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These reimagined suits are fighting for sustainable fashion

IMAGES BY DANIEL NADEL

WORDS BY EMMA ANVARI

No brief. No rules. All imagination.

It’s been a year since award-winning social movement AIME teamed up with M.J. Bale to completely reimagine a range of its vintage suits. 

This year the Sydney-based mentoring program, formerly known as the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience, has collaborated with M.J. Bale once again and launched a new take on its Suit for Suits initiative, titled reclAIMEd.

The Australian-based menswear brand donated 14 suits to the project and these suits acted as a blank canvas for a range of promising Australian artists involved in the initiative. 

These artists were then tasked with transforming and breathing new life into the garments by painting, embellishing, customising, printing and dyeing the donated suits. 

With the official launch taking place on October 30, the pieces are currently being auctioned online. All proceeds from the auction will go towards AIME’s projects and its mission to create a fairer world. 

What is the reclAIMEd collaboration

Now in its second year and titled reclAIMEd, this initiative is a response to our ever-growing environmental crisis and the role that fashion plays in it. 

By taking a creative and imaginative approach to re-purposing these suits, reclAIMEd wants to draw attention to our unnecessarily increasing fashion consumption.  

To do this, AIME has worked with like-minded brands from around the world to encourage donations of their dead stock or leftover fabric. Then, with the support of the children in the mentoring program, the pieces are reworked in creative ways. 

According to AIME’s founder, Jack Manning Bancroft, AIME has been about creating change since its conception.

Designed to bridge the educational gap between marginalised kids with a particular focus on First Nations youth, Jack says AIME is striving to create a fairer world of opportunity for everyone. 

Suits for Suits is about us building bridges from a traditional corporate symbol to open the doors for kids around the world to see through the world of imagination, and what is possible,” he says. 

This vision for marginalised children is something M.J. Bale’s founder, Matt Jensen, shares.

“Textile waste and toxic landfill is a huge challenge facing our generation and the generations to come, and this project with AIME hopefully shines a spotlight on the opportunity we have to not just reuse and recycle, but use our collective imagination to reclaim the future,” Matt says.

But the collaboration doesn’t stop there. The team at M.J. Bale have also tapped two AIME students to design limited-edition T-shirts and pocket squares for its Summer 2020 collection, which will be available at M.J. Bale stores nationally in early December.

Not only that, but M.J. Bale will launch its AIME x M.J. Bale ‘hoodie jackets’ in mid-November via its website with 100 per cent of the proceeds going to AIME. These woollen suit jackets, designed by Ksubi co-founder Dan Single, have been constructed with an AIME hood, ribbing and cuffs.

Who was involved?

All the pieces are extremely versatile as each artist was given the same brief – that is, no brief at all. This limitless task was designed to encourage imagination and creativity, something that’s in line with AIME’s ethos and brings a new sense of excitement to the standard suit we are all so familiar with.

Yorta Yorta man Rhys Ripper, the stylist for the initiative, says Suits for Suits was a passion project for him and he wanted to add his experiences to the project whilst promoting AIME’s great work with Indigenous communities. 

“I wanted to bring the suits to life and I matched all the faces to match the suits to really showcase the talent,” Rhys says. 

“We wanted to help add a more youthful and contemporary voice to the Suits for Suits campaign and for the public to connect and resonate with it. I really believe in the campaign and wanted to create more awareness through the creative vision.”  

Rachel Rutt, an accomplished designer involved in the project, says the initiative illuminates the idea of “evolution through art” in its repurposing of landfill destined garments.

“Respecting and re-evaluating our connections within the human chain leads us to examine the extremities that are often overlooked,” she says.

“This action directs the conversation to an awareness of circularity, developing consciousness of the origins and consequences of a lifecycle, providing potential for greater intuition and evaluations in our everyday choices towards consumption.”

Other featured creatives include international artist and proud Bundjalung woman Bronwyn Bancroft, alongside Ksubi co-founder Georgia Hill and AIME’s creative director Dan Single. Artists Luna Tunes, Rhi Miller, Georgia Miller, M Lak and Creature Creature also feature in the campaign. 

All the pieces from the campaign can be viewed here, with bidding set to end November 15 at 7pm. 

aimementoring.com

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