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35Life, a sustainable fashion research project by artist Canwen Zhao based in Melbourne, has given rise to the sustainable fashion brand "Thirty Five."
Inspired by the Yi Jing hexagram 50 in traditional Chinese culture, "Fire over Wind,” symbolizing the concept of "transforming the old into the new." In this hexagram, fire corresponds to the number 3 and the colour red, wind corresponds to the number 5 and the colour green, while the "ding" represents a traditional Chinese ritual vessel and cooking utensil. It embodies humanity's hopes and aspirations for a beautiful life. 

35Life embraces the symbolism of this hexagram, rooted in Australia's thriving second hand market and UV environmental concerns. Through redesign techniques such as upcycling and patchwork, incorporating traditional Chinese aesthetic and silhouettes, and integrating physical design elements for individuals sensitive to UV radiation, the majority of clothing items are designed to transform into bag forms. The remaining fabric from the production process is cleverly transformed into various types of bags, enhancing the convenience of storing clothing in closets. Additionally, it serves as sustainable packaging, addressing over-packaging issues and increasing attractiveness in the secondary market. This is a fashion revolution addressing the entire lifecycle of clothing, from production and sale to daily use and re-entry into the second-hand market.

How can lessons from the past inform future endeavors? How do environmental concerns stemming from the fashion industry intertwine with the everyday hurdles of fashion consumption? What strategies can be implemented to enhance the commercial viability of sustainable design?

During the "35 Life: Tradition, Transformation, Revolution” exhibition, visitors are invited to explore the possibilities of sustainable fashion through visual, tactile, and auditory experiences. By focusing on fashion waste and the challenges of daily life, this exhibition highlights the innovative fusion of traditional Chinese culture within the Australian context. Together, we can envision and explore the future of sustainable clothing.

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