For anyone who has not ever had the fortune of visiting or living in Melbourne, please allow me to share with you one piece of advice: the months of January through March are the time to come. Why, you ask? One word: festivals. 

If this beautiful city knows how to do one thing well, it's celebrate. From the Midsumma Festival and Chinese New Year, to the St.Kilda Festival and the Melbourne Fringe, us Melbournians will head out in droves to anything that screams 'art', 'craft', 'culture' and 'environment'. And that's why I love living here!

This weekend saw one of the highlights of our festival calendar come to town- the Sustainable Living Festival. This 3-day show, which raises awareness around the issue of sustainability in all its manifestations, is filled with practical workshops, interesting talks, great performances, gastronomical delights and some of the year's best shopping opportunities. And did I mention it's free?

As any proud urban hippy did, I too headed to revel in SLF over the weekend. Ok, I did more than revel; I moved in. In fact, I have spent the last three days doing nothing but soaking up the inspiring world of people who are changing the world for the better in a crazy and creative number of ways. Bliss!

One of the absolute highlights of this year's program was the gorgeous Slow Fashion Show.  Now, before you cringe at the very idea of the misogynistic, self-absorbed industry that is mainstream fashion, know this: the Slow Fashion Show was the exact opposite of just that!

The models were stunning, 'real' women and men; the event was open to all members of the public and was free; and best of all, every single item on the catwalk had a light environmental footprint. There were four key categories: Fairtrade, Sustainable New Materials (such as organic, unbleached and hemp items), Locally Handmade, and Second Hand/Vintage. I felt very proud that Pepperberry & Co. would fit into two of those four categories... if only we did fashion!

After delighting in the creativity and eco-goodness of the Show, I headed off to Re-Mixed Re-Worked Re-Fashioned, a workshop aimed at giving sexy new lives to sold favourite, op-shop gems or shocking Christmas gifts. There, I spent five hours doing some of my favourite things: laughing with fellow crafters, chopping up second-hand goodies and making a present of funky and stylish 3/4 pants for Sharon.

The highlight of the workshop, however, was discovering a true gem of the crafting landscape: Social Studio. The Studio is an inspiring concept that fuses the creativity and wisdom of Melbourne’s refugee community with recycled and excess materials from local industry to create original fashion garments.

In a nutshell, some of the most disadvantaged members of our community are welcomed into a space where they learn, create, craft, build long-lasting relationships and gain employment. It just makes my little former-Social-Worker's heart go all fuzzy! The Studio is located in Collingwood and runs these types of workshops every Saturday, and worldwide shoppers can also support this brilliant cause through their Etsy shop.

What did you all get up to on the weekend? Were you also spoilt with some crafty goodness?


Comments (2)

On February 24, 2010 at 7:35 AM , one little acorn said...

I had such a busy weekend, I didn't get anywhere near it, but it sounds like it was great fun. I think I went to something similar a couple of years ago... good to see it's continuing to grow and expand.
Perfect weekend for it too!

On February 24, 2010 at 9:22 AM , melanie said...

there's no Amazon Games on the midsumma progamme any more! My Dog Jeffrey (he's gone now, to the big paddock in the sky) used to love the Amazon Games :)