Fashion and ecology have always had a complicated relationship. Reconciling these two worlds is one of the goals of Eden Power Corp, the brand founded by Isaac Larose and Florence Provencher-Proulx that also acts as a platform to talk subjects like solar energy or permaculture. After presenting their second collection, Larose and Provencher-Proulx have all set to provide alternatives for a better future.
First off, thank you very much for your time. To understand what Eden is about, I believe it is important to know what was the impulse to start this new project. It seems that it connects directly with the way you live and think.
Eden is simply an extension of our personal lifestyle. It is totally influenced by the way we live and what we love. The time we dedicate to Eden leads us to deeper research and understanding of what we love and care about – sustainable and renewable energy, permaculture, plant-based nutrition and community activations, to name a few – creating a positive feedback loop. We are students along this path and we want to keep learning. That is the goal for us at the moment.
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Sustainability is a central part of the brand. Was it complicated to find fabrics and producers that matched your values? Have you had to postpone ideas for not having the right possibilities yet?
Eden is actually a project we have postponed for many years. We always wanted to do graphic prints but it was hard to justify doing merch on regular cotton knowing how resource-consumptive cotton really is. When we finally found recycled cotton T-shirts made with leftovers from one of the largest yarn manufacturers in the world, we decided to launch the project.
There are many things we would like to do, many ideas we have, and products we would like to offer, but when it comes to production, they are not sustainable, at least not with our resources. We, as a company, are too small to hit the minimums required for certain sustainable alternatives, so we simply do not make them and we wait. We work with guidelines that force us to be creative and to use design to solve the problems those guidelines create. If we can’t solve them, then we wait and simply do not make the product.
We honestly think the world would be a way better place if everyone did that. Go for a walk in nature; forest bathing will be better for you than creating products that no one really needs. Why start a project for the sake of starting a project? There needs to be a deeper meaning than simple self-expression or ego boost.
Each collection is designed around a specific theme. Solar energy for the first one and closed-loop agriculture principles and Masanobu Fukuoka's natural farming for Garden, the second collection. Are you finding that people respond to these ideas?
When we presented our first collection at Union in Los Angeles, we designed an installation with solar energy panels and served natural wines. It was fantastic to see the reactions, and you could clearly tell a lot of the attendees had never tasted it – and they were very curious and attentive for the tastings and descriptions. For our launch in Montreal, we did a friends and family barbeque serving grilled mushrooms that my dad had foraged just the day before the event and plant-based vegan hot dogs.
In our Paris showroom, buyers (like everyone else) were excited about the wines, which led the conversation to permaculture and Masanobu Fukuoka’s principles. Most were not familiar with him or his ideas. We think food and drinks are always a great place to start that kind of conversation because it touches absolutely everyone, no one can ignore it and we’re more conscious since it directly affects our own personal health and pleasure. People are also excited when they buy our products and then realise they can plant our hangtags and that wildflowers will grow out of them.
“We don’t like to tell people what not to do. Our goal is to offer alternatives.”
Garden includes really interesting styles and materials: total looks made from recycled plastic bottles mixed with organic cotton or tie-dyes using natural wine lees. Do you see great progress from Solar, and how would you like to expand in the next collections?
Thank you. We build our collections in departments. In our fictional world, Eden is this huge multinational company divided into many departments. Each has its own crew and uniform, and there’s also a specific kind of person that works in each of them. That’s how we start our design approach. For the first season, we were talking about solar energy. Garden, then, goes a bit further, exploring our relationship with the way we eat and drink. How we fuel our own machine. The third collection will be about another branch of this Hydra we’ve created in our mind and we’ll continue the conversation.
And last but not least. What alternatives or lifestyle changes would you propose to someone who also wants a better future?
We don’t like to tell people what not to do. That they can’t do this or that. We think people are naturally very resistant to these kind of propositions. Our goal is to offer alternatives. Then they can make their own choices, but at least they’ll have the option. Personally, some of the actions that we partake and make us feel good are: using public transport, buy crazy good vintage furniture, offset our flights carbon footprint (some companies offer the options and we’ll be soon implementing a new system with Eden to cover all our travels), eat plant-based meals, take time off the city to reconnect with nature, replace single-use products with reusable options (Nalgene bottles, portable cutlery, metal straw, reusable coffee cups) and, of course, being open to change our habits.
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