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Australian Fashion Industry, Commentary, Editorial

Death by Fashion

August 25

From the editor’s desk …


Almost overnight we have become used to consuming fashion with reckless, addicted abandon, buying more clothes than ever before, reversing centuries of fashion heritage, knowledge and understanding in the process.


Did you know in our contemporary fashion industry we create an estimate eighty billion new garments every year, of which approximately two million tonnes of apparel ends up in landfill every year?

Did you also know that it takes 11,000 – 20,000 litres of water to produce enough cotton to manufacture just one pair of jeans?

Have you heard of the book “To Die For” by Lucy Siegel? She describes fashion, as the queen of all the creative industries.

She speaks of an unwelcome revolution, where “almost overnight we have become used to consuming fashion with reckless, addicted abandon, buying more clothes than ever before, reversing centuries of fashion heritage, knowledge and understanding in the process”.

This girl makes almost too much sense, and her words are frightening in their truth.

Do you shop at Zara? H & M? Topshop? Do you ever wonder how your potential purchases affect the local designers in your own city?

As I walk through Sydney city, I often pop into Zara to check out the latest colours, designs and fashion on offer. Being a lover of pretty much any garment, my fashion senses are suitably nurtured by my visits to Zara as I love looking at the sea of creative flair which is refreshed on an almost fortnightly basis.

I often notice that many of the walk through customers are tempted to grab a great piece for a night out at a fairly low price. Any why wouldn’t they? Who wouldn’t want a nice fresh print, something new, at a very reasonable price which is great on the bank balance and which doesn’t put a dent in our conscience? The answer is clearly a lot of people.

Zara on any given day is buzzing, and I mean, buzzing, with wall to wall people who are obviously thinking the same way. But, thinking, might be the key here.

Zara is the Inditex fashion model which has enjoyed phenomenal success across the globe and appears to be growing at a great rate. At least in the fiscal way. But what about in a conscious, mindful, way. Should we not be embracing a greater level of awareness in this modern age around the creation, production and the ultimate offering of safe products. Fashion should not be exempt from these guidelines just because it is beautiful.

How much do we think about what we buy? Do we stop to consider where the garment was made and by whom? Do we consider the environmental impact those garments have had on our precious mother earth? Well the answer is some people do already and many more are starting to.

One such person who has become an expert on this topic is the author of “To Die For”, by Lucy Siegel, a British journalist focusing on the environmental, sustainability and ethics  In her book she describes …

In her recent podcast The Wardrobe to Die For, she talks about how our over consumption of buying endless piles of clothing that we could not possible need, use, or enjoy is literally strangling our world, filling up our landfill sites and is one of our 21st century diseases. One that some of use are still not aware of.

In her book, To Die For, she writes, “this is not my ‘beautiful’ wardrobe.  Every morning when I wake up I am directly confronted by my fashion history.  Mistakes, corrections, good buys, bad buys, comfort buys, drunk buys: they refuse to go away.  This is because my ‘primary’ wardrobe – as distinct from the other two wardrobes I’ve had to take over in the past ten years to accommodate the growing volume of my clothing collection – is opposite my bed, and the door, like a broken zipper, will no longer pull across to hide the tale of excess”.

In the words of Lucy Siegle.


I love fashion. But I want it to excite and inspire me, not to make me really, really angry.


The question is this. Should we develop a conscience around this type of shopping? I believe the answer is a very significant yes. When you ask? The time is right now. And if we have not fully understood before now how urgent this really is? Then we need to understand now.

Like never before.

Please don’t misunderstand me though as I am guilty of this type of purchase also. And Zara is not the only culprit. The Spanish company Inditex, is representative of the new model and has revolutionised the way we approach, and buy fashion. It has to stop. And soon. I have recently started to seriously consider the finer points of how “unthinking shopping” is affecting our local fashion industry, the state of our economy, the third world individual, and the environmental effect on mother earth. With the knowledge we currently have, we know that fashion production is the world’s second greatest pollutant. According to Lucy Siegel, it is estimated that eight hundred and forty million garments are produced every year by Zara alone and the owner, Amancio Ortegais listed as the third richest man in the world.

Clearly the business model works but it might just be one of the key influencers which leads to the horrible demise of our human existence. Sadly, I can’t even be upbeat and tell you that we will all go out looking well dressed either …

Sadly in the world of fast fashion, we have developed what Lucy Siegel has termed, micro trends, where we see a lightning fast translation of fashion from the cat walks to sales floor to wardrobe.

We often hear the term sustainable fashion bandied around. Whilst we are all familiar with the term I feel it is really important to understand exactly what it means. The google definition goes like this.

  1. Sustainable fashion, also called eco fashion, is a part of the growing design philosophy and trend of sustainability, the goal of which is to create a system which can be supported indefinitely in terms of environmentalism and social responsibility.

The reality in our everyday reality is that sadly, that not nearly enough designers are able to keep to the guidelines of sustainable production and practices even though they would like to simply because we do not support them enough financially for them to be able to make these kinds of important choices.

Recently, my most favourite designer of all time, at least in Australia, Kit Willow has launched her KitX label espousing the all important ideals of ethical production within the fashion industry. Naturally, it comes as no surprise to me that a woman with clearly so much phenomenal talent has taken up the role of the ultimate visionary for our local industry.

This excerpt of her recent interview with The Australian describes her long awaited re-entry into the Australian fashion scene and the launch of her newly created ethically sourced and manufactured line, along with her solid and affirmed relationship with David Jones.

The designer opened the show of 35 designers and labels, showcasing the debut collection for her KitX label. Just two years after being dumped from Willow, the label she founded, by its majority owners The Apparel Group, Podgornik has come back with an ethically and sustainably produced collection that has clearly struck a chord with the department store — and upstaged her former brand on the catwalk.

“(David Jones has) very much embraced my work from when I launched my first brand from its first collection, so it’s nice to get this wholehearted embrace for KitX and it’s wonderful to be able to open the show,” Podgornik told The Australian.

The collection goes into 16 stores across Australia, an impressive number for a contemporary label in its first season, which Podgornik puts down to her longstanding relationship with the ­retailer and its customers.

“I had a very strong connection with the customer so I think that’s probably front and foremost (in the decision) and why they’ve backed it like they have,’’ she said.

“The other thing in this collection is that quite a large part of it is ­organic jersey, which is really well price-pointed, which allows a broader customer base to buy into the brand.”  Read the full article.

My question is this.

Can we afford not to educate ourselves about this important issue.  I am not saying don’t ever buy high street labels, but I am saying, do it consciously.

Think about where the garments you purchase have been manufactured and produced and the effect that it’s production has had on that particular local community and the processes undertaken in its creation.

Has it helped them or has it kept them locked into a third world reality.

Please think about the ethical and moral investment in relation to the piece you buy. Do you intend to keep it, love it wear it, and cherish it? Will it be a long term marriage, or will you discard it after one wear and let it fill up the toxic piles of landfill that are already strangling our beautiful earth?

Lucy Siegel’s words, and even those of your grandchildren, might just be ringing in your ears if you don’t …

Until next time.

Jade xx

Label Ministry logo which is a picture of a stylised coathanger

Australian Fashion Industry, Commentary, Editorial

Spray Tans, Acrylics and Vocal Fry

August 12
Facial Shot of Kim Kardashian

From the editor’s desk…


I am interested in the exploration and the crucially important examination of why women feel the need to change their looks, and even worse, try to look like everyone else their age. Particularly when they are young, bursting with life’s joys and beautiful to start with.


Ok. I can’t take it anymore.

This obsession with all things false and unnatural being presented to women of all ages, on an almost daily basis. The constant suggestion and forced selling of a standardised image conveyed by the media and its industry partners which we are supposed to embrace as the norm.

I am all for beauty but I can’t keep up with this phenomena which is keeping women financially compromised and more importantly stopping them from being truly happy with themselves.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for looking after oneself and making the commitment to be healthy, happy and beautiful for the duration of our lives.

I am prepared to spend real money to look after my hair, my body and my skin, but consistently paying out to actually ruin your natural good looks?

Nope. Can’t condone this one anymore and I don’t care what celebrity is selling it.

I’m talking about our obsession and I mean, obsession, with tweaking every part of ourselves, visible or not, to conform to a standard which quite frankly is anything but natural or even attractive. There I’ve said it. And I and I am feeling much better.

Continue Reading…

Australian Fashion Industry, Commentary, Global Fashion Industry, Interview

An Hour with … Chisato Chris Arai

June 29


Model in a photo shoot dressed with native Indian hair and multi coloured patterned jacket

Photography & Styling: Karlstrom Creatives MUA/Hair: Chisato Chris Arai


I am really excited to bring you this interview with Chisato Chris Arai, a Japanese makeup artist who is based in Sydney.

Chisato travels far and wide with her work, namely New York, Paris and Milan fashion weeks every year in addition to her local work in and around Sydney.

With a background in fine arts and formal training for hair and makeup from Hollywood, her phenomenal talent is highly sort after and it is not hard to see why. She has loved makeup since she was young and her work was literally born of a childhood dream. Enormously passionate about her career, she says she will live and breathe it forever!

Her current work revolves around many diverse projects which include editorials, commercials, film and fashion runways.  

Enjoy xx


Your inner beauty shows on the outside, so be the most beautiful you! You must take care of both your inner and outer beauty.



What inspired you to become makeup artist?


I have always had a passion for visual art, particularly in make up artistry, even as a kid. I was inspired by and copied the make up of classic Hollywood actresses like Marlene Dietrich and Marilyn Monroe.


Do you travel the world from one fashion week you to another?


Yes! I’m very fortunate each year to be able to make attend fashion weeks in New York, Milan and Paris.

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Australian Fashion Industry, Bloggers, Commentary, Interview, MBFW

Backstage at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week 2015 … with Serpent and the Swan

April 30
Model standing, ready and waiting backstage at Serpent and the Swan

… inspired by a shared childhood love of the animal kingdom and a somewhat dark and morbid fascination with the anatomy of creatures and their mystical incarnations.

Three models at Serpent and the Swan backstage before the show

Runway Ready.

During Mercedes Benz Fashion Week this year, I was privileged to be able to interview some of Australia’s most iconic designers. These interviews will make up a series of articles which will appear on the Label Ministry website in an effort to bring awareness, greater popularity and support to people who year in, year out, dedicate their creative minds and talents to the Australian fashion industry.

This weeks expose is Serpent and the Swan, a Sydney label which has now maintained a strong following and significant foothold within our industry since 2009.

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Australian Fashion Industry, Commentary, Interview, MBFW

Stevie May

April 30
Two models sitting on a table before the show at Stevie May


I have a lot in common with Stevie. We’re both relaxed in our styling but we’re also conscious of elements like form and texture. I love the idea of being friends with Stevie. She’s a cool chick!

One of the most exciting things about attending Mercedes Benz Fashion Week this year was the opportunity I had to interview the designer behind Stevie May, Cassie Vecchione.

Cassie who lives in Byron Bay, travelled to Sydney to unveil her first collection for the label, Stevie May admist the hype of fashion week.

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Australian Fashion Industry, Commentary, Interview

Lui Hon

April 8
Four models walking down the catwalk at the Lui Hon runway show in Melbourne in different coloured dresses.

The names given to my collections seem to happen in the moment of time […] I truly believe that everyone has a “little hero” inside of them.

My heart beats with excitement as I survey the beautifully serene space, lined with chairs upon sleek, dark floorboards. Streams of natural light pour in through side windows. The models have been carefully selected by virtue of both their beauty and their ability to “glide”. The space is ethereal – its long, expansive wings balanced effortlessly by a live musical performance by a woman named Ping. She plays an ancient Chinese instrument called a Gu Zheng, the sound of which literally transports me back to an ancient time. With a face of enigmatic calm, Ping plucks its eighteen strings with a pick made of the shell of a hawksbill turtle.

The space is the RMIT design hub in Melbourne’s Carlton.

The event – Open Endedness – Lui Hon Prive Show 2015/2016

The man behind it all – the incomparable Lui Hon.

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My Little Fashion Revolution

February 17
Model in a black dress and black hat walking the runway in front of an audience

Featured Image from Vogue

During Winter 2014, I thought I would venture out into the retail world of Sydney to see what gorgeous fashions needed to be taken home.

Every season, I love to go and see what ranges of colours, shapes, fabrics, patterns, lengths, and accessories adorn the shelves of my favourite designers, and I have to say this season, I was nothing but extremely disappointed.

This year I had an important event that I needed to be beautifully dressed for and so I admit that I was looking for something special. Like a beautiful skirt for example?

But. Then. Whoa!

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Generation Inked

February 8


Featured Image: Full-body tattoo byMohamed El Dahshan. Photo from Flickr.

Inked. Yep. It looks like tattoos are here to stay. Or so it seems.

When the day arrives and tattoos are no longer fashionable, there will be a sea of people and I mean, a sea of people, heading to … well, the place that removes tattoos. Whatever that place is. Cosmetic surgeons or beauty salons with laser machines? Or maybe people will go back to the tattoo parlour they went to in the first place. If I was enterprising in a different kind of way, I would be thinking about opening up a tattoo removal shop, because if my predictions are anything to go by, I reckon the tattoo removalists are going to get busy. Really busy.

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