There’s no denying that Afterpay Australian Fashion Week is a celebration of the art of fashion and ingenuity of Australian design. It’s an exciting week to celebrate all things sartorial and we can’t get enough of it.
However, it is also a moment to think about the way in which we wear and consume clothing, and how we can be more mindful about it. It’s something front of mind for Afterpay, who sponsored fashion week, with the service partnering with Thread Together and a series of prominent #WeWearAustralian designers to unveil something they’re calling ‘reCOUTURE’.
For reference, #WeWearAustralian is a new initiative uniting the Antipodean fashion industry, and includes brands the likes of Ginger & Smart, Bianca Spender, ESSE Studio, Mariam Seddiq, Michael Lo Sordo, P.E. Nation, Viktoria & Woods, Jac + Jack, Ngali, ALÉMAIS, Relax Remade, Alix Higgins, Nobody Denim, LEO LIN and Jordan Gogos.
These brands worked with Thread Together and Afterpay to re-imagine and recycle excess mens’ suits into bespoke runway statement pieces. They were then showcased in a collective event on the Friday, 19 May at 7pm, an event that actually sold out.
The initiative hopes to shine a light on clothing waste, which sits at 227,000 tonnes of textiles to landfill each year.
The decision to reuse men’s suiting was following Thread Together’s insight that there is more supply than demand of these items post-pandemic.
You can watch the show highlights on the @wewear_australian Instagram account.
Anthony Eisen, Co-Founder at Afterpay, told marie claire Australia, “Sustainability is not only a key focus for AAFW but also an issue that Gen Z shoppers are focused on when looking to reduce their carbon footprint.
“By highlighting this crucial issue within the industry we hope the reCOUTURE initiative inspires everyone who views the pieces during AAFW to reconsider the lifecycle of the clothing they design, manufacture and own.”
For Australian designer Mariam Seddiq, the collaboration was a crucial part of her existing business model.
“I hate wastage in fashion and throwing beautiful fabrics away. My business model is to have a minimal amount of carefully curated unique pieces in the store and online. Once a customer orders, that’s when we cut and make the design, we don’t have large quantities on hand and sitting in stock rooms, which I believe further cements our zero wastage model,” she told marie claire Australia.
“When we hand cut a piece for a client – the leftover remnants are bagged up and we create hand cut embellishments for other designs – recycling and repurposing the materials into my bespoke pieces that you [saw] on the runway [last] week.”
If the thought of 227,000 tonnes of textiles to landfill isn’t scary enough, chatting with Thread Together CEO, Anthony Chesler, it’s clear that we have a major problem on our hands with the way we are currently consuming clothing.
“Up to a third of all new clothing is not sold and potentially will end up in landfill. In 10 years Thread Together has collected over 5.6 million units of clothing, footwear and accessories. In 2022 alone we redistributed 1.2 million units to Australian in need. Consumers need to rethink their shopping habits – it is very simple – spend as much, buy less and buy better and for special occasion events look to rent a design that you might only wear once.”
All we have to say is we’d very much like to rent the stunning pieces coming down the #WeWearAustralian x Afterpay on Friday.