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Kangan student joins Melbourne Fashion Week line-up

Kangan Institute fashion student Aaron Costa will showcase a sustainable collection at the Melbourne Fashion Week Student Collections Runway on 13 October, joining a line-up of 23 emerging designers representing various fashion schools.

Currently enrolled in the Advanced Diploma of Applied Fashion Design and Merchandising at Kangan Institute’s Cremorne campus, Mr Costa said he is excited to feature his designs at Melbourne Fashion Week.

“The Student Runway is a way for me to showcase not only my work, but my dedication to my work, to an audience of people who no doubt would never have seen it if not for this opportunity,” he said.

Titled Mahogany, Mr Costa said his three-look collection reflects themes from old English hunting and fishing culture.

“I’ll be showing nine garments within three looks. The collection’s namesake, a high-quality wood that we see in places of class, such as the furnishings or fixings of a grand office or library, further alludes to my collection’s theme,” he said.

Beyond its visual themes, the collection is designed and produced with sustainability at the forefront.

“It’s a massive restriction on the design with many considerations throughout the process and production, but I decided to do it because it’s an interesting challenge and it’s important to explore options we have in sustainable fashion and the influence it can have in our design,” Mr Costa said.

Reconstruction is one of the main techniques behind Mr Costa’s collection, with material sourced from his own wardrobe, second-hand shops and donations from Red Cross Shops to Kangan Institute as part of a circular fashion program collaboration.

“All the garments are taken apart and reconstructed into different pieces, using different garments for different aspects and creating a contrast between fabric and colours,” Mr Costa said.

One of the pieces in Mr Costa’s collection, a men’s suit jacket, combines an old men’s woollen suit and a second-hand oilskin jacket.

Knitwear will also feature, with two pieces of knitwear patchworked from existing materials from home and op shops.

With Kangan Institute students provided access to deadstock fabric donated by Red Cross Shops and local fashion businesses, another element in Mr Costa’s collection is zero-waste pattern making – a process that involves designing and pattern making at the same time using all fabric without waste, including selvedge.

“All of the bottoms harness zero waste pattern making using deadstock materials donated to Kangan Institute to avoid using virgin materials. No fabric is wasted or unnecessarily cut out; it all goes in,” Mr Costa said.

Being eco-friendly comes somewhat naturally for Mr Costa, with sustainability a long-standing practice within his family.

“I grew up in a household where sustainability has always been a big deal. My mother is environmentally conscious, always has been, and her mother was the same. It’s interesting as it’s been a thing in my family for a long time,” he said.

“Sustainability is starting to become more necessary and implementing sustainable design is important for our future. We can’t continue with the practices we’ve always had.

“I hope to inspire others to use methods such as reconstruction or zero waste pattern making. There is an exciting wealth of opportunity for creativity within these methods.”

Mr Costa hopes to start his own fashion label and said a supportive environment at Kangan Institute has helped him advance as a designer.

“I have felt a sense of support from both students and teachers that I can’t imagine having anywhere else. For every idea I have had, I have had someone make it possible for me. I am truly grateful for that,” he said.

Kangan Institute CEO Sally Curtain wished Mr Costa the best for the showcase.

“It’s no small feat to join Melbourne’s next big names in fashion at the Melbourne Fashion Week Student Collections Runway and we wish Aaron the best in this exciting endeavour,” Ms Curtain said.

“At Kangan Institute, our programs are designed to prepare students for real-world experiences and participating in opportunities like Melbourne Fashion Week where students can showcase their talent to industry and future employers.

“Circular fashion, in particular, has been an immense focus in our fashion courses and we’re incredibly proud that Aaron has chosen to embrace this direction in his feature collection.”

Mr Costa is also up for the Melbourne Fashion Week Student Award, which will be announced at the Student Collections Runway.

Mr Costa will additionally showcase his work at Kangan Institute’s Fashion Devotion runway on 11 October at Melbourne Pavilion. Visit the Melbourne Fashion Week website for a full list of programs.

Learn more about Kangan Institute’s fashion and creative courses at our website.

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