Fast Fashun – an interactive experience

By Angelia Van Le

This piece was written as part of the Fashion Writing Program 2019

A tonne of clothing, otherwise destined for landfill has been salvaged for the Fast Fashun wonderland held behind the Art Centre at the Testing Grounds. Designers, local costume, fashion and art makers were on hand to welcome people of all age groups and skill levels to explore and participate in an interactive and educational experience by up-cycling fashion waste which was later modelled on a runway aptly named DIY or DIE fashion show.

Fast Fashun is hosted by flamboyant duo Tenfingerz (Teneille) and Famous Artist Sebastian Berto. The pair met through living together in a share-house with six other creatives who mostly worked in fashion and collaborated with each other.

Teneille talked about what spurred Fast Fashun and how the idea was conceptualised, “It came from feeling like just producing and curating sustainable fashion shows wasn't enough. That we needed something extra to help deliver the message across that we are in an environmental and ethical crisis when it comes to the fashion industry, there is so much waste. The large corporate fashion chains make so much profit, while people in countries like Bangladesh work in very poor conditions.”

“We wanted to explore why we can so easily turn a blind to this or rather as a society not question why clothes can be so cheap, not question what happens to our clothes when we’re done with them. We wanted to get people thinking about all these things, as well as thinking about what drives them to want fashion in the first place. We are curious to see how people's creativity in creating fashion for themselves could affect their perception on the value of materials otherwise labelled as undesirable or rubbish.”

Fast Fashun celebrated it's 4th consecutive year as part of the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival arts program. This year everything was made on the spot from the salvaged clothing waste of over 10,000 pieces of clothing, fabric and accessories being donated by op shop ‘Helping Hands’.

Teneille explained the biggest challenge is, “facing the waste. It’s actually really confronting to look at and sit with it. In the scheme of things it’s such a tiny amount. The things people have donated to the op shop are ridiculous. So many single shoes, stained pants, blankets that smell like urine, so many ripped clothes. People are using op shops as tips. There seems to be a disconnect in our societies mind. I'm not excluding myself from this either. I'm confronted by my own contribution to the problem.”

She also reflected on the positive side, saying “we absolutely don't profess to have any answers to the issues were facing. It's such a complex issue. We just want to offer a space for us all to look at the issue together. The biggest triumph is having so many people come down and start conversations with us and each other about their thoughts on the waste and their own connection to the issues. At the same time the feedback we've been getting from people is that this is the funnest day they've had in ages!”

I asked Teneille, with the speed of fashion now, what she wanted people to take away from the event and how people can contribute to this legacy in their day to day lives and her answer was quite simple: “have more awareness around your consumerism and stop dumping crap on op shops.”

Fast Fashun photography by Alexis Desaulniers-Lea

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