IDENTITY: The New Fabric of Society
By Tanisha Angel
This piece was written as part of the Fashion Writing Program 2019
The purpose of fashion is multifaceted, and generally unique to each individual; self expression, aesthetic pleasure, communication. However, over the past few years, fashion has seen a shift in focus. No longer does fashion start on the runway and end at the store; there is a steadily increasing consciousness regarding the way garments are sourced and manufactured.
Striving to bridge the gap between conscious consumption and visually appealing fashion, The Fashion Advocate's IDENTITY runway challenged fast fashion and industry norms, proposing an alternative in the form of ethically sourced and produced pieces, and quite possibly the most diverse model casting I've ever had the pleasure to witness. Showcasing designers from the likes of prolific Australian fashion label Anthea Crawford to small scale labels like Loris Clothing and _Bais, many of the designers tended to shun seasonal fashion trends in favour of timeless, trans-seasonal pieces.
Industry advocates, bloggers, models, and fashion enthusiasts alike braved 38°C heat and flocked to Como House for the event, which saw conscious practices extend far beyond the runway. The preceding afternoon garden party was replete with locally sourced cocktails, with attendees encouraged to do their part in minimising product and labour wastage by holding onto their glasses for the entirety of the event. There must have been something in the air, as even chatter among guests was focused on sustainable living; as I stood in line for a drink (Adelaide Hills Distillery's 78 Degree Sunset gin and Fever Tree tonic, ICYWW), I overheard the duo in front of me discussing how they were considering embarking on the 30-day zero waste challenge.
Hailing from all regions across Australia, the fifteen designer strong lineup differed in sartorial style but were united in their common goal to utilise fashion as a vehicle for social and ethical change. The IDENTITY fashion show saw attendees cheering and applauding generously, supportive of each designer's pursuit of industry change.
Highlights included Anthea Crawford, who kicked off proceedings with structural yet feminine silhouettes, a 2019 take on power dressing. Shapes in the Sand repurposed ghost fishing nets into boldly printed one-pieces, rashie sets, and bikinis in ocean-esque shades. The ANJELMS Project which aims to aid disadvantaged communities in India, Nepal, and Bali was eye catching with pieces crafted from block printed fabric.
sticks + stone the label made a case for the modern renaissance woman, with sculptural, feminine tailoring; utilising the wrap silhouette to create versatile, form defining pieces from natural and organic fibres. Meanwhile Birdtribe Wearable Art merged fashion with art to create striking nature-inspired printed garments.
Created by a third generation couturier, Tatyana Design epitomised luxury, showcasing a series of impeccably crafted silk pieces. The designs included delicate slips and a particularly captivating white french knicker and gown set; the likes of which I envision myself wearing when I answer the door of my penthouse apartment, red wine in hand, to have the police inform me that my wealthy husband has mysteriously gone missing...
In a world where a vintage Thierry Mugler gown can be seen on Kim Kardashian and be on the 'coming soon' sections of Missguided and Fashion Nova within the hour, it's refreshing to take a step back, sip on a G&T, and take in consciously curated attire designed to transcend sartorial trend waves. One may argue that the efforts of a few can't change the actions of many, however it doesn't mean we shouldn't try.
Though utilised and enjoyed by everyone to some extent, the fashion industry can sometimes be divisive in nature. The Fashion Advocate's IDENTITY brought fashion back to its true nature, and used it as a unifying force to weave the threads towards a better and brighter fashion future.