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ALEX VAN OS

Ethical Fashion Stylist, INSTAGRAM @opshoptorunway 

What does sustainability mean in the context of fashion?

It means to me, giving back equally as much as we take.

Australians are the largest consumers of new clothing per capita (behind the U.S.), how does that stat make you feel and what advice would you give around re-thinking how we buy our clothes?

That stat is really upsetting, my best way to combat that, is slowing down. We really need to stop our consumption, looking at what we already have in our wardrobe, because the majority of the time, we already have those pieces that we are going to go out and buy new.

So its understanding and loving every garment that we have in our wardrobe. Owning your own style, if you own your own style, you are comfortable in your own skin, then you are not going to follow trends, you are going to wear what you love and that’s going to stop us consuming.

And my special favourite is buying from second hand and vintage. Because that way you are stopping garments from going to into landfill, where they could be destined, and you know that you are wearing one of a kind, you are giving life to garments that have so much further to go, so much life to give and you are able to give that to them. Then also when buying new, buy from sustainable ethical brands, buy from Mighty Good Undies. Its doing research into brands doing the right thing, then paying your dollars for those garments, I guess voting with your dollar is really important.

Do you have a love story in Wardrobe? If so, what is it?

It was love at first sight, as naff as that may sound. I bought it from a vintage shop in Melbourne, it was on the mannequin and I saw it, and I just had to have it. It was love at first sight, to me this is a piece of art. I’ve never seen anything like this before, it brings so much joy, I feel like a lizard from Priscilla in it, out in the dessert, but its one of those pieces that is special and it had history, and it said on the tag it was Jenny Bannister, a well known Australian 80s designer, and it was confirmed by her that it was one of her pieces and I guess I made a deeper connection with it to, it had elastic in the waist line and I had to make that smaller, and those small little alternations means you care your garments those items longer.

It just makes me happy, and I just think it’s one of those pieces that if you walk down the street, its going to will make people, smile or laugh or think what the hell is she wearing, but it brings a bit of happiness to everyone.

DID YOU KNOW? 

The environmental pollution of conventional cotton is so high that Consulting firm McKinsey has estimated that if all the pollution from cotton was factored into its price, the price would rise by about 500 per cent!

(source: Innovation Forum: Sustainable and ethical cotton sourcing: How to get it right, and make it pay for your business  http://innovation-forum.co.uk/perch/resources/sustainable-and-ethical-cotton-sourcing-report.pdf  )