Being Bashful with Teresa Redrup

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Winter has well and truly settled itself into Sydney, bringing with it biting winds and frosty mornings. One of the upsides of the cooler months however, is the stunning selection of styles full of chunky knitwear, lovely layers and diverse textures.

In preparation for the change of season, I like to stock my wardrobe full of colourful cardigans, scarves and tights and as an avid online shopper (the internet is full of bargains!) I am always on the hunt for new stores full of sustainable fashion.

Teresa Redrup is the brains behind Bashful Garter, an online shopping destination that supports local Australian and New Zealand designers. It is fast becoming one of my ‘go to’ sites as it has a unique aesthetic and a strong commitment to quality design, boasting labels like Kowtow, Penny Sage and Romance Was Born (along with a pretty awesome blog!)

Here, Teresa talks about the birth of Bashful Garter and shares her tips on conscious consumption and creating a chic winter wardrobe!

I have been in the fashion, bridal or costume industries my entire working life.

I have also acted in a few roles which saw me having to communicate with a number of offshore manufacturers. In the last few years working in these roles, I came across more and more information about poor working conditions in various places around the world and it made me think about how little I knew about the people I was working with. It also made me realise how hard it is for consumers to get a good idea of what’s going on given they are even further removed from the process. I considered getting out of the industry for a while but I couldn’t imagine what else I would do with myself!

I guess the idea for Bashful Garter stemmed from a desire to work in the field that I knew and loved, but to do so with a clearer conscience and with more control. I wanted my business to be thoughtful and considered as well as beautiful.

I like to think we are creating our own little Bashful Garter feel and aesthetic which is very important to us.

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(photo of Teresa Redrup)

We are guided by the desire to be as responsible as possible, which makes us a little different from many online stores.

We choose to work with local Australian and New Zealand designers that manufacture locally, as the industry here really needs the support. I also feel like I can stand by these products as being well made. We love working with designers who are championing fair trade and organic fabrics and dyes.

It’s also important to me that they manufacture to a certain quality as I want everything we stock to have a decent life-span. I think really highly of all the brands we stock and am pretty pleased to have them in our little shop!

It’s really easy to walk into a mall and find $50 jeans and $15 tshirts at the moment. Sadly, that’s the extent of ‘the story’ shared with the customer.

I think it’s easy to ignore some really poor manufacturing practices when people are so disconnected from the ‘story’ of their clothing.

The garment industry here is not that big and most people today don’t sew at home. That can mean we have less understanding of the process of creating fabrics, dying and printing fabric, creating a pattern, cutting and sewing a garment and that lack of understanding can make it harder to see the value in items of clothing.

I’ve always found so much joy in making things and spending time with other makers. Making is magic to me! It’s a form of meditation and expression. It has been my means of income for years and also my hobby.

I love documentaries about craft and couture and have a shelves full of textile books. To me fashion and textiles was always this really romantic thing. I felt the ‘story’ was great and something that should be shared, not something to be swept under the carpet.

It’s something I am trying to communicate more and more on the website as I feel like it’s a massive part of appreciating things. And I feel that if more people appreciate what they have then fast fashion wouldn’t be the norm.

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There are lots of easy, little ways of being more conscious in how we consume fashion. My biggest tip is to buy the best quality you can afford.

I know everyone has different budgets, but try to think long term and spend a bit extra on things you truly love and will wear regularly. All fashion has some impact on the environment, so make sure that what you do buy is well made so it won’t fall apart easily.

Take care of your things- learn how to darn or find a good alterations place that can do repairs and wash delicate items by hand.

I try to select versatile pieces for the shop that can we worn in different ways in different situations, dressed up or dressed down. I’m not really into dress codes as such. I tend to just wear what I want and put more effort into my hair and make up and sling on some heels if I am attending more of an ‘event’. I don’t like having clothes sitting in my closet waiting for an appropriate occasion. Only buy things you love and wear them.

Merino wool and boucle are big favourites of mine for Winter.

I love the Penny Sage jumpers and big boucle coat. I like the slightly looser shapes for winter so I can layer up underneath. I really like the cold and tend to go to town with layers. My feet need to be warm, my head needs to be warm and my coat has to have pockets!

There is a great material that a few of the designers have used this Winter- a bonded nylon, which is a bit like scuba diving material. I’m loving it as it’s thin and achieves a tailored look. It stands away from the skin but is really insulating. The cold wind doesn’t get through it at all. It’s also really easy to care for, easy to wash and hard to damage.

Lately I’ve been wearing…

The Romance Was Born Mr Bears a-line skirt on high repetition and the Arnley Rivoli dress. It’s the perfect little black dress for Winter as it’s great as a dress with tights and also with nice pants underneath.

And finally, it’s not strictly a style tip, but one winter I couldn’t shake the cold and seemed to be sneezing and coughing for months. A friend recommended I put Vicks VapoRub on the bottom of my feet before putting shoes and socks on. Best advice ever! I do this all the time now and it really does keep my feet warm.

Shop for your winter essentials at the Bashful Garter online store.

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Hustle & Scout with Tegan McAuley

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The capital’s Hustle & Scout market is only two days away and once again, is set to be a bustling marketplace of unique, quirky, eco friendly and local Canberra design. For regular readers of this blog, you’ll know that the ’roundabout city’ holds a special place in my heart. It was my hometown for over five years and despite its reputation for being beige and bureaucratic, its creative scene is thriving (heck the New York Times even calls it ‘hipster’). Canberra now has its own fashion week (yes you read right!) and is producing some exceptional talent, like up and coming photographer Sally-Forth.

In my eyes, the Hustle & Scout market is the ACT’s answer to Finders Keepers, but with a truly local twist! I caught up with founder Tegan McAuley to find out more about how she put her stamp on the Australian style scene.

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The Hustle & Scout market is such an innovative idea- how did it all come about?

Early last year, I was feeling an urge to do something with my life that was both creative and bigger than myself. One night, my husband Simon showed me a video featuring the wise words of philosopher Alan Watts, who asks the question, ‘what would you do if money were no object?’ That night, we talked about the things we loved. For Simon it was cricket and coaching and for me, it was all things design and fashion. That week, Simon launched a cricket coaching business and I decided to found a new fashion design market!

Hustle & Scout didn’t just come about from Alan Watts’ motivational clip, it was also born out of months of observing Canberra’s design scene grow and flourish. I came to realise, particularly after attending the inaugural Fashfest 2013, that Canberra was home to a very talented network of fashion designers whose collections I had never had the privilege of seeing up-close. And so, I decided my fashion market would create a space where people could meet these designers, feel, try and buy their innovative pieces and have a fun night out at the same time!

For me, it was important to form a point of distinction from other markets, and this had to be rooted in the way it made people feel. So, I worked to curate an event with atmosphere that provides people with an experience. The market not only showcases Australian designers but also local live music, roaming models, food and cocktails and other exciting things like fashion photoshoots and parades.

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Why do you think it’s so important to support local, homegrown and ethical design through a market like this one?

Today, our shopping malls are full of chain stores selling cheap, ‘fast’ fashion with little transparency into how garments are produced. It’s becoming more and more difficult to buy handmade, one-of-a-kind and sustainable fashion pieces in these retail environments – this is why markets play such an important role in our communities.

Markets represent an important means through which people can come together to speak to designers and makers face-to-face and learn about how a garment was made and the inspiration behind the design. For me, supporting local, homegrown design through a market event is also an extremely important step toward strengthening both our communities and Australia’s fashion industry at large. It may only be a small step, but if we can create more demand for Australian and ethically-made items, hopefully we will see less Australian designers forced to pack-up shop due to the fast-paced pressures of the international fashion industry.

Many people don’t realise that the Canberra style scene is truly on the rise. What do you think makes it such a creative city?

There is definitely a movement happening across Canberra at the moment. As the city expands, so does it’s creative population. Unlike some major cities, Canberra has a wonderful, tight-knit sense of community, which has encouraged people like myself to innovate and collaborate with other creatives. Since starting Hustle & Scout, I’ve been overwhelmed by the number of people who have jumped on board to support the event and get involved in any way they can. Other events such as Fashfest, have really helped to put Canberra’s fashion scene on the map in recent years.

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Your next market is coming up in just a few days- what can we expect from it? Any labels you are particularly looking forward to seeing?

The 5 July winter market will be the largest market to date! It will feature 42 fashion stalls, three local live music acts, roaming models by April’s Caravan and $10 apple cider cocktails by Palace Electric. New pop-up street food market The Forage, will also showcase lots of Canberra’s finest cafes, restaurants and mobile vendors.

New labels I am excited to see include womenswear labels Eva Cassis, Fabboo and Audrey Blue, which all produce beautiful, modern pieces using natural fabrics and sustainable materials. I am also very excited to see some of our new jewellery labels, including Paul Krix and Sarah Bourke.

The thing I am most excited about for this market is our collaboration with Vinnie’s 2014 Winter Appeal. At our upcoming market, the Vinnie’s Night Patrol Van and its volunteers will be taking voluntary gold coin donations and accepting donations of blankets and men’s socks and gloves. There is a serious shortage of these items in the ACT at the moment for those sleeping rough this winter, so I feel very privileged to be able to help in any way I can.

And finally…Canberra is a city that enjoys beautiful wintery weather- what are your top style tips for the cooler months?

My style tip for the cooler months is to layer, layer, layer! Also, don’t be afraid of colour – whether you throw on some red lippy or brighten up an outfit with a vibrant scarf, a splash of colour can totally lift your outfit. Lastly, before heading to the shops to buy that brand new winter coat, consider scouting out some op-shops or vintage retailers first.

A year of second hand with Holly Chase

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New Zealand made history this year by hosting its first Eco Fashion Week (are you listening Australia?) and it is also home to my favourite sustainable label, Kowtow.

But now, a relative unknown Kiwi teenager, Holly Chase, is making waves in the world of sustainable style. She has decided to wear only second hand clothing for a whole year or 365 days to be exact!

She was inspired by the ‘365 Challenge’ which was undertaken by Christina Deans, founder of Redress, a sustainable fashion NGO in Hong Kong and even though she isn’t that far into the challenge, she has already gained plenty of attention.

She has appeared on the front of the New Zealand Herald (the biggest NZ paper) and is in talks to appear on a TV show.

When I asked Holly what she hopes other people will get out of it, she said she wanted to draw attention to the huge amount of damage that the textiles industry does to the environment.

“I no longer believe in buying new clothes from high street stores because of the negative impacts on our planet, through water pollution, air pollution, the shipping process and the waste it creates,” she said.

“As well as that, there are a huge amount of clothes that are so poorly made, they are thrown in the bin after a couple of months and end up contributing to landfill problems. I want to encourage people to shop second hand because there are so many quality garments out there and when you buy second hand, it doesn’t cause any of those issues. I also want to prove that second hand clothes can be fashionable too, in order to encourage more people to shop this way.”

The biggest obstacle she has faced so far, is that with her wardrobe nearly halved, she has to be creative with every item so as not to get stuck in a style rut.

She doesn’t seem to be having any issues with that at the moment and you can keep an eye on her super sweet outfits on instagram at @ayearofsecondhand

Photos: Ruth Corin