Meet the Makers: Celebrating Fashion Revolution Week with Vanessa Gallone
This week marks a significant event in the global fashion calendar. From April 18th to 24th 2022, the world commemorates the largest fashion activism movement, Fashion Revolution Week.
The Fashion Revolution campaign falls each year on the anniversary of the 2013 Rana Plaza disaster which saw more than 1,100 Bangladeshi garment workers loose their lives, and thousands more injured, when a garment factory building collapsed. Said building was responsible for manufacturing clothing for some of the world's biggest clothing brands, and the collapse now stands as the fourth largest industrial disaster in history.
As a means of honouring the lives lost, and to create positive change within the global fashion industry, Fashion Revolution Week seeks to reimagine a just and equitable fashion system for people and the planet.
Here at SISTER Studios we are proud supporters of the Fashion Revolution movement, and have built our brand on the foundations of ethical production, social change and supporting fairness throughout our industry.
To celebrate Fashion Revolution Week 2022, we payed a visit to one of our local manufactures who has been producing SISTER Studios garments for quite some time. Vanessa Gallone's studio is located in Heidelberg West, is completely female operated and is accredited by Ethical Clothing Australia.
We sat down with Vanessa as she generously shared her thoughts on the importance of fair pay & entitlements, local production and how her studio has come to be...
How long have you had this space for ?
We've been in this space for 2 and a half years. But I've been doing this all up for about 4 years.
Can you tell us a bit about your ethical accreditation?
Yes. So, we have worked with Ethical Clothing Australia since we started. The whole process started with an audit where they come through and check everything. Everything from exit signs and first aid kits to making sure that wages are being paid on time and at an appropriate rate, as well as awards wages. All those little things like annual leave loading that makes sure everything is fair for our workers.
Why is local production so important?
I think it's really important to keep those manufacturing skills alive within our community, It’s so valuable to be able to offer these skills here at home. It was such a big part of the Australian workforce probably up until about the 90s when things started moving more offshore, but I think it's so important to keep those skills alive. It's just another trade. I think it’s extremely important to be able to employ people in this industry, and to keep this going.
I think that over the past couple years, especially with COVID, shipping rates have changed overseas. I think that made a lot of brands focus more on moving things onshore again, and like a year or so ago, it became apparent that it was in such high demand to manufacture here, which all of a sudden, all the factories were like, Oh, my gosh, there's so much to do!
It just shows how important it is to have skilled workers in Australia and to support them and pay them fairly. Like every industry. Yes, I think it's important to keep that alive. Otherwise, it's so sad if the skills die out, you know, over the years, that it's hard to find younger workers. It's important to inspire younger workers, to see this as a feasible option as a career and to support the local fashion industry.
Can you tell us a little about your team?
So in our team we have myself who does a lot of the patterns, a bit of sewing and just a bit of you know, organising everything.
Then we have Van who has been sewing in Melbourne for probably like 28 years time. She moved from Vietnam when she was in her 20s and has been sewing in Melbourne ever since. She is exceptional at what she does, is very fast, very efficient, always has new ideas.
Next we have we have Selma who has also been sewing for a very long time. We is out other machinist.
Then we have Chincia our cutter. She's been with us for about a year now. She is from Italy, went to university in Milan and then also transferred to second stitch here in Brunswick. She does all our cutting, pressing and quality assurance. And there's also my Mum who comes in a few days a week, she's always making teas and coffee, she helps with pricing and quality checks as well.
If you have any questions regarding our production process, our makers or anything to do with Fashion Revolution Week, we'd be happy to chat! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
In the meantime you can shop the full 'A Charmed Life' collection here, which features a few items brought to life by Vanessa and her team.
Emma & Alice,