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meet the designers

Carmel Ryan
Carmel Ryan
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Carmel Ryan

Carmel, whose idea it was to hold the Sustainable Couture Opening Night event in an aviation museum hangar, has been a part of Sustainable Couture from its inception. Over the years, Carmel’s creative flair and imagination has seen her fabulous entries in ‘wearable art’ events take out the top awards, both in the NT and interstate, including being a showcase finalist at Wearable Art Mandurah, Western Australia in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

 

Carmel was one of the six Sustainable Couture designers who presented their well-received 'Edge of Centre’ collection at Eco Fashion Week Australia 2018 in Fremantle. She was also a featured designer in the event’s ‘UpCycling Challenge’: to design a garment using only men’s preloved shirts. Twenty-five white shirts later, she’d created a beautiful bridal gown which drew a lot of attention when on display and was written up in That’s Life magazine. 

 

A long-time dressmaker and passionate about the environment, Carmel prefers to reuse and repurpose, and loves working with vintage pre-loved or found natural materials that 'come with a story’. She’s never far from her sewing machine and can transform the humblest op shop finds into red-carpet show-stoppers.  Carmel enjoys making her unique one-off, slow fashion collections for the annual runway events.

 

I love the connection with like-minded designers and the event’s overall concept and ethos to be more environmentally conscious especially when it comes to the fashion industry.

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Marg Johnson
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Margaret Johnson

Marg, a core member of the Sustainable Couture collective, has a passion for the hand-made, which flourished during many childhood hours spent with her talented mother and grandmother, as they sewed, crocheted, embroidered and mended, creating and recreating beautiful clothes and homewares.

 

Drawing on this influence, and the magic of op shop finds and textile treasures passed on by family and friends, Marg continues this textile-crafting tradition, transforming textiles into one-off joyful garments, headwear and accessories, with timeless value.

 

An accomplished milliner, Marg has a great eye for colour, design and detail. Her handmade creations are vintage inspired, paying homage to traditional millinery techniques while bringing a contemporary, playful edge to her work. Her inspiration is the natural world and the ever-present wonder of its colour, texture and forms. She delights in finding once-loved and often neglected hats and restoring them or refashioning them to give them a sparkling new life.

 

I find fascination in the simplicity of stitching, and the connection this brings to generations of makers before me. I enjoy reclaiming the fabrics of yesteryear, recycling the rich stories they hold in their threads, and creating loved clothes that last. I believe that as individuals we can all take action to create a future with less waste – by living more simply and caring more for our precious planet.

DESIGNER LOOKBOOK

Liz Wauchope.jpg
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Naina Devi.jpg

Liz Wauchope

Liz has been painting and printing on silk, making garments and accessories, since the early 1980s. She was born and raised in Alice Springs and returns as often as she can now that she lives in Adelaide.

 

Over the 35 years she has been a textile artist, Liz has expanded her repertoire to include screen printing, Japanese Indigo Shibori, devoré (burnout) and discharge printing and dyeing, amongst many other techniques, which have been showcased through Sustainable Couture.

In my hippy trippy days in the 1970s, my grandmother gave me her beautiful silk gowns from when she was a soprano with the Bluebird Choir in the 1920s. She was not pleased when I tie dyed them all!

 

Liz’s current focus on repurposing was ignited by her first foray into the Sustainable Couture Opening Night Parade in 2016:

 

It has turned my artistic practice around, and I now use pre-loved items as a basis for much of my work. I particularly enjoy Indigo dyeing, coupled with Japanese Shibori, or discharge printing.

Naina Devi

Liz Wauchope works with the wonderful Naina Devi, who studied fashion design and construction in India, where she lived until coming to Australia several years ago. Naina brings the technical and fashion design expertise and imagination to her collaborations with textile artists.

 

Naina went to sewing college in her small town in the Punjab, where she worked as a pieceworker for some time, mass producing sari petticoats and other simple garments. Her particular love was embroidery. She gradually became a noted tailor in her community, developing pattern making skills for new designs, together with the ability to expertly repair or completely reproduce a client’s favourite garment.

 

Naina and Liz discuss the designs for the garments and refine their ideas together, then Naina does the skilled work of sewing and finishing.

 

I was very lucky to come to work for Liz as a cleaner, because when I showed her some of my sewing work, my job changed straight away! We have been working together for 6 years now, and every day there is a new challenge. I am glad that we design new things out of old.

 

 

If you are interested in seeing more of Liz and Naina’s work, or wish to purchase an item, you can contact them by email

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Jen Standish-White

Jen Standish-White

Growing up in her native land Zimbabwe, Jen began fashioning her own clothes as a teenager in the early 1970s. After over 20 years in fashion and costume design and a lifelong love of natural fibres, Jen migrated to Australia, a journey eventually leading her to Alice Springs. A radical change of career followed; however, in 2013, Jen’s growing interest in promoting ethical fashion through the sustainable recycling of old garments from predominantly natural fibres, sowed the seeds for creating her own label. Jen deconstructs, dyes, felts, paints, recuts, tucks, or otherwise to create the transformed and timeless up-cycled range of unique clothing offered under her ‘Lokathula Couture’ label.

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Anne Stewart
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Anne Stewart

Anne is a maker, weaver, dyer and designer of fibre compositions that make use of her natural talent for wildly successful colour management and a keen sense of experimentation, revolving around the central tenets of 'why not?' and 'what if?'. Anne has long held a fascination for the traditional Japanese purposeful use of 'scrap' fabric and thread, with its beautiful sense of simple appreciation, creating form and function lasting centuries of use.

 

Formal training in her early years, encompassed hand sewing couture techniques, the technicalities of spinning and weaving a herringbone fabric then self tailored into a men's jacket fit for Saville Row and the mastery of embroidery techniques too numerous to count (to name but a miniscule portion of Anne's knowledge and experience). This has not dampened her ability to create a design quite at home with the edginess of Carnaby Street.

 

DESIGNER LOOKBOOK