As New Zealand’s eco-fashion week launches on Wednesday 23rd July, we talk to their Sustainable Style model Jess Clement about her role and what to expect.
The brainchild of Denise Anglesey, Eco Fashion Exposed launched in Lower Hutt in 2013 to showcase the variety of New Zealand based designers who clothes and accessories won’t cost the earth. Now in its second year, the week long Eco Fashion Show has swelled in size with over 20 designers from around the globe contributing to the event, including fabrics and interiors as well as apparel. Good grabbed five minutes with model Jess Clement, 22, in between rehearsals on the Runway.
Good: You’re looking great – are you a professional model?
Jess: “I work for a law firm in administration, but I do some occasional modeling through an agency. Until Eco Fashion Exposed it was mostly promotional work and photographic modeling.”
Good: How did you get involved with Eco Fashion Exposed?
Jess: “Last year they were asking for model volunteers for their catwalk show, and I thought it would be fun to help out and get some experience of the Runway. A lot of the other models were friends I knew through my casual job, so it was really good fun and very relaxed.”
Good: How did it change the way you thought about fashion?
Jess: “I was really inspired by the passion all the designers have for eco clothing. I guess I’d never really thought about fashion having an impact on the environment, but when I looked into it I was horrified by the level of waste in mainstream clothing production. After the show I bought a sewing machine and began repairing my old clothes, the ones I’d usually throw away. Simple things like cutting old jeans into shorts, darning socks and making cushion covers from leftover fabric makes a big difference. I don’t want to be part of the ‘throw away’ society.”
Good: How did you get chosen for the role of Sustainable Style Model?
Jess: “I’d already decided I wanted to volunteer for the show again, so I entered the competition to be the lead model on Facebook. I think Denise and the other organisers chose me because of how I’d changed my view on clothes since the last show – they wanted someone who was living the sustainable style life to be a role model.”
Good: What message are you trying to get across to the public?
Jess: “For me, one of the most important messages is that sustainable fashion is every-day fashion. We often get tagged with ‘wearable art’. I love wearable art, and it’s often very eco too – but it’s not practical. What we are doing is promoting clothes you can wear every day, to the office, to the park, to a friends wedding. They’re good quality, made in fair conditions and the materials are recycled or manufactured in an environmentally friendly way.”
Good: What are you looking forward to this year?
Jess: “I can’t wait to meet the designers and see what they bring to the table. Seeing their new creations will be really exciting. The highlight for me will be the runway shows though; but there are so many workshops and pop up events too, it’s hard to choose!”
New Zealand Eco Fashion Exposed runs from July 23rd – 27th in Lower Hutt. For more information and tickets, visit www.nzecofashionexposed.co.nz