What do an SUV and a skirt made out of recycled materials have in common?
It turns out enough for the skirt's designer to be shortlisted for a fashion competition.
Canberra-born Lilli McKenzie is one of four finalists in the Design Driven - a sustainability-driven fashion challenge being held by Mazda Australia that uses the car manufacturer's first electric vehicle, the MX-30, as design inspiration.
The winner - decided by Margie Woods of Australia fashion label, Viktoria & Woods, and Mazda staff - will be flown to Japan to meet with car company's chief of design.
The challenge has led McKenzie - who is currently studying a bachelor of fashion designer honours at RMIT - to create pieces out of recycled material using Scandinavian weaving techniques.
"The techniques use weight to weave a giant piece of tapestry and in this instance, I'm using the body as the loom," McKenzie says.
"I'm incorporating basic archetypes like denim, tracksuits, T-shirts and long-sleeved shirts and repurposing and giving new life to these garments.
"A lot of them I've just sourced from my own wardrobe because, obviously, Melbourne is in lockdown at the moment. I'm just scraping the barrel as to what I can use."
The link to the SUV is the material. Just like McKenzie's sustainable material on her garments, the car's interior uses vegan leather, heritage cork, and felt that's made out of repurposed plastic bottles.
However, the topic of sustainability is a big issue in the fashion industry as a whole at the moment. In Australia alone, 800,000 tonnes of clothing and fabric waste is dumped in landfill every year.
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"It's something that I'm very passionate about. My parents have always instilled a huge sense of responsibility when it comes to sustainability," McKenzie says,
"That's why I care so much about the garments that I buy and the materials that I'm using because everything has an end life and you have to consider like where it's going.
"The environmental issues that we're having at the moment, while it is a huge burden on the world, it's pushing us as designers to think outside the box. It's a really exciting space to go into and I do see the future of fashion encompassing sustainability, in its entire practice."
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