Practice Studio showcases the best of considered fashion and sustainable making
Australian consumers are making the shift to slow fashion in greater numbers, opting for handcrafted and sustainably crafted garments instead of mass-manufactured pieces from large conglomerates. The tricky aspect of slow fashion is discovering these artisan makers, many of whom are independent or small-scale operators. Fortitude Valley’s Practice Studio is a unique resource for both designer and buyer – one part store and one part workroom, it aims to bridge the gap between emerging makers and those seeking consciously made clothing.
Kat Walsh’s journey to the world of slow fashion was perhaps indirect, but not without purpose. The designer and seamstress initially exercised her creativity in the realms of in fine art and sculpture before succumbing to the inextricable pull of fashion. A brief period dabbling in costume design led her to start making small collections of clothing, simultaneously fostering a fondness for the work of fellow independent designers and the grassroots community that was growing around the sustainability focused slow-fashion movement. Seeing a need for more opportunities to build connections between likeminded designers and a consumer base that was becoming increasingly interested in artisanal wares, Kat was inspired to open a space where designers could not only showcase their goods but also provide a resource to help them further hone their skills. Kat reached out to Fortitude Valley’s laneway king Arthur Apostolos, who immediately offered Kat a space in Winn Lane to trial the initial concept of Practice Studio – a multi-faceted hub that incorporated a boutique showcasing thoughtfully-made pieces from emerging designers, a fully equipped workroom and a clothing alteration and repair store. Although a success, the concept exceeded the tenancy’s spatial limitations, and in early January Kat relocated Practice Studio to a larger Ann Street-facing shopfront.
Practice Studio’s racks are loaded with pieces sourced from Australia-based practitioners of considered making and sourcing. There are no seasonal additions or any set timetable for fresh stock – showcased designers make and contribute only as much as they are able, easing pressure and expectations while facilitating pure, inspired work. The Practice Studio selection includes pieces from local and interstate designers, with clothing and accessories from labels including Phoebe Paradise, Molly Younger, Mineral Tufts, Brief Sheet, Soft Stud and more, with new pieces often appearing weekly. The rear of the space is given over to the co-working studio and alterations area – folks can bring in pre-loved garments for amendment, encouraging reuse and re-contextualisation of clothing and minimising waste. As suitable workspaces outside of fashion schools and professional studios are hard to come by, designers can also utilise the space and machinery (industrial sewing machines, pattern-making table, dressmaker mannequins) for production, experimentation and mentorship, while giving consumers an insight into the processes behind their purchase. The coming weeks and months will see the walls of Practice Studio given over to artwork made along similar thematic lines, with pieces fashioned from repurposed materials helping cement and reflect Practice Studio’s foundational ethos of sustainability.
Practice Studio is now open! Keep your eyes on our event calendar for news of label launches and other events, while the Stumble Guide has got all the details on opening hours and contact details.