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Claire Mercer

Folkloric Wanderer

This look was created entirely using recycled materials (aside from interfacing & the threads used to stitch it together) and mostly natural fibres.

The outer jacket is made from woven wool salvaged from an op shop, which is mounted onto calico (recycled from a toile made for another project). The underdress is made from a coarsely woven cotton, whilst the bodice was cut from a scrap of upholstery fabric, all second hand. Sections of both garments were dipped and gentlysplashed with drops of dye, allowing the fabric to absorb the colour in an organic way, creating interesting natural patterns as the dye soaked into the fibres. These were then allowed to drip dry. Fastenings (hook & eyes, press studs etc.) are made of steel, and the recycled shank buttons are plastic.

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

Claire Mercer

I am an emerging costume designer living and working in Melbourne, having grown up in rural Victoria.

Though I largely design costumes for theatre, this look explores the nexus between costume and fashion, and the performance of identity through clothing. My work tends to be inspired by renaissance / baroque silhouettes, brought into the present by contemporary fabrics and processes.

Admittedly, my practice romanticises the idea of a mythical past, much inspired by folklore, fairytales and nature. I think of my outfits act as a sort of signpost to an alternate world; a simpler, quieter existence, filled with bucolic pastimes like harvesting vegetables or chopping wood – my garments are inspired by the colours of the Australian bush in which I grew up, and childhood memories redolent of woodsmoke, the quiet crackle of a fire in winter and the soughing of the wind.

I endeavour always to make my designs from recycled materials

I believe fashion has a lot to answer for in the current era, with many synthetic textiles, dyes and clothing production processes being detrimental to the environment, not to mention dubious working conditions for clothing makers in many countries. The outfit I have submitted represents a counterpoint to this – a slower, more ethical & sustainable approach to fashion.

This look in particular embraces the inherent beauty of that which is worn and well-loved; encouraging an appreciation of patched-up garments, or the lovely, lace like patterns of a frayed edge, or even the intricate, organic swirls of a mud stained hem. I think contemporary fashion has taught us that new is the only beautiful, that things must be worn once or twice and discarded.

My outfit proposes that to wear and reuse something for a long time, despite its imperfections, is a beautiful thing in itself.