2020 Uniform Design

2020 Uniform Design

2020 Uniform Design 
by Chelsea Hickman

2020 Uniform Design 
by Chelsea Hickman

Fashion designer Chelsea Hickman doesn’t follow the rules. So in 2020—a year that defies predictability—that’s exactly why we commissioned her to create the next line of MPavilion staff uniforms.

Upcycled from the uniforms of seasons past, the garments Chelsea has created include over-layer ‘Lab Coats’, under-layer t-shirts, and reusable/washable face masks. All of the garments are custom made by Chelsea personally—making each piece utterly unique, while ensuring its ethical production.

In a recent interview we talked with the renegade fashion designer about her plans for these new threads..

MPavilion: Hi, Chelsea! ‘Re-emergence’, ‘re-animation’ and ‘re-use’ are key themes in the upcoming MPavilion 2020 program. As the newly commissioned designer of our next line of kiosk uniforms, can you tell us how upcycling will play a part in your collaboration with MPavilion?

Chelsea: My practice focuses on upcycling by utilising old garments, found waste and fabrics salvaged from landfill to create both functional fashion and wearable art. Upcycling is a process of disassembling a pre-existing product and redeveloping it into a new thing. The difference between recycling and upcycling is that recycling requires breaking down a product into its raw materials and creating an entirely new product from scratch. Upcycling is a method of repurposing materials into a new product with some notable aspect of the original product still present. Upcycling can also be defined as altering or tweaking a product to increase its value or lifecycle. 

The obvious benefits of upcycling fashion include opportunities to divert waste textiles from landfill, extend material life by giving old products a new lifecycle and therefore hypothetically reducing CO2 emissions by counteracting the production of new ‘virgin’ materials. It’s estimated that around 501,000,000 kg of textile goes to landfill in Australia every year. It’s a shockingly unfathomable amount. To put that number into perspective – one cotton t-shirt weighs around 130 grams. 600,000 kg of this textile waste is unsalable goods donated to charity stores. 

Anything that is damaged can be chopped up and redeveloped into a valuable and fashionable new item. This is the theory that my fashion practice is based on. Re-use, restore, re-fashion!

MPavilion: It sounds like your work is driven by an ‘ethical approach’. What does this mean for you, exactly?  

Chelsea: My fashion label is still in a relatively early stage where I am able to hand-make everything myself and charge a fair and decent price for my labour. As my practice develops and my business grows I am dedicated to ensuring my fashion is as safe for the environment and human life as it possibly can be. I still have a ways to go with claiming I am totally sustainable, but I learn something new every day to make my practice more responsible, ethical and transparent.

We are so proud of Chelsea’s designs, and our team can’t wait to wear them in and around the city and at our MPavilion locations this summer!