Upcycling win for fashion student Olivia

Fashion student Olivia Barca hopes to contribute to a more sustainable fashion industry and she’s well on track with her recent win in Fashion Awards Australia’s Stitch Don’t Ditch competition.

Ms Barca was recently announced third place winner for the ‘Resident/TAFE’ category for her one of-a-kind upcycled jacket design, creatively made using a pair of recycled jeans, overalls and pinafore.

The 21-year-old Greenvale resident said it was important for her design to be both unique and functional.

“My design aim was to keep as much of the recycled jeans, overalls and pinafore intact, staying true to the characteristics of those garments. This gave my jacket a more complete and commercial look,” said Ms Barca.

“The pinafore was the focal point of my jacket design, allowing me to reuse the zipper as the opening. I knew that my overall design had to be upcycled, unique and functional.”

The award win came as a surprise to Ms Barca who entered the competition with little expectation.

“I entered my piece at the last minute, thinking ‘you have to be in it to win it’ and bam! My jacket placed third,” she said.

“I am very excited and proud to be recognised for my hard work in creating a beautiful one-off piece.”

Kangan Institute chief executive Sally Curtain congratulated Ms Barca on her recent achievement and highlighted the TAFE’s commitment to sustainability through its fashion programs.

“We’re incredibly proud of Olivia – her award win reflects not just her expertise as a fashion designer, it also reflects her passion for sustainability and ability to be innovative in her upcycled creations,” said Ms Curtain.

“A sustainable future starts with education and Olivia’s success in upcycling resonates with Kangan Institute’s sustainable ethos within our fashion programs, with our students taught to incorporate various eco-friendly techniques as they design and bring their creations to life.”

Kangan Institute’s sustainable fashion focus has gained interest overseas, with the TAFE awarded a bronze medal in ‘Sustainable Development’ at the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics (WFCP) 2020 Awards of Excellence.

Ms Barca sees herself relying heavily on upcycled materials as she pursues a future in fashion design.

“Fast fashion needs to be a thing of the past in order to reduce our impact on our environment,” she said.

“To be honest, upcycled garments often have more character, making them distinctive and eye catching. In my future work, I intend to upcycle as much as possible, giving these pieces a new life. Sustainable fashion is the way of the future."

Learn more about our fashion courses at Cremorne Campus here.

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