It is not the style of the fashion industry to re-use, reduce or recycle.
- The fashion industry has not traditionally been mindful of waste
- There is an emerging trend towards sustainable fashion
- This year’s Adelaide Fashion Festival is showcasing clothing made from offcuts
But behind the scenes of the Adelaide fashion world, an increasing number of designers are trying to alter that stereotype and work towards a waste-free industry.
Anny Duff has created a sustainable clothing label — Good Studios — which uses recycled nylon swimwear and South Australian wool along with ethically sourced hemp fabrics.
“From the outside, we’re sort of seen as the alternative option to fashion, but for us there’s not an alternative,” she said.
“It’s a lot harder to find the sustainable option … but I just wouldn’t be able to do it any other way.
“You’re stripping back the idea of a garment in everything that you create but you’re also tracing your supply chain as far back as you can.
“And it’s not just about being a sustainable brand, there’s so much out there that can already be taken from waste and made into something desirable again.”
Despite the movement away from “fast fashion”, high-profile fashion launches and festivals are still all about the latest designs and newest fabric.
This year, however, the Adelaide Fashion Festival will buck the trend, putting recycled, vintage and offcut creations on to its runway.
Dead stock a fashion taboo, designer says
Ms Duff, along with a number of other Adelaide designers and vintage enthusiasts, are designing a new line for the event using dead stock, the term given to the offcuts or oversupply of fabric and embellishments that fashion houses throw away.
It will form a major part of Adelaide Fashion Festival event Slow Saturday, which will feature sustainable local designs and include discussions and workshops around ethical fashion.
“We’re really exploring the idea of dead stock and why it’s got such a taboo theme around it and we want to celebrate it,” Ms Duff said.
“We’re really lucky that Adelaide Fashion Festival has supported this program, but for us we see it as an inevitable change that the industry is going to move into.
“You look at brands like Adidas who have just recently announced that in the next six years they’re completely eliminating virgin plastics from their supply chain so it’s not so much a fringe idea anymore.”
Vintage enthusiast Emily Sheahan said waste in the industry was “scarily big” and she wanted to be part of the change.
“If we start to have that conversation around why it’s happening then we can also change it in that direction and that’s what this concept’s really about,” she said.
“It’s quite humbling that it’s really and actually being talked about.”
Ethical sourcing up to consumers and designers
Ms Sheahan said it was not just designers but consumers who also had to support sustainable practices within the fashion industry.
She suggested buyers ask questions about where the garments were made, who was involved in the process, where the fibres and fabrics were sourced and what the label was doing to reduce its waste.
“We choose to be ignorant, it’s almost a lot easier to do it that way,” she said.
“But if you actually go ahead and ask those hard questions, and not be afraid, you’ll often get a better answer.”
Adelaide Fashion Festival creative director, Chris Kontos, said the festival had evolved massively from a community event 11 years ago, and it was important sustainability was part of that growth.
“From an industry perspective, we’re leaders in the Australian market and internationally now we’re being seen,” he said.
“It just proves that there’s something fabulous happening in this state.”
This year the Adelaide Fashion Festival will run from October 17 to 21.