What drew you to become a fashion designer?
Growing up I really enjoyed drawing and sewing. My Grandmother - a home economics teacher - taught me sewing and construction. I liked the idea that no one else would have the same outfit as mine.
Why was it important to you to offer a sustainable, responsible, Eco fashion line and how do you incorporate ideals such a Zero Waste into your work?
It is important to have a appreciation and understanding of the Eco fashion line through learning how the garment is constructed and type of textiles used, rather than the fast fashion lines that only wear clothes once and then dispose of them. I try to incorporate zero waste through recycling clothing particularly industrial work wear garments that have been well worn and likely to be sent to landfill. I rework recycled garments to change the way they are visualized, but still have the final garment convey their history. The majority of the materials I use are organic such as silks, wool and cotton that breakdown in the natural environment and don’t leave behind a plastic footprint.
Where do your find inspiration for new work?
I particularly have drawn inspiration from my farm in the wheat-belt of Western Australia - the patterns in the landscape made from cropping in contrast to the surrounding native vegetation. I try to incorporate zero waste with recycling clothing, particularly torn and frayed work wear like flannel shirts and denim jeans that are well worn on the farm. Some of my pieces feature topographic maps that look at landscapes from a different perspective. I love the outdoors and also get inspired by patterns in the bushland and I try to incorporate natural dying into my work as I am inspired by these areas.
What materials do you work with – organic, reclaimed, etc.?
I use a lot of natural silk, wool and cotton and use natural dyes on the fabric. I recycle work wear such as plaid flannel shirts and jeans that are faded and ripped.
What are the biggest challenges you face as an sustainable designer?
Educating the public around why it is important to be sustainable is a challenge as well as communicating the message of why I have chosen to make things from organic fabrics rather than synthetics. The use of natural fibres is quite expensive and not always easily accessible like synthetic materials.
How do you help customers understand the higher cost of sustainable garments when they are so inundated with sweatshop-produced cheap merchandise?
As an emerging designer, I would like to show customers the advantage of having unique designs that are made of quality textiles. I want to explain and show customers my process and the quality of textiles used in my designs. It is important to increase awareness and gain appreciation for the art. Through social media I try to communicate the textile processes for customers to get an understanding and appreciation of the time it takes to create each single garment and that a garment like this cannot be mass produced.
What can we look forward to seeing on the runway at Eco Fashion Week Australia 2018?
Similar themes to last year will be showcased, but they have been pushed in a different way. My show will include recycled denim deconstructed, reworked natural dyed silks and the influence of topographic aerial mapping on the body. This year I have also incorporated wool felting techniques into my work which I have never done before, but I really enjoy the process and textures of the merino wool tops.
How do you incorporate sustainable living in other areas of your life?
I have recently started a job working as an environment advisor on a mine site to help ensure the environmental impact on the land is minimized for the future. This includes involvement in recycling projects, trying to help minimize human waste such as reusable coffee cups and encouraging reduction in the use plastic. My wardrobe entails a lot of items from op shops or clothes given to by friends, I do not use plastic bags or plastic straws, I recycle waste at home and I encourage my family and friends to recycle as well. I am always trying to be conscious of purchases at stores and on my own ecological footprint, ie. buying items that have minimal to no plastic in the packaging.