Racing finishes but style never sleeps
With the spring racing carnival over for another year, Buzz had hoped there might be time to relax for a moment. But no such luck in fashion land, with the silly season officially upon us. Just last night in Sydney there were two competing events, one to celebrate the opening of the new Coach flagship store (complete with arcade games and bowling for the brave), the other to toast the latest additions on to the Australian Fashion Walk of Style: Alex Perry and Camilla Franks. Think of it as the Hollywood Walk of Fame, just with slightly less wet cement. And Oscar winners. But on Monday night, Buzz went to quite a different celebration, and one with heart. Getting a crowd to an industrial park outside Sydney is no mean feat, but Andie Halas (pictured) is a very persuasive and passionate woman. She founded the charity Thread Together in 2012 and has seen first-hand the change it can bring to people’s lives.
“We get end-of-line stock from fashion houses, retailers and wholesalers, and then we redistribute it to charities around Australia,” Halas tells Buzz. “We’re basically a pipeline for companies that have too much for people that have too little.” You could say it’s the fashion equivalent of Ronni Kahn’s OzHarvest food distribution service.
Halas understood the situation through her family’s fashion business, Seafolly. Today, Thread Together collaborates with about 100 charities and organisations, and in five years has helped clothe about 100,000 people. These recipients could be survivors of domestic violence, former inmates, refugees, long-term unemployed or the homeless. There are about 20 fashion companies involved, with labels including Bendon, Cue and Tarocash.
The event included not only a speech from former NSW governor Marie Bashir but another from a survivor of domestic violence who fled with her children with nothing but the clothes on their backs — they were soon outfitted by Thread Together through a women’s shelter.
One thing Halas is particularly proud of is that it gives people dignity. They are given a voucher for a new wardrobe by their referring organisation, and can come and choose their own new clothes. “People who are doing it tough are just human beings, and we need to look at them as individuals and allow them to choose, be themselves, particularly at a time when they are feeling vulnerable or fearful.”
Monday night’s event raised over $100,000, meaning the charity can buy a van to take a mobile wardrobe to regional areas.
For Halas, the initial reason for starting Thread Together has opened up a whole new area of satisfaction. “I understand the environmental impact,” she says, “but for me now it’s very much about the social impact.”
For more information, see threadtogether.org. Of course, by the time many of you are reading this column, we will know the outcome of the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey. The fashion industry has been vocal in its support of a Yes vote for marriage equality, with several brands promoting the cause, including Gorman, which gave away “Love is Love” tees to thousands of people who could prove their voting enrolment; Moga, which created a rainbow scarf; Mondial by Nadia Neuman, which created a campaign to accompany its long-running marriage equality ring; and Puma and its #LetUsAllTieTheKnot campaign. ( Georgia Perry’s Love pin, pictured, was certainly timely, and, unsurprisingly, is out of stock.) Hundreds in the fashion and creative industries came together for a group photo in September that flooded social media — especially once Miranda Kerr reposted to her 11.5 million followers. Just yesterday, Sportsgirl flew the flag on Instagram, with comments ranging from the super supportive to others invoking the igneous, showing yet again how divisive this process has been. Buzz is crossing fingers for a resounding Yes. Because equality is always in fashion.