Fashion Less Waste 2010: Biodiverse

We are in suspense. Entries for Fashion Less Waste 2010: Biodiverse have closed. Our judges now face the challenge of choosing finalists. The entry standard is high, and the competition is fierce. Watch this space for developments.

Graphic for Fashion Less Waste 2010

Andrea Sturgeon  © Australian Museum

Fashion Less Waste competition entrants 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!

In this International Year of Biodiversity, entries have been visibly inspired by the shapes and/or colours and/or textures of one or more of our fabulous Australian animals, living or extinct. You should see the entry photographs!

Our annual Fashion Less Waste fashion design competition has two categories – Secondary School (Years 7 to 12) and Tertiary, TAFE and Design Schools. Entrants can design and/or make their entries during a class activity. Alternatively, they can develop and submit an entry independently, at home.

The competition aims to fashion a less wasteful world by encouraging entrants and onlookers to:

  • 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

Events to date

The competition closed on the 6th of April. We're delighted by the high standard of the entries. Thank you to everyone who entered.

What happens next?

Next week, up to ten finalists from each category will be chosen, as entries are judged against the equal-weighted criteria:

  • Craftsmanship
  • Originality
  • Style (including the incorporation of elements of the inspiring animals)
  • Use of materials that were originally used for a non-clothing purpose

Finalists will be notified of their selection by email by the 1st of May, and their names will be posted on the Australian Museum website. The entries of the finalists will then be paraded along a ‘red-carpet runway’ at a Teachers Preview Night at the Museum on the 27th of May. Finalists can choose to model their own entries, or organise someone else to model for them.

The winners and runners-up will be decided and announced on the night. The winner of each category will receive $500, and the two runners-up of each category will each receive $250.

Where can I see the outfits?

The Teachers Preview Night is open to all teachers. Teachers can click here for the event details, and to know how to rsvp. Otherwise this night is invite only. Each finalist can invite a small number of family and friends.

Rest assured that if you can’t attend, you will still be able to view video and photographs of the parade on the Australian Museum website. At least one photograph of every finalist entry will be posted.

Also, the winners and runners-up in each category will be on temporary public display at the Strand Arcade through June. Then they will be on temporary public display at the Australian Museum.

Our judges

The judges for this year's Fashion Less Waste competition are (in alphabetical first-name order):

Akira Isogawa of Akira

Akira Isogawa is one of Australia's most celebrated designers, achieving international recognition for his exquisite contemporary designs. Since 1998, he has shown his collections in Paris to international buyers and has built a strong clientele of Australia's most successful and individual women.

Akira's approach to sustainable fashion is profoundly evident in his creation of timeless beauty and femininity. He often re-uses vintage textiles in his garments, reviving them and giving them new life. Akira believes a garment can transcend, giving it a soul. ’Past, Present and Future’ is a slogan embedded within his design philosophy and process.

More about Akira

Emily Chesher of Swapstyle

Sydney-based Emily Chesher founded the website swapstyle.com in 2004 to allow women from around the world to swap fashion and accessories for free. Emily came up with the idea for swapstyle.com while she was studying fashion design, and was shocked by what she learnt about the wasteful nature of the prevailing fashion manufacturing process. She decided to cut short her studies, and instead set about creating the world’s first free fashion swap site, where consumerism and waste is pushed aside, and sharing and recycling is the norm. The site has fast become recognised as the world’s largest fashion swap site, with over 50,000 members world-wide and over a million fashion items swapped per year!

In recognition of her efforts to make fashion more sustainable, swapstyle won the Environment 2.0 category of the News.com.au 2009 Green Awards.

More about swapstyle.com

Kara Smith of Kara Smith

Kara produces handbags which are each unique and hand-made. In these fabulous bags, she only uses fabric which is sourced for sustainability. Some fabric is vintage, and was never used by its original owner. Other fabrics were off-cuts or once part of something else, perhaps a used clothing item, maybe a beloved jacket with a hole that was destined to be binned. Kara also chooses her fabrics for head-turning appeal. Her salvaged buttons and buckles are chosen with an eye for the odd, delightful and the cute. These fabrics, buckles and buttons are combined in handbags of Kara’s own design, all hand-made in the Blue Mountains by Kara, or by one of her two assistants.

While Kara is best known for her handbags, she also uses her stock of fabric, buttons and buckles to produce delightful scarves, baby and kids wear, and throws and quilts. You can buy Kara’s creations on her website, or from some selected stockists.

More about Kara Smith

Louise Olsen of Dinosaur Designs

Louise Olsen established Dinosaur Designs with Stephen Ormandy and Liane Rossler in her final year at Sydney Art School (CoFA). Having majored in painting and drawing, Louise moved towards creating more sculptural forms using clay, wood and fimo and then working with resin.

Through her design history with Dinosaur Designs, Louise has exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, been represented at the Milan furniture fair Italy (with the collective Unconscious), exhibited at the Tokyo Designer Block, and collaborated with Louis Vuitton on a resin chess set. In 2009, Louise was awarded the UNSW Alumni award for her achievements in the arts.

With three stores for their striking resin jewellery and homewares in Australia, Dinosaur Designs opened a fourth store in New York in 2002 and now export to ten additional countries around the world. Mother Nature continues to be an endless inspiration for ‘the dinosaurs’ as they work the boundaries between art, craft, design, fashion, business and the environment. For this reason, Dinosaur Designs finds it necessary to take responsibility for their environmental footprint and support environmentally sustainable initiatives.

More about Dinosaur Designs

Would you like to enter in 2011?

Students – gather inspiration for your entry in Fashion Less Waste 2011! Then start to gather your materials. Go on... unleash your creativity! What could you create?

In 2011, keep an eye on the Australian Museum website for an invitation and entry form. You could also ask teachers of subjects like Visual Arts, Textile Design, Fashion Design and Technology for an invitation.


Jane Johnston , Education Project Officer
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