At Peppermint, we believe that design can change the world in a tangible way – which is why we decided to give one design student $500 to put towards their course as part of our Design for Change competition from Issue 21. We received a number of high quality entries in the areas of fashion, product and jewellery design, and it’s taken a while to wade through them all. We’re so grateful to those who applied – thanks especially to our winner and three runners up: you astounded our judges with your creativity, innovation and social conscience. We can’t wait to see the impact you have on your communities and the world.
The winner: Jodie Cheetham – Threadbound/A Thousand Fibres
The judges were impressed by a concept from Brisbane-based designer Jodie Cheetham, who is in the process of starting a very personal project called ‘A Thousand Fibres’ – aiming to provide a voice for refugee women in Australia and help them create meaningful connections with local people. Jodie would like to help these women tell their story on cloth, by developing a range of hand-printed yardage that references the rich textile traditions from their home country. She will also gather these women together to teach traditional textile techniques, such as African Batik and indigo dying. As she explains, “This project will provide local people with an avenue to support these women in what has often been a hostile welcome to Australia. Women have come together to stitch and share for thousands of years, and I firmly believe this model would provide a meaningful way to welcome and support women who have experienced so much trauma.” As part of her idea, Jodie has also been working on her new blog Threadbound (which just launched this week), created to share the stories behind the meaning and making of Australian boutique textiles. Many of the interior fabrics profiled on Threadbound are printed by hand on natural materials, with designs created to last a lifetime rather than just a season. In this spirit, Threadbound will also profile homes with heart that tell a story of their inhabitants who are rethinking their spaces and using materials in contemporary, sustainable and exciting ways.
Jodie is currently studying a Bachelor of Design Futures at Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, and will put the $500 towards expenses for this course. Congrats Jodie!
Full disclosure: we were so inspired by Jodie’s vision, dedication and business background that we couldn’t let her slip through our fingers – she has just starting working part-time at Peppermint.
Kelly Elkin said of Jodie’s idea: “I see her vision directly affecting refugees in a positive way. Most often people have the greatest intentions but not the infrastructure or plan to make long-term improvements – giving people false hope. Jodie’s plan seems achievable and would not only benefit the women she wants to help, but also the wider community through participation in her courses. The fact she has also researched her market for the yardage is impressive.”
Keep an eye on the Threadbound blog for more information about this exciting project – and if you know any women who may be interested in working with Jodie as part of her ‘A Thousand Fibres’ project, feel free to drop her a line.
We were so inspired by the three runners up that we had to share their ideas…
Grace Leong: Concept – The Pura Vida Cooperative Collective: an online e-commerce resource that combines products from a number of cooperative organisations and allows consumers to access these – assisting with the economic stabilisation of artisan communities, starting in Central America. The phrase ‘pura vida’ is a colloquial Spanish phrase used in Central America that means pure life, or full of life, and fits with the overall cause of the PVCC to reignite the interest in indigenous culture in its purist form, through ancient techniques of the past.
Brenda Sharpe: Concept – A range of sewing kits that will include 3m of an artisan printed textile (organic cotton or hemp-based cloth printed with solvent-free inks), dress pattern, notions (everything you need to complete the garment) and instructions. The aim is to make it easy for a beginner sewist to take the first steps toward making their own clothes, to provide a better quality raw material and to offer a range of new textile designs/prints that make the finished item a one-off standout garment.
Jane Heng: Concept – A sustainable design business that provides work to skilled artisans in Cambodia and other developing nations – starting with fine jewellery (because of the brilliance of Cambodian gemstones combined with the country’s highly skilled jewellery makers), and eventually extending the product lines to fair trade homewares and textiles. All workers will be paid a fair wage, and profits from the business will be invested back into community education projects.