Upcycling steals the show at Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival


Last night I had the delight of attending Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival. So why was it a delight? Well first I will tell you why it wasn't. 

The clothing industry collectively contributes to holding the trophy as the second largest polluter in the world. I had a crushing, anxious feeling all night as I watched collection after collection strut down the runway. I admit it was intoxicating to see the colour, the beauty, the models with legs up to their armpits. There was so much work that had gone into it. As much as I tried to appreciate where I was I just couldn't get past the fact that very few designers seemed to be doing anything to help others or the environment (sorry if they do, but no effort was made to communicate otherwise). That changed in a spectacular fashion (pun intended)...

The reason it was a delight to attend last night's Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival was for three stand out moments. The last one is my favourite.

One. EcoBling was nominated for three categories; Ethical and Sustainable Fashion, Accessories and Young Entrepreneur of the Year. YAY! We didn't win but it was an honour to be nominated.

Two. Seeing Ocean Zen Bikini's swimwear collection made from recycled fishing nets and plastic bottles hauled out of the ocean was awesome. Steph Gabriel, the designer behind this innovative and inspiring business, isn't just focused on the product but a cause. How refreshing! She stole the show. In Pic left to right: Katie from EcoBling, Steph from Ocean Zen, Neaks from Rever Designs.

Her mammoth effort to bring the Ocean Zen collection to the forefront of people's awareness is so she can communicate ocean conservation. All of Steph's work is propelled by her passion to protect and improve the state of our oceans. Her genuine, caring and considerate nature combined with her awesome collection made her a very worthy winner of the "Ethical and Sustainable Fashion" trophy.

Three. Now this one is my favourite. The Best Dressed Award winner's acceptance speech was amazing. It was also hilarious in an awkward-but-can't-stop-watching kind of way. The local woman, whose name I missed, was asked what inspires her look. "Vintage, recycled, green. I use second hand clothing whenever I can" and "I think eco fashion is so important and really something we have to think about. There is so much stuff out there." Now for the awkward part.

You can see she realises she is at a runway show and quickly adds "OH! And new stuff, buy new stuff." Haha. Too late sister, the truth has been spoken and I loved it! Why do we feel we have to tell people what they want to hear? Just be real.

So in a nutshell, I say well done Ocean Zen and Best Dressed winner. You made my night and gave me a glimmer of hope that REAL eco and ethical fashion is making its way into mainstream platforms.


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