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Remade In Dunedin Launches August 22nd At 474 Princes St, Dunedin

This August 22nd, a celebration event will be held for three Dunedin-born social enterprises. Zero waste fashion label Senorita AweSUMO celebrates 8 years of operation and designer Fiona Clements will be launching a brand new initiative, expanding on their ethos of waste minimisation with Res.Awesome Ltd. This event also marks 5 years since Stitch Kitchen first opened their doors, engaging the public in initiatives to build community, minimise waste and enjoy learning and creating bespoke clothing and textiles. All three enterprises are celebrating the opening of their new workspace and studio in the historic Prince of Wales Hotel.

Res.Awesome focuses on creative innovation for resource recovery in Dunedin City, offering education and connection for community groups, businesses, creatives and schools. Res.Awesome aims to target big-picture issues like recycling, plastic waste, and conscious consumerism in a bid to cut down on landfill and environmental waste in Dunedin’s city, local events, festivals, and more. Fiona Clements says “Now’s the time to take a step towards our carbon zero future here in Ōtepoti, resource recovery and waste minimisation are key to that 2030 goal. We’ve been remiss in the past about where our waste goes but now we can spend the time to really look at how we can change these systems for the better, with legislation being created in central government and Product Stewardship schemes on the way we have no time to lose in actioning real change in this system.”

Clements is no stranger to the sustainability scene, completing their Graduate Diploma in Sustainable Practice at Otago Polytechnic in 2018, since then taking on the role of Chair for Sustainable Dunedin City and being the brainpower behind aforementioned sustainable fashion label Senorita AweSUMO. Since the label’s launch in 2012, Senorita AweSUMO’s kakahu focus on “the wonder of a new garment whilst honouring Papatūānuku”. Senorita AweSUMO offers a zerowaste lifestyle brand for ethical and conscious consumers, with upcycled materials repurposed to mitigate the environmental harm caused by modern fast fashion.

Five years ago Fiona Clements teamed up with fellow fashion entrepreneur Fiona Jenkin, and more recently Desi Liversage and Katie Mangai, to enable their shared vision for a creative learning space where the traditional skills of textile arts, passed onto them by grandmothers and mothers, could be shared and enjoyed by the wider community. “Sewing has enjoyed a revival over the last 5 years; from being something that ‘you did if you had to’, to being a popular hobby that people prize for empowering creative choices and improving wellbeing.” says Fiona Jenkin. As well as teaching sewing skills, classes and initiating a wide range of community projects such as Bags For Good and 4KT Elephants which repurpose textiles, Stitch Kitchen has also been developing a 2nd hand haberdashery shop with items donated from their extensive local community of sewists, designers and textile businesses. “In the past, textiles were valued, and nothing was thrown away. We’re reaping the benefits of this with generous donations of amazing quality fabrics, vintage dress patterns and an incredible range of sewing notions such as buttons, zips and trims. These are then made available to buy, helping us with our operating costs, or to swap with your time, or items from your sewing stash you have lost your love for.” Stitch Kitchen has become a prominent social enterprise in Ōtepoti, with regular meetups for anyone interested in sustainable fashion and reducing textile waste to keep exploring ways to build community and reduce waste. “We’re really proud of what we’ve achieved and believe that the shift towards slow fashion in recent years is a sign of significant change to come”.

These three milestones are cause for celebration indeed, and with the new studios opening in the long vacant premises on the ground floor of the Prince of Wales Hotel, once a preeminent local restaurant, there is space to look forward to an exciting next chapter.

A celebration for friends, supporters, sponsors and fellow dunedin entrepreneurs will be held Saturday 22nd August from 6-10pm. The event will feature local musicians Nick Knox, Calla, The flowers that be and The Mentalist Collective.

“A Remakery is a global idea where the community can come together to repair, revive and renew and now Dunedin gets to play too. We’re hoping to share the opportunities found within resource recovery and waste minimisation with the Dunedin community, to create a connected network of Remakers and Doers”, says Clements.

You can read more about Stitch Kitchen at http://www.stitchkitchen.nz/, and likewise you can check out label Senorita AweSUMO at https://www.senoritaawesumo.com/. http://resawesome.nz/

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