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.
Keegan Hunt shares our values and views, and she's the creative mind behind her self-titled sustainable label, KEEGAN, a zero waste brand based in Melbourne. Keegan is passionate about ethics, she cares about sustainability, and she's a responsible slow fashion advocate...
Why are you passionate about ethical fashion?
My passion for ethical fashion comes from a simple respect for people and the environment. I want to live in a fairer society, where the way workers are treated isn’t dependent on their geographical location. I’m also determined to see the fashion industry thrive in Melbourne. As a fashion graduate in 2007, I found it difficult to find an interesting or hands-on role that didn’t involve sending production offshore. Eventually, I decided to create my own dream role, and in time, that provided other fashion graduates with the opportunity to work alongside me. Ethical fashion is definitely not the easiest or most cost-effective business model in this competitive industry and there are always more steps to take. Sometimes you need to tackle one problem at a time, especially in the case of small business. For me, manufacturing is the best and most important place to start. It’s important for me to be able to look back on the decisions I’ve made and feel proud and to say that I did my best.
Why are you passionate about sustainability in the fashion industry?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve hated waste. As a self-confessed hoarder, up-cycler, op-shopper and composter, it’s only natural that my personal ethics are reflected in my work practice. Throwaway fashion really churns my stomach, so the thought of contributing to the industry in such a negative way would not sit well with me. I’ve always preferred well-made, timeless clothing and I like to make every purchase considered, so this is the attitude I promote within my label and hope to transfer this to my customers.
Why do you do what you do?
I love running a business, most days!. I’m self-motivated and enjoy setting my own work hours and goals, as well as having creative control. I’m constantly inspired, challenged, learning new skills and pushing myself. I can’t imagine ever working in a role that wasn’t creative or hands on. Some days are hard and I feel like giving up, but then I remember the amazing feeling of releasing a new collection or the joy of connecting a customer with their dream outfit - and it's all worth it.
How would you describe your approach to slow fashion?
To me, slow fashion is about prolonging the life of a garment, reducing waste and making considered purchases. Therefore, I try to design pieces that are strong and durable, versatile and timeless. That way, they will remain in wardrobes far longer than their fast fashion counterparts and with luck, be passed on to the next generation. Waste reduction in the workroom is also very important to me and I am always looking for ways to improve. Some of the initiatives I have introduced into the studio include composting all paper scraps from patternmaking and saving workable scrap fabric for future projects. More recently, I have created a range of ‘zero waste necklaces’, comprised entirely of in-house remnant materials from past projects. I am also currently working on a minimal waste range of clothing which will be made entirely from dead-stock fabric. Producing each design in small runs further reduces fashion waste by allowing a product to sell out before it is put back into production.
You allow complete access to your in-house manufacturing process. How does this transparency aid your design process?
It’s great to get feedback on my designs as they are being created. Having a combined studio and shop space gives me invaluable insight into our customers' likes and dislikes, as well as the fit of each garment. It also helps me to forecast the popularity of each product and manufacture accordingly. I tend to improve shape, design, colour and fabric decisions each season, based on our customers' experience and feedback. I’m on a constant quest to create the perfect garment, which will also stand the test of time.
Join the Fashion Revolution and shop with your values from ethical and sustainable Australian designers here, or learn more about KEEGAN here.
The Fashion Advocate x