It's obvious that these days the fashion industry is changing drastically and is becoming more and more environmentally friendly. Sustainability is literally the hottest fashion trend of the current times. Not too long ago sustainable fashion wasn't much of a hot topic. Most people weren't educated in knowing what these two words when put together, even meant. Fast forward a decade or so and sustainable fashion has made its way into mainstream culture and is most certainly fabricating the future of the industry.
The access to eco-friendly fashion is endless with brands starting up with the goal of being ethical companies and larger brands changing their processes and fabrics to catch up to society's environmental demands and trends. New and large brands aside, something that has been around for decades is vintage fashion, which is one of the simplest and cheapest ways to buy sustainable clothing. Here in Brisbane, we have access to many great op-shops like Vinnies, Salvos, The Lifeline Store, etc. (I think I’m their most regular customer), but where are the funky, hip vintage stores with carefully selected on-trend pieces?!
Zara Duffy saw this huge gap in the market, noticed the demand for sustainable fashion and decided to take matters into her own hands and create an ethical hub for fashion here in Brisbane and I'm excited to introduce you to the newest eco-friendly kid on the block in West End, Aster + Lilou. Focusing on being as ethical as possible, Aster + Lilou houses wonderful pre-loved pieces, some which Zara has personally re-worked herself, as well as her very own label which focuses on slow-fashion made with love.
From the front, Aster + Lilou is a gorgeous little store and on the inside, there has been some serious heart and soul put into it. Directly behind the store is Zara's very own sewing room where she re-works and creates incredible pieces to then put on the shop floor. I went down to the store opening event on Friday evening and met Zara and chatted to her about her baby that is Aster + Lilou.
From a very young age, Zara had an intense creative passion and flare and thanks to her mother and grandmother learned the skills of sewing and knitting.
" This skill and love for creating things introduced me to fashion and as a young girl, I would make items or rework items that I dreamed up but could never find in stores. As I got older I started to learn more and more about vintage fashion eras and my love and understanding of fashion grew," says Zara.
The idea of Aster + Lilou came about as a way for Zara to sell her overflowing vintage wardrobe out of her garage.
"As I started to run out of pieces at the end of a garage sale, I noticed that a lot of damaged vintage items were often discarded and I found myself reworking an item in my head when I noticed something was damaged. I took that as a sign that I should start offering reworked pieces, which are not always offered at vintage stores. One thing lead to another and soon after this, I decided to start sewing my own label as well which was the beginning of Aster + Lilou."
After educating herself on the impact fast fashion has on the environment, Zara's vision for Aster + Lilou was set in stone.
"Vintage is one of the most sustainable fashion choices you can make! Most items have had many owners, and their quality has stood the test of time. Sustainable and vintage fashion is super important to me. I not only enjoy the history and stories of vintage items but recently I have started to really educate myself on the environmental and social impact of fast fashion. I think everyone should watch The True Cost on Netflix. After watching that documentary, I became impassioned to work even harder on Aster + Lilou as a sustainable and ethical company, and have actively supported local businesses as much as I can in my own personal life. There’s no better feeling than knowing I’m a tiny part of the change that is sweeping the fashion world," says Zara.
This gorgeous little store has some BIG goals with hopes to host sewing workshops, events and Zara's very own second-hand clothing market which she used to run out of her front yard.
Stay tuned, however in the meantime, if you're just as passionate about vintage shopping as I am, then do yourself a favour and go visit Zara at Aster + Lilou, I know you will fall in love as quickly as I did!