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:: Spotlight :: The Dress Collective

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

On February 13, 2016, The Dress Collective will merge the digital world with the tangible to present an interactive runway, showcasing independent labels from around the country. As part of the official 2016 Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival Offsite Runway Series, The Dress Collective Runway is set to stir up the local fashion scene with an unprecedented 100% Australian made line-up.

Melbourne based fashion start-up, The Dress Collective, is an innovative e-commerce store that stocks only Australian made fashion and accessories, and in less than six months since launching, the online store has grown to stock more than 35 Australian designers. The Dress Collective Runway will feature the e-boutique’s Australian-made, independent fashion labels, showcasing a unique range of emerging and established designers, highlighting the diversity of Australian fashion.

The Dress Collective founders Claire Goldsworthy and Mitchell Dempsey have previously worked under the guise of their former fashion event company Emerge Australia, and this, combined with years of first hand experience running Claire’s own fashion label, led to the launch of The Dress Collective in July 2015.

Now, with more than 35 labels and new items added weekly, The Dress Collective stocks a unique range of womenswear, menswear, accessories and jewellery, all of which is manufactured in Australia to high ethical standards, making it one of a very select few online stores which sell only 100% Australian made fashion.  

“Our ethos is simple: to create a liberal and dynamic future for Australian fashion. By promoting locally made, ethical ‘slow fashion’, we’re ensuring a future for the Australian fashion industry. We want to create a market that our designers can thrive in, instead of struggle in, and we want to educate consumers about why it’s so important to shop local and make responsible fashion choices. 67.5 million tonnes of clothing is made and released into the world every single year, and Australia’s contribution to the fast fashion problem is sending over $500 million dollars of clothing to the tip annually. To combat this, The Dress Collective promotes high quality, slow fashion, exclusive one-off pieces, and made-to-order garments, and by doing this, we’re encouraging shoppers to think long term about their wardrobes, and change the way they recklessly consume and dispose of clothing.” - Claire Goldsworthy.

Alongside promoting the company’s main mission, The Dress Collective Runway will also raise awareness and funds for the Black Dog Institute, a not-for-profit organization and world leader in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder. Following the loss of Claire’s friend, Courtney Harris, who was the designer behind Australian jewellery label Angle Diamond Dot, to suicide in 2015, it was a natural decision to support a worthy cause in conjunction with the event’s overall message.

“The fashion industry is extremely competitive, and when we’re up against international fashion conglomerates, it’s such a struggle starting a label and getting your name out there. Besides putting yourself and your design capabilities on show for the world to judge, there’s a whole plethora of responsibilities and pressures. It’s not easy running a fashion business or being a designer, so we need to work together to support our Australian fashion industry if it’s ever truly going to succeed.” - Claire Goldsworthy.

The Dress Collective Runway designer line-up includes Don’t Do Pretty (Adelaide), Gabdala (Sydney), Cameron and James (Melbourne), Orocéo Castro (Melbourne), Identify Yourself (Melbourne), Why Mary (Gold Coast), Kabel Apparel (Brisbane), Sets of Seven (Sunshine Coast), AlcieMay (Brisbane), Vincent Li (Melbourne), Leigh Duffy (Melbourne), Harlow (Melbourne), MICI JAY (Muswellbrook), That Dapper Chap (Melbourne), The Prodigal Daughter (Melbourne), Annabelle and Eve (Gold Coast), Blaauw By Monica (Melbourne), Jadewood Design (Brisbane), Moreno Marcos (Brisbane) and more.

TITLE: The Dress Collective Runway
LOCATION: 524 Flinders, 524 Flinders Street, Melbourne 3000
DATE: February 13, 2016
TIME: 6.30pm – 10.00pm
TICKETS: Tickets here


**Photos from the Runway Show**

Matthew Deller's photos can be viewed here