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Eco Runway highlights importance of sustainable clothing

Four QMC students standing next to two outfits made from upcycled denim.
Harriet Holmes, Paget Chung, Charlotte Lee and Tulsi Patel with their Eco Fashion garments

QMC designs hit the runway in August as part of the Hutt Winter Fest Eco Fashion Runway Show.

Year 12 materials technology students Paget Chung, Harriet Holmes, Charlotte Lee, Isabelle Osborne and Tulsi Patel teamed up for the Up-cycled Challenge, created to give designers a taste of a runway show.

The event came as a follow-up to a half-year programme in materials technology focusing on sustainability in design and the impacts of the fashion industry on the environment.

The half-year unit is called Junky Styling. In this unit, students took design inspiration from the sustainable fashion practices of fashion designer Melanie Child to create a contemporary garment from post-consumer waste clothing, using only denim, suits and shirts.

Students were also required to carry out advanced pattern adaptations to an existing pattern to create a completely new, original design. The philosophy of Junky Styling is to take something discarded and create something new that’s of higher value than it was before.

Paget, Harriet, Charlotte, Isabelle and Tulsi combined their individual Junky Styling garments to create complete outfits for the Up-cycled Challenge.

Charlotte says the experience was “extremely exciting”.

“It was a great experience finishing up our garments and putting them together in an outfit to be displayed in front of a large audience,” she says.

“Although I was not able to attend the runway, I felt very proud of what we had made and presented. I also felt like, through this, we are taking steps towards making more sustainable fashion choices. By entering in a sustainable fashion section, we are showing that sustainable fashion doesn’t have to be boring and that you can still make a difference and have a voice through creativity.”

Paget says seeing the designs on the runway was a real highlight for her.

“I was very proud to see mine and my classmates’ garments being walked at the Hutt Winter Fest. It was also cool to see everyone’s garments turn out how we envisioned them to be, which definitely became surreal when shown as a collection and put together to create a full up-cycled outfit. I think being involved with the Eco Fashion Runway is a great opportunity for us and is hopefully the beginning of much more.”

Charlotte says the process taught her how easy it was to make sustainable clothing.

“I had already been making clothing at home. However, I had been using fabric on rolls and not pre-used garments. It was not as hard as I thought it would be, and as a result, I have been encouraged to make more sustainable garments in my own time.

“Although this project for sustainability involved making a garment to contribute positively to the environment, you do not have to know how to sew. Anyone can take steps towards having a more sustainable wardrobe by buying from second-hand stores and sustainable companies. You can also do DIY projects like repurposing old garments such as T-shirts into cleaning cloths.”