Fashion: steps towards a sustainable industry

September 14, 2016

How does fashion impact our environment? This is what I left wondering following a visit to Assemblage Project boutique.

Assemblage Project, an unique fashion boutique based in Canberra, carries a select number of top-quality designer labels from Australia and New Zealand. Owner and designer Karen Lee has an eye for beautiful fashion and high quality fabrics. Many of the labels stocked at Assemblage Project are designed and produce in a way that celebrates slow fashion and sustainability. assemblage-project-3

Why? Well, unfortunately fashion can be wasteful. Demanding production of cotton, chemicals used to turn raw materials into fabric, offcuts and recycling issues – it all ads up. So, how can fashion become more sustainable?

Sustainable fashion is about being kind to our environment, responsible with our resources and treating our fellow garment workers like human beings.

Throughout the lifecycle of a garment, there are several stages that we could do better.

  1. Using environmentally friendly materials e.g., bamboo, hemp, organic cotton.
  2. Employing energy and water efficient processes for dyes and finishes – or using natural dyes.
  3. Minimising distribution and supporting local designers. Importing and exporting around the world doesn’t leave a friendly carbon foot-print.
  4. Minimising waste in the production process or using the scraps for other purposes.
  5. Reusing, re-creating and op-shopping.

Based in Braddon, Canberra, the Assemblage Project sticks to a set of ethics. The boutique stores local and Australian brands such as SZN, Karen Lee, Pure Pod, Edition, High Tea with Mrs Woo and more!

Additionally, owner Karen Lee does not waste any retail space or time. Karen displays her impressive design studio right in the centre of the store. Walking into the boutique, you will see Karen sketching, sewing or cutting on a huge steel table and witnessing ideas and creativity come to life.

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In 2016, Assemblage Project will present several of its labels on the FASHFEST catwalk, showcasing different but complementary women’s aesthetics.

Curious for a sneak peak into the Karen’s personal style and perhaps a little of the spring/summer collection I asked her what she plans to wear to the fashion show.

“I have no idea yet. I have three weeks to draw up and design something!” Said Karen Lee.

No doubt, we will see something chic and effortless. I will keep my eyes peeled for Karen Lee on the FASHFEST red carpet.

FASHFEST 2016 will run from 29 September to 1 October at the National Convention Centre. Tickets are on sale now. You can see Assemblage Project and Karen Lee during ‘Spectra‘, closing night, Saturday 1 October, 6.30 pm.

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