Fashion Friday Five

Rebecca Varidel
27th Nov 2020

Getting back into life and stepping out in the world. Lock down, slow down, stop - I never resorted to trackie dacks but did lounge around at home in resort wear 24/7. How about you?

My new fresh fashion outlook to face the world started last Friday, swapping out winter for summer wardrobes as the weather became warm, clearing out the old, donating to Wayside Chapel op shop, and thinking about something new.

Then today I saw my local City of Sydney councillor, Jess Miller post on Instagram.

"If you're inbox is anything like mine, I'll bet you're being woo'd, cajoled, hoodwinked and tempted today into buying something, that you probably don't need."

Yeup. Today is Black Friday and the overwhelming all-consuming sales are on, smacking us in the face every which way we look. Long time supporter of sustainable, ethical and local fashion, and an original op shop queen to boot (pardon the pun), I dug around for some exciting Sydney fashion news that looks beyond fashion fast. So here it is, my first Fashion Friday Five.

Donna Sgro is one of nine Sydney-based artists and designers invited to exhibit in Isolate Make: Creative Resilience in a Pandemic which opened yesterday at the Australian Design Centre and runs until 27 January 2021 as part of Sydney Festival.

Clovelly is a collection of three dresses designed hand-made by Sgro while in isolation. Early in 2020, Sgro moved residence from the Inner West, where she lived for more than 20 years, to Clovelly. After the summer catastrophe of the bushfires, the heat, ash and humidity, she needed a sea change. Since March, Sgro has been working in her new home-studio, in isolation.

“I have been inspired by moving to the coastal area of Clovelly, where the vibrant qualities of light and colours in the environment feel invigorating, more especially since isolation during Covid-19. In this project, it is my sense of the beauty and energy in this environment that underpins the work I am doing” reflects Sgro.

The garments are named after each of the three Sydney-based creative women, with whom she designed. Her relationships with each of the women were formed through her work and creative practice and she wanted to celebrate them in the absence of physical proximity. Cecilia is a wise and generous colleague, academic and textile artist. Clare is a warm and engaging visual artist whose work spans contemporary art and performance. Claire has a performer’s curiosity tempered by calmness and clarity. Each woman is inspirational in their own way and the garments aim to celebrate the strength of each individual.

Sgro uses her novel approach to cutting and constructing garments, called ‘Dynamic Cutting.’ This method involves creating each garment individually without the use of commercial patterns or standard garment styles. As a designer motivated to evolve and innovate design methods, her approach is distinctly different from standard industrial practices in fashion. Each garment, made with care, consideration and a lot of love, is designed to be a unique wardrobe addition which can transcend seasons.

Black Fridye is a Sydney re-dye project by inner west Citizen Wolf designed specifically aiming to end disposable fashion. Black Fri-dye your preloved and still loved old clothes - dye credits are available to purchase this year until 4 December.

"Dye your clothes. Save the planet. Finally a sale that doesn't cost the earth."

"To be clear, Black Fridye isn't anti-sale but rather anti-disposable fashion - with fast fashion being the second most polluting industry on earth after oil & gas, something needs to change and pronto."

You send #BlackFridye your clothes. They dye them black and send 'em back. With 95% off your carbon footprint you can still get the same dopamine hit as buying something new, they claim. Better yet I reckon you get to refresh that feel you can only get when you've worn yourself into something. Looking good. Circular sounds better than forward to me.

"We've proudly built a coalition of 25 brand partners this year across various industries (not just fashion) all with a vested interest in elevating the discussion of sustainability and mindful consumption during the craziest (and sadly so often mindless) event of the retail calendar" Florence McGlynn from Citizen Wolf told me.

And, by the way Citizen Wolf  are also committed to quality sustainably made carbon negative tees that are made to last all year round.

Cammino shoes aren't from Sydney but they are a covid project launched this year by Aussie Melbourne shoe designer Katrino Verso. Transitioning from bare feet to her beautiful ballet flats has been easy on both my feet and the eye, and as I chose basic black it bought no think get back out there girl freedom, grounding any outfit. There's so much going on in my vibrant neighbourhood I haven't wandered far, but Cammino are on my feet (nearly) every day. I'm not occasionally swapping flats for heels, currently I am replacing them. The ballet flats are designed with an inner sole that moulds to your foot and are sooooooo comfortable, while being beautiful and beautifully crafted. 

Verso created Cammino when she realized that life is busy, and we often run through it with either beautiful yet impractical or functional but unfashionable shoes. Now we can have our comfy shoes and wear them fashionably too, I reckon. Cammino means "to walk" in Italian.

Cammino flats are expertly crafted in the region of Le Marche, Italy. This region, also known as ‘la Valle della Scarpa’ (the Shoe Valley), is where modern shoemaking was invented. Centuries of knowledge have been passed from generation to generation creating a hub of innovative shoe production supplying the most beautiful and well-made shoes across the globe. In the town of Fermo, a family of 3rd generation shoemakers makes the Cammino shoes from the finest soft leather. They produce 22 pairs a day with each cut and sewn by hand. The emphasis is on slow and sustainable methods and producing in small quantities. Shoemaking is an art and skill passed down through families. The workmanship is so perfect, and the fit is the same. Bellissimo! I love love love mine.

The Social Outfit is a Sydney label reinventing fashion with its retail shop, onsite manufacturing workroom and sewing school in inner west Sydney at Newtown. This amazing creative charity and social enterprise utilises collaboration fabric, community prints and donated designer end0f-rolls while providing jobs and training for refugees and 1st Australians. And beyond all these yes factors, The Social Outfit clothes are awesome street wise in the groove now. Yay!

"70% of our activities go into running our store and workroom, where we provide employment opportunities for refugees and new migrants in ethical clothing manufacturing and retailing. 30% of our work goes towards running free training and education programs that expand social connections and provide positive experiences for refugees and new migrants."

Face by KB is a local vintage fashion store, located at Bayswater Road Rushcutters Bay, and if you do want to buy the main Aussie and international labels, this is the way to slow it down, make it work and while you're looking pretty, keeping the cash in the post-covid budget. 

"2/3 of clothes made every year end up in landfill within 12 months" ~ Australian Bureau of Statistics. Time to stop that now. 

Although her stocks obviously change, Kerry stocks everything from Alice McCall, Camilla, Scanlan Theodore and Zimmerman, from Michael Kors to Helmut Lang including vintage and new, clothes shoes and accessories. You can also sell your preloved beauties on consignment.

Image of Cecilia by Donna Sgro.