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Fair@Square Ethical Fashion Show

Jess Pang

Wed Dec 14 2011


THE recent Fair@Square Ethical Fashion Show has proven Melbourne fashion lovers care about more than just looking chic.

It was an evening that gathered more than 200 fashion lovers (and environment supporters) to the BMW Edge to celebrate sustainable fashion.

Eco-fashion is picking up pace as more of us realize the impact of the mainstream fashion industry on out increasingly fragile environment.

Billions of dollars worth of pesticides are sprayed on cotton crops every year, polluting the environment and harming producers all over the world.  Ethical considerations are also a part of the new consciousness. Almost 40 million garment and textile workers worldwide are subject to unsafe working conditions, wage slavery, sweatshops and forced overtime.

But being green doesn’t mean you have to look like a tree! Eco-fashion no longer means scratchy burlap dresses. With ecology in mind, some of the world’s hottest fashion designers are whipping up ‘fashion with a conscience’, incorporating bamboo, organic cotton and other alternative fibres into their stunning pieces.

So here’s a peek into your wardrobe of the future. That sleek bodysuit? Woven from bamboo threads. That bright orange sheath? Corn fiber. That abstract statement necklace? Recycled brass and timber.

Here are some of the best ethical fashion labels from last week’s Fair@Square event. With these garments on, you’ll look good and feel good.

Above: Cylk and Hand Hook Yarn. Photo: Shaun Lee.

Minimalist designer Cylk pioneers seamless knitting and development of sustainable yarn to create feminine yet eccentric pieces. While the Brunswick original label Hand Hook Yarn creates beautiful collars and tassels décolletage that are inspired from eras throughout history.

Above: Bhalo’s. Photo: Shaun Lee.

Local designers Bhalo’s transforms travel inspirations into colorful silk scarves with graphic prints. The label also makes garments with ethically hand woven and naturally dyed cottons.

Above: Bacchara. Photo: Shaun Lee.

Not only does Bacchara excels in crafting stunning frocks, founder Amanda Ryan and team also work with the Jaggo Foundation School and a local sewing centre in Bangladesh to improve the quality of life and education for women and children there.

Above: Elgar & Lyle. Photo: Shaun Lee.

And finally, Elgar & Lyle recycles timber, brass, laminate and other materials to make handmade accessories. The designer’ s aim is to reduce construction waste in landfills and put waste to a greater use.

After all, it’s not enough to look good anymore. You have to know a thing or two about the eco scene.

These four designers believe you have to do good by using environmentally friendly materials manufactured under humane working conditions. It’s important for everyone to know that the clothes they are wearing have a fitting story behind them.