Students studying the Advanced Diploma of Applied Fashion Design and Merchandising (MST60116) at TAFE Queensland’s Mooloolaba campus will put their skills to the test over the next month, in an effort to highlight sustainable fashion practices.

TAFE Queensland has teamed up with local op shop Neighbours Aid to demonstrate how pre-loved items can be transformed into environmentally conscious, fashion-forward clothing. A selection of the finished products will then hit the catwalk at local sustainable fashion event, Runway Fashion Australia.

Students from the Advanced Diploma of Applied Fashion Design and Merchandising (MST60116) paid a visit to Neighbours Aid’s Nambour branch to select their ‘base’ garments and will have five weeks to design and bring their sustainable collections to life.

TAFE Queensland fashion student, Clare Wright is among those participating in the project and is planning to use her creations to send a message.

“I want to use slogans on my clothing to make a statement and create fashion for good,” Clare said.

“My inspiration is the ocean and the need to clean up the sea, so I’ve selected a lot of blues and textures. I’m thinking of creating something that’s a Victorian style, something that’s flowy and comfortable – but using patchwork and incorporating netting and rubbish.”

Clare has always been passionate about sustainable practices and said she was excited by the opportunity to incorporate that passion into the project by sourcing materials from op shops.

“I really like that we have the opportunity to come to an op shop. I’m a bit of an antique collector and love shopping at op shops and markets. I’ve never brought new fabric before and I want to keep it that way – instead I work with recycled clothing and sheets.

“I’m a big believer that people need to stop buying brand new and embrace the concepts of clothes swapping and make-do and mend. There are some great finds in op shops – sometimes they just require a bit of creativity.”

Neighbours Aid Chief Executive Officer, John O’Hara said his organisation is excited to work with TAFE Queensland and see the beautiful and unique garments their students create using recycled materials from their stores.

“TAFE Queensland does a wonderful job developing skills and inspiring students to be mindful of our environment while being creative in the fashion industry,” Mr O’Hara said.

“We want people to see the potential of working with recycled clothing. We’d love these students to learn how to make stylish fashion and develop business opportunities that help save the resources of our planet while contributing to the circular economy.”

The six strongest collections will be selected to feature in the Runway Fashion Australia event at Aussie World on Saturday 21 March, alongside a variety of local emerging and established labels.

Runway Fashion Australia co-curator Carlie Wacker said she wanted to include TAFE Queensland students in the show to highlight the talent and growth in the industry on the Sunshine Coast.

“Runway Fashion Australia was established to provide a platform that brings together sustainable fashion designers, both established and emerging, to showcase the talent in our region,” Ms Wacker said.

“The Sunshine Coast is a thriving hub of eco friendly and ethical fashion designers and businesses. We are leading the way in sustainable and slow fashion and we should shout it from the rooftops.”


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