Inaugural Eco Fashion Week Australia A Success


Press release by Robbin Whachell


Inaugural Eco Fashion Week Australia a Success

Image by Simon Armstrong

Image by Simon Armstrong

December, 9, 2018 – The inaugural Eco Fashion Week Australia (EFWA) was held in Perth from November 23 to 27 in Fremantle at Victoria Hall. Radio host, Angie Ayers of Spirit Radio was the event emcee. The welcome to country ceremony was performed by the Baldja Moort Dancers.

Created by Zuhal Kuvan-Mills, the founder of Australia’s first internationally recognised organic fashion label, Green Embassy, the five-day event featured sustainable fashion from over 44 eco designers which included 11 international designer shows from countries such as Canada, Spain, India, Africa, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Japan. International designers were: Connally Mcdougall; Kirsten Ley; and Salvij by Gigi of Canada; Mymarini of Germany; Shravan Kumar from India; Merdi Sihombing of Indonesia; Studio Membrane by Hiroaki Tanaka of Japan; Heke Designs; and Senorita AweSUMO from New Zealand; Sylvia Calvo of Spain; and Things of Substance from Vietnam.

The EFWA Upcycling Challenge by Marilyn R. Wilson of Canada brought together 21 talented young international designers from 12 countries – Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Germany, India, Luxembourg, Taiwan, U.K, U.S., Uganda and Venezuela – who each created one runway look from used men’s dress shirts.

Five designers from Africa were also featured on our runway in Malawi Maloto thanks to show curator Patti DeSante, founder of Tenzo Collaborations.

Australian designers who showcased collections on our runway include Alteva, Arcaro Couture, Azulant Akora, Barbwire Noose, Chaynika, Claudi, Curtin Springs, Eco Fashion Sewing, Elle Evans Swimwear, Fabric of Nature, Gemini Kite, Green Embassy, Jude Taylor, Lima Jordan, Madame Tikki Boutique, Merino Country, Simone Arnold, Sista of JAC, Skylark the Label, Stain by Justine Mcknight, Verdant The Label, and Vitamin by Sonalika.

Fashion design student work was seen from Curtin University, Edith Cowan University (ECU), and RMIT University. Kuvan-Mills also awarded graduate scholarships and showcasing their work on opening night were: D’arcy Coad / ECU; Jack Gardner / ECU; Jane Ziemons / ECU; Katherine Tavener / ECU; Llynnette C. Neil / ECU; Pei-Sun – Curtin Univ.; Julia English – RMIT. Overall 18 student runway shows were seen throughout the event. Curtin University (Australia) student showcases were provided by Abbey Forsyth, Claudia Marcial, Ella Steiner, Ivee Gail Gualao, Kate Hannah, Liana Marie McNeill, Molly Ryan, Paige Groves, Rebecca Timson, and Thivyah Retinasekharan.

Eco Fashion Week Australia promotes locally made, earth-friendly materials, highlights the preservation of textile arts, and traditional techniques in fabric making and dying and encourages zero waste, upcycling, and recycling.

The Anita Moon Awards of Excellence went to Sheridan Joyce / Skylark for Best Australian Emerging Designer; and to Rebecca Timson for Best Australian Student Designer. Olga Perkins received the Best Australian Home Sustainable Garments (Sewer and Knitter) Award.

Sista of JAC was awarded a 1-year licensee with Australian Made, a campaign which recognises products made or grown within Australia.

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For every EFWA ticket sold, $5 went to Sea Shepherd Australia, and another $5 went to the Rainforest Rescue to support their efforts to replant the Daintree Rainforest. Nicola Potter was the lucky ticket winner who received a 3-night stay at Bali Eco Stay.

A media preview was held in the Swan Valley on November 22 at Taylor’s Art & Coffee House in full Australian style and had an Aboriginal ‘Welcome to Country’ ceremony by the Baldja Moort Dancers along with an Aussie barbecue as 15 designers walked under the eucalyptus trees with one signature piece.

The opening gala and nightly runway shows were held at the historic Victoria Hall (Fly by Night Musicians Club) in Fremantle. Each night of shows featured the ‘Style it Green’ collection, where 5 audience members volunteered for a unique makeover with an op shop, ‘little black dress’ outfit styled by Dalija Vlahov, Eco Fashion Stylist. Participants walked the runway and took away a $25 gift certificate for the ReLoved fashion store (RSPCA op shop).

On top of fashions, eco education was a high point, as the “Disposable Planet” free seminar was held at Curtin University with the following speakers: Dr. Anne Farren, Head of Fashion Design at Curtin University; “The Impact of Fast Fashion on the Oceans,” by Jeff Hansen, Managing Director of Sea Shepherd Australia; “Salmon and Sustainability,” by Robbin Whachell, Hoy-Scott Watershed Society, Canada; “Australian Made Fashion: Leveraging ‘local’ in the branding process” with Ben Lazzaro, Australian Made Campaign Ltd.; “How the Future of the Fashion Industry is in Our Hands,” by Melinda Tually, Fashion Revolution of Australia and New Zealand; “How to Use Recycled Fashion to Build a Circular Economy,” by Edwina Huang, CEO Vivify Sustainable Textiles; and “Rethinking Clothing Culture,” with Jane Milburn, Sustainability Consultant, Textile Beat.

Eco workshops also covered repurposing plastic bags; upcycling, batiking, and clothing repair. Workshops were led by Marie Mitchell, Jane Milburn, Mariana Kirova, and Merdi Sihombing at the Taylors Art and Coffee House.

“I’d like to thank all of our sponsors who helped make our first event possible,” said EFWA founder Zuhal Kuvan-Mills. “I am grateful to the Perth community who came together to support the event. We have broken ground on a path toward a more sustainable future.”

Sponsors for EFWA 2017 were: TCFWA Australia, Australian Made Campaign, Fly By Night musicians Club, Taylor’s Art and Coffee House, Green Embassy, Dowerin GWN Machinery Field Days, Loig’s Music Lab, Midland Gate, RSPCA-Reloved Fashion, Mercado32, Bali Eco Stay, Curtin University, and Edith Cowan University.

Media partners for EFWA 2017 were Eluxe Magazine, The Bahamas Weekly, Peppermint, Olio by Marilyn, Style Drama, Textile Beat,, Kristen Leo, The Green Hub, Eco Warrior Princess, and tommie magazine.

EFWA hairstyling was provided by Salon Express, Claire Hair Boutique, Atone Wellness – The Inspiration of Hair and Beauty, Indigo Hair Design, Kave Studio, Urban Hair, Perfect Reflections, Shear Trendz, Hair and Soul Organics, and Jodie Hogg. Hair products provided by Natulique Certified Organic Beauty.

Makeup was provided by Nadia Duca makeup team, Janssen Cosmetics, and Elate Cosmetics.

Vegan shoes were provided by Beyond Skin.

Models were provided by Dene Selby Modelling Agency, Xpression Models, and independent EFWA models.

Photography and video was provided by Harry Leonard Imagery, Simon Armstrong, Aiden Green, Daniel Ada, and Jason Sharp.

For more information on Eco Fashion Week Australia go to