Catwalk with a Conscience

Every garment showcased on the runway has been produced in an eco-friendly manner. The collection features eco-conscious fabrics, New Zealand sourcing where possible, natural treatment processes for textiles, and re- and up-cycled materials. In addition, every garment was made locally in New Zealand.

Starfish designer Laurie Foon says being selected to open the country’s premier fashion event is the pinnacle of her 17-year ethical fashion journey.

“Going out first this year says a lot about where fashion in New Zealand is headed. We need to push beyond throwaway fashion and consider more deeply about how clothes are being made. The future of fashion has to be stylish clothes produced in an ethical way.

“When we started we up-cycled material from vintage clothing into new designs. We also used fashion, such as slogan t-shirts, as a way to protest for causes we felt passionate about, just as Katherine Hamnett was doing in London around the same time.

“Over the past five years we have really picked up the pace. We’re focused on using fabrics, dyeing and treatment processes that have a far lower environmental impact than the conventional alternatives.
“We’ve continued to produce all of our clothing in New Zealand, and source as many local fabrics as we can. We also look for our design inspiration locally rather than internationally,” she says.

Last year, Starfish’s New Zealand Fashion Week show featured an entire collection of environmentally friendly garments. This year, Foon has gone further, increasing the eco-credentials of each garment, boosting local sourcing and offsetting the carbon produced by the show.

The collection features garments made from bamboo, hemp, organic cotton, merino and denim, and silk. Even accessories are eco-conscious, including clogs made from recycled New Zealand rimu, hats made in New Zealand and underwear made from organic cotton.

Ms Foon is particularly excited by a new alpaca fabric called Suri, sourced from Canterbury, which will make its global debut on the Fashion Week catwalk.

“Suri is a rare breed of alpaca, and its fibre is incredible. It is very fine, feels like silk and drapes beautifully – in Incan times it was reserved for royalty. This is the first time Suri fabric as fine and of such high quality as this has been produced. I’m thrilled to be able to introduce it on the catwalk right here in New Zealand for the first time anywhere in the world,” she says.

Starfish will stage its catwalk show at 11am, 21 September 2010, Westpac Tent, Viaduct Harbour Marine Village Auckland.

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