We were delighted to commemorate our tenth year with the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival which launched us a decade ago. For this special occasion we hosted swap with a "Wardrobe Workshop" that featured a line-up of wonderful guests including fashion blogger Cheryl Lin (BusinessChic), consultant and campaigner Fabia Pryor, slow fashion retailer Mats Ekström (Swensk) and Violette Snow and Sigrid McCarthy (HESSIAN magazine).
The panel (hosted by founder Kate Luckins and Melbourne Host Linn Vikander), discussed why we only wear 20% of our wardrobe 80% of the time. It was decided that the garments that make up that 20% are those that are both versatile and well-fitting. They also transcend being just clothes because they become sentimental to the wearer through an array of lived experiences and fond memories.
There was an array of great take home tips that came out of the workshop about how to edit one's wardrobe, cultivate a sense of personal style (with a nod to fashion only when it fits your personal style of course), maintain a wardrobe and even care for your clothes so that they last the distance. Some of the great tips and a variety of resources are included in the "Wardrobe Workbook" which you can download here
We had some hot debate about the relationship between fashion and style with most of the panel believing that style was significant and enduring but that fashion could be incorporated into your style if it suits your personal ethos and body shape. That means Cheryl needed to resist the urge to buy this season's culottes! There were some great ideas brought up about how one defines their personal style and therefore what their capsule wardrobe or uniform may be. Violette uses the process of editing HESSIAN Magazine as a way to style herself and vice versa. Through this process she realised that while loving the concept of pattern, it was not for her so she now approaches her wardrobe with a refined colour palette. Siggi said some marvellous things about how people have observed she wears some of the same items repeatedly and that's commonly considered a bad thing. However, as a purveyor of slow fashion she takes it as a compliment. Awesome.
Mats used the example of packing to travel as a way to test what you really need in your wardrobe. We liked his idea of pretending we are citizens of the world travelling far and wide to ensure we have a refined selection of clothing we need to wear. Fabia suggested we divide our wardrobes into what we've worn in the last two weeks and what we haven't. After a set period you define, you remove anything that hasn't been worn because it can be so useful and treasured by others rather than becoming your wardrobe waste. Right on Fabia we say! Of course we recommend you swap those items out for ones you will treasure at one of our upcoming events or even online here. Sneaky plug! Linn was demonstrating how one's trash is another treasure by wearing a gorgeous black dress- of which she is the proud fourth owner.
The panel was divided when it came to the topics of slow fashion and wardrobe minimalism. While Mats said that slow fashion is just common sense, he proposed it was boring. Siggi staunchly disagreed and explained that for her it was a deeper engagement with clothing and superficial nature of fast fashions was boring. Fabia brought up the opportunity we have to pursue garments with great stories that are produced by craftspeople, ethically and creatively to enrich the experience of dressing ourselves.
We were very lucky to have some great questions coming from our audience about what fabrics are made to last and how we can care for garments so they are looking good for the long term. We realised that we had a lot to learn from our Mum's in terms of garment care and that with fabric choices it's a matter of experimentation. But when you're onto a good thing- stick to it. Mats has shown the proof is in the pudding by taking that very successful approach at his store Swensk. From our audience engagement, there were some challenging discussions around the emerging trend for gender neutral/ unisex attire and what role this may have in the future of fashion and clothing. Watch this space...
Then it was time for the swapping to begin. As you can see from these pictures, there was an array of wonderful garments and accessories in the mix. And as a special treat we had Leeyong Soo as our in-swap stylist offering tips to accessorise people's prized swaps with scarves and accessories.
All in all, it was a marvellous evening and we would like to thank host Linn Vikander for her exceptional event management, our esteemed panelists, our devoted team of volunteers, VAMFF for the affiliation and Fed Square for giving us a home. Any leftover garments were bundled up for the Australian Red Cross who raise funds for their charitable endeavours.