Fashion designer Jennifer Whitty one half of a new social clothing enterprise Space Between with examples of the corporate uniforms before they were redesigned.

Space Between aims to fill a fashion gap 

The corporate unifrom's new look

Turning discarded uniforms into fashion chic is the brainchild of Massey University fashion design lecturers Jennifer Whitty and Holly McQuillan, who believe their new social enterprise will enhance the way design staff, students and the fashion industry work together.

 Dubbed Space Between, the venture is part of a global movement challenging waste and exploitation in the fashion industry. It will operate in the third space where students, staff and industry (including corporate uniform supplier Booker Spalding, using old uniforms provided by NZ Post, and manufacturers Earthlink) work collaboratively.

 The two designers, based at the College of Creative Arts on Massey’s Wellington campus, are planning to launch the enterprise with a flash mob in Midland Park of about 70 people. Participants will be holding a mystery event to promote a fashion revolution web site advocating less wastage in the fashion industry. 

 The event is being held on April 16, just a week before the second anniversary on April 24 of the collapse of a garment factory in Bangladesh killing more than 1100 workers. Known as Fashion Revolution Day, the event joins a global coalition across 60 countries of designers, academics, writers, business leaders and politicians calling for systemic revolution of the fashion supply chain.

 Ms Whitty says supporters of the fashion revolution want to inspire a permanent change in the fashion industry by making people aware of the processes and effects of creating a garment, raising issues from cheap labour exploitation to excess clothing consumption. It’s something Space Between advocates too.

 “The launch will offer practical commentary on the disposable use of fashion, the current focus on consumption and the issue of waste in the industry,” she says.

 Both designers have visual examples of how this can be addressed by re-fashioning garments made from the discarded corporate uniforms that have been spliced up or conjoined to create original clothing.

 Space Between also allows room for staff and students to test and develop alternative ideas to present to fashion industry suppliers like Booker Spalding, and NZ Post that provided the corporate uniforms.

 Not for profit organisation Earthlink’s involvement in the venture provides an avenue to promote the socially conscious exercise, Ms Whitty says.

 It demonstrates solutions to the industry’s waste stream in the form of the limited edition clothing collection designed by the Massey researchers and made by Earthlink.

To view a video about the project to refashion discarded corporate uniforms click on the link with the password 'sb'

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