Wai­heke fash­ion on show in Aus­tralia

Waiheke Marketplace - - Front Page - ROSE DAVIS

Wai­heke fash­ion de­signer Bea Lorimer doesn’t be­lieve in be­ing a slave to fickle fash­ion cy­cles.

‘‘The idea that you have to have new fash­ion ev­ery sea­son is part of the prob­lem.

‘‘Peo­ple don’t need to fol­low the trends just to know what looks good on them,’’ Lorimer said.

From Novem­ber 23 to 27, Lorimer will be one of two New Zealand de­sign­ers show­ing their work at Eco Fash­ion Week Aus­tralia. She is sourc­ing all her shoes and ac­ces­sories for the Aus­tralian show from op shops.

She cre­ated the Heke De­sign la­bel eight years ago, mak­ing dresses, skirts, hood­ies and wool coats from sec­ond-hand fab­rics.

While most up­cy­clers scour op­shops for cov­etable vin­tage ma­te­ri­als, Lorimer has an artist’s eye for turn­ing things that no-one else wants into new gar­ments that be­come trea­sured favourites for many.

‘‘I find what’s be­ing thrown out en masse and make that beau­ti­ful, rather than search­ing for the per­fect sec­ond­hand fab­rics.’’

She started Heke De­sign af­ter ap­proach­ing an op shop for ma­te­ri­als for a one-off project. ‘‘I was ap­palled by the num­ber of bags of stuff they were toss­ing out. I had to do some­thing about it. We buy so much and throw so much away and there just has to be a bet­ter way of deal­ing with that than send­ing it to the land­fill.’’

Work­ing with sec­ond-hand gar­ments poses de­sign chal­lenges, be­cause they of­ten yield small pieces of dif­fer­ent fab­rics. But she prefers to face those chal­lenges, rather than buy­ing new fab­rics.

‘‘Cot­ton pro­duc­tion uses a huge amount of pes­ti­cides and the car­bon foot­print from trans­port­ing that all over the world is hideous. It seems so waste­ful to be con­tin­u­ally cre­at­ing more and more - we need to work with what we’ve got.’’

She of­fers an al­ter­na­tive to fac­tory-made fash­ion, which is of­ten pro­duced with ‘‘slave labour in ap­palling con­di­tions’’.

The 54-year-old started her first fash­ion la­bel in her early twen­ties. As a young woman, she also spent pe­ri­ods tour­ing the world as wardrobe as­sis­tant to ma­jor mu­sic stars, such as Leonard Co­hen and KD Lang.

Ten years ago, she moved from Canada to Wai­heke. While she has con­tin­ued do­ing the odd stint in Auck­land as wardrobe as­sis­tant for the likes of Lady Gaga, her cloth­ing de­sign has been in­flu­enced by the ‘‘Wai­heke way’’.

‘‘The laid back, cre­ative, al­ter­na­tive life style on Wai­heke has fed into my work. We should all be able to ex­press our­selves through our cloth­ing and not be afraid of wear­ing some­thing dif­fer­ent if we feel good in it - I love see­ing colour­ful peo­ple.’’

Bea Lorimer is ex­cited about show­ing her work at Eco Fash­ion Week Aus­tralia. ROSE DAVIS/STUFF

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