Sustainable fashion on the runway

A number of Australian fashion brands are slowing down their production practices to create more sustainable and ethical collections, as shown on the runway at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Sydney.

The Sydney fashion show has also collaborated with Frank Green to provide stainless steel water bottles to event staff which will eliminate an estimated 11,000 single-use, plastic water bottles.  

Australian resort wear brand Tigerlily showcased its latest collection of feminine and bohemian clothing on Monday after releasing its first Consciousness Report in March.

The brand, along with other Australian labels walking down the runway including P.E Nation and Bassike, are changing their practices, with Tigerlily stating in the report it would focus on using Lenzing certified sustainable fibres and recycled nylon lining in their swimwear.

However, sustainability consultant and author of Slow Clothing Jane Milburn said the entire showcasing of designs at Fashion Week created a cognitive dissonance.

“There is a lot of greenwashing going on. We have to find alternative models such as made to order, renting clothes, swapping, wearing pre-loved, mending and up-cycling. Everything else is various shades of greenwashing,” she said.  

A local Western Australian label working on this alternative model of design is Mae by Tyler which is creating made to order sustainable swimwear.

The swimwear brand uses a regenerated nylon yarn called Econyl which is created from ocean debris including discarded commercial fishing nets and industrial and post-consumer plastic waste to produce the handmade collection of swim.

One of Mae by Tyler’s swimwear designs. Image by Annie Smith.

Owner of Mae by Tyler sustainable swimwear Tyler Mahoney said there were people and brands who were jumping on the sustainable bandwagon when they were not.

“I am proud that all of our pieces are made to order so we are cutting down on waste. When we say, ‘we are sustainable,’ we make sure we do everything in our power to make our swimwear sustainable,” she said.

Mae by Tyler is showcasing their latest collection on the runway at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week.

Curtin University lecturer Jill Morrall said sustainable fashion shows were an important shift and there were many eco runway events around the world as well as eco designers.

She said there were Eco fashion Week Australia, the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival and Green Fashion Week in Switzerland which promoted sustainable fashion.

Ms Mahoney said she was excited to be heading to the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.

The Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week is showing from 12 to 18 May.   

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