What drew you to become a fashion designer?
I have always been a creative person, making my own accessories and clothing since I was young. Jewellery became my creative outlet as I really love the individual style you can create and how different and unique each design can be.
Being concerned about the environmental impact and production processes of commercial fashion and jewellery I wished to create a Eco-friendly alternative.
Having learnt my way around a sewing machine at a young age, I combined my sewing and jewellery skills to develop my latest range of recycled textile jewellery.
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?
Approximately 500,000 tonnes of clothing goes into landfill every year in Australia. This is a fact that I just can not understand... How so much time and effort can go into creating a item of clothing to just be worn a handful of times then discarded.
By reusing unwanted garments I create beautiful, unique jewellery out of what would otherwise be waste. My process ensures I use as much of each item as possible so there is little waste. All buttons, zippers ect are saved for future use and any pieces of fabric not suitable for my jewellery I save for reusing as gift bags or packaging.
Where do your find inspiration for new work?
I am inspired by natural products and textures. In fact, it is often the fabric itself that inspires me. Because I am using recycled fabric, I can't just go and buy the fabric I need. So I get excited when I stumble across a unique, pre-loved garment and instantly know that it will be perfect for one of my designs.
Also the beautiful, vibrant colours of the tropical environment that surrounds me here in Port Douglas is a constant source of inspiration.
What materials do you work with – organic, reclaimed, etc.?
I work with recycled linen and silk. I purchase pre-loved clothing which I deconstruct then up-cycle in to my jewellery designs.
What are the biggest challenges you face as an sustainable designer?
Sourcing sustainable materials has always been a challenge as a jewellery designer. This is what inspired me to start using recycled fabric as my medium, but I still need to purchase beads, clasps, etc.. Finding Eco-friendly, sustainable sources for these items is a constant challenge, As the fashion industry has become more sustainable, it is becoming easier to find reputable companies.
How do you help customers understand the higher cost of sustainable garments when they are so inundated with sweat shop-produced cheap merchandise?
When talking to customers I explain my process and detail all the work that goes into each and every piece of jewellery.
When confronted with the step by step process most customers realize the time and effort involved in producing a quality product and appreciate the work involved and therefore the higher cost, but not always. Hopefully events such as Eco Fashion Week will help educate people about the hidden costs of cheap, fast fashion.
What can we look forward to seeing on the runway at Eco Fashion Week Australia 2018?
I am designing a special collection exclusively for Eco Fashion Week this year. It is going to be bigger and bolder than any of my previous collections and is inspired by our beautiful tropical environment here in Far North Queensland.
How do you incorporate sustainable living in other areas of your life?
I try to be environmentally conscious in my lifestyle as much as possible. From having a garden and compost to sourcing the majority if my own and my family's clothing from op-shops. By saying No to single use plastic as much as possible and by educating my kids as to why this is necessary.