Fashion that doesn’t cost the Earth

Art-wear using at least 80 per cent recycled or re-used materials is being created by first year fashion students at South Metropolitan TAFE.

Their designs have been produced in the Certificate IV Participate in Environmentally Sustainable Work Practices unit, which teaches students about the impact of the fashion industry on the environment.

The Bentley-based students each created a sustainable garment, reflecting the theme of ‘Oceania’.

The art-works were entered into the annual Mandurah Wearable Arts Competition, in the Creative Re-use category.

Initially chosen for the pre-selection round were 10 students, and out of these students two successfully qualified for the final judging round.

Kirsten Springvloed with her garment (left) and Paige Schokker’s garment (right)

One of the qualifying students, Paige Schokker, said her design resembled the Kimberley’s Montgomery Reef.

“I wanted to focus on the bleaching effects on [the reef] from global warming,” Schokker said.

She said she portrayed the “deadness” of the reef by making her garment all white.

Her design was made from a men’s kaftan from an op shop, a cut-up bed sheet, a dismantled knitted jumper, paper offcuts and a natural cornflour glue.

“Sustainable fashion is very important to our environment and to humans themselves,” she said.

Kirsten Springvloed, the other student from Bentley to make it to the final round, said her design was inspired by the South Pacific island of Kiribati.

“It is going to be the first country that is going to disappear due to climate change,” she said.

“My piece was influenced and totally inspired by that, so it’s supposed to be a wave that’s splashing around the last of the Kiribati people.

“It’s sort of generally lapping away at their history and culture.”

Springvloed said the first years had to be very sustainable with their designs.

“That meant making your own glue, trying to do it during daylight hours so you didn’t use light, not using a sewing machine,” she said.

“You also had to think about, after it’s made, how can it be disposed of, or what’s its future.”

She said she made her design totally water soluble, which connected with the likelihood that Kiribati would be destroyed by water.

“I started thinking about what dissolves in water and I remembered from working in a bookshop we used to get a lot of boxes that had cornstarch packing peanuts in them and I know that they dissolve in water,” Springvloed said.

“Once I had all these peanuts I realised if you just partly dampened them they stuck together really well, so I just I thought I was going to make my sculpture and my structure as far as I can out of peanuts.”

“I would love it if we could convince more people to buy clothing that is made well, that they want to have for a long time, not just one season.”

“Also, that secondhand things can be beautiful.”

South Metropolitan TAFE fashion lecturer Lisa Piller says that mass produced fashion is a bit of an“epidemic”, but there is a move toward sustainable fashion.

“Fashion is one of the most convoluted supply chains, and rivals the oil and petroleum industry in terms of the detrimental impact it has on the environment,” Ms Piller said.

“There is a definitely a movement towards being more mindful or sustainable, but it’s not the mainstream yet, sadly.”

Categories: Arts, Environment, Fashion

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