Tess Whitfort a 24-year-old woman designer from Melbourne Australia with her unique punk touches has won the 2018 Redress award in Hong Kong. This award is organized by Redress, a charity that is engaged in the environment and works to eliminate waste from the fashion world.
This award program was first launched by Christina Dean in 2011. Her clothing collection inspired by the punk world was made using materials from the fabric deadstock from the industry and also using zero-waste pattern.
This competition was held in Hong Kong in September last year and 11 finalists competed to win the Redress Design Award. All designers show their ongoing collections on the catwalk stage. She is a graduate student in fashion design from the Box Hill Institute. Her class has a strong focus on sustainability, she explained. “We were taught to think differently”.
Tess Whitfort and Her Zero Waste Design
Traditionally, the role of the designer is to create beautiful collections and might take one step further to imagine a customer wearing them. There is no next step and it is not the norm for designers to consider what happens to a garment after the first owner is bored. Planning for future life in these clothes needs to be considered. Can cloth be recycled? If not, will it break down?
The fact is, up to 80 percent of the environmental impact of a product is decided at the design stage. Designers have enormous power to see more than aesthetics and this is important in the context of the current industrial waste crisis. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 53 million tons of material used for clothing production each year, 87 percent is stockpiled or burned after its last use.
Of course, aesthetics are important in designing and it has given a unique angle to beauty. By the time she received his award, she appeared unique by wearing barbed wire earrings and hand-painted yellow and black T-shirts.
“I was inspired by punk and I wanted to capture the rebellion in my work. Being a sustainable designer meant being a little rebellious and not afraid to spoil the mold and try new things. Aesthetically, I took rebel style elements and mixed them with a little elegance and subtlety, “she said.
All the judges love how Whitfort makes every element of its collection through the lens of sustainability and her holistic approach. She uses linen from deadstock, environmentally friendly printing inks, and upcycled metal hardware. But more than that, the main focus of the collection is her patterns without waste. She uses a very experimental approach to this and takes a lot of risks that now pay off with her unique and phenomenal design results.
Tess Whitfort and Her Sustainable Mission
Whitfort began to increasingly think about sustainable fashion when she was a fashion student. In addition to being surprised by how damaging the fashion industry is, sustainable design is also interesting because it brings a new dimension to design. She does not want to just design something that looks great but involves deeper thinking about how design functions and interacts with the environment.
There are several sustainable brands in Melbourne that do extraordinary things and she loves, for example, A.BCH and its approach that is very thorough and thoughtful for sustainable fashion. Zero-Waste Daniel also did some interesting things with textile waste, and ALYX Visual is a very attractive brand because of its excellent streetwear influence and upcycled fabrication. Congratulations to Tess Whitfort for her Redress award.