Ballarat sustainable fashion advocates are working to turn back time on the fast fashion clock.
Bianca Flint from The Wardrobe Green and Andrea Hurley from Hattie and the Wolf are spreading a message of shopping pre-loved, buying less and buying better this Sustainable Fashion Week.
They are running Vintage Treasures shopping tours as part of the week to raise awareness of creating a circular fashion cycle and keeping our clothing out of landfill.
The tours help shoppers explore Ballarat’s best op-shops and understand the benefits of buying pre-loved.
Australians are the world's second largest consumers of textiles, buying on average 27 kilograms of new clothing and other textiles each year.
Compared to 16 years ago, the average person buys 60 per cent more clothing and keeps them for half as long.
Ms Flint said it was time our attitudes to purchasing clothing changed, as well as thinking differently about what is done with items when they are no longer wanted.
“In the op-shops you can really find rare gems, those things you can’t see in the shops at the moment. They are the things that are going to last in your wardrobe and you are not going to discard like fast fashion.”
Fast fashion is a term used to describe inexpensive designs that move quickly from the catwalk to the stores to meet new trends. It’s a cycle where clothing is made fast and cheap, worn out fast, and then discarded fast.
Ms Hurley said buying ethically produced items with a known supply history could help combat fast fashion
“I think if we don’t start shopping small, supporting small makers and independent manufacturers, things are just getting out of control with the way fast fashion is and the way we are throwing things away,” she said.
“Once upon a time grandma would have darned those socks 20 times. I think that shift coming back to handmade, repairing, upcycling and using what is already there is a great shift.”
Once upon a time grandma would have darned those socks 20 times.- Andrea Hurley, Hattie and the Wolf
Resources like the Ethical Clothing Australia website and the Good on You app help shoppers check what their buying was ethically produced.
But Ms Flint said it was important to also change attitudes to clothing after they’re purchased.
“We need to start thinking about caring for our garments correctly and educating people on simple sewing repairs like sewing a button or patching a hole,” she said.
“It’s about not discarding them if there is a small repair that needs to happen… then thinking about where we could pass on the garment like to a friend or an op shop when we are done with it.”
Clothes made from polyester can take up to 200 years to break down.
Ms Flint and Ms Hurley have collaborated with other Ballarat sustainable fashion advocates to release a new upcycled fashion range at Hattie’s Wardrobe Green.
Items showcased at the Sustainable Fashion Week launch at the Ballarat Art Gallery on Sunday.
Visit recyclingrevolution.com.au/ethicalfashion/ for more event details.