State of diversity: looking beyond sustainable fashion
Sustainable fashion advocates, we have some work to do. In Australia, the sustainable fashion landscape is growing yet not always representative of its diverse community.
A 2017 report from Diversity Council Australia found women of culturally diverse backgrounds experience invisible barriers in the workplace like stereotyping that may lead to being overlooked for leadership roles. Its recommendations detailed the need for workplaces to build an inclusive culture.
Considering Australia’s rich cultural diversity, we’re committing to exploring this within fashion and along our journey, supporting culturally diverse, female leaders in sustainable style via our ongoing series, State of Diversity.
Tamara Leacock is first and foremost a designer. A proud woman of African descent, her mixed heritage inspires her label REMUSE but doesn’t define it.
“I celebrate my background, but I also want to be acknowledged for my work and design aesthetic.
“I want REMUSE to be seen as clothing – not clothing solely contained by my culturally diverse background,” said Tamara.
REMUSE is an Afro futurist fashion label by designer Tamara Leacock. Reflective of Tamara’s experiences, it was created to support a more diverse aesthetic view within fashion, while keeping to sustainable practices.
As a designer and culturally diverse woman working within the Australian fashion industry, Tamara shared mixed emotions on her experience.
“I am constantly made aware of my background when I introduce myself as the face behind my work.
“It feels empowering to have ancestral influences in my work but disempowering that my background is considered culturally diverse because prejudice has led to a disproportionate under-representation of anyone who is not white in contemporary fashion.”
Reflecting on leadership, Tamara is pleased to see an industry the supports women, however more work is needed to lift culturally diverse women in creative roles.
“From my experience, there seems to be a prominent number of women in creative leadership roles in fashion in Australia, however culturally diverse women are a major and visibly apparent gap.”
Sharing how she’s influencing change, beyond creating responsibly, Tamara uses her label REMUSE to promote and support ethical diversity and imagery within the industry.
“I’ve found the ethical fashion community often perpetuates imagery that is not entirely reflective of the amazing diversity of people who enjoy ethical fashion, myself included. I see my brand as a vehicle that can support change.”
As the conversation continues to evolve on how sustainable style can do better, Tamara urges shoppers to consider brands with inclusive and ethical ethos and support underrepresented designers.
“Advocate for designers of diverse backgrounds to be featured on the main fashion week runways without being tokenistic.
“We need to have more open and real conversations that broaden our thinking: individually and at a broader community level – we all wear clothes after all.”
Images courtesy of Remuse