“There are 49 designers using fabrics from 25 fair trade organisations here tonight. These designers prove that ethical fashion is something we can and should be working towards.”
These words enlightened and inspired the sold-out audience at Fairly Fashionable? 2015 in Fremantle’s Victoria Hall, ready for a truly unique show.
The Fairly Fashionable? Challenge is a fun and unique take on modern fashion shows. Designers who enter are given ethically sourced fabrics and have just 14 days to create a submission, whether that be a dress, a bag, a whole outfit or a piece of jewellery. Participants can add their own fabrics to complete the submission, but these pieces must also be ethically sourced. Designers then submit a design brief along with their submission, discussing their inspiration, design and materials.
The judging panel, consisting of Aly May (Department of Culture and the Arts), Robert Roberts (Fair Trade Association of Australia & New Zealand) and Jessica Priemus (Bhalo), had the difficult task of choosing standout winners among a group of talented students, amateurs and professionals. Between shows, Angie Parker, winner of last years competition and co-founder of Rana Clothing, spoke about the value of this event, crediting Fairly Fashionable? as the foundation that created her brand.
In a sea of colour and patterns, designers highlighted texture, craftsmanship and design through innovative layering, stitching and patterning techniques. A number of outfits such as Vynka Topham’s submission had not been cut at all, but rather made into an outfit through skillful layering and stitching techniques. Our favourites of the night included Melissa Westwood’s floral jacket and shorts, Cordelia Gibbs menswear jacket, harem pants and vest outfit and Anita Stapenell’s jumpsuit. Both Gibbs and Stapenell went on to win awards for their submissions.
As model after model took to the runway in pieces that embodied culture, ethics and sustainability, it’s hard to understand how we as a society accept sweatshop-made, unethical fashion. In a mere 14 days, designers had created pieces that would put some of the clothing we see in stores to shame, both in quality and sustainability.
“Ethical and sustainable fashion isn’t just a trend, it’s a movement and it’s one that we plan to see through.”
Fairly Fashionable: http://fairlyfashionable.com.au/
Photography by Ryan Ammon: http://ryanammon.com
By Laurie Power