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Anna Woodruff

Looking Backward to Move Forward

Sustainability and ethics have always been at the heart of my designing and making. I wanted to create a look that encapsulates new and old approaches to sustainability, a combination of the two being the best way to innovate for design for the future.

Every material was upcycled with nothing purchased to make this look. Patchwork Knitted Jumper: Upcycled yarns of merino wool, alpaca, mohair and silk. Recycled cashmere yarn is used – a new invention made from pre-consumer waste that has 80% lower environmental impact compared to virgin cashmere. Constructed using traditional techniques such as hand knitting, entrelac, patchwork, darning and domestic machine- knitting. A Shima Seiki industrial knitting machine was utilised – technology that enables our designs to produce less waste and require less manual labour than in other areas of the garment industry.


Bias Cut Patchwork Skirt: 100% upcycled silk. Machine sewn using a zero-waste pattern design.

Shoes: Leather. Hand made to order by local designer “Post Sole Studio”, in Melbourne.

Bag: Cotton and Nickel. Hand made to order by local designer “HB studio”, in Melbourne.

Head to www.francie.com to find out more!

Anna Woodruff

The beginning of my designs often revolve around rectangles in pattern making.

A reflection of my influences from Japanese design, rectangle pattern pieces enable me to create designs that can be zero- waste, while fitting many different people with the resulting oversized designs. I also begin by using only used and recycled materials which are already on- hand, something which has been done by makers for centuries.

Due to financial constraints and the scarcity of materials, makers were forced to work this way in the past, but as sustainable designers it’s imperative that we do this by choice. This approach has also informed my use of patchworking tension swatches and scraps of yarn, entrelac and visible darning (also known as Shashiko) to repair holes.

In the 21st century it’s also important to use innovative technologies, which is why the main body was made using the Shima Seiki machine.

It enables the design of knits that use less waste and require less labour. I use natural fibre yarns that will biodegrade and recycled cashmere; a recent innovation in the yarn industry, made using the fashion industry’s waste.

For the accessories, I worked with ethical local designers who make to order in small runs. This small scale of production reflects how Australian shoe and garment production once was, this slower approach being so important in a world of fast fashion full of waste and exploitation.

The finished look shows recycling and repair as design, something not to be thrown out, but admired.