The Last Knitting Mill
- AUSTRALIAN WOOL INNOVATION LTD
- PONTETORTO S.P.A
- DAMIEN LIPP PRODUCTIONS
- HAZEL MAKO
The premise of ‘The Last Knitting Mill’ project is to reignite a local supply chain that encourages on-going investment in the Australian textile and manufacturing industry. In additional to this – the project also investigates sustainable initiatives that can be implemented in commercial production by exploring a ‘repurposing’ process; sourcing existing textiles and products and re-cutting them into new garments.
As part of the brand\’s most recent winter range and in conjunction with winning the regional round of the International Woolmark Prize, \’The Last Knitting Mill\’ project consisted of a capsule collection of contemporary men\’s outerwear made entirely of repurposed army blankets from the 1960\’s Australian Battalion. These garments were shown in Florence, Italy to highlight the current lack of resources available to Australian based designers and the solution to this is to look to existing textiles as a way of producing garments locally and sustainably. Previous collections have also included repurposed military parachutes into rain jackets.
This project impacts directly on the fashion industry\’s current sustainable practices and challenges consumers to question the traceability of their clothing as well as the origins of the fibres themselves. It also re-negotiates the male archetype that currently sits within the menswear market in Australia and educates consumers on the importance of investing in local brands.
This design process recognises the development of a stronger sense of transparency within the brand\’s supply chain and how each part of that supply chain can be more environmentally sustainable. The project itself has transformed the way the brand approaches each collection, particularly with fabric sourcing as well as finding new ways to educate clients on this design practice and how it can shape their individual buying behaviours. The brand continues to explore this repurposing process each season and also looks at initiatives to use production waste such as fabric remnants as downings in outwear.
The repurposed garments feature a label inside that documents the origins of the textile or product that it has been re-made from including the era and where possible, the location of its\’ original production. This is to start the conversation about asking exactly where garments come from and to provide a narrative around this new design process in men\’s fashion and how it can transpire through sales and marketing. This project aims to maintain a cross disciplinary of fashion design and historical preservation, either through Australian or international textiles / products and re-contextualize them into modern concepts with a sustainable imprint.
So far, the capsule range has been showcased on an International platform at Men\’s Fashion Week in Paris and the brand was also invited to show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia, where the re-purposed garments were incorporated into the current Spring/Summer Range. \’The Last Knitting Mill\’ will also be taken to CIFF (Copenhagen International Fashion Fair) where it will be showcased to international buyers. The brand has also spoken at several seminars in partnership with The Woolmark Company, speaking to tertiary students across Australia about the project\’s efforts to push for repurposing and discussing new ways to explore sustainable practices in Fashion Design.