EcoReporter: From Kalgoorlie to the Catwalk – Sustainable Fashion at Melbourne Fashion Week
Graduate designers Que Martin and Mineth Fonseka showcase their sustainable collections at Melbourne Fashion Week, highlighting the importance of creating wearable and environmentally conscious garments.
In a sold-out runway show at Melbourne Fashion Week, graduate designers from the Whitehouse Institute of Design presented their collections, pushing the boundaries of sustainable fashion. Among them was Que Martin, a 23-year-old student from the West Australian town of Kalgoorlie, who drew inspiration from the space race and her mother’s upbringing in the Soviet Union. Martin’s collection, a fusion of couture and sportswear, featured three highly detailed and versatile garments made to last.
Martin’s “couture sportswear” collection included a puffer jacket, a leather garment, and a neoprene piece, each paired with shorts. She employed innovative techniques such as creating three-dimensional shapes under layers of neoprene and fusing them together, as well as using digital patterns and 3D rendering to reduce waste in the leather garment. Notably, the puffer jacket was digitally printed with a letter she wrote to her family in Russian, expressing gratitude for the sacrifices they made in emigrating to Australia.
Martin emphasized the importance of creating wearable garments that can be worn more than 10 times, unlike conceptual pieces that often generate more waste. She believes that many designers are contributing to the issue of fashion waste by prioritizing message-driven designs over practicality. Martin’s approach to sustainable fashion challenges this trend by incorporating meaningful elements into wearable and durable pieces.
Another student from Whitehouse, Mineth Fonseka, showcased a collection inspired by Sri Lankan mythology. Constructed from digitally printed taffeta shower curtains, Fonseka’s voluminous dresses, part of his Salvation/Bhairava collection, featured stunning looks in grey-teal, lilac, and burgundy-pink. Fonseka, who has been designing these garments for the past six months, aims to continue his studies in fashion after the runway show.
Both Martin and Fonseka represent the growing movement towards sustainable fashion, where designers prioritize environmental considerations without compromising on style and creativity. Martin’s aspiration to work with Australian brand R.M. Williams aligns with her love for fashioning leather and her desire to promote Australian-made and long-lasting products.
As Melbourne Fashion Week continues, these graduate designers have demonstrated that sustainable fashion can be both visually striking and environmentally responsible. By highlighting the importance of creating wearable garments that minimize waste, they inspire a new generation of designers to prioritize sustainability in their work.
Melbourne Fashion Week runs until Sunday, providing an opportunity for fashion enthusiasts to explore the latest trends and innovative approaches to sustainable fashion.
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