CARDIF Collective Fashion Alley: An Eye Opener

As a consumer of fast fashion (my rubbish bin full of tags can vouch for that), it’s quite easy to lose sight of the fact that some people actually design and make clothes for a living. When I’m putting on a jumper on a cold Canberra morning, I don’t think of the work that went into the design and manufacture of it, and when I’m buying clothes I also tend not to think of the quality of a product beyond the feel and price tag.

It’s the same at fashion shows. These huge fashion weeks are often filled with high-end businesses who have teams of people putting together the designs (and then probably sending the templates off to China for production…) but not often does a small, local designer get the opportunity to showcase their life and love’s work. I was lucky enough to be invited as a guest to the CARDIF Collective Fashion Alley in Kingston last night and, let me tell you, it was a real eye opener.


Thunder Thighs

Each of these designers invent and produce these pieces on their own. The amount of time and attention to detail that has gone into each piece is awe-inspiring, and it’s happening in Canberra’s own backyard. I’d never visited the CARDIF Collective before, and I was astounded to find workshop after workshop, as well as a fully stocked shop, hidden away up a small staircase at the Kingston shops. The hosts for the Fashion Alley made a good point in their welcome speech last night – why should designers have to go to Melbourne or Sydney to pursue their dreams, if we have the potential to help fulfill them here? 

Hunter the Label

Zilpah Tart

I’ve always had a love for sewing (I made my own Year 12 Formal dress) and I’d probably be doing fashion design if studying psychology wasn’t on the cards, so I definitely have an appreciation for the physical and practical side of fashion as well as the art. Seeing the rolls of fabric in the workshops and the rawness of the designs made me realise that up until now I’ve been missing out on a side of Canberra that I didn’t know existed. CARDIF Collective, you’ll definitely be seeing me around.

A Mix from CARDIF Collective Designers

The Red Segment – Auctioned to Raise Money for the Heart Foundation

The CARDIF Collective is located on the second floor of the Cusack Centre in Kingston Shops. You can find more information about the participating designers in my blog post HERE, or at