The Creative Way Karla Špetić Addressed Environmental Issues at Fashion Week

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There’s no denying that the Karla Špetić presentation at Fashion Week Australia this year was a memorable one. Set directly across the street from Bondi Beach in a bright, sun-drenched room, the Resort 2019 collection was basically a seaside vacation in the form of a condensed runway show. In airy, light colours, the swimwear and gave off a dreamy summertime vibe, while uniquely-cut dresses made us wish it were just a little bit warmer.

Most notable however, was the styling of the collection along with a surprising, non-traditional material. A number of looks were layered with translucent outerwear, crafted from none other than your everyday bubble wrap: Not only a genius choice aesthetically speaking, but a also a powerful statement by the designer. “In this collection I have included some pieces made from plastic bubble wrap,” Špetić shared. “They won’t go into production, but I wanted to use them as a talking point for all the plastics that are destroying our oceans and precious marine life.”

Inspired by the 2016 documentary, “A Plastic Ocean”, Špetić used her presentation to highlight the environmental damage being done to our oceans, showcasing her designs as a means to open up dialogue about the issue.

Though the translucent bubble wrap outerwear crafted by the designer for the show felt fun visually, it carries a much more sombre tone when the meaning behind the concept is considered as well. Intermingled with the collection’s ocean blue hues, the plastic seems disruptive and shameful—especially with the show’s immediacy to Bondi Beach. With the ocean visible right outside the window, the presentation forced viewers to consider the impact we’re having, no matter how harsh the reality may be.

In addition to the bubble wrap garments, Špetić’s presentation drew attention to environmental awareness in other ways. What at first appeared to be a floral-printed gown, for example, revealed a recycle symbol pattern upon closer inspection. Additionally, the show was styled with environmentally-friendly jewellery crafted by Louise Olsen of Dinosaur Designs, an iconic Australian brand committed to minimising waste and reducing its impact on the environment.  

All things considered, Špetić’s collection was astounding—and needless to say, the presentation was impactful. The powerful combination of the deeper meaning alongside the exquisitely crafted designs made for a memorable collection that truly means more than the sum of its parts. To see a local designer taking a stance for issues close to home is truly meaningful, and we can only hope that other designers begin to see their art as a means for change as well. Designers like Špetić are proving that even one fresh perspective can generate a larger discussion around difficult topics. We’re definitely thinking about our oceans a little differently after this, and chances are you will too. To see our favourite looks from the show, click through the gallery below.

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