By Maya McCarthy on November 20th, 2012
Francisca Pineda hand made cotton madras dress for the IOU designer contest
The Ethical Fashion Academy (EFA) is an initiative led by the designer Francisca Pineda to provide solutions for development and promotion of eco and ethical fashion and lifestyle. Aiming to inspire designers and consumers towards more conscious choices, the Ethical Fashion Academy offers series of free events under a true community spirit where discussions and brainstorm sessions are the key means of connection between speakers and the audience, raising awareness and exchanging possible fixes for the current challenges faced by all those seeking to sustainably improve the fashion industry.
After a decade designing products in New York, Francisca came across MSDS (Manufacture’s Safety Data Sheet) related to products she was responsible for, realized how dangerous and toxic the chemicals used during the clothing manufacture process were, realized how they could cause severe harm to those workers struggling to make a living and also realized the risks that consumers could face by wearing such products. Decided to act and contribute to a positive change in such outrageous scenery, the designer started the EFA platform by gathering and engaging interested parties in a continuous search for oriented solutions and effective intervention. According to the designer, events such as the Conscious Collaboration demonstrate people’s eagerness in finding inspiration and strategies to propose alternatives to the mainstream fashion chains.
Conjointly to these discussion panels, the Ethical Fashion Academy offers periodic educational workshops combining tourism, training on sustainable techniques, knowledge interchange between designers and indigenous artisans, and heritage preservation by means of maintenance of native culture. The program take place in Talamanca, Costa Rica and groups leaving New York are hosted in a stunning tropical landscape. There, artisans working totally with organic materials present their traditional hand weaving techniques together with methods of natural dyeing and the use of seeds and other tropical forest elements in the confection of accessories.
By giving opportunities to designers and artisans to work together in an intensive mutual exchange of skills, the Ethical Fashion Academy promotes a respectful relation regarding the legacy carried by the indigenous artistry much beyond the common focus on the natural materials and the fair wages, endorsing concepts of social equality by properly recognizing and acknowledging the expertise of producers.
Educational workshops in Costa Rica
In addition, Francisca Pineda is still applying her talents in product design, working in partnership with eco friendly brands completing a thorough range of action towards sustainable fashion solutions. For those interested in joining the meetings or the workshops, information is being constantly updated at Ethical Fashion Academy’s website.
Priscilla Camargo is a scientist, conscious entrepreneur and blogger who is completely passionate about technology, arts and sustainability. Through her writing she shares her experiences on sustainable development and heritage both in fashion and design, always expressing her love of aesthetics created from the mix of different cultures and her commitment to social and environmental issues. You can find more about her work at her social media channels: , Facebook and Blog.