Joining the Commune at RMIT

As much as I love my office job (and yes, there may be just a little sarcasm in there), I have to say I love a festival more. So I hardly hesitated when I was invited to take part in the Commune festival at RMIT yesterday.

It was a little festival with a big program of talks by sustainable fashion experts such as Sue Thomas and Tullia Jack (who is wearing the same pair of jeans for three months as part of her research and has posted about the festival with more links here). I won’t go into exactly what was said, as I only made it to a few talks, but I’m sure you can guess that the general gist of all the talks was that if we people of Planet Earth want to live here in years to come, we better change our fashion habits, and pronto. Which, as you probably know, is one of the reasons that I blog – I rarely buy any new clothing because I make my own from scratch, customise stuff from op shops, or make stuff out of crap, and I love giving all of you ideas about how to do the same! However, I try not to go on about being green too much because I prefer to just send you subliminal messages through my amazing creativity, hehe…


… Hmm, enough brainwashing for one day! Here’s a few shots of the festival. There were lots of CAKES!!

And cacti in teacups!

And critters!

And amazing free vegan food, but because I was too busy eating it, I didn’t take any photos of it. I’m not vegan but I’d definitely try the restaurant providing the food as it was delicious. Melburnians – it’s called Loving Hut and is at shop 10, 242 Victoria St, Richmond, if you want to check it out.

I attended the festival to represent Peppermint and was one of the judges in the student competition – fashion students were asked to refashion items from their wardrobe that they didn’t love any more. The stories behind their designs were fascinating…

Kirby told us that her dad is a businessman who goes through a lot of shirts because the collars get grimy fast, so they end up getting thrown out (I would have thought a bit of elbow grease might have solved that problem, but that’s a rant for another time). She cut circles from the shirts and made them into blooms that she attached to an old dress.

Another student turned a maroon bedsheet that was being thrown out into a dress and added bits from her mum’s turtleneck jumper as decoration. I’m very into fringing and dangly things so might have to steal this idea at some point.

Kirby’s dress, with a ‘ute suit’ in the background made from two shirts joined together (this was the entry that ended up winning).

I should have got a shot of this turban just by itself, but here it is with its creator (not sure what his name is, but he was one of the runners up). This is the piece I found most interesting because the material has been fundamentally transformed rather than just cut up or stitched differently. It was made from some old sports T-shirts, I’m thinking like those shiny synthetic soccer shirts? The base turban part is fairly self-explanatory I suppose, but the yellow and black decoration on top was made by melting the fabric to make it look sort of lacy and honey-comby. I didn’t get to touch it but I’d guess it’s basically reverted back to a plasticky type of material as a lot of synthetics are petroleum based. A bit of alchemy going on there!

This was the other runner up – she used a business jacket as a base and layered a blanket over the top. Parts of the jacket are still visible so its origins are obvious, but it’s now a fashion-forward cape-type garment.

Hmm, more than enough inspiration if you are sitting there thinking you have nothing to wear but have a pile of old yukky clothes and bed linen ready to be thrown out! Get stitching!