WeekendNotes readers who subscribe to my articles will know that I love Reverse Garbage Queensland (RGQ). I am excited because they are about to stage upcycled, wearable art that challenges our thinking about the clothes we choose to wear. The Worn OUT?!? Exhibition is being mounted again on 24 November. The environmental and social impact of clothing is now being understood with indications that the apparel industry accounts for around 10% of global carbon emissions and is the second biggest polluter of the world's freshwater resources. In Australia, we each send an average 23kg of textiles and leather to landfill every year.
Since its inception nearly two decades ago, RGQ has championed creative re-use as one way to move towards a more sustainable society. The worker-run co-operative believes a sustainable community must also be a creative one because making better use of resources that already exist around us requires creative thought and action. Putting theory into practice, RGQ is presenting an amazing opportunity for everyone to put the theory of creative re-use into practice by asking the question, "Is it really worn out?"
Refashion Camping Collection by Ruby Bou (courtesy of RGQ)
Worn OUT?!? will showcase the creative potential of both pre-loved materials and those salvaged from the waste stream with two discrete genres Refashion and Cosplay and all garments, costumes and accessories featured in the exhibition will use a minimum of 75% 'non-new' materials. The exhibition will be launched with a free opening night event featuring runway shows for Refashion and Cosplay on Saturday 24 November in Woolloongabba. The exhibition will continue with a static display of selected Refashion garments, Cosplay outfits and accessories for the following week in Reverse Emporium, the upcycled art and craft gift shop at RGQ's Woolloongabba warehouse.
Curators Elizabeth Kingston and Jane Milburn (courtesy of RGQ)
Australian Refashion pioneers Jane Milburn and Elizabeth Kingston, renowned for supporting independent and timeless style based on creative reuse of existing resources, are co-curating the Refashion Showcase.
Jane Milburn is at the cutting edge of the slow clothing movement in Australia, after working in journalism and rural communications. As an agricultural scientist, Jane focuses on the substance, not just the style of clothing as protection for our bodies and a statement about who we are. Her premise is that clothes do for us on the outside what food does inside: nourish, warm and engage body and soul. In the same way that conscious eaters are sourcing fresh whole food and returning to the kitchen, conscious dressers are seeking to know more about clothing provenance and the making process. Elizabeth Kingston had a teaching career, had her own fashion label, worked in PR, designed and constructed costumes for productions and conducted beading workshops, among other things. (Phew!) Most recently, she has collaborated with local fashion and jewellery brands to showcase their wares through her unique personal styling which has become a benchmark for women of all ages interested in being inspired by her use of colour, pattern and adornment. Elizabeth has been featured in various magazines, blog posts and photographic campaigns
Long-time Cosplayer and creative re-user Jillian Rose will curate the Cosplay Showcase and encourages Brisbane's Cosplay community to get involved and come along in their own Cosplay creations upcycled where possible, of course. The Cosplay Showcase will also feature an Upcycled Cosplay Challenge competition where selected applicants from the Showcase will create Cosplay outfits made from 100% salvaged materials, 90% of them from the Reverse Garbage Queensland warehouse.
Cosplay Curator Jillian Rose (courtesy of RGQ)
Jillian Rose started to develop fun construction skills using old scrap clothes, duct tape and car parts to make toys to amuse herself and developed quick hand sewing techniques repairing fishing nets out at sea. She also learned multiple skills for her mother's farm including wool carding and spinning, tanning sheep and sea snake hides, tumbling, cutting and polishing gemstones and shells. Jillian's true calling came from the Middle East when she first learnt to belly dance. Her love of the dance required a worthy outfit and sewing became her second calling. As her skills as a dancer grew, so too did her skills as a seamstress and she started developing designs for dance troupes.
Foxy Sam Zell (courtesy of RGQ)
In Jillian's view, "When you're creating, don't think about using something for its intended purpose. Hunt and gather bits and pieces; turn it upside down, inside out or glue it together. There're so many ways to reuse and reinvent everything in our world and if Reverse Garbage Queensland has become your hunting ground, may the odds be ever in your favour".
What is Cosplay? According to Wikipedia, "Cosplay, a contraction of the words costume play, is a hobby in which participants called cosplayers wear costumes and fashion accessories to represent a specific character."