Feature

Why Green is the New Black

Green is the new Black

Credit: Andrew Lee

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And there are other Australian designers flying the flag of eco-friendly design. India Flint is a designer, costumier and dye expert based in Mount Pleasant, Victoria, whose signature ‘eco-print’ was established in 1999.
Created using natural eucalypt dye, the striking colours and patterns that evolve on her chosen materials of wool, felt and silk are proof that fashion can be created in your own backyard.

“In Australia we have these amazing resources,” says Flint who wrote a book on plant dyes designs costumes for the West Australian Ballet production, Debris.

“There are more than 1,000 species and sub-species [of eucalyptus] and they all give different shades from greens, to golds to orange, tan and red. You can even do black if your dye vessel is made out of iron.”

In 2005, Flint launched her fashion label Benedictus at the L’Oréal Melbourne Fashion Festival.

“It’s really about sartorial salvage,” explains Flint who works mainly by commission.

“Redeployed clothing that is cut up and reconstructed with hand stitching, and over-dyeing with plant dyes so that it is no longer recognisable. It’s about sustainability and fashion and the whole principle of making do and cherishing something and making it live longer.”

A bright green future

But despite movements by independent designers towards a greener fashion future, the question remains, can eco-fashion succeed in an industry that traditionally relies on making it cheap and selling it cheaper? Is green chic a wave of the future – or will it disappear once the next fashion trend comes along?

Encouragingly, industry experts believe it’s here to stay.

“We can’t wake up one morning and say, ‘I’m only going to wear ethical clothes from now on’,” says Thomas. “And we might not go completely organic from our PJs to our underwear. But instead we’ll start making the occasional purchase and this is how things change.”

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