Try, Buy and Meet the Makers
of Sustainable Fashion
at Melbourne Emporium
Six of the best sustainable fashion labels to have emerged in Australia over the past few years will hit the shelves at Emporium Melbourne for one week from March 4. Available in The Australian Fashion Council’s Pop-Up store, AFC Curated, this is an unmissable opportunity for those who love to touch and try before buying. There’s even the chance to chat with the designers who create your clothes!
Here are the amazing sustainable fashion labels you’ll be seeing between 4 -11 March, after which another amazing group of creatives will be taking over the Emporium space.
Dressing Strong Women Gently
Every Perple piece is made to order in the Perple studio in Melbourne. Resolute lines, sharp cuts and refined dead stock fabrics are carefully selected and repurposed into beautiful pieces that don’t harm the planet.
Designer Huiliana Chandra-Curry has worked for over 10 years in design, both locally and internationally. Her experience includes graphic and costume design. Better known as Holly, she describes her creations as “confident and strong yet gentle, with a touch of humour.”
Purple is defined as the balance of red and blue, intensity beset by calm. Says Holly, “We embody this dichotomy and it resonates through our designs, characterised by a delicate strength. Our mission is to dress strong women gently in sustainable and ethical luxuries.”
Perple offers designs in slow fashion to compliment your body and personality. It’s for those who don’t want to conform to trends and who wish to stand out from the crowd. “Each unique garment will stay with them and be worn lovingly for many years. We strongly believe that our products are not just clothes but a way of life.”
Limited Deadstock Runs from Beautiful Fabrics
Sunshine Symbol is the Melbourne based label of Melissa Mikletic. Born of an undying love of beautiful textiles and inspired by many evenings spent sewing with her grandmother, the two worked together to produce the label’s initial pieces.
Mikletic works predominantly with deadstock fabrics. These materials are chosen for their quality and beauty rather than for their abundance. Waste is minimised. Mikletic is personally attached to the notion of local production that allows her label to know its makers and have close working relationships with them. “We are also conscious of not overproducing so we intentionally create small runs of piece and top up based on demand. If we cant top up, it means we have chosen a limited run fabric. We’d rather pieces sell out and are special to those who scored them, rather than keep a warehouse filled with extra stock.”
“Our intention is to work as thoughtfully and sustainably as we can. By slowing down the production process, we feel we can offer pieces that have been well considered so that they may be kept and enjoyed for years to come.”
With a background in textiles, Melissa is always (ALWAYS) on the hunt for inspiring fabrics that often act as the catalyst for the designs that follow. Her belief is that beautiful textiles are the key ingredient in design that has spirit and intent.
Sunshine Symbol’s pieces have an inherent femininity and sense of polish. Melissa designs predominantly in shades of white as this is her natural inclination and interpretation of a classic and timeless palette.
Exquisite Material & Astounding Craftsmanship
X nihilo is a Latin phrase for creation out of nothing and perfectly expresses the values and vision of the brand named after it, to craft a sophisticated and honest range of leather bags for the modern woman.
X NIHILO women have a strong identity and are from a generation with the desire to express their individuality. This is why the label consciously distances itself from conspicuous branding on its products. Blending refined aesthetics with functionality and timelessness, founder and designer Jenny Hsieh describes the label as having been inspired by and designed for women of substance and individuality.
“Retaining a consistent and unique signature, X NIHILO evokes the idea of strength, beauty and independence through exquisite material and astounding craftsmanship. Embracing the slow fashion movement, X NIHILO’s concept of luxury is embedded in its meticulously created material, well considered design and the highest level of dedication and attention to detail in construction.”
“We are proud to announce that X NIHILO is officially on the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Angora wool and fur free list. All leathers used are the by-products of the meat industry and we are also against the use of exotic leathers on X NIHILO products. This acknowledges that our merchandise is not supporting slaughterhouses and factories where animals are cruelly treated for their wool or fur. As we continue to grow as a brand we look forward to working with PETA a lot more and learning how else we can create an even more ethical company.”
Beautiful Slow Fashion Lingerie
Iolé lingerie is about slow fashion and truly beautiful and durable lingerie that does not date.
The passion project of Melbourne lingerie expert and maker Jason Reason, Iolé produces alluring pieces in a way that consciously builds on the needs of a slow, sustainable, consumer community. Production process are collaborative, high quality and innovative, working closely with local industry.
Iolé’s classic french style lace lingerie is of the highest quality with an offering inclusive of true fitting underwire bras. “We believe our quality, fit, design and technology should be comparable to any big international brand, even though we are small, locally and ethically made in-house in Melbourne.” Accredited with Ethical Clothing Australia, Iolé’s unique strength is that while everything happens in-house, most orders are being made on the same day they are placed.
Australian made bespoke luxury lingerie, made to order, timeless in style and in quality that lasts. A conscious small business that is big on the details and working towards more sustainable practices and a better industry for the future.
Surrounded By Ghosts
Elevated Innovative Street Wear
Elevated street wear brand Surrounded by Ghosts is the sustainable fashion label by Sydney based creatives Joshua Fallshaw and Morgan Mclean.
“We are a modern directional label that explores uniqueness and functionality through innovation, accessibility and sustainability. Our inspiration is caught between the playful sunny vibes of Australia and the methodical restraint of European design.”
Making the Ordinary Extraordinary
Is there anything more luxurious than a basic tee shirt being elevated to the thing you love most in your wardrobe?
byfreer designer Lesley Watson says “initially the brand was built around the idea of a more sensual basic tee – feminine designs of the iconic tee shirt in more desirable materials like silk viscose and velvet”.
“Textiles are the basis of our inspiration: natural and soft, washed and worn, with unfinished edges and unexpected surprises in the detailing completing the ‘raw elegance’ of the brand” she says.
“I love fashion but we’re not chasing trends says Lesley. “Our designs are timeless luxurious and a little bit imperfect as seen in the frayed edges or the washed silk creases.”
All garments are designed and manufactured in Sydney. Lesley is passionate about building and maintaining relationships with exceptional manufacturers and small scale makers to ensure byfreer create beautiful, fresh, ethically responsible clothing.
“We believe there’s a stronger call than ever to shop local. For us, local is a way of life, a responsibility. We work with local small scale makers and manufacturers and know that behind every business there are other businesses who rely on their trade.”
“keep it local!”
AFC Curated Pop-Up Store
Where: Level 3, Emporium Melbourne, 287 Lonsdale St Melbourne
When: 4-9 March
(To be followed by a second week with a new selection of designers in store until March 15)
Meet the Makers with a Sustainable Fashion Focus
Melissa Mikletic – Sunshine Symbol
Jason Reason – Iolé
Hannah Culshaw – Aura Studios
When: Tuesday 10 March 6-7.30pm at the Pop-Up
– Sustainable Fashion –
The AFC Curated Pop-Up is taking place during the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival. See why else we’re looking forward to VAMFF 2020.