Kelli wants to clean up fashion’s ‘wastefulness’

“Fashion is the second highest polluting industry in the world and is also known as the modern-day slave trade,” fashion designer Kelli Donovan tells reporter DANIELLE NOHRA

Designer Kelli Donovan… “Fashion is becoming cheaper and cheaper, there’s not the respect and connection between the clothes and the people, so people don’t really respect the work.”

AFTER seeing the negative effect of fast fashion first-hand, local designer Kelli Donovan wants to bring awareness to what she sees as the wasteful and unsafe nature of the fashion industry.

During 15 years working as a designer for several large companies in Melbourne, Kelli noticed they were more interested in the product and making money than the environmental factor.

It wasn’t until she was “burnt out” by the constant pressure of meeting deadlines and 16-hour work days that Kelli stepped back and re-evaluated her career.

Pure Pod’s ethically created “clean fashion”.

Leaving Melbourne, she moved to an organic macadamia farm in Byron Bay with her partner Sean and trained as a yoga teacher.

Through her decade of yoga teaching, Kelli became inspired to combine her love of fashion with her passion for health and wellbeing.

When she merged the two, she came up with the idea of Pure Pod, an eco-brand that produces ethically created “clean fashion”.

“Fashion is the second highest polluting industry in the world and is also known as the modern-day slave trade,” she says.

Kelli no longer wanted to contribute to the environmental or social impacts of fast fashion and now, back in hometown, Canberra, she uses her label as a platform to educate buyers.

“Fashion is becoming cheaper and cheaper, there’s not the respect and connection between the clothes and the people, so people don’t really respect the work,” she says.

“Another thing that’s happening with fast fashion, is the cheaper the fashion, the harder it is for people to compete.

“We only have one planet and we can’t keep polluting it.

“It’s about looking after where we live and keeping the environment healthy.”

With that in mind, Kelli founded the event “Fashionably Numb” that, for the first time, will be part of the 2017 Design Canberra Festival.

Using the knowledge gained from her sustainable brand, Kelli as well as other industry experts, will raise awareness through three events at her Dairy Road studios, in Fyshwick, on Saturday, November 11.

  • The Twilight Ethical Fashion Market, open to the public from 2pm-5.30pm, will bring together national and local designers and makers who practice sustainable design and advocate no-waste policies. Kelli says the market is about showing people that there’s a solution to fast fashion.
  • The Sustainable Fashion Panel is a ticketed event, which will discuss how a product is made from an idea to a sale and how designers can positively impact the life cycle of a product.
  • “Art All Day” features a conceptual art installation honouring the 1129 garment factory workers who lost their lives in the Rana Plaza tragedy in 2013.

“There is a strong, growing unease from consumers about cheap, poor-quality goods and clothing and the need for the consumer to reconnect with makers’ stories and ethically made, good-quality clothing and products,” Kelli says.

“Whether it’s a natural fibre or synthetic material converted into fabric, the clothing lifecycle goes full circle and eventually the piece of clothing will come to landfill.

“So if it’s synthetic it’s not going to break down into the earth and it will be here for hundreds of years or more until it does.”

Even though people might think that slow fashion is expensive, Kelli says if they actually sit back and add up the costs, they’d be really surprised.

“I can guarantee they’ll spend less money if they buy less, buy better, choose well and have it for longer,” she says.

“Fashionably Numb”, Dairy Road Studios, Dairy Road, Fyshwick, November 11. For more information visit purepod.com.au

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