By Laura Gardner, Research Assistant for the School of Fashion and Textiles
As we come into October, and Spring weather, we have a few things to wrap up for last month. It’s been a busy one for the School of Fashion and Textiles with Melbourne Fashion Week (M/FW) as well as the exhibition ‘Fast Fashion: The dark side of fashion’ at RMIT Gallery. So, in case you missed them or perhaps are in need of a reminder, here are some recent happenings from F&T undergraduates, postgraduates and faculty of staff this last month gone by.
M/FW Student Runway, September 7
As one of the favourites on the M/FW schedule, this year’s M/FW Student Runway did not disappoint in showcasing some of the creative and innovative talent emerging from the School of Fashion and Textiles’ Bachelor of Fashion (Design)(Honours) course.
Opening the show with her primary-coloured geometric forms, Zoe Zou’s collection ‘2 & 3’ played with the movement between second and third dimensions. The diverse mix of designs that followed ranged from the conceptual, seen in Jessica Gregory’s use of text in design process; the critical with Alex McQuire and Abhaya Aullen Mistry’s interrogation of the role of fashion in everyday life; to the theatrical creations of Melissa Dimakis and Xiangqiao (Remy) Sheng, whose sequin-dripping collection closed the show.
The exciting event provides a critical platform for students of the course, offering the future designers exposure and engagement with industry and the general public. Participating student Zoe Zou shared her thoughts on the event: “A good representation of what it was like to prepare for M/FW was seeing all twenty of us at the town hall few days before the show; half of us were finishing off last-minute sewing, while the other half were asleep under a chair. It was definitely hard work, but all worth it to see our work showcased in front of hundreds of people. We knew there would be surprises but we had to think fast and logically about things like a garment or an ill-fitting pair of shoes. The production of the show was great and the team at M/FW were very supportive along the way.”
M/FW Vogue Fashion Night Out – September 1
On Friday evening, September 1 Melbourne retail came to life extending their opening hours with events and cultural programming as part of Vogue Fashion Night out. As part of the event, Melbourne Central featured an installation by Bachelor of Fashion (Design)(Honours) final year students as well as students from the Master of Fashion (Design) course. In one section, the students created an editorial shoot styling their work that was displayed in a monochromatic installation of baby pink milk crates piled in the light-filled passageway that bridges Melbourne Central with Emporium shopping centre. Elsewhere in Melbourne central, a glass cabinet enclosed a selection of work, showcasing the students’ creations in a static display with final year RMIT Bachelor of Fashion (Design) (Honours) Liesel Vella taking home the ‘People’s Choice’ award for her floral creations.
M/FW Industry Events – Monday September 4
RMIT’s Involvement as part of M/FW’s suite of industry events and discussions continue to strengthen the School of Fashion and Textiles industry connections. Facilitating a panel as part of the ‘Industry Strategies for Growth’ program, the School’s Deputy Head of Industry Engagement, Kiri Delly lead a discussion on strategies for preparing brands for export, addressing creative, legal and logistical issues involved in exporting fashion brands and retail together with Monica Lim (of e-commerce independent designer marketplace Alice is back), Gonul Serbest (Executive Director of Trade, Trade Victoria) and Marine Guillou (Phillips Ormonde Fitzpatrick) .
‘Fast Fashion: The dark side of fashion’ at RMIT Gallery, July 21 – September 9
Also wrapping up this month, RMIT Gallery hosted the exhibition ‘Fast Fashion: The dark side of fashion’ which brought together creative and innovative approaches to address the imminent ethical and sustainable challenges facing the fashion industry. The travelling exhibition, curated by Dr. Claudia Banz from the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Hamburg (MKG), was brought about by a collaboration with DBU Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt and the Goethe-Institut.
As part of RMIT Gallery’s Melbourne iteration, the School of Fashion and Textiles’ Slow Fashion Lab, curated by Jenny Underwood, explores new fashion practices and experiences to bring about positive change. The section featured works and projects by RMIT staff, researchers and practitioners including Lucie Ketelsen, Jane Morley, Tania Splawa-Neyman, Jo Cramer and Georgia McCorkill, among others.
As part of Fast Fashion’s exhibition program, ACMI held a screening and panel discussion of the film ‘Traceable’, a documentary which follows designer Laura Siegel through fashion’s supply chain, directed by Jennifer Sharpe on September 3. Head of School Professor Robyn Healy was joined in a conversation with designer, consultant and educator Clara Vuletich and designer Courtney Holm, to address some of the major issues in facing, and evolving out of many of the apparent unsustainable and unethical practices in fashion, bringing perspectives from education as well as creative practice.