Timely & confronting – Fast Fashion at RMIT Gallery ends 9 September

“Clothing recycled”, Tim Mitchell, 2005. Preparing the clothing for shredding, women cut up jumpers, jackets and coats into smaller pieces, removing seams using traditional vegetable cutters. Buttons, zips and pad-ding are burnt. Garment labels advertising expensive brand names and global origins are discarded as worthless information.

Did you know that on average, consumers wear new clothes only six times before throwing them away? That 85 % of Australia’s textiles get sent to landfill and only 15% of donated clothes are resold in Australia. These are sobering figures, especially for the young and fashion conscious.

Fast Fashion: the dark side of fashion presented by RMIT Gallery and the Gothe-Institut is a thought provoking, confronting and timely exhibition. Don’t miss out – it closes on 9 September.

Here’s what visitors have to say: “this exhibition changed my shopping habits forever!”, “a real eye opener about the economic world”, and “very confronting and beautifully put together.”


In his article Backward Steps: The Australian Recycling Sham, RMIT academic Dr Binoy Kampmark writes that “The green conscience received a setback last week with revelations that the Australian recycling industry is not what it seems.  The middle class sensibility here is simple and dismissive: bin it and forget about it. Place the sorted items in the appropriate set place and let others do the rest.”

In the ABC series War on Waste, presenter Craig Reucassel delves into the chocking consequences of our addiction to clothes. The bottom line is that throwing waste out and expecting someone else to clean up the mess is not the answer.

Australians are the second largest consumers of new textiles worldwide and fashion is one of Australia’s fastest growing waste problems and  So, what can be done? In response to the fast fashion crisis, the optimistic Slow Fashion Studio presented at RMIT Gallery by RMIT’s School of Fashion and Textiles, explores new fashion practices by young designers aiming to bring about positive change.

Designer and RMIT lecturer Jo Cramer, whose work features in the Slow Fashion Studio, said that the the nine RMIT designers featured in the exhibition provide a really exciting adjunct to the fast fashion exhibition.

“We are showing how fashion is being renewed and reinvigorated. It’s about meeting needs and avoiding excessive consumption and rethinking our attitude and connection with clothes,” she said.

Listen to the designers in the Slow Fashion Studio talk about their work:


What: Fast Fashion: the dark side of fashion & Slow Fashion Studio

When: Until 9 September

Free guided tours: Groups (community, schools) can book free guided tours

Bookings: RMIT Gallery (03) 9925 1717

Public programs

Every Thursday 11-5 pm The Mending Mart, with Tania Splawa-Neyman. Bring damaged clothes to life in these barter exchange mending sessions. Bookings 

Every Friday 11-2 pm – Every Body: Immersive Fashion Design with Kate Kennedy – Free half hour Virtual Reality workshops creating designs for real bodies – no experience necessary. Bookings

Fast Fashion: The dark side of fashion (21 July – 9 September) is presented by RMIT Gallery in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut and RMIT School of Fashion and Textiles, Fast Fashionis curated by Dr. Claudia Banz at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg and supported by Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt and Karin Stilke Stiftung.

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