What drew you to become a fashion designer?
I was born into a family of Dressmakers and Milliners. It seemed completely natural to me that this would be my vocation in Life. My first job out of school was working as a Junior Finisher for a Bridal House, and this was the door that opened my eyes to the world of couture dressmaking. A few years later I went to study Fashion Design at an Art College which was another major influence in my life.
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?
The Rana Plaza disaster in 2013 was the catalyst that touched me profoundly on both a social & environmental level.
I am now an active ambassador for 'Fashion Revolution' in both my personal and business life. As I was bought up with a "mend your clothes & make your own clothes" approach to life, I have always enjoyed the challenge of making the most with less! Whether it be refashioning an existing garment, mixing new & reused fabric together or reusing fabric scraps for other design projects.
Where do your find inspiration for new work?
#1 Nature...Colours, Patterns, Textures #2 Travel...ethnic costumes, cultural crafts and arts #3 Museums/Art Galleries...historical costumes as well as all other art forms #4 Haute Couture both past & present #5 Environmental Artists
What materials do you work with – organic, reclaimed, etc.?
I use predominately reclaimed, repurposed natural fibres. I also use quite a lot of 'gifted' clothes and fabrics as well as drawing on my own stash collected over the past 40 years. If I do need to buy new fabrics it will always be a natural fibre & organic when available. Oh! I love to scour OP shops and garage sales for treasures as well.
What are the biggest challenges you face as an sustainable designer?
As a Bespoke Designer with strong ethics related to 'Fashion Revolution' my clients predominately are also moving in the direction of conscious consumerism in all areas of their lives. It's inspiring to see clients wanting to educate themselves & their families to live more ethically and care deeply about #whomademyclothes
How do you help customers understand the higher cost of sustainable garments when they are so inundated with sweat shop-produced cheap merchandise?
The majority of my clients are aware of my work through Social Media and collaborations I have had with other Eco Designers.
With my Bespoke services my clients appreciate that I am making a garment that is specifically tailored for them with attention to detail and the highest quality workmanship.
For the alterations/mending side of my business this is where clients get to learn firsthand the effects of fast fashion and this is usually when they will then start to look more closely at 'buy better, buy less' becoming a new part of how they consume.
What can we look forward to seeing on the runway at Eco Fashion Week Australia 2018?
A unique & eclectic collection of Bridal Gowns that will encompass both traditional & non-traditional Bridal Wear. I will use a variety of techniques and applications from Refashioning Vintage fabrics, Lace and trims, Eco-dyed fabrics and Millinery items.
As a 'Wedding Dress' is the one of the most memorable and treasured items a woman will ever own, it is my passion that this dress is a reflection of the 'heart and soul' of the woman wearing it and that she embodies this LOVE on her special day.
How do you incorporate sustainable living in other areas of your life?
KeepCups, Stainless Steel water bottles, bamboo cutlery for meals out, cloth serviettes, taking my own containers to the weekly farmers markets, cloth shopping bags & net veggie bags.
I am very conscious of energy consumption and am excited about installing solar panels in the near futrure. Hot water is switched to off-peak use. Sweeping over vacuuming. Cold water for clothes washing. Sunshine + Clothes Airer versus clothes dryer.
I have a Permaculture garden which is an ethical design tool in itself. It is a harmonious approach to gardening & creates sustainability
Anything else you would like readers to know?
I count my blessings each & everyday to live amongst an amazing and supportive community in a beautiful part of Northern New South Wales, cradled between mountain ranges and the ocean.
My passion is "Fashion Revolution" and one of my beliefs is that we all have something to share and that we can ALL make a difference in our own unique way. I am passionate about Slow Fashion, and teaching my skills onto younger generations. To lead by example 'saving the World one stitch at a time' is my business Mantra.
Oh! and for fun, I make Bespoke Dogs coats for my friends dogs from Vintage fabrics & Notions that reflect their unique character as well!