Fashion, design & sustainability // teacher / researcher / designer

The Fashion Presently

Big data is proving to be a boon for fashion forecasting. Fashion forecasters claim to tell fashion’s future. But are they prophets: intuitively reading the world of today to see the world of tomorrow, or are they dictators of taste: telling companies what colours to pick, and watching as their ‘predictions’ become a self-fulfilling prophesy? …

Whaling and paradigm shifts

This week Australia had a success in the courts fighting Japanese scientific whaling. What many people may not realise is how recent our own whaling history is. Between 1952 and 1962, Tangalooma in Moreton Bay, Queensland was the biggest whaling station in the southern hemisphere (1). In total, Australian workers killed 12,500 humpback whales in …

Women as armchairs

Lately I’ve been reading William Morris’ views on the fashions of Victorian women. He loathed the garish colours of the new synthetic dyes, and described the women of his time as “upholstered like arm-chairs” in their yards of petticoats and padding. (1) Jane Morris and other women of the Pre-Raphaelite artistic circle dressed counter to the …

Fast fashion in geological time

Much of what we call fast fashion took eons to reach us.  Let’s say you buy a new frock. It’s made from polyester, a plastic derived from petroleum. That petroleum is a hydrocarbon, formed from minerals and marine animals, chemically-transformed over millions of years. (1) Most petroleum deposits are found in rocks from the Mesozoic …

Paula Stafford

Last month I visited the Gold Coast and Hinterland Historical Society – Surfer’s Paradise, to view the Paula Stafford collection, kindly arranged by Nadia and Madeleine at The Fashion Archives. Australia and the swimsuit are a perfect fit, and in part that’s thanks to Gold Coast fashion designer Paula Stafford.   Stafford began designing swimwear …

Oxford Conference

In colonial times, Australian women would eagerly await the latest fashion styles coming from Europe… During the 1980s – early 2000s, Australian designers and buyers could easily go across to Europe, buy the latest styles, and then adjust them for the Australian market a season later. It was very convenient having opposing seasons to the fashion …

Bath Fashion Museum

I visited the Bath fashion museum in September this year. Here are some photos and sketches. And some wonderful wedding dresses:  

Goin’ Local

Last night I gave a talk at the Stitchery as part of their Goin’ Local theme for July. As I prepared for the talk I was reminded of what drew me to study fashion and textiles ages and ages ago. It all began in 1994 when I was fifteen and began making a patchwork quilt. …