Alice Payne, Senior Lecturer in Fashion, Queensland University of Technology
I am inspired by everyone working towards a more sustainable fashion industry - in whatever way, shape or form their actions take.
There’s a special joy that comes along with finding the perfect op-shop garment that’s closely akin to finding money on the ground. The world of pre-loved, second-hand clothing opens up the doors to different generations of fashion, where aesthetics from bygone eras merge with contemporary styles to create truly unique looks. The Revive Second-hand Fashion Festival celebrates this convergence of style, espousing the magic inherent in giving old pieces of clothing new life and also discussing the best way to maintain and enhance pieces you already own. Dr Alice Payne is a senior lecturer of fashion at Queensland University of Technology, and is an expert when it comes to pre-loved fashion. Alice and the QUT fashion cohort will be running Revive at South Bank’s Cultural Forecourt on Friday August 18, but before the fun begins we caught up with Alice to find out what she loves most about slow fashion and what we can expect from Revive’s festivities.
To start, we’d love to know a bit more about you! Where did you first discover your love for fashion and design?
When I was at art school in Sydney, working with textiles. I taught myself how to sew clothes and realised design and making was what I wished to pursue.
For the uninitiated, what is the Revive Second-hand Fashion Festival all about?
Revive is about celebrating slow fashion and giving old clothes a new life. The festival will feature many amazing vintage clothing sellers, stylists, a speakers tent featuring slow fashion bloggers and designers, plus workshops from QUT Fashion Society and Reverse Garbage.
We’re very curious about the workshops taking place over the day – what sort of tricks and techniques are a must for anyone looking to maintain or recycle their pre-loved finds?
Aside from the handy mending and repair techniques, the workshops will focus on experimentation with distressing, painting and decorative stitching on denim, so people can come along and have a play for themselves. Basic tricks are simple hand sewing techniques, for example decorative ways to darn or patch holes – or embellish with new rips!
We love the sound of the Beaudesert Collection! How did you come across this impressive array of pieces?
Mrs Markwell’s daughter got in touch with QUT Fashion to see if we were interested in looking at the collection for our students. I was intrigued by the collection and how long it spanned, so I drove out to Beaudesert and had a look. The collection is special as it captures one Queensland woman’s clothing experiences over her lifetime, through garments, stories and photos.
Fifty years is a long time to be collecting clothes! What eras and styles of fashion will be on display in the collection?
There is a wedding dress from the 1940s, and a number of 1950s and 1960s dresses. There will be a sample of formal dresses and every day dresses on display, as well as homemade and store-bought.
In your opinion, what are some of the major benefits of upcycling clothing?
Environmentally, there are many gains to reuse of old clothing, as reuse means less resources drawn upon. But the other benefits include the pleasure of finding an unexpected treasure while op-shopping, or doing a quick fix that makes your favourite garment as good as new again.
What is your personal favourite era of fashion that you love hunting for when op shopping?
I am not particular about eras – I find myself selecting based on fabric type, colour and print. I do enjoy finding a ‘Made in Australia’ label, which often means the clothes are from the 1980s and earlier.
What is the most treasured recycled item you have in your home?
I have a large wall hanging at home that I hand pieced from triangles of fabric scraps and clothing offcuts. My daughter developed the tessellating design. So it was a collaboration between us, and something we both treasure (even if it makes you go a bit cross-eyed looking at it).
What are you finding inspiring and motivating about the world around you?
I am inspired by everyone working towards a more sustainable fashion industry – in whatever way, shape or form their actions take.
Check out the pre-loved goodness at the Revive Second-hand Fashion Festival at the Cultural Forecourt near the South Bank Parklands on Friday August 18 from midday until 9:00 pm.