Diversity in sustainable style
In honour of International Women’s Day, we caught up with creative Tiffany Duliege (nee Teoh), shining a diversity lens on women working within sustainable fashion in Australia.
According to The Guardian, Australian fashion week has never been good at diversity. While Virgin Melbourne Fashion Festival’s recent independent runway IDENTITY featuring Ricepaper was a breath of fresh air, with diverse models hitting the runway, a look at the voices behind panels and events held during the festival show there is still some way to go. We’re still hearing from the same voices.
As we aim to lift women beyond those featured in our curated online store, today we’re hearing from sustainably minded creative Tiffany Duliege.
On a journey to showcase that sustainable fashion isn’t boring or limited to one style, Tiffany, a photographer, writer and jewellery designer, was initially branded a ‘hippy’ by her friends, as she announced her move towards sustainable fashion. Combining beautiful visuals with stories, Tiffany was determined to show another side to responsible style, which she does both on and off the internet.
“When I wore an absolutely stunning Brooke da Cruz Virago dress to my bestie’s wedding in Melbourne, my friends were blown away by the design, texture, fabric quality and how it complements the body. When I told them it was sustainable and ethical; made from Ahimsa silk by well paid workers in India, they were absolutely amazed. I felt like my purpose was being fulfilled.
“Now my friends are starting to source organic cotton or linen/hemp clothing, or trying to dress more sustainably. They’ve learnt that it is definitely possible to have beautiful things that are kind to the planet too”.
Along her journey, Tiffany has discovered a talent for crafting jewellery from existing materials and vintage pieces, giving new life to something that is no longer in use.
“It started with two pairs of earrings I had with parts that broke. One was from my mother and another was a brand that I collaborated with. They were sentimental to me and it was so sad, I didn’t want to throw them away. Then one night I was just tinkering with the pieces and put together my very first coin drop earrings… this was how it started, by giving new life to something broken”.
Talking diversity, Tiffany who hails from Malaysia and is Chinese, sees the importance of combining diversity and responsible style.
“Culture plays a big part in the design of clothing. I’m talking about every aspect of the design process, from the vision to the product. When a design is thought out, it meets the needs of a certain group. This is why we need cultural diversity in sustainable fashion. We can further expand the diversity of designs to meet the needs of varying communities and cultures”.
Sharing how she thinks it could come into practice, Tiffany shared what diversity would look like when thinking of her cultural identity.
“I’d love to see more sustainable wear for Chinese clothing. I find too many are made from unethical silk and polyester. Chinese New Year is celebrated globally, and having access to red clothing and traditional Chinese costumes that are sustainably made are almost non existent. There is definitely plenty of room for thought there”.