Rags to runway, old into new

Mikaela Eldridge with her upcycled fashion designs.

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

It’s kind of a rags-to-riches transformation.

Dandenong North fashion student Mikaela Eldridge has a way of turning an opp shop’s damaged and old stock and recycled materials into high-end garments.

She and 19 other Kangan Institute students created their ‘upcycled’ designs for a sustainable fashion parade, appropriately dubbed Rags to Runway – Great Southern Style.

It’s hard to imagine from the end results that the materials were just saved from going to landfill.

Her 1970s-style business lounge attire featured flared pants, an open-back top and exaggerated sleeves with detailing.

They were deliberately “commercial” designs – “you would not know the difference between old and new,” she said.

“It was such fun. We all were bouncing ideas off each other.”

Ms Eldridge intends to further pursue this growing ‘repurposed’ fashion movement. It’s a sign of a growing community commitment to sustainability.

She’d also like to breathe more life into plus-size fashions.

“It’s mainly in black-and-white. There’s not a lot of variety.

“The plus-size market in Australia is growing, which mightn’t be what people think as luxurious.”

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