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Fix and Make: Rethinking Fashion

Molly McLaughlin

Fashion is a way to present who we are and how we want to be seen to the world, but sometimes this individuality can get lost in following an endless cycle of the latest trends.

“My aim is to get people off the ‘trend’-mill as I call it, and into expressing their own uniqueness,” says stylist Nina Gbor. “There’s a global habit of subscribing to trends, and firstly that doesn’t suit everybody’s body shape or colouring but also we shouldn’t be followers. We’re individuals not sheep!” she laughs.

As part of Hotel Hotel’s Fix and Make series, Nina will be demonstrating her philosophy of individual style. The workshop is called Repair. Remake. Swap. and will also feature a session about how to utilise traditional ‘by hand’ techniques to repair an item, led by Valerie Kirk, and a session on how to completely remake an item, led by Canberra based fashion designer Jacoba. People who come to the workshop will be asked to bring up to ten items to add to the swap collection pool, and one pre-loved item to repair or remake so that you can love it all over again.

“They can try on anything they like, and I’ll be encouraging people to try on as much as they possibly can and to try on stuff that is different from what they usually have in their wardrobe; mixing vintage, retro and modern styles” Nina says. “I’ll be giving them tips and advice on accessorising and making things work, trying different colours and styles.”

For Nina the combination of sustainability and fashion is a no brainer, but global fast fashion brands have been able to successfully market wearing new, trendy items as the epitome of style.

Valerie Kirk

Valerie Kirk

“My ultimate goal is shifting the mindset from fast fashion and following trends to creative, recycling, reusing, upcycling and op shopping,” she says. “I aim to help women do that as a stylist, which can be helpful as someone transitions from one phase of their life to another or if they’re searching for a way to express themselves.”

Nina moved to Canberra last year after living in the U.S. and the U.K and has been impressed with the fashion landscape in the capital.

“Canberra has a lot of different styles, I think this place is amazing,” she says. “Before I moved here I was worried I wouldn’t be able to get vintage clothes, but just [recently] saw there was the Suitcase Rummage [at Art, Not Apart], there’s April’s Caravan, Landspeed Records, the Green Shed and the Salvation Army store around the corner from my house. It’s so sad that all this amazing material is there and nothing is done with it because there’s a stigma about second-hand things.”

But as any fashion tragic knows, it is never just about the clothes. Fashion can become an integral part of shaping identity and even affect the way we feel about ourselves.

“I remember when I was a teenager and I didn’t have a lot of money, going to second hand shops and finding the coolest stuff that nobody else had,” Nina says.

“It made me an individual and I learned to be creative. And when I went through a depressed period about six years ago, being able to go into op shops and try things on for fun helped cheer me up. If people start expressing themselves in the way they dress, it can translate into all the other area of their life as well.”

the essentials

What: Fix and Make: Repair. Remake. Swap.
Where: Hotel Hotel
When: Saturday 16 April
How Much: $10/$7 concession
Web: hotel-hotel.com.au


Molly McLaughlin

Molly McLaughlin was less than thrilled to move to Canberra a couple of years ago to study Arts and Economics at ANU, but she can confirm the city has grown on her since then. Along with writing for HerCanberra, she spends her time reading, eating noodles and planning her next adventure. More about the Author

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