Mount Gambier Recycled Runway fashion showcase raises vital funds

CONGRATULATIONS to the team behind Recycled Runway, which won the 2021 award for South Australian Community Event of the Year.

Since its inception eight years ago, Recycled Runway has grown to become not only a key social event for the Mount Gambier community, but played an instrumental role in highlighting the important issue of textile waste, one of the largest contributors to landfill.

It is also a wonderful annual fundraiser for, inspiring creativity and skills development across the community.

Recycled Runway is an opportunity for people to showcase their fashion and sewing flair while demonstrating how this can be achieved using recycled items from the Anglican Bell Tower Op-Shop.

Designers create stunning new outfits from random bags of second-hand items for the parade, often completely dismantling garments to make use of the materials.

Despite a year of uncertainty in 2020, the committee hosted a successful COVID-19 safe event Recycled Runway – Art Deco, inspired by Agatha Christie and showcasing local talent, encouraging recycling and raising a record amount of more than $7000, with $4500 of proceeds donated to

“The 2020 event really brought the community together and the design and construction phase of the competition gave participants something to focus on during lockdown,” Recycled Runway committee member Leanne Dunn said.

Entries came from further afield than in any other year and included entrants from as far away as Adelaide.

“A local mother collected a bag of clothes in the open category as a way of helping her daughter to learn to sew,” Leanne said.

“She came back the next day as her other three children all wanted to take part as designers, sewers and models – it was a real family affair.”

The decision to proceed with an event during the pandemic presented its challenges, but the committee ensured the event adhered to all government requirements, including social distancing.

“Food was served in compostable containers and drinks were served in glassware sourced from second-hand stores,” Ms Dunn said.

“Despite having over 200 guests at a catered event, there was only one small garbage bag of waste that wasn’t compostable or recyclable.”

The 2020 event was held at the St Martin’s Lutheran College gymnasium after growing significantly from the first instalment in 2013 as a one-off event at the Mount Gambier Library during Environment Month.

Many local businesses and community members supported the function, contributing to the fundraising result.

“The event has evolved into a year-round affair incorporating a sustainable fashion scholarship, upcycling workshops, fashion parade and participation in the annual Christmas parade,” Ms Dunn said.

The event was also a key to Mount Gambier’s success in the Sustainable Communities Awards and formed part of City of Mount Gambier’s winning entry in the 2019 KESAB Sustainable Communities Tidy Towns Awards.

“Following the success of the state awards, the Recycled Runway committee made a presentation to the national judges, which was instrumental in the city taking out the national resource recovery and waste management category,” Ms Dunn said.