Thursday 13 August 2015

Sydney Ideas : Beauty without Harm

Last night I was thrilled to participate in a Sydney Ideas / Sydney Environment Institute event on fashion and sustainability titled 'Beauty without Harm'.

The Q&A Panel discussion

Over the past few years I've attended so many Sydney Ideas and SEI events, and it was an honour to be asked to participate as a speaker. I'm only midway through my doctoral studies, and not yet able to share any 'conclusions'. So instead I shared some of the general stats about fashion's impact on the environment, some of the advancements being made in sustainable fashion, and some trends I've documented in Australia's sustainable fashion movement.

It was a full house! Industry, academics and students were all present.

Kit Willow also spoke passionately about her commitment to the environment and the work she and her team have done to create the new label, KitX, with sustainable values underpinning the business. (as an aside, I just bought my first, of what is certain to be many, pieces from the KitX collection - excitement!) And Jaana Quaintance-James, David Jones' Ethical Sourcing Manager, shared the 5 year strategy that is guiding her work to develop ethical and sustainable supply chains at Australia's major retailer.

There were so many smart questions from the audience, ranging from queries about materials, to business practices, and whether we think government should play a role in improving the sustainability outcomes of fashion (a resounding YES from all three of us). And this was another of many moments when I felt absolutely thrilled to be pursuing my PhD studies here at the University of Sydney with the incredible support of my department (Gender & Cultural Studies) and the broader SEI network. I'm looking forward to continuing these great conversations.

Reminiscing about the Clean Cut show at MBFWA 2014

If these events sound like your cuppa tea, this event was the first of a 'Small Changes' series hosted by Sydney Ideas and SEI - the next events are covering environmental issues with dairy, husbandry and fracking - all hosted by the charming Dr Frances Flanagan. You'll be certain to find me in the audience.


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