TEDx Kurilpa 2014


I bought this dress for $15.


I was going to a friend’s birthday and needed a new dress. I couldn’t wear any of my other dresses because my friends had already seen them!

Before I continue, I’d like you to think about what you’re wearing today. What shop you bought it from, what it’s made from, what was on the tag?

Because I didn’t realise, the dress I just bought had 7 sneaky facts.


This dress was made from cotton and polyester. Growing enough cotton for this dress required approximately 10,000 litres of water, that’s equivalent to a small swimming pool of water.


This dress was made in China. Bleaching and then dyeing this dress created toxins that flowed into Chinese ecosystems, killing local wildlife.


In the design process for this dress created a lot of waste material. The offcuts were most likely treated as rubbish and sent to landfill.


This dress was made in a sweatshop in China – so more than likely it was made by someone who works 16 hour days with less than minimum pay. In April 2013 there was a factory collapse in Bangladesh where 1000 people died – because the health and safety conditions weren’t up to scratch.


The carbon footprint of this garment is huge (refer to world map on slide, showing how the garment has flown around the world). explain…


Australians collectively purchase more than a billion fashion items per year – and there are only 22 million of us. That’s 50 items each on average. Almost 1 item a week. That´s a lot. Do we really need to buy that much? Did I really need to buy this dress?


The company I bought this dress from does not have a recycling scheme. Unwanted clothing and textiles make up 5% of waste being dumped in landfills in Australia.


I’m Edda, the director of Undress Brisbane – a sustainable runway show here in Brisbane and now also in Melbourne.

I discovered sustainable fashion 4 years ago. I saw that some local designers were doing GREAT things, with very little support. So Undress Brisbane was born. We curate a collection of sustainable day-wear, evening wear, swimwear and lingerie from designers around the world. We bring the clothes to one location, for one night every year, in a huge runway show.

Think organic fabrics, garments dyed with tumeric and red wine, zero-waste collections, ethically produced garments, recycled accessories, bamboo underwear and much more.

At Undress Brisbane, we started by taking it off… and began to make sustainable choices in our wardrobes.

If you don’t know how it was made, where it came from or where it will end up, take it off!

This dress is what we can call sustainable fashion.


1. FIBRE: This dress was made from bamboo

Only natural rainfall was required to produce this garment.


The bamboo was treated using a low-water dyeing process and waste-water was recycled to ensure it did not cause pollution.


It was designed to have zero waste, all of these sections are offcuts to start with and any off-cuts of the off-cuts were used in the rest of the collection.


It was made here in Australia – by a person in healthy working conditions with fair pay.


The carbon footprint of this garment is a fraction of the other dress. The fabrics were offcuts from a Melbourne designer and it was made here in Brisbane.


I wash it on cold with a non toxic Laundry detergent – to conserve energy and the environment


I actually borrowed this dress so I’ll be returning it to my friend later today. Borrowing clothes is a great way to reduce consumption and be sustainable.


I am passionate about changing the fashion industry. Providing sustainable clothing options and supporting designers who are doing the right thing.

Everything you’re wearing today has a story, with many contributors. Change comes from people like you. The everyday consumers of clothing. And together, we can change the fashion industry.

Sustainable fashion is like turning the lights off when you leave the room, the tap off when brushing your teeth and choosing canvas bags when you go shopping. It’s an easy choice we can all make.

Next time you go shopping, have a look at the tag. Think about where it came from.

My Australian Dream is a world where we, the consumers of fashion, use our dollar to vote for a sustainable fashion industry. An industry that treats our fellow human beings as worthy individuals and looks after our Earth, because we only have one.

Remember, you always have the option… to take it off.

Edda at TEDx Kurilpa


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