Why Did No One Come To Eco Fashion Week Australia?
There’s a big elephant in the room…
No one turned up to Eco Fashion Week Australia.
After one evening of attempting to take photographs of the runway without capturing the empty blue seats and barren community hall, I was over it. I was devastated for the incredible designers, models, makeup artists, hair stylists, organisers, and founders who had poured every inch of their energy into the event, and I was mortified at the idea that I had to keep on pretending everything was idyllic.
Then I realised, I didn’t: Kate tells the truth and nothing but the truth. It took a long phone conversation with my (life saving) husband for me to remember my freedom.
To give you some context, this year, Eco Fashion Week Australia (EFWA) includes one week in Port Douglas, on the east coast of Australia, followed by another week in Perth, on the west coast. Perth events are 5 days away from the publishing of this blog post, and I’m crossing all fingers and toes that I won’t be saying the same thing about Perth.
Disclaimer: the below are rambling thoughts, not conclusions. I’ve talked with the founder and director, and we’re on the same page. I also welcome conversation in the ethical fashion space, as we won’t get anywhere if our efforts are divided: firstname.lastname@example.org
Was the world ready for it?
Every year, 80 billion new pieces of clothing are purchased globally. One in five of us have thrown away a piece of clothing after wearing it just once. Regardless of the positive movement happening in the ethical fashion world, we have a long way to go. Perhaps Australia was not ready for an Eco Fashion Week. Did they see the name, get confused, and walk on?
Yet, I see other eco fashion based events sell out. Why did this particular audience only consist of the mothers and friends of models walking and designers showcasing?
Port Douglas was a weird choice
Port Douglas is a small town of 3,500 people. It’s predominantly a tourist hot spot. It’s coastal and out of the way. Can you see the problem here?
I’m all for bringing ethical fashion to spaces who have never been exposed to the topic, and I respect the mission to bring awareness of conservation efforts in the reefs and rainforests, but Port Douglas is not who I’m personally trying to convince when I talk about ethical fashion. They’re not the community going out and buying five garments every weekend: there’s one main stretch of shops, and it doesn’t seem like shopping could be a main hobby, even if they tried.
We need to be focusing our efforts and energy wisely if we want to see change in the fashion industry.
If Eco Fashion Week (Port Douglas) was marketed as a small, community focused, celebration of small designers: that would be great. It would be an honest reflection of what it really was. But it wasn’t: and many left feeling deceived and confused. Myself included.
I make it my mission to eradicate the ‘hippy dippy’ perception of ethical fashion, to show you can still be stylish and ‘fashionable’ when embracing ethical fashion. This event felt like 100 steps backwards.
I’ll be honest, I nearly went home on Tuesday. As a budding ‘essentialist’ and small business owner, I have to be careful about where I spend my time: particularly my volunteer hours (of which this event is 100%).
But I’m here, and I’m staying. I’m staying for the incredible designers, I’m staying for your education (lots of blogs to come), and I’m here to brainstorm ways to change the fashion industry with incredible minds.
For whatever reason, Eco Fashion Week Australia didn’t work out in Port Douglas, but stay tuned for Perth: I have high hopes it will be amazing.