Waiheke fashion on show in Australia
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.’’