Tiffany Treloar’s exotic fabrics have long illustrated her fascination for plants and flowers, but in recent years the designer has taken her love of nature a step further, through a growing commitment to eco-fashion.
High end designer Tiffany Treloar learned fashion from her mother Prue Acton, before spreading her wings to design and sell her own textiles and clothing. Launched in 1999, her label is now a byword for feminine garments featuring exotic, vibrant prints.
It’s not often that a scientist from renowned research facility CSIRO is seen mixing it with fashion industry types, but on July 30 in Melbourne this was the scenario, as designer Tiffany Treloar hosted an information evening on her move into eco fashion. Among the speakers at the event was Dr Ian Russell, a CSIRO environmental specialist who has been working with Treloar for some time to enhance the sustainability of her business.
Launched with the assistance of a grant from AusIndustry, Treloar’s eco initiative, dubbed Project 332, has seen the introduction of organic cotton, linen and lyocell into her spring/summer 2009 collection. From a big picture perspective, Treloar says it also entails ongoing research and implementation of sustainable measures across her business, through the use of more eco-friendly fabrics and textile printing techniques. It has also resulted in an audit of the carbon footprint of her St Kilda studio, which achieved a four star rating, an impressively high standard of greenhouse environmental performance.
Treloar and Dr Russell have also been analysing textile products carrying the EU Eco Label – a highly regarded standard used in Europe, which focuses on: limited use of substances harmful to the environment and to health; reduced air and water pollution; textile shrink resistance during washing and drying; and colour resistance to perspiration, washing, wet and dry rubbing and light exposure.
Taking its name from the number of Treloar’s house, “332” first germinated when the designer and husband Richard Cornish looked at “food miles” and their own daily impact on the environment, and realised things had to change.
“Project 332 is about: designing for longevity; adopting a holistic approach to business; promoting best practice and contributing to environmental sustainable actions, learning and education,” she says, adding that finding sustainable solutions is as ongoing challenge.
Speaking at the event on July 30, Dr Russell acknowledged that implementing change at a small business level was no easy feat. However, with textiles the second largest global industry, the trend for “sustainable textiles” was growing.
“Retailers are interested in eco textiles as they need to protect their brands,” he said, adding textile and fashion suppliers stood to gain from targeting retailers and consumers with easily recognisable “Eco labels”.
For Treloar therefore, Project 332 is not only an ethical imperative; it‘s a commercial one. As the daughter of fashion icon Prue Acton, and now a mother of two, she also sees it as an important legacy for her children and the fashion industry.
“My vision for Project 332 is to create beautiful, environmentally sustainable clothing for women who care about the environment and the impact of what they are wearing. I am using design solutions to find better alternatives, seeking out the ‘right’ information – not always an easy task. I’m also actively seeking to engage the fashion industry and consumers in the education process about sustainable development.”
“It was encouraging on July 30 to see so many industry colleagues together, to get a greater understanding of the impact that our industry has on the environment. Creating Project 332, a sustainable collection, has taken over 12 months of research and development. We look forward to keeping the conversation going about the importance of understanding and acknowledging the impact that our industry has on the environment.”