Just as we’re increasingly required to become more conscious of the impact our lives have on the environment around us, so too is it important to become familiar with the designers of our generation who are paving the way for sustainable fashion. Alice Sutton, founder of EDITION is exactly one of these pioneering designers. Based out of a studio at ANCA, Alice is championing a new wave of fashion that’s essentially the future of the industry. Her latest work was recently featured at the Fitzroy Conservatory as part of the show, Lush Terrain with VAMFF.
Short of her international fashion exchange experience in South Korea as part of the Australia-Korea Foundation Emerging Designer Exchange Program later this month, I managed to get a few words from her.
What is it about fashion that appeals to you?
I love the relationship between a women’s body and fabric. The drape of material and how the right garment can make you feel amazing and confident is what it is all about for me.
Who and what are your primary creative idols and influences?
Some of my creative idols are Susan Dimasi of MaterialbyProduct as she stays true to herself and never compromises her vision for her garments, Phoebe Porter who is a jeweler who again never compromises her creative vision and her amazing technical skills as a maker are something I aspire to. Some influences on my garments are the fabrics themselves and how they work with the body so lots of trial and error when experimenting. Other influences include Madeleine Vionnet and Issey Miyake and their innovative approaches to pattern making.
How would you describe the fashion sense of your daily wear?
I pretty much only wear my own label so my daily wear is very EDITION! All garments are super comfortable and make you feel confident and beautiful. I love simplicity.
What does sustainability mean for EDITION?
For EDITION sustainability is key to the whole design process. Starting with the pattern making I work with the fabric to create patterns that are zero waster or minimal waste. This means that there is no fabric left over after cutting, limiting the amount of off cuts that then end up in land fill. I also use fabrics that are sourced locally or as close to Australia as possible including wool, silk and cotton. Then I create garments with quality finishes and interesting silhouettes so they will be garments that are worn season after season. I also don’t use any buttons or zips instead using ties so that there is no unnecessary plastic used in the construction of the garment. All EDITION garments are made in Australia and transported to store with no tissue paper or plastic. I am no where near perfect but with every garment I create I take small steps to hopefully one day have a holistic sustainable label.
Why is sustainability so important for you and EDITION?
For me sustainability is the only way forward for fashion and the future. We have to recognise this as the norm and look at every small step we can take to make brands more sustainable. Yes profit is important for businesses but that doesn’t mean compromising the environmental impact when creating products.
Looking at where EDITION is now, how does it align with your original inspiration for the brand?
I think that EDITION is where I want it to be and it is what I set out to do when I finished studying Fashion at the end of 2011. Of course I would love to expand my label eventually, but making sure that the goals of the label to be sustainable are kept and the creative ideas are still pushed to create exciting, unusual garments.
How do you balance the commercialism of fashion with your vision of sustainability?
I think that is a very hard balance. For me I never liked the fast pace of fashion and the ‘fast fashion’ that came from that. Clothing just happened to be the art form that I love working in. I think people are looking for something more in their clothing and are beginning to care about how and where it is made.
What do you think is the biggest barrier to mainstream sustainability in fashion?
I think costs, garments that are made with quality fabrics and seam finishes and the time that has been invested into how it has been made is going to come at a price.
The final question I have is just for a bit of fun, other than your phone, what’s the one thing you take with you every where you go?
Something I take everywhere I go besides my phone… I would have to say my business cards! You never know who you might meet in a day.
Photography supplied by Alice Sutton.