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Question Time: Fast Fashion

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Photo of the panellists

The panel: Madeleine Morris, Clare Press, Clara Vuletich, Rebecca Hard and Jessica Perrin

Over the past 20 years, retail giants like Zara, H&M and Topshop, have become incredibly adept at ripping off the latest catwalk looks and offering them to the mass market at affordable prices.

But we’re starting to see a backlash. Many consumers are wising up to some of the unscrupulous labour practices of fast fashion outlets and to the massive amounts of waste this consumption model generates. In Australia, Topshop has gone into voluntary administration. Is fast fashion going out of fashion?

In this Question Time discussion, our panel field questions on the issue from all angles. Does the fast fashion business model preclude ethical or sustainable practices? How might a backlash affect retail workers here in Australia as well as textile workers in developing countries? What are the alternatives to fast fashion – and who can afford them?

Who?

Portrait of Madeleine Morris

Madeleine Morris

Madeleine Morris is a Melbourne-based reporter for ABC television’s 7.30. She was formerly a presenter for the BBC in London and reported from dozens of countries before returning to her native Australia. She is the author of Guilt-Free Bottle-Feeding: Why Your Formula-Fed Baby Can Grow Up To Be Happy, Healthy and Smart, published by Finch. 

Portrait of Clare Press

Clare Press

Clare Press is Marie Claire’s fashion editor-at-large. She is the author of Wardrobe Crisis: How We Went From Sunday Best to Fast Fashion, presents the podcast Wardrobe Crisis and writes the 'Sustainable Style' column for the Age.

She was previously the features director at Sunday Style and has worked as a fashion designer, brand consultant and editor, including stints as features director at Vogue, fashion critic at the Monthly and columnist at Instyle.

Clare’s fashion journalism has been published in Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Marie Claire, the Australian, the Sydney Morning Herald, the New York Times Magazine and many more. She is a passionate advocate for sustainable and ethical fashion, and sits on the Australian advisory board of Fashion Revolution.

Portrait of Clara Vuletich

Clara Vuletich

Clara Vuletich is a designer, consultant and educator who has worked in the sustainable fashion and textiles space for ten years. She has a design PhD in sustainable fashion/textiles with the MISTRA Future Fashion research programme (Sweden/UK), and has consulted with brands including H&M, VF Corporation and David Jones Australia.

Clara is currently establishing a consultancy business to work with brands, consumers and organisations on an ethical and circular Australian fashion industry.

Portrait of Rebecca Hard

Rebecca Hard

Rebecca Hard has been general manager of Sussan for four years, prior to which she worked as the brand’s national retail operations manager. In total, Rebecca has worked in the Sussan Group for more than 16 years – serving in senior roles at Sportsgirl until 2008.

Portrait of Jessica Perrin

Jessica Perrin

Jessica Perrin is a co-founder of Not My Style, an app that rates fashion brands on how transparent they are about the women and men who make our clothes.

She was formerly the Head of Global Programs at the Thomson Reuters Foundation in London, and now resides in Melbourne.

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