Join the Fashion Revolution With New Designer Capsule Collection
Fashion mindfully made in Australia by skilled garment workers.
Do you know who made your clothes? That’s the question to ask yourself this Fashion Revolution Week (23–29 April, 2018). It’s also the question at the heart of David Jones’ exclusive capsule collection, made in support of Fashion Revolution Week in collaboration with Australian designers Manning Cartell, Nobody Denim, Viktoria & Woods and Bianca Spender. Every piece in the locally made collection is accredited by Ethical Clothing Australia, which is the national body that works with local companies to ensure fair wages and safe working conditions. We caught up with each of the designers to talk about their roles in creating this limited edition range of feel-good fashion – available to shop exclusively at David Jones online from 15 April online and the Bourke St and Elizabeth St stores from 16 April.
“Manufacturing locally has been a big part of what we do,” says designer Gabrielle Manning, one third of iconic Australian sister act Manning Cartell. “So it’s really just a natural progression.”
For the capsule collection, the brand has created dresses and separates in bold, feminine silhouettes and prints. “We really wanted something that our customer and women would feel confident and strong,” Manning says. “[So] they could be proud to wear that out there and be like, ‘yeah, I know who made my clothes.’”
The designer likens the growing hunger for transparency in fashion manufacturing to the food industry. “A number of years ago, we were seeing people talk about that a lot more with food – ‘Where’s my food from?’ – that type of thing… so we found even just communicating that instore, taking to our customers about it, they embraced it, and felt proud that we were still making in Australia and cared about it.”
Each piece in the collection was made by Manning Cartell’s skilled garment makers in Sydney.
VIKTORIA & WOODS
For Margie Woods, her entire approach to manufacturing is to keep every process as direct as possible.
“The whole process is so one-on-one, from the time it's conceived to how it’s put together – and how we collaborate with our machinists and our patternmakers, and turning that one very simple piece into a slightly more special piece that people are going to cherish,” she says. “It’s just how we do it… It’s local… I wouldn't know any other process.”
Viktoria & Woods’ range for the capsule collection includes tops, blouses, pants and an online-exclusive trench coat. Each piece in the collection was made by Viktoria & Woods’ skilled garment makers in Melbourne.
Bianca Spender, who collaborated with Sydney-based social enterprise The Social Outfit to manufacture her pieces, has been mindful of the hidden costs in manufacturing her label’s collections. “I've always loved fashion and have always had a very strong social conscience, [but] I’ve felt like those two things were sitting separately in my life.”
“When the top department store is saying it’s important to be sustainable and ethical, I think that has real power,” says Spender, who also worked with The Social Outfit, a local enterprise that provides employment and training in the fashion industry to people from refugee and new migrant communities. “The women at The Social Outfit are very inspiring – they look at how people can integrate into the community, be employed, and have a real future in Australia,” says Spender.
Each piece in the collection was made by skilled garment makers at The Social Outfit’s workshop in Newtown, Sydney.
Naw, one of The Social Outfit garment workers who made the pieces for Bianca’s capsule collection, moved from one of the Thai-Burma border refugee camps 20 years ago. “I’m proud of myself for doing my job here,” she says. “My sewing is better and I’m more confident.”
For Lauren Samuels of Nobody Denim, transparency is a big part of running their business. “It’s really important to us that the people who work with us are treated fairly and that what we do is transparent for our customer – so that they can feel proud of what they’re wearing the same way we feel proud to put it on the shelves.”
For the capsule collection, Nobody has created a range of on-trend oversized-cuffed denim pieces from repurposed material. Each piece in the collection was made by skilled garment makers at the Nobody Denim Studio in Thornbury, Melbourne.