Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival
Fitzroy Conservatory, 230 Wellington Parade, East Melbourne, 3002
2 March 2017
EDITION by Alice Sutton
Lush Terrain comes at a time when sustainability = responsibility. Set in the botanical surrounds of an Eden-like habitat, five incredibly forward-thinking and innovative designers parade the conceptual future of fashion.
Fashion has always strived at its core to achieve something more than mere function (although, admittedly with much of women’s fashion, pockets, it seems, have yet to be invented). The best designers and artists in my view, never settle purely for the most pleasing visual impact; they make necessary socio-political commentary on the zeitgeist – sometimes in a way that goes beyond what they initially expected. One can’t ever predict the future, darling. And so it makes sense as a matter of course then, that sustainability in fashion is coming into increasing focus.
As we get closer and closer to midnight on the Doomsday Clock, climate change is slowly transitioning into something that is more than just a passing acknowledgment in which nothing can be done. And rightly so. It’s growing more into a conscious reality for many, and its impact is increasingly tangible not only in the meteorological reality around us, but also in the political space, as politicians flip-flop and see-saw through whatever position or view best satisfies their constituents and garners them the most votes. With perhaps the exception of one American President. In any case, more work needs to be done to secure our future, and the future of those we love.
Which is why designers who do commit their entire philosophy to sustainability must feel like they’re making the ultimate gamble, even though it seems like what they’re doing should make sense. But it’s certainly difficult amid the reality that zero-waste methods and up-cycling on a micro level aren’t going to change the world, at least while multi-national heavyweights like Zara and H&M continue to dominate the two-week fashion cycle like they do now. So when you look at what sustainable designers are doing in the context of the commercial environment, it’s important to realise that their pursuit is in fact one that is incredibly noble, in which their desired impact is instead one of cultural growth.
For environmentally-framed designers, their focus creates an inspiration. By demonstrating that a sustainable approach in fashion is possible, they’re showing the world that this necessary philosophy is a viable way forward. They’re shining a light on our archaic nonsensical habits of not caring where our garments are made, what they’re made of, how they’re made, or who is making them. They’re reminding us of the increasing amount of waste that we produce amidst the myriad of luxuries that we take for granted. And they’re reminding us that while we are a species whose innate goal is indeed to survive, we are still perhaps the most effective at jeopardising that.
There’s certainly still a long way to go, but cultural change is in more cases than not: a slow burn. And so it begins with habitual transformation. So it begins with fashion.
So it is propelled by these designers.
Feature image by Frankey Chung taken on his Google Pixel.