It was from my front-row seat at A.F. Vandevorst during Paris Fashion Week in 2014 that I decided I would wake up every day in the name of fashion. As Sherry Qiu bound down the runway through a sea of smoke, everyone else was looking left – and I was looking right. I found myself completely absorbed in the menagerie of photographers before me, stacked on top, around and underneath each other, elbow to elbow and cheek to cheek in a silently understood mess. They were still, with only the movement of fingers on cameras and only the sound of fluttering lenses, synced in a frenzying harmony with every step each model took. Pose, snap snap, pose.
These were mere outfits on the runway to some, but moments in time to me. Each different angle became infinitely worthy to be captured, lusted over, longed for and needed. As crushed khaki linen layers and scarlet silks marched down the barrel of the runway, I was mesmerised, I was captivated, I was inspired. I decided then and there, that fashion would be the one thing I would always pursue, on a constant hunt for moments that move me. It is one thing to know trends, it is another to understand the feeling of fashion, and I felt it running through every vein in my body.
So, I wrapped up my overseas travels after working in the fashion industry in Berlin, New York, Paris and Milan, and I moved my whole life from Brisbane to Melbourne - Australia's epicentre of all things fashion. I launched The Fashion Advocate and penned my mission: to establish a passionate and powerful community of brands and businesses who are dedicated to the greater good.
Now, The Fashion Advocate is a social enterprise, an online store, a magazine, an annual runway event, a tribe of humans who get each other, and a series of pop up shops supporting ethical and sustainable Australian and New Zealand fashion, beauty and lifestyle labels.
Together, we exist to create change, and together, we use our businesses as a force for good. Our community of brands create positive social and environmental change every day, consciously designing and creatively thinking, always in pursuit of a better, more ethical and sustainable world.
What started as a digital diary of my fashion musings has grown into a community of likeminded humans who care about their impact, and as we grow, so too does our positive impact, but our ethical and sustainable values never waiver.
Now is the time to look deep down into the bottom drawer, into the darkest corners of our wardrobes, and think about the impacts of our consuming habits. Your wardrobe and your home reflect who you are and what you stand for, and mine reflect my ethics and values. I could reference Chanel, Anna Wintour or Alexander McQueen, who have all coined some of the most memorable quotes in fashion history, but I agree most with Alber Elbaz, who said, “Fashion is pure, intense emotions. It’s not about design. It’s about feelings."
Feelings are what make us human, yet somewhere along the way, we lost our values when fast fashion became a monster - and we lost the feeling of fashion.
I want to bring it back. I want to slow things down. I want to remind people of the true value of their clothes and educate shoppers to respect the people who make them. Clothes are a second skin, and they say more about us than we realise.
I work every day on my quest to inspire people to think consciously about their wardrobes - because every garment counts.
Shot by The Studio Melbourne.