Australian Sustainable Designer Debuts With The R Collective
Award-winning designer, Tess Whitfort, brings her up-cycled and groundbreaking zero-waste collection from competition catwalk to commercialisation
Up-cycling brand The R Collective, born from NGO Redress, launches award-winning Australian sustainable fashion designer, Tess Whitfort’s first commercial collection, entitled Avoidance. The collection is created using rescued textile waste and innovative zero-waste design techniques to catalyse a circular fashion system. Tess shot to fame after winning the world’s largest sustainable fashion design competition, the Redress Design Award in Hong Kong. Her resulting collection, which is heavily featured in the latest season of Redress’ award-winning documentary series Frontline Fashion , is available at www.thercollective.com with select styles available in Asia’s leading luxury department store, Lane Crawford.
Focusing on emerging designers and educating the next generation of the fashion industry, the Redress Design Award drives growth towards a circular fashion system. In collaboration with The R Collective, Tess’ competition collection was transformed from concept to catwalk and into retail, demonstrating a strong business case for positive change.
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“I wanted to incorporate a bit of attitude and punk edge into this collection, whilst keeping it timeless and within The R Collective’s aesthetic,” said Tess Whitfort, who has a Degree in Fashion Design from Australia’s Box Hill Institute. “There are many stereotypes around sustainable fashion and it is often portrayed as natural, feminine, and wholesome. Instead, I create grungy streetwear so that badasses can wear ethical clothing too. Environmental issues are going to affect us all, so sustainability can’t just be for people who love the environment, it can’t be a niche, it needs to be for everyone.”
Tess’ six-piece Avoidance collection features an aviation inspired jumpsuit alongside the experimental ‘Preston Dress’ with adjustable belted detailing and a classic retro varsity style jacket, which all feature unique twists on classic designs. In partnership with award-winning sustainable manufacturer, TAL Apparel, Tess’ zero-waste pattern techniques brought about groundbreaking fabric utilisation during manufacturing, with several of her styles achieving less than one percent fabric wastage, compared with an industry norm of approximately 15 percent. Her collection is formed of upcycled denim, crepe, wool, and cotton , which were rescued from world-leading luxury brands, mills, and manufacturers, thereby avoiding the need to create virgin materials and minimising fashion’s negative environmental impacts.
Social impact business The R Collective works collaboratively with Redress to prove Redress’ legacy at pioneering a more sustainable fashion industry. The R Collective collaborates with Alumni from the Redress Design Award to provide a creative platform to reduce waste and pollution in fashion.
“Working with the Redress Design Award Winner, Tess Whitfort proves the essence of Redress and The R Collective’s beliefs that creativity, collaboration, and a design-driven sustainable and ethical collection deserves its place with the world’s best retailers to inspire shifts in fashion consumption,” said Christina Dean, Redress’ Founder and The R Collective’s Co-Founder.