Browsing Tag

Ethical Fashion

Aussie Fashion, Australian Designer, Australian Fashion, Australian Fashion Industry, Interview, Melbourne Fashion Festival, VAMFF

The Fashion Advocate

February 28
Girl sitting on a chair slouched back in a modelling shoot with black top, black leather pants and high black stilettos.


Tatyana Designs

Tatyana Designs

Runways are crucial to the development of fashion. They illustrate a moment in time, a shift in trends, a certain look, they reflect the current culture and they represent who we are. It’s not just a string of clothes on a catwalk – it’s a story. Runways are stories, and they’re special.

Claire Goldsworthy, The Fashion Advocate.

It’s that time of year again. VAMFF is here. The Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival  is fast approaching and the city of Melbourne and fashion devotees from far and wide make their way to the eighteen day long festival. As tribute to this years festival the star of this article is Claire Goldsworthy. A girl after my own heart.

She is the passionate fashionista and founder of the print and digital magazine, The Fashion Advocate and the creator of the collaborative brainchild, The Dress Collective. A collective of emerging Australian designers who manufacture their product in Australia.

This year Claire is at the helm. The Fashion Advocate Runway is a hand-picked collection of emerging Australian designers from around the country. As a vocal and passionate advocate of Australian fashion myself, this runway is one not to be missed by virtue of the fact that its focal point is Australian designers who manufacture in Australia.

Contrary to popular belief there are many emerging and established designers who still manufacture in Australia. In my opinion we should all be following them with great interest, applauding their ethics and moral values, and then setting aside our fashion budget to committing to buying their product, thus supporting their work, and most importantly keeping them in business.

Claire Goldsworthy describes “fast fashion” as “The dirty F-word”! I couldn’t agree more!

Why do we buy fast, dirty, cheap, badly made, unethically produced, highly pollutive fast fashion? Designs that are all too often ripped off from the world’s top designers?? If you have the answer, please let me know, because I am totally miffed as to why these fast fashion giants have such an enormous share of our fashion market. I have written many an article about supporting local Australian fashion and all of you who follow me (God love you all!), well know my opinion on this important subject. Some of you may have already read my article on the Zara Phenomenon

Have we become such lazy and disinterested sheep that we are incapable of thinking for ourselves? Are we so disinterested in our own local fashion market, and our own economy that we have just given up fighting for what is right? Please. Pretty Please. Buy Australian Made Fashion. Support Australian Designers. Vote with your fashion dollar to create much needed change.

Girl sitting on a chair slouched back in a modelling shoot with black top, black leather pants and high black stilettos.

Mhoo Mhoo

Anyhow, back to The Fashion Advocate.

Isn’t it just soooo refreshing to find someone who champions the importance of showcasing, supporting, and bringing to the spotlight, Australian designers, who produce sustainable, ethical product and manufacture in Australia.

Meet Claire Goldsworthy. She is. The Fashion Advocate.

Melbourne Entrepreneur. Fashionista. Editor. Founder of The Dress Collective. Runway Curator. Lover of Australian fashion. Gem.

If you would like to attend the The Fashion Advocate Runway on March 11 get in quick because tix are selling fast!

Here is her story.

Until next time,

Jade xx


VAMFF … Book your tix! March 01 – March 19 2017


Fast fashion has no meaning, no purpose, and no value …

Claire Goldsworthy, The Fashion Advocate.


What is the work of The Fashion Advocate?


The Fashion Advocate is a print and digital magazine dedicated to Australian made fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands, with a focus on ethical and sustainable content.


What has been the major inspiration for your work?


I wanted to see change. It drives me mad to see the plethora of fast fashion in shopping centres selling for five dollars a piece. How on earth can a garment be made, transported and retailed for five dollars?

It can’t – unless it’s been created under unsustainable and unethical standards. I was sick of seeing fast fashion crap. Sick of the facts and figures that get released every year about the negative environmental impacts of the fashion industry, and sick and tired of seeing the same style top in ten different stores.

It’s robotic.

Fast fashion has no meaning, no purpose, no value.

The inspiration for The Fashion Advocate was my desire for change; I wanted to promote fashion that matters. I wanted to inspire other people to start thinking about the impact of their shopping habits. I launched The Fashion Advocate to support Australian brands who have morals, values and ethics. To introduce consumers to a range of options that they might not otherwise have known about.

Pale girl with red hair and red lipstick standing in front of a beige wall and flowers being photographed in a modelling shoot in a pale pink satin dress. Designer Teagan Jacobs.

‘Blushed’ By Teagan Jacobs


You are a fashion designer yourself. How does that assist you in understanding the difficulties other designers face?


I launched my own fashion label straight out of high school and worked everything out the hard way from the bottom up. I have a first-hand understanding of the blood, sweat and tears that go into a locally made fashion label because I’ve been there and done that. I’ve since put that label to rest as my aesthetic has changed, but having the first hand experience exposed me to the ups and downs of fashion.

I understand what brands go through. It helps me connect with designers and it’s not a foreign topic; fashion is simultaneously heart-breakingly hard. It conjures up so many different emotions. My experience helps me write about fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands in a personal way because I get it.

Line up of models waiting to walk the runway at a fashion event. Designs by Habadakas.



How much has your own label, Harriette Hill, influenced your own work?


Although I don’t run the brand anymore, it all started with Harriette Hill… My love of vintage fabrics, traditional sewing techniques and my ethical values all stem from my first brand. When I inherited my great grandmother’s 1950’s and 1960’s fabric collection, I was forced to find ways to make it last and so my journey into sustainability began.


How important do you believe is the unveiling of collections on the runway?


Runways are crucial to the development of fashion.

They illustrate a moment in time, a shift in trends, a certain look.

They reflect the current culture and represent who we are. It’s not just a string of clothes on a catwalk – it’s a story.

Runways are stories, and they’re special.

Model standing in front of a pale blue wall in an emerald green slinky dress by Dida.



Yes. Yes. Yes!


How was The Dress Collective birthed?


Much the same as The Fashion Advocate – I wanted to see change. I had always been interested in fashion and over the years, I worked nationally and internationally in retail, brand management, PR and marketing, runway management, creative direction for various brands large and small, and always in fashion.

I was never truly content with working for other brands as their values and ethics didn’t quite align with mine. I launched The Dress Collective in 2015 to make a positive change for the fashion industry. I just couldn’t sit back and watch the damage anymore.


Please describe the role of The Dress Collective?


The Dress Collective is an online store that sells only 100 per cent Australian made fashion. It’s also 100 per cent transparent and each designers story is attached to every single item we sell, along with the garment’s design and manufacturing origins. The Dress Collective is more than just an online shop for Australian designers though; it’s a support network and creative foundation, built on a vision of positive and sustainable growth for the future of the Australian fashion industry. It doesn’t focus solely on ‘trends’ or seasonal collections, because that can sometimes create the ideal of ‘past season’ or ‘out of fashion’. Instead, The Dress Collective helps consumers make long term decisions about their wardrobe by introducing them to high quality, trans-seasonal and unique labels.


How difficult is it for Australian labels to produce their collections in Australia?


Contrary to popular belief, quite easy.

The cost is sometimes higher, but we do have a host of high quality manufacturers in Australia. The question though is about values and profit.

Is it difficult to manufacture in Australia? No.

Is it difficult to compete with fast fashion when you manufacture in Australia? Yes.

Local manufacturing can be costly, which drives up the cost of the final garment, but the value is in the ethical benefits of local manufacturing, so it depends on what you value and which part of the production cycle you consider to be more important.

Model standing in an urban street scene wearing a cropped black t with netting and loose black and white pants.

Cameron & James


What do you believe is the greatest challenge facing Australian designers in our current market?


Fast fashion. The dirty F-word!

People are hungry for unique clothing; the challenge isn’t demand as there’s plenty of that.

It’s the cheap fast fashion that causes a problem, and it starts to desensitise people to the bigger problem. You don’t think much about a twenty dollar top because you’d pay the same for pizza, therefore you’re more likely to throw it away, not care for it, and replace it with another twenty dollar top.

It’s a vicious cycle and it’s a hard one to break. The constant struggle is educating people about the importance of supporting local brands and the play-off between fast and slow fashion is an enormous challenge.


What is your opinion of fast fashion? What do you believe is its future?


Fast fashion has ruined our industry, globally.

It’s raping and pillaging the earth, killing garment workers and devaluing something that deserves so much more credit and thought. I do believe that people are slowly waking up to the impact of fast fashion and slowly making better choices, but it’s going to take a long time to see a total shift.

I won’t stop fighting for slow fashion though, no matter long it takes.

Model lying on steps with tussled blonde hair and sunglasses for a swimwear shoot wearing a black bikini and draped cardigan.

Sets of Seven


What do you most love about Australian fashion?


The diversity of it. I know labels that make entire garments out of pompoms, and some that make entire garments out of repurposed jeans. There are so many unique and diverse labels locally. I love it! Australian designers tend to be very self-driven and not focus on global trends too much because of the differences in season and locality compared with the rest of the world.


What are your favourite Australian labels?


All of the labels I stock online at The Dress Collective!

I hand pick them and they’re all so unique, yet very wearable and practical. Black Mob is incredible – it’s unisex and very vocal about the issues it stands for, I love it. DEVOI is another of my favourites; I absolutely love bright colour and prints, and this label delivers both.

Model in a studio with hair bunched up in pigtails wearing a see-through cropped net top with scalloped pink collar with large peddle-pusher wide pink pants with white sneakers and bright pink laces.

Rayan Ardati


Please share your views on the importance of ethical and sustainable fashion production?


It’s not even a question for me – you either engage ethical and sustainable practices, or you shouldn’t be running a business. If you are going to offer a product to the world, it is your responsibility to do so in an ethical manner; the harm of people or the environment shouldn’t be something that is gambled in the process. It is so very simple to ensure ethical and sustainable production and something you choose. Every step of the process is a choice for brands. We live in an incredible country and we are so very fortunate; we take it for granted. No-one in Australia would accept the garment factory working conditions or pay that are ‘the norm’ in third world countries. No-one would show up to work in Australia for those conditions. If you wouldn’t accept it for yourself, you shouldn’t accept it for any other person involved in the cycle of your business.


How does VAMFF differ to the other events across the Australian fashion calendar?


I love VAMFF!

It is such an inclusive, diverse festival that appeals to so many different people from all walks of life. The main fashion week is of course very targeted to your fashion-nuts, but the wider calendar includes beauty events, styling workshops, business seminars, shopping activations, film, photography … there’s something for everyone and I’m all about inclusion and diversity.


I believe you are curating your own show this year at VAMFF – The Fashion Advocate Runway. Please tell us more …


I am SO excited to be curating this event! I’ve handpicked twelve labels from around the country to showcase the diversity and talent of the Australian fashion industry, and all labels are entirely Australian made.

There tends to be a stigma around Australian made fashion and I’m working endlessly to ensure that the wider public understands the industry. People don’t realise that everything you need in your wardrobe – whether it be corporate attire, lingerie, formal wear, swimwear, sleepwear, whatever – can be bought from designers who manufacture locally. The details have been meticulously planned, from the local cocktails on offer to the gifts in the VIP bags – it’s all about Australian made. I’ve partnered with Luna Park too; I’m honoured to be hosting an event at such an iconic and historic venue, it all ties in with the message of valuing local, our roots and delving deeper into everything we buy, wear and engage with.

It’s going to be a very special event!


And indeed it will be! The designers are …

HabadakasTatyana DesignVincent LiDiidap’junk by Kate HannahOroceo CastroLorenza The LabelRayan ArdatiCameron & JamesMhoo MhooBlushed by Teagan Jacobs, and Fool.

Two girls holding hands on a lush green lawn wearing pretty dresses.

Lorenza The Label


If you could speak openly, what would you say to Australian consumers?


Buy less, choose well, shop local. Start thinking about the impact of your choices and start creating the kind of world that you want for future generations; the world’s resources are not infinite. Support your local designers and design your own image around the message you want to promote; use fashion as a method of positive impact and change.


How can we best support emerging designers in Australia?


By shopping online at The Dress Collective!

Shameless plug!


Love a shameless plug!

Come on peeps … Shop. Shop. Shop!

Asian model half lying down looking backwards and to the side wearing designs by Vincent Li.

Vincent Li

The Fashion Advocate Runway Designer Line-Up

Follow them on Instagram and show your support!

Habadakas Instagram, Tatyana Design Instagram, Vincent Li Instagram, Diida Instagram, p’junk by Kate Hannah, Oreceo Castro, Lorenza The Label, Rayan Ardati, Cameron & James, Mhoo Mhoo, ‘Blushed’ by Teagan Jacobs, and Fool.

SHOP The Dress Collective!

Annabelle and EveAwaken The HausAzulant AkoraBlack Mob The LabelCameron & JamesDevoiDon’t Do PrettyEspire ClothingHarriette HillJudeLetitia GreenMarcela’s AccessoriesMici JayOroceo CastroRbcca KstrSets of SevenTatyana DesignThe Spotted Quoll StudioVincent LiVousWhy Mary

Model sitting in a photographic studio with dark hair, black and white top and bright red skirt. Designer, Oroceo Castro.

Orocéo Castro

Remember …

“Buy less, choose well, shop local. Start thinking about the impact of your choices and start creating the kind of world that you want for future generations; the world’s resources are not infinite. Support your local designers and design your own image around the message you want to promote; use fashion as a method of positive impact and change”.

Claire Goldsworthy, The Fashion Advocate.


Picture of Luna Park in Melbourne, Victoria. One of the runway venues for this years Virgin Australia's Melbourne Fashion Festival.

The Fashion Advocate Runway Venue

See you at VAMFF 2017! …

Until next time,

Jade xx

Coat Hanger Logo done in black on white in the style of chinese calligraphy and paint brushing style with the words Label Ministry placed in capital letters below it.



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