Fiona Clements is proudly Pākehā, Kai Tahu, Clan Gordon, a Craftivist and Zerowaste Textile Practitioner. She graduated from Otago Polytechnic’s School of Fashion in 2011, and completed the Otago Polytechnic Graduate Diploma in Sustainable Practice in July 2018.
Her design studio, Senorita AweSUMO, is her response to workplace related harm. The Rana Plaza building collapse that killed so many garment workers in 2011 and sparked off the global movement Fashion Revolution has spurred Fiona to add her voice and actions locally.
Fiona now brings her considerable energy and creativity to the problem of waste in commercial fashion production. She operates at a local level raising awareness of waste: ‘there is no away’ when we get rid of things, she points out. It all goes somewhere. Senorita AweSUMO operates a zero waste lifestyle brand for ethical and conscious consumers. The fabrics she uses come from donations mostly. She sells through her website and Guild’s pop-up shops. Guild is run by a not-for-profit society Dunedin Designed Inc, and has a stable of 8-12 designers. Fiona is currently part of its executive.
Fiona believes in encouraging conscious consumption by spreading awareness and giving an environmental choice. She does this in part through another project based initiative, Stitch Kitchen: Ingredients for Creative Living. Fiona Jenkin is a partner in this venture and in the Trust that runs it. She co-ordinates its sewing, mending and upcycling classes and workshops; a swap shop for fabrics, patterns and notions; sewing studio hire, and also runs bags-for-good making sessions. Learning and sharing skills and information, connecting and networking are facilitated, with the aim of spreading awareness and inspiring better environmental choices in clothing.
Fiona’s designs were part of a Kai Tahu designers fashion show at Toitu Otago Settlers Museum for iD Dunedin 2018. Her collection, also shown in Perth, Australia, highlighted the disconnection of humans with nature, and huge amount of plastic waste we create at present. Through this collection and her other work Fiona is encouraging us all to act more responsibly in product stewardship by thinking about the whole life of the things we create and use.
Text by Jane Malthus. Banner image © Fiona Clements.
Last published February 2019.