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Recycled Clothing

Monday, 26 May, 2014

Nicole Fausten is a transformer. She brings second-hand garments and vintage fabrics back to life, not through the medium of Michael Bay, but by converting jumpers into skirts and skirts into shirts to create a new wave of sustainable fashion. The contrasting textures, patterns, and shapes create one-of-a-kind pieces that are as creative as they are stylish.

Whilst living in Mexico, Nicole’s underground label, anameisalabel came to life. After being exposed to what could be created from limited resources, she knew she had to bring the idea back to Melbourne. I interviewed Nicole, asking about her label and sustainability in fashion: an important concept in the wake of growing environmental concern.

Why the name ‘anameisalabel’? 

So a good friend and I, we started the label together and wanted to come up with a title that didn’t box the label. We originally began without having any labels on the clothing, but people were interested and wanting to have it in some shops where it was mandatory to have labelling on the garments. I suppose it’s more of a conceptual title, just trying to say that things get labelled and things get titled, but it is what it is.

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At what point is a fashion label defined as sustainable? 

I don’t know if I can answer that in a black and white way. I think it’s really up to the individual label and if they are embracing sustainability, and what they deem that to be for them. It might even be that they’re screen printing something onto something else. I think about to what extent I can make a garment sustainable. Every element from the trimmings, to maybe not even having lining in individual pieces because I’m trying to minimise the materials that go into it, yet still have a fully complete and workable special garment.

Do you think fashion sustainability is possible on a large scale?

I think anything is possible. That’s what I work towards and believe in. Some people might call me super naïve but that’s what drives me. That’s why I try to push what I believe is important and I would love if we came together a bit more in that way. But obviously it’s up to all of us and not all of us think it’s important and relevant. So, on a large scale I think anything is possible if we want to fight for it, if we want to make it happen.

What makes this better than buying brand name pieces? 

Well for me, it’s really important to think about where the things come from that you use and to think about one’s own identity and individuality and independence. Maybe trying to connect that through different types of expression, which can be your clothing. Something that’s a bit colourful, a bit playful, and something that’s taking into account the importance of resources, sustainability, recycling.

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So you encourage sustainable fashion competitors? 

Absolutely! I don’t really see anyone as a competitor really. We’re all working towards what I believe to be a greater good so yeah, it’s wonderful!

Since your label sells one-off pieces, what happens if someone wants an outfit another person already has?

They can’t have it! Because once again, just working from given resources means you never have the same thing to work with. But in addition to that, one of the underlying premises is that everything is one off and that’s super important to us because as individuals we are all one-offs. So it’s wanting to really embrace that. Even if there was a possibility of making a number of pieces that were quite similar from similar fabrics I would choose not to do that because it goes against this underlying importance of individuality. We’re trying to celebrate that through fashion and clothing.

How long does it take to make one piece?

Again I can’t answer that in a black and white way, some pieces take a lot less time and some take a lot more time. It might depend on the contruction or the thought behind it. It could take days or weeks or it might go super quickly, it’s really varied.

For more information about anameisalabel, visit anameisalabel.com