How Mindful Fashion Is Guiding The Local Fashion Industry

Wednesday 6 October, 2021

Once again, lockdown has thrown into stark relief the message of supporting local, and how vital government support is for New Zealand businesses. Both of these have become points of focus for Mindful Fashion NZ — the collective body spearheaded by Kate Sylvester and Liam’s Emily Miller-Sharma — that aims to support the local industry, ensure its sustainability and future, and shift the perception of the trade.

When it launched in 2018, what they envisaged was quite different to the work they’re doing now (and they’re doing a lot of it) as Mindful Fashion has evolved. “We understand better what we’re trying to do,” explains Emily, over coffee in Kingsland, before the latest Delta outbreak caused the postponement of New Zealand Fashion Week. “It was always about working collaboratively for a sustainable industry, and it still is.” In practice, however, that has grown and become more nuanced, encompassing many more people than they initially thought.

Operating as a collective is vital to the future of the industry, and Kate says the days of being in a silo are over. The problems that the industry is grappling with — waste management, the loss of skills and knowledge, sustainable innovation — are not unique, and certainly can’t be navigated alone. “The conversations that we’re having in the clothing industry are the same as what’s happening in [other] industries,” says Emily. “That’s why this collaborative thinking model is so important, so we’re not all doing the same work twice.”

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