This year brings new ground for Undress Runways, yet again. Venturing out of our hometown of Brisbane, we’re off to bring the best of Australian and International sustainable fashion, accessories, and lifestyle to Melbourne.

When posed with the question almost daily… “so what is sustainable fashion?” I immediately begin to rattle off the go-to spiel of textiles, production, lifecycle, transport, working conditions, etc. All too often this can be a bit of a brain overload. How exactly the top you’re wearing has perhaps damaged the environment or been produced in an unethical manner is an issue many of us are blissfully unaware. After encountering so many people with the same question, I have to ask myself how do I simply communicate the core message of our movement? How do you translate the often invisible toxicity of the clothing industry when it’s shrouded with a veil of beauty, trend and social status? Aside from showing stunning eco-ethical garments on a runway, the event space needs to speak of the tension between fashion and the environment.

When designing the event spaces for Undress, I try to imagine an environment where one can be transported into an alternative universe where fashion meets an eco-socio conscious. The curation of our events speak a little more of holistic design and the consequence of fashion rather than just the clothing itself. An Undress event hopes to get you thinking about the environments your clothing was created from.

Melbourne has a rich industrial fabric throughout the city. One is drawn to the new beauty we’re finding in these defunct shells of buildings that no longer serve their original calling. What wonder we find in the reappropriation of culturally and historically rich spaces, the continual flooding and vacating of these shells keeps the freshness and diversity of Melbourne thriving whilst still appreciating the significance of the past. Continual rebirth becomes a prevalent theme when thinking about the city, something I intend to appropriate into the Undress Melbourne show.

I hope to create a space that exhibits the rebirth of an industry, the fresh new life of fashion that holds the importance of environmental impact in high regard. The triumph of sustainable practice over industrialised methods of production will translate through the objects, actions and emotions conveyed to the audience by the space itself, whilst the clothing collections will inspire one to see “eco-chic” in a whole new light. We want to move beyond the stereotype, to embrace the new generation of sustainable creatives and nurture an environment where people from all corners of the industry can build upon these newly laid foundations.

The objects at our events intend to show the beauty in the re-used, re-purposed and re-newed. What new use can you give an object? Not only does this design methodology create truly unique objects and runway sets it also aligns with our ethos of conscious environmental designs that help protect, preserve and enhance our natural resources. We believe these methods of event design can be used by all to help reduce our impact on future generations. Next time you host a party, question where, what, and how you can put it together in a sustainable style.

We hope you enjoy our event on Saturday night and take home a fresh new perspective on the fashion world beyond just the clothes. See you there!

Ryan Cotterill

Art Director - Undress Runways