I am really not a fan of ‘green’ or ‘Eco’ fashion myself, because almost every example I have ever seen ultimately sacrifices style for the sake of being environmental, much like any member of the Greens I could name.
There are a few examples of labels who successfully manage to adopt and maintain a holistic or ethical ethos to their garments; but these are few and far between.
You can imagine my delight then to find that there is a menswear label at Fashfest this year, who not only has a strong ethical focus on which they have built their label; but who also makes clothes that I would willingly wear!
Meet Cameron Dixon and his label Cameron & James…
Accredited since 2012 with Ethical Clothing Australia, Dixon has strived to create a label that meticulously adheres to his belief that fashion and sustainability can coexist together. The Cameron & James label achieves this through the pairing of careful fabric selection and ethical production techniques, with simply tailored and draped menswear designs made in exclusive quantities.
The design and manufacture of the Cameron & James label is all handled in Melbourne, where Dixon lives and works. The focus is on unique pieces made of organic and natural fabrics, hand-made, and featuring interesting details and cuts. The garments are designed to last, and to improve with age and wear, bringing character to garments that fast fashion simply cannot.
Cameron & James recently ran a very successful Pozible campaign to raise funds to purchase an industrial-grade sewing machine. The campaign was oversubscribed, which has meant that Dixon has also been able to invest in exciting upcoming projects, like Fashfest 2015. The fact that the campaign was over-subscribed shows that Dixon has built his label around a supportive and involved audience of environmentally savvy young men who are simply not willing to wear ugly clothes for the sake of environmental kudos. The audience not only sees the value in investing in handcrafted, on-trend and environmentally sound clothing; but celebrates it!
As this is Cameron & James’ first year at Fashfest, and I am incredibly excited to see what Dixon will be sending down the runway, I asked him to answer a few questions for me to give us a feel as to what we can expect from his collection in May.
Why is sustainability and an environmentally friendly approach to fashion important to you as a designer?
After studying sustainability in the fashion industry at UNI, I was made aware of the social & environmental impacts the fashion industry has on the world around us. It was then that we decided that if we ever had our own label, we would do what we could (no matter how small) to avoid being another statistic. This means that we make careful fabric choices and where possible we choice the finest quality organic & natural fabrics to produce our garments, however this is not always possible for every pieces as we need to also think of wearability and longevity. We also only make small runs of each garment to avoid over production & exclusivity. Our label stands against “fast fastion” and the notion that clothing should be thrown away after one or two wears. It’s a surging trend where mass produced clothing is made from low grade fabrics, using sub-standard techniques and cutting corners to save on production costs. We believe clothing should be made to last and age naturally with time and proper care.
How do you achieve a balance between the eco-sensible methodology of your label and producing clothing that is still stylish?
When we first introduce our label and start telling people about it and they hear the words “green”, “organic” and “natural” the first thing that comes to mind are bad, boring potato sack hippy clothing. It isn’t until we start sharing the visuals of our business do people really ask “how is that green or organic”. I think there is a big misconception about organic & natural fashion. That it has to be drab and boring and this just isn’t the case. People just need to be educated & exposed to the possibilities of what it can be and what it evolves. Technological advances in fabric production have come so far over the past few years that we can now include recycled fabric which I’m a major fan of. This means that we can produce the type of clothing we want to, while still being environmentally friendly at the same time. We want to give people a choice but not comprise of style.
You had a crowd-funded Pozible campaign recently which was quite successful, which suggests that you have quite a supportive fan base for the Cameron & James label. With that in mind, who is the ideal Cameron & James man?
The ideal Cameron & James customer would be living in and around the city, comfortable within his own skin and fashion forward enough to wear something that maybe is a little left of centre. We were really blown away by the success of our pozible campaign and the support and belief from our customers in our label. This collection is all thanks to them & we really hope they’re going to love our new range as much as we do.
Without giving too much away, what can you tell us about the inspiration behind your collection for Fishiest 2015?
This is my first fully fleshed out range and I’m so excited to share it with everyone. Its inspired by a Brisbane based architecture graduate, with a sports lux feel combined with our minimalist pallet. For the first time we are featuring our own custom printed fabric, and this will feature heavily throughout the entire range