Fashion Less Waste 2009

Entrants for the Australian Museum's Fashion Less Waste competition have helped to fashion a less wasteful world. They have designed, created and posted us photographs of an outfit that is at least mostly made from materials that were originally bought and used for a non-clothing purpose.

Possibilities for use included discarded DVDs, video or audio tape, chicken wire, fly screen, wall paper, tea towels, kitchenware, cutlery, hessian bags, office supplies, polystyrene packing ... Any discarded material was at their disposal!

  • Think about the materials and energy that are used to produce clothes made from newly manufactured materials
  • Consider the materials that could be used in clothing that become landfill
  • Imagine the wonderful clothes that you could make from them!
  • Wonder what could happen if the market for clothes made from recycled materials grew.

Judging criteria

The equal weighted judging criteria for Fashion Less Waste were:

  • Craftsmanship
  • Originality
  • Style
  • Use of materials that were originally used for a non-clothing purpose

Events to date

Entries closed on the 9th of April 2009 and our judges (see below) first selected finalists in the two categories - Secondary School and Tertiary & TAFE. The winners and runners-up were decided during a fashion parade of the finalists at our 2009 Teachers' Information Night on the 6th of May. What a fun and fabulous parade! The outfits were strutted, sashayed, whisked and whirled down a red carpet 'runway' before the attentive judges and a captivated, admiring audience of teachers, Museum staff and the friends and family of the finalists. Some finalists chose to model their outfits, while other finalists organised someone to model for them. The judges who could attend the parade - Rachel Cassar and Liane Rossler - faced a tough decision. Every outfit was wonderful! Speeches were extended while the judges used extra time.

And the winners were...

In the Secondary School category:

The winner was Ashleigh Huntley from Menai High School. The runners-up were Tami Azzi from Our Lady of Lebanon College at Harris Park and Emma Blackley from Monte Sant? Angelo College at Cammeray.

In the TAFE and Tertiary category:

The winners (in a joint entry) were Bianca Foley and Hayley Orbell from ESMOD Australia, Sydney. The runners-up were Grace Denniss and Stacey Bien, both from the University of Technology, Sydney.

The winner of each category received $500, and the two runners-up of each category each received $250.

Where can I see the outfits?

Photographs from the parade will be displayed on this website. The outfits of the finalists and runners-up were on temporary public display in the Science Studio on Level 2 of the Museum from Tuesday 2nd of June to Wednesday 22nd of July 2009.

Would you like to enter in 2010?

Gather inspiration for your entry in Fashion Less Waste, 2010. Then start to gather your materials. Go on... unleash your creativity! What could you create? In 2010, keep an eye on this website for an invitation to enter Fashion Less Waste, 2010. You could also ask teachers of subjects like Visual Arts, Textile Design, Fashion Design and Technology for an invitation.

The judges

The judges for this year's Fashion Less Waste competition were (in alphabetical order):

Rachel Bending of Bird Textiles

Rachel is a pioneer in sustainable fashion and interior design practices. Rachel's work started in 2002 with Slingfings, a brand that was recognised in 2004 as Australia's first climate neutral business. Bird Textiles was launched in March 2006 and has a global reach. Bird has been recognised by Time Magazine, the 'Cool Hunting Green' book, Fashion Group International and the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney. Such recognition has brought opportunities to exhibit, parade and publicise Rachel's work.

Bird garments are made from SKAL certified organic fabrics, patterns are designed in-house and hand printed in Australia using water based dyes. Gift wrap is printed on recycled paper stock using soy inks. All products in the home wares and lifestyle fashion ranges are manufactured using 100% renewable solar power, and the business practice is 100% climate neutral.

Of course Bird's success is also due to the striking beauty of the products!

Rachel sees her role as both designer and educator. Her role as educator currently encompasses:

  • ongoing consumer education around sustainability
  • undertaking seminars, lectures and studio visits for school children, high school teachers and university undergraduates (specialising in design)
  • offering two month long work placements a year to undergraduate fashion or textile design students

More about Bird Textiles

Rachael Cassar of Rachel Cassar

Rachael Cassar designs are high-end semi couture creations designed and constructed around the concept of sustainability. Rachael carefully sources quality reclaimed garments and deconstructs them to create cohesive sustainable ranges - without compromising style or imagination.

2007 saw Rachael Cassar designs selected as one of 25 finalists from around the globe to show at Italy's prestigious Mittelmoda competition, at which she took home the premiere prize. In 2008 Rachael was invited to show in London.

Rachael creates fashion that is strong, making an impact both aesthetically and environmentally!

More about Rachael Cassar

Liane Rossler of Dinosaur Designs

Liane co-founded Dinosaur Designs with Louise Olsen and Stephen Ormandy in 1985, when they were selling hand-printed fabrics and painted jewellery at Paddington Markets. Dinosaur Designs now stands as one of the most visible and successful design-based businesses in Australia, operating its own stores for their striking resin jewellery & homewares in Sydney, Melbourne and New York as well as exporting to more than twenty countries worldwide.

Dinosaur Designs takes responsibility for their environmental footprint. They hand make all of their wares in Sydney, and take care to run the office and studio in a sustainable fashion. They also support environmentally sustainable initiatives. For example, they:

  • have offset all of their emissions in 2007/2008 with Climate Friendly to became a 100% climate neutral company.
  • have been audited and accredited by the CitySwitch program (formally 3CBD) run by the City of Sydney and the Department of Environment and Climate Change (DECC).
  • are part of the City of Sydney Green Leaders Program, a sustainability program for small to medium business in Sydney.

In 2008 Dinosaur Designs completed its first Green Leaders program and were judged as 75% more efficient than the industry average.

Liane Rossler has also been trained by Al Gore as a Climate Ambassador.

More about Dinosaur Designs


Jane Johnston , Education Project Officer
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