WHY I WORE MACGRAW TO THE SLOW FASHION EXHIBITION

Chances are Macgraw, designed by Sydney sisters Beth and Tessa Macgraw, is already on your radar. Loved for their levity – their models always smile on their runways - they make good humoured clothes, feminine but never fussy. Clothes to make you smile.

“Why not?” they say. “We take our business seriously of course, but fashion should be fun.” Think, the ice pink coat with frosted cuffs that helped them win the regional final of the Woolmark Prize last year. A balloon-sleeved blouse with a witty print or lace pie-crust collar. Dressing everyone from Lorde and Pandora Sykes to Julianne Moore, the siblings are just back from New York, where they were part of the Australian Fashion Chamber showroom, and will head to Paris for the third time to see buyers in October. 

But what's all this got to do with slow fashion?

Hearts on my sleeves - hand-embroidered by the CWA

Hearts on my sleeves - hand-embroidered by the CWA

Their Resort ’18 collection, which was shown on the MBFWA runway in May, was made in collaboration with the Country Women's Association. I wore this beautiful coat from the collection to open the new Fast Fashion: The Dark Side of Fashion exhibition for the Goethe Institut at Melbourne's RMIT Gallery last week. The exhibition, which originated in Hamburg, features a counterpoint: the Slow Fashion Studio, curated locally by Dr. Jenny Underwood.

This bit's all about slow fashion alternatives, and is very thought provoking. If you're in Melbourne, you should most certainly stroll slowly on over there and take a gander. You've got time. It's on until September 9.

Clare Press slow fashion

 

In a beautiful celebration of handwork, Beth and Tess dispatched their frilly lace shirts and puff-sleeved blouses, kilts, cable knits and jaunty capes and dapper coats, to the ladies - who set about bedazzling them with little red hearts. By hand. They also hand-knitted a pair of cherry red hot pants with a matching cardi for the show. 

Macgraw Resort '18

Macgraw Resort '18

"The CWA are so beautiful to work with," says Beth. "They are so fabulous, and so skilled and so quick, because they got the finished garments last right before the show."

Slow fashion, done quick? Doesn't that defeat the point?

"Well a show is always a rush," says Tess, "but the process, the ideas, the whole concept is slow. We started working with them for the Woolmark Prize last year, and we're continuing. We love these traditional skills."

Actually, it's love all round. "We keep getting emails from knitters and farmers and country women saying they love it. People have been very touched by [the collection]." Oh, and it's titled "Love Letter", BTW. What's not to love?