Fashion Design alumni look to industry’s future

Fashion Design alumni look to industry’s future

Amid the buzz and excitement of the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival (VAMFF), attention turned to fashion’s business model. We asked RMIT alumni about the forces shaping the industry.

With the VAMFF Australian Fashion Summit tackling some of the major forces shaping the industry’s future, we turned to two RMIT Fashion (Design) alumni for their insights including senior designer at Esprit and Project Runway Australia winner, Christina Exie, and creative consultant working for brands in France and Australia, Jeremy Hershan.

Trained in the art of bespoke tailoring in London's Saville Row, Hershan has played pivotal roles for heritage brands Alfred Dunhill in the UK and R.M Williams in Australia and has been featured in GQ and Executive Style among others.

In 2012, Exie blew the judges away with her designs on reality TV competition Project Runway Australia, winning the season series before going on to carve out a global fashion career. 

RMIT Fashion (Design) alumnus Christina Exie RMIT Fashion (Design) alumnus Christina Exie

What are the big shifts ahead for the industry in 2030?

Exie has launched her own sustainable Street Sportswear brand, EXIE, and said sustainability would be the main pillar of future growth in the industry.

“By 2030 we can expect to see all fashion corporations and small brands alike shifting their production to be more sustainable,” she said.

“Recycled polyester will replace virgin polyester, reusing (up-cycling) pre-existing clothing by fixing or transforming them to extend the lifecycle of textile commodities, and using the by-product of fruit, like pineapple skin, for example, will be dominant.

“Furthermore, by 2030, the garment rental business will grow significantly and perhaps designers will create better quality garments specifically for businesses to rent or invest in.”  

Hershan said there would be a more conscious consumption and return to quality and craftsmanship.

“The industry has seen the rise of fast-fashion and subsequent over-production, which has raised awareness of fashion’s environmental impact and we will continue to see a growing demand for change,” he said.

Jeremy Hershan RMIT Fashion (Design) alumnus Jeremy Hershan

Which textile innovation will have the biggest impact on the fashion industry in coming years?

Exie said purchasing a made to measure garment without leaving the living room, would become a reality.

“With the fast progression of technology, we will see Machine Learning in Artificial Intelligence make all facets of the fashion industry more personalised and efficient through automation,” she said.

“From a design perspective, made-to-measure garments via 3D body-scanning will allow brands to effectively create perfectly fitting garments without the customer leaving their living room."

Hershan noted major brands were committing to more ‘sustainable’ supply chains.

“There is a shift toward materials with less impact and an easier ‘end-life’ and with this I’d expect to see a general shift away from ‘man-made’ and renewed focus on natural fibres,” he said.

Exie's sportswear brand  EXIE uses recycled materials such as polyester made from recycled ocean waste Exie's sportswear brand EXIE uses recycled materials such as polyester made from recycled ocean waste

How has sustainability changed the fashion industry in the last five years?

Exie said sustainability was now at the forefront of fashion brands’ marketing agendas and consumers’ minds.

“There’s been a surge in fashion corporations announcing they would be shifting to sustainable fabrics and practices in the next five to ten years,” she said.

“Thrift shopping, remodelling existing garments into new styles and investing in pieces that can be cherished and handed down for many years to come are opted for over throw away pieces."

She said the increasing demand for recycled materials could drastically speed up the development of circularity in textiles and apparel.

“With over 70% of discarded clothing able to be recycled, it would be great to see garments collected through municipal waste collection, so they could be recycled much in the same way plastic or paper is."

Hershan agreed people were waking up to the enormous environmental impact of the fashion industry.

“With this increased awareness we also need to see a shift in consumer expectations, so it’s important that brands educate consumers that quality goods cost more and encourage the philosophy of ‘buy less, buy better’,” he said.

 

Story: Cat Sietkiewicz and Diana Robertson

13 March 2020

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13 March 2020

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  • Alumni
  • fashion

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