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Donna Cameron

Fashion stylist and ethical fashion advocate

Donna is a fashion stylist and ethical fashion advocate. Working in one of the most polluting industries in the world, her mission is to demonstrate that there are a myriad of ways to be an ethical fashion consumer. Donna says “there is no excuse for not embracing clothing that has minimal impact on the environment”.

Read the rest of Donna’s interview here.

Can you tell us about yourself

As a Personal Style Specialist, I love colour, fashion and good design. However social justice is equally important to me, as is the environment so I’m therefore an advocate for ethical and sustainable fashion.

Conscious of the fast fashion industry’s contribution to environmental degradation and socio-economic inequality, I encourage mindful purchasing, based on well informed choices. I’m also a proponent for quality, locally made fashion.

Although I specialise in introducing ethical, local and independent designers to clients, I believe the most sustainable approach comes from people understanding what motivates their own fashion purchasing and learning how to identify what works for them, thus reducing compulsive and excessive purchasing.

I enjoy sharing tactics with people so they can implement this and I do it in two ways; one is to work individually with clients.

Secondly, with my associate Briar Jasper-Batson, I host Fashion by Foot ethical fashion tours, taking people behind the scenes of independent fashion studios to show them how to make more sustainable fashion choices.

Why are you taking climate action? 

  • Fashion is one of the highest polluting industries and responsible for some of the worst human rights abuses. It is destroying the lives of animals, the people who make our clothes and the natural environment. We need to find better ways to engage with fashion.
  • The last few decades of fashion have been disastrous for the planet. We consume far too much of it at greater rates than ever before. Fashion has gone from being enjoyable and creative to something many people have stopped valuing. The work that goes into producing our clothes is no longer respected.
  • The schools strike for climate in 2019 has demonstrated that young people feel strongly about the sustainable consumption choices adults make.
  • The fires seen across Australia recently were terrifying and experts say climate change has contributed to them and that without swift action, it is likely to worsen. I need to be able to say to the small children in my life that I tried to do something to alleviate the pressure we’ve placed on the environment they’re inheriting.

Can you tell us about your commitments to climate action? 

My commitment to ethical and sustainable fashion is lifelong. Empowering people to identify clothing that suits their needs (and that they’ll love) is important to me. I aim to have clients emerge knowing more about themselves so they can take positive action into the future.

People know if they come to me for recommendations, I will direct them towards the best options for our planet.

My mission is to showcase the myriad styles of ethical and sustainable fashion available; there really is a style for everyone so there is no excuse for not embracing clothing that has minimal impact on the environment.

I will continue to introduce clients to independent designers who:

  • use deadstock fabrics (which larger companies would otherwise burn or send to landfill)
  • produce small runs (so there is minimal waste)
  • use natural fabrics and/or dyeing methods
  • are responsible in the way they dispose of any waste
  • are social enterprises, giving back to the community as part of their business model
  • design special pieces on demand
  • upcycle and remodel existing pieces to make new ones
  • embrace new technology for doing things more sustainably

Is there a project you are working on that you are excited about?

Our new program, ReFashion Your Footprint, is launching soon.

This exciting new program will extend people’s knowledge of ethical and sustainable fashion and give them the tools to understand what suits them so they can eliminate compulsive shopping and reduce their carbon footprint.

An online program held over several weeks, it offers:

  • an intro into ethical and sustainable fashion
  • knowledge of styles to suit their body shape
  • a directory of where to buy styles they like
  • interviews with sustainable designers
  • tips on choosing quality fabrics
  • how to care for clothes to ensure longevity
  • an understanding of colour theory
  • insight into sourcing vintage fashion
  • tips on upcycling and remodeling clothes

Plus of course, our Fashion by Foot tours will resume after what’s been an extremely difficult year for independent, ethical and sustainable designers. We look forward to introducing these designers to new audiences.

What real-world opportunities have you uncovered from taking climate action today? 

Interestingly, more clients are seeking me out because they want to reduce their carbon footprint. They’re asking me for strategies they can implement to streamline their wardrobes to become more sustainable. They want to learn what suits them so they can invest in quality pieces they’ll value and can keep instead of continually buying more fast fashion.

What climate action would you like to see Australia take?

  • Substantial investment in renewable energy; we are lagging behind many developed countries and this could be a brilliant post-COVID recovery project for us
  • More incentives for local manufacturing
  • Further investment in waste recycling and repurposing
  • Regulation of imported and local fashion that is manufactured in ways that are detrimental to the environment.

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