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A showroom sit-down with Kit Willow inevitably turns into a lesson in sustainable design. For fall it was a mini-education in off-cuts, the excess fabric that ends up on the factory floor before finding its way into landfills. “You never use every little corner,” she explained. Setting out to disrupt the process, she’s puzzled scraps of floral print silk from cutting houses across Australia as well as her own studio into the sort of floaty bias-cut dresses she’s known for. And not only that. Since the pandemic, she’s moved to a direct-to-consumer model, so she’s only making what’s pre-ordered from her e-commerce site.

The pieced denim jacket, bustier, and ruffle hemmed skirt in the collection are all made using discarded jeans at the Future from Waste Lab, which Willow got off the ground in 2021. She’s currently looking for fellow designers to do residencies, even virtual ones, at the Lab, meaning designers share their patterns and the Lab will make the garments out of local waste sourced in Melbourne. “It could be anyone globally,” she says, and they could use military surplus, men’s shirting, even old bedsheets. That kind of open-door policy is rare in fashion, but Willow knows what we’re up against, environmentally, and she’s down to do something about it.

A more responsible fashion industry would operate circularly. Unwanted clothes wouldn’t dead-end in landfills, but remain in a continuous loop via reselling, store take-back schemes, garment repair, and upcycling. Willow has built those processes into the way she does business, but it starts with making wantable clothing. One of the most useful pieces here was a grommeted belt with built-in peplum ruffles cascading down the hips. A low-effort, high-impact accessory, it gave everything from a neatly tailored coat to a fluid drawstring neck dress some extra flare.