Buffalo  Melbourne 3 & 4: Jennifer (last post for trip)

Today was a great day to wrap up the whole trip. We started at RMIT for a student Q&A session. You would think that as students, Bec, Anna, Yuqi, and I might be a tad nervous that some of these questions may be too hard for us to answer, but surprisingly ensuring that we learned on this trip came together and we were able to answer everything (with some faculty help of course, since they were on the panel with us).

I’ll write out just a few of the questions that I believe we should all know the answer to and what our answers were as well (some of them will be shortened).

How do we shift the fast paced market when everyone is fixated on what they need to have? How do we change consumer and government mindset?

Bec: Consumers ate naturally starting to change, because they ate getting bored. Companies should start becoming sustainable and should stop worrying about the consumer. The consumers don’t care and they are still going to purchase items if we give it to them.

Anna: Consumers can only do so much. Government’s need to get involved to stay the motions in large business’s, small business’s will naturally follow.

 

What can manufacturers do for sustainability?

Nick: Start to follow a ‘Cradle to Cradle’ model. Manufacturers can do a lot, but it really starts at the design level. Manufacturers follow the design, but the design and designer should look at the impact the garment makes on the environment and should think about how to make a garment recyclable.

 

What about the luxury end of the market?

Nick: There’s too much choice on the market all together… check out WWF ‘ article on luxury brands, “deeper luxury” just to see how good luxury brands are.

 

At the end Karen (one of the Connect members from RMIT and fashion department head) said a few words and I’ll share one phrase specifically because it sums up everything, “Come up with solutions and share them together.” This was shared with us in Manchester and it is wonderful to hear it again in Melbourne. We can be the solution. The fashion industry may be a consumption monster but it can change that. This industry is constantly changing to fit new markets, change ideas, become innovative, so it can accept sustainable practices and it can become responsible.

Like I said it was a fantastic Q&A yesterday. It was recorded so I hope you are able to watch it once it becomes available. Sadly enough tomorrow ( Saturday the 21) is our last day together as a team and last day of true focus for the project. It is hard to think that we won’t be together, practically living with each other and flying off to yet another country. My group has been utterly fantastic. The faculty members helped to increase our understanding as well as make us laugh and push us into directions we never thought were possible. My fellow students became some really close friends and it is sad to think that they are going to be back all over the world after this weekend. We have truly become close buddies and we will miss each other.

After the Q&A session we went to visit some of the local independent retailers and boutiques. The first was a millier Richard Nylon. I absolutely loved him; his perspective on design was hilarious. He said some of his clients are resistant to buy a hat: “If I wear a hat people will look at me; well that’s the point!” He loves making hats but he also makes Fascinators,  “Fascinators are the gateway drug to larger pieces.” For his thoughts on sustainability, “you have to be resourceful and use what you are given.”

We then visited a special occasion dress boutique, Geraldyne. She makes dresses that are inspired by art deco. She actually surprised me with her inspiration by saying architect Frank Lloyd Wright inspires her, which some of his best works are in Buffalo… I’m not biased whatsoever. She also has found an innovative way of making wedding dresses sustainable. Wedding dresses are a one time use only purchase, she will make them in  way so the bride can alter it later to make it into a cocktail dress! This allows the dresses an extra use and lifecycle. Very innovative!

Alpha60 is a boutique that has fashion forward clothing designed by a brother and sister duo. They have been around for over ten years and have found really great success in the Australian market. They have 9 stores in total, and would love to go international. But it would be too hard because the items in the U.S. and Europe would have to be a different season than Australia. I never thought of that, it’s easy for a large company such as H&March or Zara but not for a smaller company.

The next day, or today, we went to a couple hidden shops which are amazing! Karen took us around to all of them, she’s in the know!

We also went to the zoo and saw our first Kangaroos and Koalas!

But, no matter how fun our day was some of us were leaving that day. We all had to say goodbye. It is crazy how close we have become! We are all a family now, and for some of us it was a really teary goodbye. This trip meant a lot to us and we accomplished so much. In closing for the blogs, research on your own about sustainability, share with others around you, participate on April 24 for Fashion Revolution, and make right choices with your clothing! Stay tuned for our papers and other conclusion materials that come from this project.

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Lynn Boorady

Written by Lynn Boorady