Sustainable and stunning with a serious message


The imaginative allure and fun of the 11th Alice Springs Sustainable Couture show also had a serious message: we are “all in the same boat” – this planet.
MC Jane Lloyd spelled it out in her introduction to the show.
Overwhelming evidence links the fashion and textile industries with enormous impact on the environment, especially our oceans. The fashion industry is the second biggest polluter of our oceans, depleting non-renewable resources as well as using massive quantities of energy and chemicals.
Left: Nimisha wearing a vintage-style hand-painted and layered skirt with crop top, recycled from a  cotton saree by Akanksha  Goswami.
The Sustainable Couture designers want to inspire change, to get people to think about where our clothes come from, to show respect for the resources and the labour involved in the clothing and fashion industry.
They ask, “At what cost is cheap clothing and fast fashion to lives and the environment?”
They want to keep the RE cycle of clothing going, to buy better (quality and long-lasting) and buy less, to wear preloved, and to wear it longer, to swap and share clothing, to repair and restore  (a bit like to hold and to cherish).
There’s enough clothing already out there – let’s use it and keep what already exists out of landfill!
Left: Designer Franca Frederiksen specialises in recycling woollen blankets. Her models are the earth boat’s “precious cargo” – Charlotte, six, in matching vest and hat, with a bag she made herself, and Jess, four, in a green vest. Mums in the background, Letitia Polycronopolous and Miriam Nicholl, are in matching outfits, with bags by Yarrentyty Arltere Artists.

Last night’s event showcased 12 designers from Alice Springs, Darwin and interstate – from all walks of life with varying skills in dressmaking, textile design, pattern making, printing and hand stitching.

The common factor is that they all use/reuse up-cycled and repurposed mainly natural materials, sourced from preloved, faulty, obsolete, over supply, the ‘just not being worn’ piles.
They are then transformed into unique, one off beautiful garments, lovingly handcrafted and embellished with techniques passed down through generations (who mainly came to Australia by boat) so others can buy and wear and feel good about their ethically sourced or, as it is now referred to, “circular fashion”.
Sustainable Couture wants everyone to “come on board”, sail on the oceans of possibility, ride the tide in the shift to a more sustainable and ethical clothing industry.
Left: Bride Shirt-Dress by Carmel Ryan, made from 25 men’s white shirts. It was an entry in the Eco Fashion Week Australia held in Port Douglas and Fremantle in 2018. 
Designers ask “At what cost is cheap clothing and fast fashion to lives and the environment?” and come up with some stunning answers.
Participating designers were Glenyce McGauchie  & Apples Kemp; Sophie Daniels (recipient of the inaugural Sustainable Couture Mentorship in 2018); Kaye Daniels from SA; Franca Fredericton; Akanksha Goswami; Jackie  O’Toole from Darwin; Carmel Ryan; Natalia Rodrigo from WA; Cathy Tobin; Kate Fletcher  from Tasmania; Grace Skehan from Darwin; Peta Smith from Darwin; and Janie Andrews from Darwin.
Note: Modelled designs and more are on sale at a pop-up at The Residency to 7 July, with a clothes swap there on 6 July.
WORDS from the organisers. Images and video by ERWIN CHLANDA.



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