The Fashion Degree at Curtin places a value on sustainability, teaching us about the environmental and humanitarian impacts which the fashion industry has on the world. Because of this and through my personal enthusiasm in the area, I was keen to become involved.
The Fairly Fashionable? Design Challenge firstly asked for an expression of interest where designers explained their brand or personal values. On Fashion Revolution Day (24th of April), we were all invited to MANY 6160 to come together and debrief on the project. While we were there, each designer chose a hessian bag that contained a piece of fair trade fabric from different origins, varying types of material and of different sizes, shapes, colour and textures. It was our challenge to create an outfit, accessory or fashion component within 14 days incorporating the fabric we had received.
One of the objectives of the challenge was to show that fair trade and eco design can be contemporary and interesting so it was important for the designers to demonstrate new ideas and innovative fashion design within their pieces. Even though we were able to use additional elements for our design, we were asked to think sustainably with what we used and how we used it.
For my project, I received a piece of fair trade fabric from Anjel Ms which was a contrasting black and red Cotton tie dye fabric, much of which still supported ties used in the dying process. With this fabric I was I was inspired to create a menswear design featuring the unfinished, as well as the finished, fabric as a way of conveying the story behind the material. My outfit includes pants which contain no inner or outer leg seam to provide added comfort for the wearer. I also recycled leather off cuts and upcycled cotton for my design as well as investigating the idea of ‘zero waste pattern making’ by using one piece of cloth which was tucked and cut and the pieces reoriented to form a shape for the body.
It was a great idea to put a short, 2 week time frame on the challenge to make the designers, as well as the audience, consider the idea of ‘fast fashion’ and the pressure which some people are put under to produce products for an extremely quick turn over. The whole experience was fantastic, it was great to see updates on how the other designers were going and seeing the ideas they came up with at the end of it all. It was also fantastic to see so many people attend the runway event to support the designers and the cause and create a wider understanding of the importance of fair trade in the fashion industry.
Photos: Trilby Temperley 2014