Bedroom The Label chats enviromentalism and turning away from fast fashion

Words : Maile Shanti

Melbourne's Bedroom The Label began as a desire to create clothes from collections of old fabrics created by a sewing machine found on the side of the road. Just as the name implies, the brand was created amongst a bedroom of ideas, op-shop materials and desire to create pieces that were made to last. We caught up with the founder of this dreamy project and asked her a few questions about the importance of sustainability and raising awareness around fast fashion. 

Do you often find yourself having to explain why prices are more expensive (in comparison to fast fashion)?
At first, definitely. When I first started making pieces I was selling to friends of friends and a small circle of girls on Facebook. Though I had priced my pieces much cheaper than most other designer clothes the cost still seemed quite high next to chains like H&M or Zara. There will always be people who don’t see the value in slow fashion but I think for the most part, the majority of people interested in fashion really appreciate hand-made clothing and are happy to pay a little extra to get that something that is ethical, transparent and environmentally friendly.  

What are the key factors in running a sustainable business, especially one in fashion? 
I think it’s important to realise that there are two types of sustainability in running an environmentally aware business. There’s the obvious meaning of the word sustainability and then there’s the longevity of a brand. Sustainability in an environmental sense has always been really important to me and plays a huge role in how I operate the business, but sometimes as a start up I find that I can’t necessarily achieve everything I always want to. In saying that, even if you can’t afford to do something like hand dye fabric it doesn’t mean you can’t initiate change in other aspects of the business. I think for a lot of people being environmentally aware is an all or nothing issue, when in fact it doesn’t have to be. Small change is still change. I use a lot of recycled fabrics for instance, when creating my sample pieces and one-off designs. I also collect all of my off cuts and try to recycle as much of it as possible by creating pieces like scrap material chokers to match outfits.

Why is it important to you to be environmentally conscious? 
As a young person in business I’m realising everyday that through this platform I can implement change. If people like my designs then I think they’re happy to pay a little more for something that they know has been created consciously.

How do you think we can encourage people to go against fast fashion? 
Fast fashion doesn’t really have a face, and that can be hard for a lot of people to reconcile. So many local brands by comparison have local women behind them who are quite prominent and because of this people are more invested in these brand and their designs. Fast fashion has lots of really adverse impacts. As well as being really damaging to the environment it also impacts so many people in so many horrific ways. 80% of workers in the fast fashion industry are women. That makes this industry and the issues in this industry an intrinsically feminist issue and is something people need to start realising.