and more concern being placed on fast fashion and the environment, Kuvan-Mills is quickly becoming a sought after guest speaker, and has been interviewed for television on SBS World News and national radio on ABC, Australia. In 2016, the Empty Oceans collection caught the attention of Pamela Anderson, who has her own foundation to help environmental causes.

Real people – non models wear Green Embassy at Vancouver Fashion Week. (Photos by Arun Nevader)

Kuvan-Mills’ commitment to sustainability, organic agriculture, art and slow fashion is expressed in each extraordinary textile piece as a labour of love.

I am so very proud to be connected to this show and that my daughters were able to walk for this amazing designer who has so much heart, passion and vision… I look forward to visiting her  in Australia.

(Photos by Arun Nevader)

Listen to a short clip of the designer talking about her dying process at a Vancouver media event.

Watch video of part of the finale walk on the runway at VFW.

Me wearing Green Embassy at Vancouver Fashion Week. The show was on my birthday on March 26! In the photo taken by Victoria Clements I am holding a Harl Taylor BAG made from natural fibres from The Bahamas. The photo on right is the same vest for a photo I included in my article “Am I Anti-Pipeline” written on my blog about my thoughts around pipelines. It was taken on Burrard Inlet where I dragon boat and where the Kinder Morgan station is.

Read  Am I Anti-Pipeline?

Connect with Green Embassy:




St Lucian recording artist Mecca’s song FLAT STOMACH to hit Paris fashion runway

Saint Lucian Parisian fashion celebrity, Vincent Mc Doom has just announced that recording artist, Keen Cotter aka The Mecca, who hails from the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia will have his song,  “Flat Stomach” (also referred as “Runway Walk”) featured at the upcoming 2014 Labo Ethnik Fashion Trade Show in Paris, France this May.  Flat Stomach is an upbeat, hip and edgy song perfect for the runway.

“When I was putting together the playlist for HotCouture 2013 I asked the local models who the best DJs on the island were and one model Denise Lay spoke to me about Mecca’s album,” said Vincent McDoom who is the casting and artistic director of this years Labo Ethnik. “I listen to the entire album but one song stood out for runway walking, and so I trained the models for six weeks on that song. We also had Cotter perform the song live on the runway during the show.”

Flat Stomach will be mixed by American Fritz “djFRiTZo” Celestin of New York, who was invited by McDoom to provide the music for the fashion show on May 22nd which takes place at the Les Docks, Cite de la Mode in Paris. Expect to see high fashion designers such as Franck Sorbier, Romero Bryan, Taibo Barca, Heather Jones, Ziad Ghanem, and fashion newcomer Lisi Liu.  Fashions from St. Lucia, Trinidad, Guyana, Martinique, Gaudaloupe, Barbados, Jamaica, China, Japan, Africa, Europe, and the USA will also be represented.

“This is what the song was created for,” said an excited Cotter, after agreeing to have his song played in the Paris show. “I’m happy Vincent likes it enough to make it a part of an event of this magnitude. I am grateful to have my song featured on the catwalk in the fashion capital of the world, where models, designers, Dj’s and other noteworthy persons will be present is an awesome accomplishment for someone from a small island somewhere in the Caribbean.”

When asked what inspired the infectious song, Flat Stomach the YouthStar 2009 (St. Lucia) winner known for his Hip Hop, Pop, Electro and Dance sounds said, “Models. I wanted to do a song they could strut to, vibe to, party to. I also wanted it to be a song all females could enjoy. Some even work out to it and that’s a good look.”

Spinning "Flat Stomach" during Labo Ethnik will be djFRiTZo who is a Haitian-American dj and filmmaker living in Brooklyn, NY.djFritzo began djing in Cornell University to help pay his tuition and after graduation he returned to NY to work on films and dj in some of NY's most memorable venues like Nells, Lotus, and Club Cheetah. (Photo: Margarita Corporan)
Spinning “Flat Stomach” during Labo Ethnik will be djFRiTZo who is a Haitian-American dj and filmmaker living in Brooklyn, NY.djFritzo began djing in Cornell University to help pay his tuition and after graduation he returned to NY to work on films and dj in some of NY’s most memorable venues like Nells, Lotus, and Club Cheetah. (Photo: Margarita Corporan)

With a passion for highlighting Caribbean talent, McDoom said, “We are happy to again promote and collaborate with Mecca this season.  This is the essence of what the Labo Ethnik represents, discovering world talents and giving them a platform to express themselves, along with providing them a network of opportunity and potential to grow in the international scene.”

The Mecca, who is presently working on his debut album has released numerous mixtapes over the years – 12 to be exact, has plans to take Flat Stomach even further, working with djFRiTZo  on a remix for the album set for a late 2014 release. His single Zoom Zoom was just featured on TV in the March 17 episode of VH1′s Queen Latifah produced comedy-drama series “Single Ladies.”

Raised on a solid diet of Hip Hop, R&B, Dancehall and Soca, Mecca, a musical sponge to this day, embraces all the technology that modern music has to offer. As likely to be inspired by Jay-Z or Michael Jackson as he is by Pitbull and Flo Rida, Mecca will surely move your head, your heart and entire body.

“I would like to thank Vincent McDoom for this opportunity and my producer Sherwinn ‘Dupes’ Brice for the production on Flat Stomach. A big thanks to everyone who wishes me well.”

More information on The Mecca: www.youngmecca.com.
More information on djFRiTZo: www.djfritzo.com

For more information on Labo Ethnik visit: laboethnik.com,  or on Facebook: facebook.com/labo.ethnik