The fast fashion industry is one of the largest environmental polluters and least ethical industries worldwide.

However, many people remain unaware of the countless stylish, yet environmentally and socially responsible alternatives that are being offered in its place.

In November of 2017 Zuhal Kuvan-Mills, a visual artist for and the creator of organic haute couture brand ‘Green Embassy’ and organic textile maison ‘Atelier Zuhal’, decided to tackle this problem by founding the Eco Fashion Week Australia. Their slogan? “Celebrating slow fashion”. For two years now the EFWA has been working on creating awareness and inspirations for fashion that is beautiful and sustainable – and for two years amazing designers and hairdressers like NATULIQUE stylists Claire Foote, Jorge Viota and Erol Nafiz with their teams have been facilitating and supporting this cause wholeheartedly. Thanks to the NATULIQUE Victoria and Western Australia representatives Danny and Steve, who supported with the supply in natural and certified organic hair products, the models walked the runway with sustainable styles from head to toe.

We were delighted to get in contact with her after the most recent shows in November 2018 encompassing over 50 ecological designers presenting their looks during week-long events in Port Douglas, Queensland (4. – 10.) and Perth, Western Australia (15. – 20.). The event expanded over two states to highlight the plight of the Great Barrier Reef, and the Daintree Rainforest in Queensland.

In the interview with Claire we found out everything you need to know about this wonderful project, plus plenty of juicy insights to share with your clients to encourage them to expand their organic lifestyle from hair to sustainable fashion!

How did she get involved and what does she do?
Claire is one of many hairdressers and stylists from NATULIQUE exclusive salons who volunteer at the fashion shows to bring the designer’s creative visions to life. She met Zuhal in 2016 whilst collaborating on NATULIQUE’s Viking Show, where Zuhal showcased her graduate-end-of-year designs.

Later on Claire was invited to style the models backstage at one of her own fashion shows. And eventually – as NATULIQUE and Zuhal share the same ethos and vision – she asked her to be a part of the EFWA. Now Claire operates as the Hair Director for the shows and organises styles and hair products as well as coordinates with designers and other volunteers on a tight time schedule to ensure a successful flow of events.

Backstage at Eco Fashion Week Australia

Backstage at Eco Fashion Week Australia

But what motivates her to do this?
It is the opportunity for her and so many other NATULIQUE volunteers to be part of such a great cause and the fact that she really supports the concept of Zuhal’s vision, that drive her to invest so much time into the EFWA;
Reducing waste, being environmentally friendly and organic, acting ethically responsible and on top of that helping the Sea Shepherd Australia and Rainforest Conservation organisations. That’s all the motivation she needs!

Who else is inspired to be part of the shows? Who are the visitors?
The initiative Zuhal has taken to implement Australia’s first and very own Eco Fashion celebration has impressed many. The EFWA collaborates with the designers, artists, activists, the community, media, and businesses, several educational programs, and local Governments alike! All in the name of raising awareness for environmentally conscious fashion in Australia with a global perspective and sustainable cause.

Danny, Jorge & Erol from NATULIQUE Australia

What materials were used on this mission?
Anything that could be used was used! ‘Studio Membrane’ utilized a special technique to create wool resin; They applied heat to a compressed wool cloth through which the keratin contained in the wool became a resin. ‘Sylvia Calvo’ on the other hand opted for recycled coffee bags and sacks, while ‘Clawdi’ used 100% upcycled materials, like an old blanket, a tablecloth, deconstructed Levi’s denims or the metal hardware from belts. In fashion imagination is the limit.

How does it feel to be part of the EFWA?
Personally Claire loves working on the fashion shows because “it’s great to meet the designers and backstage team that make it all happen”! Also there is always high energy and everyone’s adrenaline is pumped. This is something you notice not only backstage but also on and around it!

So when can we look forward to another fashion week?
The next fashion week is planned for 2020, as the organisation is currently taking a year off for restructuring and re-evaluating themselves.
But rest assured; the next show will come, Zuhal will once again top our expectations with an amazing show featuring innovative and fresh designers and NATULIQUE will be providing excellent products and creative styles for a good cause – as always.

If you want to know more about the Eco Fashion Week Australia and Zuhal’s mission feel free to check out their website here!