July 21, 2018 06:15:00
Fashion sense at music festivals, for many, is almost as important as the headlining bands.
For punters attending this weekend’s Splendour in the Grass music festival, a new way of dressing to impress will be on offer courtesy of the charity Lifeline.
Lifeline has set up a pop-up store filled with hand-picked retro and vintage apparel aimed at festival-goers.
“People attending Splendour will see great bands and be able to do some sustainable shopping, making it the ultimate event,” said Jason Fox, manager of retail operations for Newcastle and Central Coast.
The pop-up at the North Byron Parklands is also important strategically for Lifeline, Mr Fox said.
Pre-loved vintage clothing funding suicide prevention
“Many people, particularly younger people, don’t realise that Lifeline stores are retail stores not welfare stores,” Mr Fox said.
To shift that perception, Lifeline has hand-picked some “awesome preloved vintage and retro pieces” specifically for Splendour.
“Most stock will sell for only $15 a piece,” Mr Fox said.
“Proceeds from our shops fund our services including the 13 11 14 line, face-to-face counselling and other community suicide prevention programs.
“Shopping at Lifeline helps to protect the environment and save local lives.”
Mr Fox said Lifeline also played an important role in the war against waste, particularly the war on fast fashion.
Earlier this year Lifeline Newcastle and Central Coast teamed up with the Hunter Institute of Fashion to create a series of one-off couture pieces.
The garments were designed and constructed by students using materials sourced exclusively from recycled Lifeline products.
Changing youth perception of vintage fashion
Institute director Gabe Robinson said the partnership had been organised partly to raise awareness in students around the issue of fast fashion.
“The biggest consumers of fast fashion is the youth market and — especially with the days of Instagram — they all want a new outfit for every photo,” Mr Robinson said.
“That is a toxically dangerous mentality, so I wanted to do what I could and apply our creative talents here towards Lifeline to change the youth perception on vintage fashion through Lifeline.
“I wanted students to become aware of the impact of the type of lifestyle they plan — or would live in the future — so we teamed up to draw focus on that in a major project.”
According to ABC Television’s War on Waste program, 6,000 kilograms of clothing is dumped in landfill every 10 minutes in Australia.
Mr Robinson, who worked for a decade in the television industry as a stylist for programs such as The Voice, said it did not have to cost a lot of money to look good.
“It’s not money that makes someone stylish — it’s an eye, it’s creative influence, and that can be achieved on a shoestring budget,” he said.
Giving new life to recycled fashion
One of the students involved in June’s fashion runway event, Asha Larkin, is a convert to using recycled materials since graduating from the program.
Part of the design process was visiting Lifeline’s export centre in Newcastle, where 5–6 tonnes of discarded fashion is processed per week.
“After sorting through all of that I just grabbed a heap of fabric to use for my garment,” Ms Larkin said.
Using strands of four, Ms Larkin plaited different fabrics — including denim and knitwear — together, and attached them onto a fitted bodice.
The runway event, attended by more than 400 people, has changed the way Ms Larkin thinks about being a designer and consumer of fashion.
“After seeing the amount of waste that the fashion industry creates, I don’t want to be a part of that waste — I would rather take the waste and turn that into something new to give it a new life,” she said.
“It’s such a great opportunity for all of the textile businesses from around Newcastle to be able to do that as well as all the retro stores.
“And then it’s also helping out Lifeline, as they make profits to help with their suicide prevention, so it’s a real win-win situation for both.”
Talking the talk and walking the walk
Lifeline’s Jason Fox is also practicing what he’s preaches.
“I made a commitment at the beginning of this year — and a lot of people are doing it — that I am actually not going to buy brand new fashion this year,” Mr Fox said.
When the ABC visited Mr Fox at work, he sported a wild pair of fluorescent coloured animal print jeans that he picked up second-hand for $12.
“Twelve bucks!” he said.
“I like fashion, I buy fashion all the time — and this year I’ve only bought one pair of shoes new which is remarkable for me.”