A FORMER Alstonville woman is changing the way we think about fashion with her emerging clothing label WayWard Community.
After working in mental health, designer Rebecca Sheehan, who now lives in Brisbane, wanted to use her creativity to help people in need.
From that, sprang WayWard Community - clothing that is eco-friendly from design to construction, using entirely salvaged fabric and trims.
Not happy with the current systems that have seen workers laid off in favour of cheaper, unethical offshore production, as well as the environmental concerns surrounding landfill, Mrs Sheehan said she wanted to do things differently.
She intends for the label to be ethical by employing refugees and paying them award wages to construct the garments, and as the business grows, by employing mature age pattern makers from Australia who have been laid off because of the industry's offshore shift.
In an industry that is very concerned with the bottom line, she said, she understands why companies have had to make hard decisions, and that's ok, she said, but not when the offshore workers are being used and abused.
Having recently placed runner up in Wesley Mission's Campaign for Change WayWard Community received $5000 to propel the business forward.
She said she would use that grant to bolster the professional image of the business, which would then hopefully provoke more financial interest in it.
"I want to eventually expand into international aid, using the profits of WayWard Fashion to provide rehabilitation and employment to people rescued from sex trafficking," she said.
Justice is at the heart of WayWard Community, with profits being generated for the purpose of making fashion fair for all, she explained.
Through providing eco-friendly, ethical clothing and community education, Mrs Sheehan said she hopes to shift consumer mindsets from the acquisition of quantity, back to an appreciation of quality.
"If there are no sales made from products that degrade human lives and the environment, then such degradation will cease. This is a change we can all make, by choosing where we buy our clothes," she said.