Senorita AweSUMO #createdunedin

by Insiders Dunedin

Fiona Clements is a fashion super hero who also goes by the moniker Senorita AweSUMO. The label, available at Guild, is an alias, an alter-ego, a costume to don when being herself is just too hard. Rather than pointlessly leaping tall buildings in a single bound or overcoming villains by unhygienic means such as shooting spider webs from her wrists, Senorita AweSUMO laughs (well, almost) in the face of chronic pain every day, battling the forces of evil in the form of a rare hereditary nerve condition: HNPP.

The shameless profligacy of the clothing industry – where 8-30% of material used in commercial manufacture is chucked out − makes her angry (and you wouldn’t like her when she’s angry). Deciding from day one, “If I’m going to work in the fashion industry I need to be responsible, personally balance my world” a tape measure tattoo spanning her body from one wrist to the other humorously celebrates her dedication to using commercial off cuts, vintage finds, stuff found at the dump store, “and I get a lot given to me.” Fiona’s clothing is a lifestyle brand reflecting her goals of zero waste and for everybody, irrespective of age or gender, who wants their clothing to be conscious, ethical and responsible, asked hard questions and forced to tick all the boxes. The goddess tunics are a personal favourite, folding around your body and really luxurious, they make you feel queenly, not to mention guilt-free. Which always makes me want to do something naughty to compensate, but let’s focus on things that aren’t bad.

So popular has Fiona’s call to reuse and repurpose been, she’s had to start Just Atelier Trust, a non-profit teaching people to make their own clothes, sharing skills and space. Why can’t people sew anymore? “I know, it’s messed up,” says Fiona. “It’ll come back again, though, ‘cos we can’t go on living the way we do now.” Sick of fast, cheap fashion and ‘gotta have it’ marketing, she’s applied for an AMP people’s choice scholarship, “So if people want to vote for me that would be awesome, then I could put some of my zero waste patterns into production.” Vote, and trot down to the Vogel Street Party on the 8th of October to see Senorita AweSUMO designs worn by performers from RASA in a 7.5 minute dance around homelessness and anxiety at an open-to-view show. It’s a bird, it’s a plane … no, it’s responsible fashion that doesn’t hurt the planet.


Post submitted by Lisa Scott

Photography by Sharron Bennett

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