If you think about the clothes sitting in your wardrobe right now, it’s a safe bet you’ve worn less than half of them in the past year. Of course, much of this can be credited to the majority of us working from home due to the pandemic, alongside the fact that holidays and many social occasions have been off the cards, but much of it comes down to the fact that we simply buy stuff we don’t need.
Worth an estimated $2 billion, Australia’s fast fashion industry has overwhelmingly proven to have a detrimental effect on the environment. With fads and trends popping up and passing us by faster than we can enter our credit card details, there are few of us who are immune to a quick fashion fix.
Problem is, many of these garments end up quite literally in the bin. According to a YouGov survey, three in 10 Australians have thrown away clothing after wearing it just once, and almost the same number admit to discarding more than 10 items in the past year alone.
This has resulted in a large gap between the mammoth volume amount of clothing made and the amount that is recycled. Although one brand, Lucky Dip, is doing their bit to help close that gap.
Established in 2017 by Tuhirangi Blair, Lucky Dip is a culmination of the designer’s experiences in the garment industry, influenced by his visits to vintage stores and markets around the world.
“The idea of breathing new life into discarded materials is appealing to me and I like the notions of nostalgia. All fabric used is either sourced from thrift stores or donated from supporters of the brand who have an excess of possessions,” Blair tells Broadsheet.
After starting out in Wellington, New Zealand, he moved to Melbourne at the end of 2019 and now has an atelier in East Melbourne, where each piece is carefully handcrafted. Producing only five silhouettes across three sizes, the brand’s sole focus is shirts.
“The decision to focus on shirting developed from a personal study into the form, function and feel of the classic garment. Each style is a homage to some of my favourite shirting silhouettes,” he explains.
Making the call to keep the range within a concentrated number of styles was a conscious one, allowing Blair to fully explore the different concepts and ideas within each style, as well as doing his part to contribute to the circular economy.
“I’m a big believer in people who have the discipline to fully dedicate themselves to their craft. Consumers are a lot more aware of the greater impact of their purchases, especially in 2020. The decision to participate in a circular economy presents an opportunity to alleviate the negative effects the garment industry has had and is having on the environment.”
As the name suggests each shirt is completely unique, designed with a range of obvious and not so obvious detailing in mind. Each shirt comes with its own story and the swing ticket articulates the fabric source, location of making and the time, effort and care put into every garment.
“Due to my unique decision of how I source fabric I thought it would be interesting to document the process. I feel having a transparent stance allows people to get a deeper understanding of the garments I craft and the ideals of the brand.”