Fashion Communication and the Environment

How can fashion remind people to stop littering on NSW Beaches?

Hyam’s beach is located on the NSW South Coast and is home to one of Australia’s whitest sands. It’s also the destination of choice for thousands of tourists over the summer months. Rubbish left behind and the lack of facilities for rubbish disposal at the destination leaves a dent in its beauty as well as harms marine life in the Jervis Bay area.

South Coast Register
Published by the South Coast Register 2018

The Litter Issue

Hyam’s beach is 20 minutes away from my home. Locals and tourists visit the beach for a day, or maybe a week, but for the marine life that lives in Jervis Bay all year round, they are put at risk when rubbish is not disposed of properly. A large issue that is taking hold is the rubbish left behind by campers, who do not properly dispose wood chips and charcoal from their camp fires. Rather than decomposing, the charcoaled wood chips end up in the ocean, and the fire itself causes air pollution.

Current strategies used by the Shoalhaven council and locals to curb littering and to ensure that the beach is not over-populated in peak season, have been to close roads and ask tourists to visit other beaches and minimal advertising of Hyam’s Beach specifically. However, council has done little to implement more bins, or encourage visitors to carry their rubbish back to their car rather than leave it on the beach. These strategies cease to be working as year-after-year the problem continues to cause damage to the beach.

Why Fashion? How does it communicate?

kim k
Kim Kardashian at Hyam’s Beach

Fashion has the ability to break boundaries between industries and it encourages people to look at something from a perspective that is different from their own. As stated in Barnard (2002), Marx claimed that fashion is used in times of revolution and in times where societal change is needed. Further to this, meaning can be derived from a garment in two different ways. The first is through a model or designer who wore/created the product, and the other is from the materials that the garment is made from. Hyam’s Beach has gained media traction previously with fashion icons like Kim Kardashian modelling for Vogue and Marnie Skillings who partners with Zimmerman. However, it has never gained attraction for an outfit that is appealing to social change.

The Methodology:

Over this semester I am developing a Digital Artifact that aims to use fashion as a medium for environmental awareness and change. I will be hand crafting at least three outfits (hopefully i.e. depending on how many speed bumps are hit along the way, I could produce only one, or more than three) that are made from three of the largest pollutants that are harming Australia’s eco-system: Plastic Bags, Balloons and Plastic Straws/Knives and forks.

Illawarra Mercury 2018
Illawarra Mercury 2018

I am not a fashion designer. However as stated by Sarantou (2018), improvisation in fashion design allows the creator to respond to their surrounding environment and use materials that would normally cause uncertainty, “Elements of experimentation, risk taking and openness to change, are essential ingredients for improvisation and working through artifact making.” Although Sarantou (2018) acknowledges that improvisation is the key to innovation she believes that fashion has not yet been entirely recognised as art, however can gain social and cultural recognition.

I will document myself designing and making the outfits, as well as well as modelling them at Hyam’s Beach and uploading images to social media. Evidently this is a large scale project. As outlined in the table below, I will be developing videos (for YouTube), photos and uploading them to Instagram and developing a Twitter feed for BCM112.

For this subject BCM312, I will be developing written content for a Wix Website titled “The Tree and the Sea” (I have not made the Website yet, hence it will be 100% original) and a Podcast streamed on Sound Cloud that will discuss the issue at large and strategies for decreasing beach litter. The articles will look at Fashion and how it changes behaviour, pollutants affecting the ocean and impact on animals, trend setting and consumer behaviour and Fashion communication, plus extra content that arises along the way.

The Plan (The activities that will be done for BCM112 and BCM312)

Emergent Media

Emerging Media Issues

Instagram Account = Garments that I have made out of common beach litter, that I am modelling at the beach.
Wix Website & Photo Essay
= The Tree and the Sea Platform for all content produced. Essay showcasing finished outfits & their development.

YouTube videos Channel = Videos detailing how the garments were made.



Twitter Account = Encourages people to visit the website, YouTube channel and Instagram


Blog Posts
= Research in how pollution is affecting our environment. Journaling the creative process and any change that has been made.



Barnard, M 2002, Fashion, Clothing and Social Revolution, Fashion as Communication, Routledge

Sarantou, M 2018, ‘Fashion Design: The Connective Role of Improvisation in New Learning Experiences,’ Universal Journal of Educational Research, Vol. 6, No. 6.