RMIT Fashion students have collaborated with Australian brand Etiko to create stylish eco-friendly designs for a new range of fair trade underwear.
This unique experience provided students with the chance to address issues of ethics and fair trade within the fashion and textiles industry, and to create fun designs for Etiko’s new fair trade underwear range.
The collaboration between RMIT and Etiko began after textile design teacher Lucy Adam, met the founder and director of Etiko, Nick Savaidis, at a fair trade event.
Adam mentioned that a lack of transparency within the fashion and textiles industry motivated Savaidis to create his own line of eco-friendly clothing, footwear and sports gear.
“If we are asking future designers to look further than economics as a measure of success and become agents of change, then design education must provide a context for students to participate in projects that engage in values and ethics,” Adam said
Students received valuable feedback from Savaidis and his team on the industry readiness of their designs.
Adam believes that participating in values based projects like Etiko can be a catalyst for change.
“Projects like this are so important for students because Etiko are on the front line of change, and are leaders within an industry confronted with many challenges,” Adam said.
“Textile Design and Development feels a responsibility towards addressing some of these changes, and recognise that RMIT needs to facilitate opportunities for students to build a deeper understanding about their society, and the world so they can see themselves as change agents.
“Designers have the ability to greatly reduce the social and environmental impacts within their industry if they are motivated to,” she said.
Etiko ‘Industry Choice’ Award Winner and Diploma of Textile Design and Development student, Kristen Salguero, was grateful that she was able to participate in Etiko’s unique and informing collaboration.
“Studying textiles design and development at RMIT has opened my eyes to the fact that what we choose to buy has a direct impact on people, communities, animals and our precious planet,” Salguero said.
"We need to look after our environment and livestock which in turn will look after us by producing clean and healthy products that are sustainable over the long term.”
Salguero was “very happy” to receive the news that Etiko chose her designs,
“Its’ great to be connected with a company like Etiko who are dedicated to making change in the industry and leading the way in the area of ethics and sustainability.”
RMIT is committed to incorporating sustainable principles and practices into learning and teaching, research and operational activities.
Story: Jordan Di Stefano