Entrepreneur Edda Hamar stitches together a sustainable future in fashion

It’s pretty clear that Brisbane fashion entrepreneur Edda Hamar reaps what she sews.

If being a Young Leader for the United Nations isn’t enough, the savvy sartorial specialist has just returned from a week-long trip to New York City and is radiating with excitement for her upcoming event, Undress Runways – a sustainable fashion show that puts the spotlight on ethical clothing and accessory labels.   

“At the end of the day we need to shop less, and we need to pay more for our clothes,” Edda said, her unwavering dedication to sustainability on show.

“There’s more and more demand for sustainable fashion and people are certainly talking about it but they aren’t necessarily ready to walk the talk and make that purchase decision.”

In a world where people are constantly distracted by mobile devices and marketing messages, Edda saw the fashion show as a way of educating people about sustainable fashion without preaching.

Six years in, the runway event has been held in capital cities across Australia, but this year the focus is on Brisbane, and Edda is gearing up for a mega event with more than 23 designers including clothing and accessory labels from Melbourne, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast and from across the world.

This runway show will also see the addition of a magazine, Naked, with information about the labels, the future of fashion and sustainable living.

Edda said the magazine was a platform where they could “talk about the real issues and give people access to the labels and lifestyles so they can make the change if they want to”.

There’s also an app under way to decrease waste at the event and provide information about the designers and hair and makeup for the show.

Edda Hamar

Edda sees the event as an opportunity to connect people with sustainable brands and educate them about the quality of the labels.

“There’s a negative stigma around sustainable fashion with people thinking it’s for hippies, the quality isn’t as good, it’s too expensive or it’s made from hemp,” she said.

Edda and a friend are also a year into their own sustainable fashion label, Vihn, which will officially launch at the Undress Runways event this October – with the set-up money coming from a crowdfunding campaign that raised $5000.

“We had to invest all that cash into producing stock so we’re hoping to break even with the amount of stock we’re about to have for sale,” she said.

“It’s been really hard because I’m not really driven by making money and society doesn’t let us be OK with that. It’s like if you’re not making money in business than why are you in business? And I often ask myself why am I not wanting to make money?”

But Edda said her next venture had a firm focus on the finances and while she wouldn’t reveal the product, she said she would be going to market soon and seeking seed capital, and in case the fashion show, magazine and app weren’t enough to keep her busy, she has big ideas for the future of sustainable fashion.

“There’s an untapped market in the share economy for fashion and borrowing – we should be opening up our wardrobe to friends and family,” she said.

“On average we only wear 20 per cent of our wardrobe so there’s potential to develop that market.”

Undress Brisbane is on 8 October at the Brisbane Showgrounds.

Edda is also a finalist in the upcoming Lord Mayor’s Business Awards for Singapore Airlines Award For Young Business Person Of The Year – with the winners to be announced at the awards night later this month.

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