editors journal entry of Coalescence event: a night of fashion, food + fun

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On Friday night Laura, tommie resident photographer, and I made our way over to North Sydney to attend the Coalescence fashion event organised by the lovely ladies, Kath + Kim the design duo behind the label, Slumwear108.

Here is what we got up to on the night:

5.00pm: I pick up Laura from Maroubra; driving over from my house in Enmore. I’m actually going out on Friday night and not at home stuck on the Mac. Ha! Is this real life?! I pull up just outside her place and text her to let her know I’m outside. Eeek, I’m so excited to see her!

5.01pm: As Laura walks into the car I tell her not to get too comfortable because - ta-da - I have a surprise for her! I hand over a bunch of natives from the backseat of my car. Laura got engaged only a week before and is moving to the U.K in April, so I wanted to gift her something to say congratulations without burdening her with something she’d have to take over with her. She shows me her hand pointing to her ring finger, a beautiful engagement ring sitting pretty on her lovely, dainty hand; crafted by Tania Gnecchi from RUSSK - and it really is Laura in a ring. It’s so wonderful to see friends so happy!

5.05pm: We buckle our seat belts, I turn my Google Maps on and we make our way to North Sydney. I will preface by saying, I don’t head over to the North much at all - so Laura helps me out with directions, as my Inner west loyalty shines through when I try to make a left turn and cut through 3 lanes. Sorry people behind me! I’m not used to driving on big roads, since I’ve been shoe boxed into the streets of the Inner West over the last 10 years.

5.05 - 5.45pm: In the car we chat about our future plans and Lauras’ fiancés’ very sweet proposal, I chat about the ups and downs of running a platform as a one Woman show whilst also juggling a ‘day job’.

5.50pm: We arrive at the Coal loader and now my handy Inner West parking skills come into action as I reverse park into between two cars on a sloped hill. We then spot a bush turkey in front of the car and admire its beauty and chuckle.

5.52pm: We walk down to the entrance of the Coal loader, me realising I only have 17% battery left thanks to Google Maps and of course I’ve forgotten my battery pack at home. Bugger! Laura is already taking in the beauty and snapping the beautiful natives that we are welcomed with.

We walk along the sand and pebble path, and stop to take a photo of our shoes. Laura takes a photo of me in my rainbow outfit and directs me! I am so hopeless in front of a camera!

5.54pm: We arrive at the outdoor space and WOAH, this place is spectacular! How had I never been here before? The sun is shining over the water, getting ready to set for the day, and there are lots of bubbly ladies, dressed well in small groups scattered around the lawn. YES we are in the right place!

5.55pm: We stand in line to receive our VIP tickets and are greeted with very big smiles and a welcoming presence - I’m still not used to being ‘media’ and politely say, “hello, my name is Nat and this is the tommie resident photographer, Laura. We are here….” And the lovely lady cuts me off, in a knowing tone and says, “yes, yes! tommie and Nat - she pulls out two beautiful square cards with gorgeous illustrations tied up with blue and purple fabric”.

These are our special tokens for our meal from the Oz Harvest food tuck and drinks from the Tonic lane truck.

5.57pm: We walk down the concrete path to the grass area and take in all of the space. I realise very quickly I’ve spent too much time on a computer this week, cooped up in my tiny apartment, because all I want to do is take my gold, glittered boots off and squish my toes into the grass and feel the heat of the sun on my back. What a great idea to have a fashion show outside - a reminder that fashion and the environment ARE linked.

6.00pm - 6.30pm: We decide to get our drinks from the Tonic Lane truck - I don’t drink alcohol usually, so I drink my Young Henrys at a snails pace so I don’t fall off my chair during the runway ( I told you I don’t go out often, this Friday night outing is such a treat!). We find a spot near the water and chat watching over the crowd as it starts to get bigger and bigger. We then take a look at the Life Line pop up op shop and the ladies’ Slumwear108 pop up market stall; I am captivated by the colours and patterns and want one everything. But, I take a step back because I never shop on a whim.

6.30pm - 6.45pm: We decide we should eat before we settle in to find our runway show seats, and stand in line to get our dinner at the Oz Harvest Food Truck, with the beautifully illustrated comp cards in hand that already have our order written on them: 1 x vegan (mushroom burger) for Nat and 1 x pulled pork burger for Laura. I politely hand over my card and the lady smiles and puts the order in immediately. The Mushroom burger is literally handed over in about 20 seconds flat closely followed by the pulled pork. The lady also makes sure to tell me that everything is 100% compostable. YES! We take our burgers in our compostable packaging and find a grassy spot. I don’t care that I’m wearing a white based skirt - this is a perfect day for a picnic.

6.45pm - 7.15pm: We eat, we chat, we laugh, we talk about our cats. After we’ve eaten (I think that was the best mushroom burger I’ve ever eaten) I dispose of our rubbish responsibly whilst Laura walks around the perimeter to capture the moment. When I go to throw our rubbish, two lovely young girls who are standing in front of the bins, let me know which bin to throw our packaging in. I LOVE THIS! Young people in charge who care about the environment. Go team!

7.15pm: We find our seats, they are adorned with left over Slumwear108 fabric - I can tell by the beautiful colours and patterns, and I relax into my chair whilst stealing cheeky glimpses of the sun setting for the day and the fairy lights starting to twinkle as it get a little more moody in the sky.

The incredible Jess Scully opens the evening and we must acknowledge how amazing her YEVU get up is!

She then introduces, Melinda Tually to the mic - the country co-ordinator of Fashion Revolution Australia/NZ the largest global fashion movement in the world. She speaks about the movements impact over the last six years and that the LEGACY responsible fashion summit taking place in Sydney on March 13th and March 14th, which she has organised, is a way for all stakeholders of fashion to lead through action, not just conversation.

Up next to the mic is a Lifeline op shop representative who talks about the importance of retail dollars in supporting the work of the organisation.

Two very stylish ladies sitting in front of me get up to proudly flaunt their op shop finds and one even says everything - including her bra - is from Lifeline. YES to this!!

7.30pm - 7.45pm: The show starts with Lifeline op shop pieces making their way down the runway - pieces you’d wear to music festivals. Think re-purposed denim, cute preloved back packs, fun voluminous lace skirts and dresses, crocheted twin sets and chambray mid drift shirts. Then we have the feminine and floaty pieces from Slumwear108 with the pattern, print and colour. The two piece matching pant and blazer suit in pink floral was a standout for me as was the maroon floral jumpsuit and the earthy caramel, velvet blazer. Gahh, I could see myself wearing all of these Slumwear108 pieces. Now this is good fashion!

7.45pm - 8.00pm: The runway finale; all the models come back out wearing t-shirts donated by Citizen Wolf with the slogan WHY NOT printed in bright pink by T-1. No question mark after the words. This is the solution, the answer. This is how we progress forward. Kath + Kim share their gratitude and thanks to everyone who made the night possible. The ladies have such a selfless and peaceful presence and you can’t help but be moved and inspired by their generous spirit to make this world a better place!

8.00pm-8.15pm: I take a moment to absorb the evening in my chair and take a deep breathe out. A breathe of gratitude that I find myself surrounded by Women doing incredible things in this space. And that through this tommie platform, I get to share the night with Laura, who is not only the tommie resident photographer, but a very dear friend. We make our way to look for the restroom before we leave, and instead stumble upon the models’ backstage room. This is where all the action happens. Laura pops her head in whilst I observe the night sky and enjoy the warm night air on my skin. What a fun night, my heart is full.