Interview with Alice Sutton of EDITION label

Sonder

Sonder is defined as the realisation that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own – populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness. In a series of interviews, Arts student, Georgia Leak, aims to explore the lives of the colourful characters that call the ANU home.

Photographer: Robert Coppa Model: Katie van den Bos Hair: Leslie Henshaw Makeup: Amy Capeda

Photographer: Robert Coppa
Model: Katie van den Bos
Hair: Leslie Henshaw
Makeup: Amy Capeda

 

Have you ever given much thought to the impact your fashion purchases have on the world? If I’m being honest, I hadn’t.

In a world driven by fast-paced trends, I’ve always succumbed to the sale racks of H&M or Zara, unaware of the magnitude to which this industry exploits workers, copies the work of other designers, and contributes massively to our ever-growing carbon footprint. With every ignorant swipe of my debit card I’ve unknowingly supported forced labour practices and wasted thousands of litres of water used in the production of garments, and, as a mindless consumer in a world permeated by the likes of mass media and materialism, I probably would’ve continued to do so, had I not spoken to Canberra fashion designer Alice Sutton…

Working to create sustainable fashion that produces little to no waste, Alice’s label EDITION has begun to cause quite the stir. Selected to feature in the upcoming FashFest (29 Sep – 1 Oct) at the Canberra Convention Centre, the young CIT graduate has her sights set on making eco-friendly pieces, which highlight and shape the ever-growing identity of Canberra’s fashion industry. “I hope that through my work I can make an impact – no matter how small – on the buying habits of Australian consumers. I just want people to buy garments that have been made ethically and will be worn for years, as opposed to low quality and unethical fast fashion items that affect the environment in insurmountable ways.”

Alice is stepping a little farther outside of her comfort zone for EDITION’s FashFest showcase and is playing with jersey and wool – materials normally associated with more casual wear – to create comfortable and functional formal wear. According to Alice, her customers’ comfort is one of her highest priorities. “One of my major influences is my customers,” says the young designer. “They give me the most valuable feedback about fit, colour, what’s flattering, and what needs improving. In turn, I can only hope that I’m able to make garments that they’re able to look beautiful and feel confident in, without compromising their own comfort… or the environment for that matter!”

Even with FashFest looming just around the corner, Alice is already planning ahead, and has new and exciting projects on the horizon. “After FashFest I’ll be working on an Open Studio day with Australian National Capital Artists, and then on a new collection,” she told me with much excitement. In all of her endeavours, Alice hopes her dedication and unbreakable zeal for designing ethical and sustainable fashion will inspire other young Canberrans to follow suit. “Plans and goals for the future change all the time but always involve doing what I love: thinking, creating and making.”

In today’s fast-paced fashion industry it takes courage for up-and-coming designers to speak out against the unethical practices commonly committed by household brands. EDITION’s Alice Sutton has done just that – taking criticism in her stride, she has worked tirelessly to right the wrongs of an industry tarnished by cruel and polluting practices. When I asked her if she thought of herself as brave for taking a stand for what she believed in, she told me she’d never given it much thought, that she was just doing what was right. Though, in her humbleness, Alice might regard her firm and revolutionary stance as anything but exceptional, what she may not realise is that through her work in EDITION she’s begun to educate those around her – thoughtless consumers like myself – about the detrimental impacts their buying habits have on the wider world.

Changing the globe one dress purchase at a time – I don’t know about you, but I think that’s pretty special.

Alice’s showcase will feature during Spectra on the closing night of FashFest, Saturday 1 October, at 6.30 pm.