COVER

THE MULTI-TRIL­LION-DOL­LAR FASH­ION IN­DUS­TRY HAS COME UN­DER SCRU­TINY IN RE­CENT YEARS FOR MANY OF ITS UN­ETH­I­CAL PRAC­TICES. BUT FOR STYLE IN­NO­VA­TORS, THERE’S A WAY TO RE­VERSE THE DAM­AGE

Life & Style Weekend - - MAGAZINE | WELCOME - WORDS:ANNIECAUGH­EY

Have you ever thought about your cloth­ing as rub­bish? If not, we couldn’t blame you be­cause our sparkly, silky and studded wardrobe pieces don’t match the smelly aes­thetic of what we tend to think of as trash.

But in fact, Aus­tralians dump 500,000 tonnes of clothes and tex­tiles into land­fill each year.

So, it has fast be­come a very stinky prob­lem.

Two Sun­shine Coast sis­ters are on a mis­sion to re­sist the dire trend and they are do­ing it in a way that’s stylish, loud and to­tally in­di­vid­ual.

Alex and Jennifer Lay­cock first founded Fetch Vin­tage – an on­line store sell­ing pre-loved and vin­tage pieces – while on a fam­ily hol­i­day in Greece. They were do­ing what all girls do: tak­ing pho­tos.

“We were over­seas when we first got the idea,” Alex said.

“Jennifer had been over­seas for a few months by then. She was liv­ing in France, study­ing at an act­ing school.

“She had col­lected all these re­ally cool vin­tage finds through­out her trav­els. I had also found heaps of cool stuff at some op shops hid­den away in weird al­leys and ran­dom spots.

“We had so much of it, we thought ‘We should share all this awe­some stuff’ be­cause it was things you never re­ally saw in

Aus­tralia or western trends.”

While on their trip, the girls col­lated their favourite pieces and took pho­tos of each other wear­ing the de­signs us­ing Greece as a back­drop.

When Alex re­turned to Aus­tralia, she cre­ated an In­sta­gram ac­count to sell the items and im­me­di­ately it took off.

Fetch Vin­tage’s early suc­cess and sold-out in­ven­tory gave the sis­ter-duo con­fi­dence in their idea and linked them to an un­der-sup­plied mar­ket.

Here was a mar­ket of in­di­vid­u­als who were look­ing to ex­press them­selves in ways that weren’t just the lat­est fads or trends.

Not only were they find­ing a point of dif­fer­ence in the styles they of­fered, they

soon re­alised how ben­e­fi­cial their busi­ness model was for the en­vi­ron­ment.

“With big brands like H&M, Zara and other main­stream out­lets, they have so many col­lec­tions. But they have to be­cause it’s driven by con­sumer de­mand,” Alex said.

“They pump out style after style and as soon as that trend is out, they just send what­ever is left to land­fill and it be­comes waste.

“We thought we should use our plat­form (be­cause it was start­ing to get big­ger) to preach sus­tain­able fash­ion.

“That’s pretty much the aim of it now: to sup­port sus­tain­abil­ity. Not only is it bet­ter for the en­vi­ron­ment, it’s bet­ter for in­di­vid­u­al­ism.”

Alex said the Fetch brand also de­fied ma­te­ri­al­is­tic and con­sumerist at­ti­tudes.

It aimed to ed­u­cate peo­ple about where their clothes came from and where they ended up, in the hope it would en­cour­age con­sumers to be more con­cious about what they bought and how they bought.

“We want to evoke a bit more of a thought process in peo­ple be­fore they buy some­thing. To think about it, like, ‘Do I re­ally need this?’,” Alex said.

“Es­pe­cially now, when a trend starts, we see it all over so­cial me­dia. So ev­ery­one jumps on the band­wagon al­most without think­ing. I think we’ve lost that thought of ‘Is this some­thing I want to wear? Is this some­thing that brings out my per­son­al­ity? Does this suit my style’?

“We are all in­di­vid­ual and we have our own things go­ing but it kind of groups ev­ery­one to­gether, just fol­low­ing one thing.”

Alex, 21, and Jennifer, 24, have sourced the in­ven­tory for their store from op shops all around the Coast, south to Bris­bane and west to Toowoomba. They’ve spent hours pe­rus­ing op shops, mar­kets and garage sales on many over­seas and do­mes­tic hol­i­days look­ing for “out-there” state­ment pieces.

The thrill of find­ing a vin­tage gem is some­thing Alex de­scribes as ex­hil­a­rat­ing but also humbling.

“It’s re­ally beau­ti­ful find­ing some­thing and then mak­ing it your own and I love that we can give these items a sec­ond life,” she said.

The theme of in­di­vid­u­al­ity spreads thickly across the en­tire Fetch brand – from its on­line de­sign to its in­ven­tory and even the mod­els who rep­re­sent the brand.

Many of them rock dif­fer­ent looks and styles in a range of shapes and sizes.

It was a de­ci­sion that seemed nat­u­ral for Alex and Jennifer.

“We didn’t want to have all the same mod­els be­cause we wanted to show that any­one can rock weird and wacky clothes,” Alex said.

“We bring in a lot of our friends and peo­ple we know who are try­ing to get into mod­el­ling. We like to sup­port that artis­tic en­vi­ron­ment be­cause it gives them a port­fo­lio to start with. It’s cool to see peo­ple who have never mod­elled be­fore let loose.”’

With Alex liv­ing on the Sun­shine Coast study­ing full time and Jennifer liv­ing in Bris­bane purs­ing her act­ing ca­reer, Fetch Vin­tage is a com­mon thread that keeps the sis­ters’ re­la­tion­ship close.

They ad­mit that some­times it gets tough to jug­gle busi­ness, life, work and study, but they are united by the mis­sion to spread the mes­sage that “fast fash­ion ain’t fab fash­ion”.

“We are re­ally close. We al­ways have been,” Alex said.

“She (Jennifer) is the big­gest role model to me be­sides my mum.

“We’re both so pas­sion­ate about this thing and it’s so nice to work with some­one you love on some­thing you feel so strongly for.”

For the mo­ment, Fetch Vin­tage is a pas­sion-project for the girls rather than a solid in­come. How­ever, stay­ing mo­ti­vated and rel­e­vant comes nat­u­rally to the pair, who say their suc­cess stems from open com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

“We def­i­nitely share the load,” Alex said. “If she has a re­hearsal or a show that day, she’ll mes­sage me say­ing, ‘Here’s what you need to do on the In­sta­gram’. “Visa versa. If I’m busy, I’ll pass on what I need her to do.”

Fol­low the brand on In­sta­gram @fetchv­in­tage.

“WE’RE BOTH SO PAS­SION­ATE ABOUT THIS THING AND IT’S SO NICE TO WORK WITH SOME­ONE YOU LOVE ON SOME­THING YOU FEEL SO STRONGLY FOR.”

PHO­TOS: CON­TRIB­UTED:

ALL OTHER IM­AGES: Fash­ion shoot show­cas­ing Fetch Vin­tage items.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.