Today’s post is a bit different. One of the reasons why I started this blog is that I wanted to showcase the people and the ethos behind making clothes and fashion. Beyond the dress and the pair or of pants, someone had to take courageous steps and not follow the traditional way of making fast fashion. Those creators who are courageous enough to follow a different path and go out of their ways to create something that is more earth friendly really need to be showcased.
Today we talk to one of those extraordinary creators who decided to go into uncharted eco-fashion territory. Her name is Alex Dash and she is the designer and founder of the Australian eco swimwear label Shapes in the Sand. From her beautiful designs to her production methods, she is a living proof that making fashion does not have to cost the earth. She has generously accepted to answer my questions below for all of us to read. Thanks Alex!
Who or what has made the biggest impact on why you decided to integrate sustainability into your practice?
From an early age, I have always had a fascination with the natural world. Spending time in nature is a regular activity for me and throughout my life, I have learned to appreciate it’s beauty and diversity. It was in 2012 when I began the label’s journey in my last year studying fashion design. I decided that I wanted to draw attention to eco fabrications within Australia. I had only ever heard of recycled polyester fabrics in the USA through my research. From here, I was able to bring fabric sampling over for my final work and this is where the sustainable fabric journey began!
What inspires you to create your designs?
Nature is the number one source of inspiration for Shapes in the Sand. Each season, inspiration is drawn from a unique environment. I research the plants, animals and what makes them so unique. It’s from here that signature print stories are designed and developed.
Where is your favourite place to go on holiday and why?
I am in love with Australia’s incredible landscapes and diversity. My partner and I spend much of our holidays camping in our van at various National Parks within Australia on our own and with friends. The North and South coast of NSW has beautiful beaches and great spots for hanging out and bushwalking! We are always finding new places to go to. Australia is such a big place. One of my most memorable trips though was to Ningaloo Reef, where we hired a 4WD from Perth up to Coral Bay. Visiting the marine life there was incredibly beautiful. Western Australia is magnificent!
If you could do only two things to help to save the planet what would you focus on?
There are so many ways in which I’d like to save the planet; however, I’d have to say the two that I am most concerned about and would like to put my efforts into are:
The huge plastic problem we have in our oceans and beaches microplastics are a huge issue. We need to really focus on plastic pollution and stopping plastic at the source. We don’t need to be manufacturing any more plastic. We need to continue to clean the mess that’s been made. This year, Shapes in the Sand signed The Global Commitment to address plastic waste and pollution at its source and develop strategies within our whole supply chain to eliminate plastic packaging completely by 2025. We believe we can have this done much earlier!
The decline of many species of animals. This is very broad because there are so many that face extinction due to human activity. Each year record numbers of marine mammals, turtles, seabirds, sharks are captured and many are already endangered or protected. Koalas are losing their homes and declining due to the clearing of habitat. Once the habitat is lost then there’s no food and shelter, which causes stress for Koalas. During times of stress, koalas can develop the disease of Chlamydia.
As part of our new collection Pisces, we’ve partnered with Shark Conservationist Madison Stewart in support of her current Project Hiu. The aim of Project Hiuis to slowly introduce the opportunity to an Indonesian community that has only ever known shark fishing. “By hiring shark fishing boats to engage in tourism activities, we offer an alternative income that simultaneously and effectively protects sharks. Project Hiu is founded on the recognition that the very solution to saving sharks, lay with the men raised to kill them.” – Project Hiuis
What do you like the most about the work that you do?
Being a creatively minded person the design and innovation side is what I really enjoy. Innovation is such an important part of moving forward in the right direction at this critical time for our planet. Linking up the collections each season with an environmental organisation is part of the label’s core values; it allows me as a designer and business to understand and learn about the natural environments I have chosen for the season, and really delve into the issues they’re facing. It’s from here that support can be offered and awareness raised! By creating unique alternatives for the swimwear industry, I find it encouraging and motivating knowing that the collections have proper meaning behind them and are supporting the future of our planet.
Thank you so much for your time Alex! If you would like to have your own Shapes in the Sand swimwear, I am proud to say that Tropical Suitcase is now a proud stockist. Check it out in this link!
I hope that you have enjoyed this new Meet the Makers series. If you would like to see more of those articles, please let me know in the comments section and like / share to your heart’s content!
Until next time, travel and leave only steps (and shapes) in the sand…..