Fashion Week

Future of Fashion

Why sustainability is trending this AAFW

Wed 26 May • 

Why sustainability is trending this AAFW

By Georgina Safe

When Oroton creative director Sophie Holt sends her new collection, The Optimist, down the runway at Afterpay Australian Fashion Week on June 1, you’ll see garments crafted from recycled leather, repurposed plastic and cotton off-cuts.

“The collection is inspired by the idea of feeling hopeful,” says Holt. “Our awareness of the social and environmental impact of the luxury fashion industry is growing, and we are committed to improving our practices to reduce waste and operate sustainably and ethically.”

Holt is not alone. Maggie Marilyn, Kit X, Bassike and Ginger & Smart are among the brands showing at AAFW that will be putting sustainability front and centre on the runway. Bondi Born, St Agni and The Upside are among other designers showing at AAFW, who are working hard to reduce their environmental impact. Just don’t call it a trend.

“It’s not a trend,” says Kit X designer Kit Willow. “It’s the future of our survival as a species on this planet.”

For her new collection No. 22 Underworld she took inspiration from the ocean, knitting discarded fishing nets into jersey using solar power, then turning the fabric into sculptural silhouettes referencing sting rays, shells and starfish.

“I had this powerful image in my mind of the old Jaws movie poster with the shark coming up out of the ocean, but while we were scared of that shark at the time it should now be scared of us,” says Willow. “We are about to annihilate that species in the ocean through the pollution, waste and carbon emissions we are creating. Through our overspending on every resource species around the world are diminishing at a terrifying rate.”

The good news is that with designers like Holt and Willow at the forefront of the global sustainability movement, consumers can choose to spend for a better and stylish future together.

“Our clothes are a part of a greater mission, one that aims to cultivate a community with the shared vision of creating a better world,” says designer Maggie Hewitt.

All the pieces from her New Zealand luxury brand Maggie Marilyn are crafted from organic, recycled or repurposed materials – a decision that’s part of her ongoing commitment to eradicating wasteful practices in the fashion industry, which is currently the world’s second largest polluter behind the oil industry.

But don’t for a minute think of sustainable fashion as less seductive or swoon-worthy than anything you’ve purchased in the past. One look at the ultra-feminine silhouettes, superlative draping and whisper-soft fabrics in Hewitt’s new offering, aptly titled Brave New World, and you’ll be instantly assured that choosing sustainability doesn’t need to mean compromising on style.

At AAFW this year, sustainability isn’t simply something that will be seen on the runway. The event itself is committed to reducing its impact on the environmental, and reduction of single-use plastic, the elimination of plastic straws, energy efficiency and paper-waste reduction are among the initiatives in this year’s event.

“We can show the world that Sydney is a leader in sustainably produced fashion and events,” Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said in a statement.

The City Of Sydney will also host a panel discussion, Fashioning the Future, on June 2, where Hewitt will be joined by Nobody Denim co-founder John Condilis and Glam Corner’s Aubrey Khaing-Jones to discuss the way forward for a more sustainable industry.

After all, fashion’s impact on the environment has become a priority for most designers.

“If a designer is not creating with sustainable design solutions then they will be left behind,” says Ginger & Smart creative director Genevieve Smart. “Customers are very aware of the negative impacts of fast fashion on our environment and are seeking out brands producing responsibly to protect both planet and people.”


Tue 13 Oct
12 Sustainable & Ethical Aussie Fashion Labels
Sustainable fashion is more popular than ever. As more people care about the impact of their purchases, brands are responding in a big way. ..
Read all Articles