Sustainable fashion a focus of Zero Waste Workshops

Emily Kate Symes from EKOLUV in Paddington. Photo: Woollahra Municipal Council.

‘How to look fashionable without harming the planet’ will be the topic of upcoming workshops held with the support of Woollahra Municipal Council.

The workshops on October 11 and 18 at the EKOLUV boutique in Paddington, will feature talks from fashion sustainability experts on how to create a capsule wardrobe, eco-stying tips and how to upcycle your wardrobe. 

Emily Kate Symes, owner of the pre-loved fashion and rental business, said she wanted to change people’s perception that luxury has to mean ‘new’.

“Renting or purchasing second hand, rather than buying new is the one of the most sustainable ways to shop. You’re saving all the water, electricity and emissions used to manufacture a new piece of clothing,” Symes said.

Lisa Caldwell, owner of the Pre-Loved Closet in nearby Bellevue Hill, recommended shoppers take their time and do some research before buying new clothes 

“Prior to purchasing something new, I think if consumers could get in a behavioural pattern of searching for the item they are after second hand, they would be pleasantly surprised at how often the item would be available and also at an increasingly lower price and without compromising on the quality,” Caldwell said. 

Victoria Barber, owner of Paddington pre-loved fashion boutique Di Nuovo, said apps such as Instagram and Pinterest could assist customers seeking to put together a sustainable, fashionable wardrobe. 

“Once you have a look in mind it is easier to supplement pieces found in vintage or consignment stores rather than buy new,” Barber said. 

According to Woollahra Council, Australians buy 27 kilograms of new clothes each year, on average, with 85 per cent of that ending up in landfill – not to mention the carbon emissions created during the manufacture and supply processes.

The council recommends shoppers seek out ethical brands, recommending the Good on You searchable brand directory, which allows consumers to check the environmental credentials of fashion labels. 

According to a council media release, considerations when buying new garments should include where the item was made (choose locally made for a lower carbon footprint), what is it made from (look for recycled fibres), and whether the item is made to last.

Shopping for second-hand clothing, and repairing damaged clothes rather than throwing them out, is also recommended. 

The Garage Sale Trail Foundation – a not-for-profit social enterprise that educates Australians on the importance of re-use – is running a free online workshop on mending clothes, called Fashion First Aid: Fight Rips and Stains, on Saturday 24 October. Visit for information and bookings. 

To book a place at the Wolollahra Council/EKOLUV Zero Waste Workshops, visit

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