Earth month is in full swing, and at the FABRIC Incubator, that means Eco Fashion Week is coming up. The FABRIC Incubator was founded in 2016 with the goals of helping designers launch their own fashion brands through small batch manufacturing and, in turn, creating a more sustainable fashion industry. 

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Angela Johnson, co-founder of FABRIC, says, “Pretty much everything we do here is focused around sustainability, so it just seemed natural to produce a showcase for the brands to show off what they do.” 

She adds that another big piece of the event is to “educate people so that the public and the industry understand about sustainability and fashion.” 

The start of Eco Fashion week will start on April 15 with FABRIC’s annual reFABRICate fashion show. Although it doesn’t always kick-off the week, this fashion show is always a part of the event. 

“We do [the exhibition] a little bit different each year,” Johnson says. “The reFABRICate show this year is the Upcycled Denim Show. In the past, reFABRICate has also been the name of the finale fashion show where we feature anywhere between five and 10 local designers who show their entire collections.” 

The Upcycled Denim Show is actually a repeat from last year. Johnson explains in 2022, Four Peaks Brewery hosted a Kilt Chaser Fun Run and asked the runners to donate a pair of jeans in exchange for a kilt. The designers at FABRIC took the denim and upcycled it into all new pieces. 

“Tempe Marketplace was really excited about the event, so they reached out,” she says. “They were like, ‘We really love sustainability, and we want to be able to do this event again.’ It was so cool, and we were like, ‘We love the event. It was so fun.’ So, we decided to just go for it with the same concept without the fun run.” 

Johnson says the designers come up with great ideas for the denim. “Some people will take multiple jeans and turn them into a new pair of jeans,” she says. “Others will take multiple jeans and turn them into a ball gown. Sometimes it’s multiple pieces, like a top and a bottom and or a jumpsuit. It’s a bag. It’s a hat. It’s all kinds of different things.” 

This show is also a competition. The winner will receive a $250 gift certificate to shop at Tempe Marketplace and the RunzWithScissors Award. 

“We call it the RunzWithScissors Award because we’re naming it after one of the designers in our community who passed away a couple of years ago,” Johnson says. “She was in every Eco Fashion Week reFABRICate Fashion Show that we had done from the beginning, and her whole brand was about upcycling.” 

The week will culminate with the grand opening of the new FABRIC facility on April 22. This night will allow attendees to explore the new facility as well as see work from about 40 different designers and hear about how FABRIC has changed each of their businesses. 

“It’s not quite a runway show,” she says. “It’s a very unique way of doing this. Each of the designers is showcasing one signature look, and that is kind of on a pathway from the old building into the new.” 

To view these and any other eco fashion related events, check out FABRIC’s local events calendar. General admission for the reFABRICate Fashion Show is free, but runway seat tickets can be purchased for $15. Tickets to the grand opening of the new facility start at $125.