Standout fashion grads set to showcase designs

Chimerical Conundrums might sound like something out of a science journal, but in fact it's a collection by fashion designer Fiona Clements.

Clements believes strongly in promoting innovation and sustainability – Chimerical Conundrums, meaning ‘a wildly fanciful puzzle’, was created out of recycled fashion waste.

She collected fabric scraps from two Dunedin fashion houses, then painstakingly pieced the scraps together until they were large enough to form a dress. It's a process known as risk design because it is uncertain whether or not the fashion industry will revert back to the practice of reusing fabric scraps, or whether this is commercially viable.

Clement would like to see the fashion industry to return to its previous practice of reusing and recycling. She hopes that by taking up the risk design method, she will get people talking about the processes involved in making clothing.

“I have designed this collection to challenge the current fashion system and to educate consumers and designers about the wastefulness of this system," she says.

"I design for people who care about the environment and wish to acknowledge the impact of the industrial revolution on this earth.”

Fellow designer Grace Averis has a different take on sustainability, taking the use of wood to a new level. My Evil Eye is a range of wooden fashion accessories and sunglasses. To do this Averis digitally mapped out each piece of wood through a computer programme, then created a prototype to work from. The final stage involved creating the accessories to the correct scale and fit, which she describes as a lengthy and time-consuming process.

She credits the literary works of Salman Rushdie, in particular his novel Shalimar the Clown, as inspiration.

The concept for the resin-coated wooden breastplates came from studying the forms of ancient armour, and the sunglasses (a more wearable alternative) have been created in the same way, as a modern take on the technique.

Averis and Clements are just two of the five designers set to launch their fashion careers during next year's Dunedin’s iD Fashion Week, now in its 13th year.

All the designers are recent graduates from the Otago Polytechnic School of Design. The show will be held on Friday March 30 and Saturday March 31.