It's all in the SOURCE
I recently took part in my first webinar. To be honest, when I registered, I didn't even know what a webinar was. This particular online get-together was in aid of the 2013 SOURCE Brand Preview. Curated by the Ethical Fashion Forum, SOURCE is an industry platform which encourages and facilitates more sustainable and ethical practices throughout the entire process of fashion production - from development, all the way through to the completed product.
I sat down with my tablet one Wednesday morning, still with no idea what to expect. Curious, yet also a little bit sceptical, I wondered how it would be possible to feel inspired by the next wave of sustainable designers, from the comfort of my bedroom.
A few minutes into the first seminar I attended, my scepticism had disappeared, as I'd realised the most amazing benefit of holding a seminar this way. People from all over the world could take part in the event, from their offices, from their homes, from cafes, even from the seat of a bus, if they wanted to! There I was, sitting in my bedroom in London, in a 'room' full of people from all over the world. I couldn't help but feel that I was part of a major movement as I listened to a question being posed from a woman in Nairobi to a designer in Australia, all the while people from the UK, Europe, Russia, the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand listened in.
By running their brand preview in this way, SOURCE provided people with an opportunity to get involved and be a part of it, no matter where they were - an opportunity that just wouldn't have been possible if the preview had been run in a more traditional way. We talk of a more sustainable future for fashion, and to really get there, it is crucial that the race is run on a global level - this was the perfect platform to encourage this, establishing relationships and connections across the globe, exchanging advice across continents, sharing knowledge, and inspiring.
Although after my last post, I had been committed to finding some inspiring designers in Europe and the UK, I felt very proud when I noticed a stream of Australian and New Zealand designers popping up in all the categories I attended. Beautiful, ethical and sustainable clothing is being designed and produced in that part of the world. So for this post, I'm going to metaphorically fly back across the Pacific and profile some of the new designers that Australia and New Zealand have to offer. Oh the irony!
Sosume (right), based in Victoria, produces high quality pieces using from natural and organic fabrics, all made in Australia. Their garments are clean, sharp and sophisticated, yet still very wearable. Their collections steer away from current trends, ensuring that Sosume's pieces will not only last the test of time in terms of quality, but will be able to be worn season after season. In addition to its fashion line, Sosume also produces basics, undergarments, accessories and homeware.
One Colour (above left), another Australian brand, uses fabric sourced from Africa, to bring a point of difference to their beautifully made basics, unifying African fabric with Australian design. The brands motivation is to bring about open, respectful relationships between designer, supplier and producer, and aims to create sustainable employment for those who produce their collections in Africa. They are producing pieces that are relevant today and will still be relevant tomorrow.
Queensland based Rant Clothing has the Australian climate in mind. Lightweight natural and organic fabrics are used to produce their collections which are rich in colour and strong in detail. All pieces are produced within a thirty kilometre radius of the duo's studio, which in turn reduces packaging waste and drastically lowers the brand's carbon footprint.
Heading across the Tasman, Kowtow (left) is a New Zealand brand that creates sophisticated, fresh, edgy and bold separates, all made with high ethical standards in India. The brand sources only organic and fair trade cotton and uses dyes that are free from most of the toxins present in conventional dyes.
These are just a small selection of the brands that were profiled in the SOURCE Brand Preview. If you would like to find out more about these, or any of the designers featured in the preview, the full presentations can be watched online.