RMIT exhibition: Fast fashion

From July 21 to September 9, RMIT, in conjunction with the Goethe Institute and the Hamburg Museum for Art and Craft, are running an exhibition displaying the hard truth about the fast fashion industry. Titled, Fast Fashion: The dark side of fashion, the gallery display provides very informative and definitely confronting images and information about what is really going on behind the scenes in the garment industry.

Presented in both English and German, the exhibition runs through various aspects of the industry, including environmental impact, exploited garment workers and the economic factors of fast fashion.

The images and text are presented in such a way that the visitor isn’t left feeling overwhelmed and helpless, but instead provides concise and easy to digest facts that invoke a sense of connection to the visitor and the their clothing, that they may not of already had.

This exhibition is the perfect introduction to how are clothes are really made and the overall impact of fast fashion, for those who have little to no idea, but are wanting to look deeper into these issues. It also serves as a reminder for those of us who are active in the ethical and sustainable fashion arena that our work is extremely important, and that our planet and its people are the ones paying for the cheap cost of our clothing.

Slow Fashion Studio

Accompanying the Fast Fashion exhibition is the Slow Fashion Studio: Alternative approaches to fashion. After seeing all the doom and gloom of the current fashion business model, this provides a refreshing and inspiring take on the positive work that is happening. It also shows us that there are endless possibilities for re-designing the current ‘broken’ fashion system, that technology can be our friend and that there is indeed a hope for changing the industry.

On display is the work from RMIT fashion PhD and Master Degree students, who all have a different take on what the future of fashion could look like. From 3D body scanning for a perfect fit, to literally unravelling discarded fabric and weaving into something new, the students cleverly convey that the change in the industry is only limited by our imagination.

 

Change Making: Beyond the catwalk presentation

I was lucky enough to sit front row during this presentation as I absorbed every word the expert panel had to say in regards to the current state of the fashion industry, its problems, and also the potential for change.

The panel was made up of:

Clare Press: fashion journalist and author of ‘Wardrobe Crisis: How we went from Sunday best to fast fashion.’

Ina Budde: Founder of Design for Circularity

David Giles-Kaye: Executive Director of the Council of Textile and Fashion

Melinda Tually: Co-ordinator of Fashion Revolution Australia New Zealand

The overall message that I received from the panel is that the future of fashion is a positive one, but we need to act now. From human rights issues, to incomprehensible environmental pollution, the problems are great and varied within fashion, and we have to start thinking holistically within the industry and only when we change the entire system from linear to circular, will we create a truly sustainable industry.

rmit ina budde project selvage
Berlin designer Ina Budde with a bespoke industrial upcycled textile garment by RMIT Master of Design student Lucie Ketelsen. Source: RMIT

The key take-away points that I found particularly important are:

  • “You can’t change what you can’t see”, Melinda Tually. This was said in regards to brands needing to become far more transparent and accountable for their supply chains. At the moment, the long and complex line of sub-contracting makes it difficult for brands to really know what it going on. Therefore, without knowing, they can’t actually change anything.
  • Ina Budde suggested that there needs to be a complete systematic change within the industry. We need to move away from a linear system and create a circular system, where action is taken for the entire life cycle of clothing.
  • David Giles-Kaye gave us some hope by sharing that there are some high-end Australian companies that are bucking the fast fashion trend by slowing down their garment releases. They are actively trying to show customers that they can in fact wear their clothing for more than one season.

 

Personally, I very much resonated with everything that Ina had to say. She is a champion for closed loop production, as well collaboration between everyone involved in the textile industry. These are the biggest points that I think will revolutionise the fashion industry. We need to start using the resources we already have, extending their value as long as we possibly can, as well as ensuring that systems are set up to get discarded clothing where it needs to be in order to properly extend its life.

There are many other events going on during this exhibition, which are all free, so make sure you don’t miss out! Find out more info here.

Have you already been visited this exhibition? Or are familiar with the work of any of the panellists? Let me know your thoughts below!

 

 

 

RMIT Fast Fashion: The dark side of fashion exhibition
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