Transparency in the fashion industry, or lack thereof, is what the Fashion Revolution campaign is all about. The #whomademyclothes movement runs from April 23-29 each year to combat human rights issues in the fast fashion industry, and through awareness, conversations and events, slow fashion advocates and positive change makers all around the world work together to better the industry.
As a community at The Fashion Advocate, we take responsibility for the impact that we have on our people and our planet, and our designers are at the forefront of the Fashion Revolution. We are proud of our values and ethics, and we’re more than happy to strip back the bright lights and the glitz and glam of it all, to get real at The Fashion Advocate. Through honesty and integrity, we can change the industry for the better and use fashion as a force for good, and our community of designers work towards this shared goal every day.
Janette Laver shares our values and views, and she's the creative mind behind Gold Coast-based ocean-inspired womenswear label, Why Mary. Janette is passionate about ethics, she cares about sustainability, and she's a responsible slow fashion advocate...
Why are you passionate about ethical fashion?
Ethics are your moral principles, how you conduct yourself and treat other people on both a personal and business level. I was fortunate to have grown up in a family with strong moral values and I believe I’ve stayed true to these values in all aspects of my business by maintaining fair and honest practices. I’m very passionate toward the human rights issue of using child labour as a means of churning out mass-produced fast fashion; a garment which will most likely be worn once or twice then discarded as it was so cheap to purchase and has no real value. These children are deprived of a normal childhood and education simply to meet unrealistic corporate deadlines to supply unrealistic consumer demands.
Why are you passionate about sustainability in the fashion industry?
The environmental impact of throwaway fashion is an enormous and serious problem across the globe. As a designer in an industry that is having such a negative impact, it’s very important to continually take steps toward better sustainability in the design, manufacture and supply processes in order to limit waste. Consumers need to be encouraged to shop with a conscience and not just for the cheap price tag. They need to ask the questions, 'Who made my clothes? How were they made? Do I really need this? Will I wear it often?'
Why do you do what you do?
I think it’s fair to say I come under the category of a creative person and have had a great love of all things different since a very young age. I generally avoid trends and attempt to source unique items whatever it may be. When the opportunity arose to study fashion design, it simply felt right and I have never looked back. I love working with fabrics and the perpetual creative process that follows. The increased innovation to develop and use sustainable fabrics makes for exciting times ahead!
The Why Mary range features bold digital prints. How would you describe your approach to design when pairing artistic fabrics with minimal silhouettes?
When developing the graphics for a digital print, the initial image is what gives me the design inspiration for the entire collection. I may use a section of art or a photograph and then rework the graphic in symmetry to the fabric. Generally, the larger prints are placed on heavier fabrics suitable for a more basic design. The smaller scale prints I tend to use on lightweight fabrics that have movement and flow in the design.
You advocate for waste reduction and recycling within the fashion industry. How do you approach these values in your own manufacturing process?
I have always been very aware of the need to monitor wastage and I recycle where possible within my business and my home environment. I have a home studio that is 100% solar with LED lighting to minimise energy usage. My collections are small runs or sometimes made to measure upon demand. Throwing out fabric offcuts is something I find very difficult to do (a hoarder if you will) and I have many stored bags for future collections of totally recycled garments. Recycled and plastic-free alternatives are at the top of the list for future collections as I source and locate suppliers who also have sustainable values at the forefront of their businesses.
Join the Fashion Revolution and shop with your values from 50 ethical and sustainable Australian designers here, or learn more about Why Mary here.
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