Western Australia MP Anne Aly walked the catwalk at Sydney Fashion Week in support of one young designer's vision.
On Sydney Fashion Week’s second day, the catwalk in one runway show was filled with women of all ages, sizes, and backgrounds, including federal Labor MP Dr Anne Aly.
The women, aged from 23 to 63, sported clothes from Sydney local Thomas Puttick, a 23-year-old designer looking to break the mould of luxury fashion models.
“I didn't want to do a traditional runway show … I realised I’d like a show on really empowering and inspiring women that would have a more positive contribution to dialogue within fashion,” Mr Puttick said.
“The way Anne Aly speaks, what her values are and the way that she is moving things forward in parliament and the dialogue that she contributes to within that sort of setting - I’ve always found that really empowering.”
“She was someone that I instantly wanted to have involved.”
Dr Aly is Australia’s first female Muslim to be elected to federal parliament. She told SBS World News she was involved in the show because she admired the work of Mr Puttick.
“The clothes are designed for women of all ages and all shapes, which is really important.”
“I think fashion tends to be something that a lot of people find a little bit out of their reach or that they don't really relate to so much - particularly in fashion shows where young, glamorous, very, very thin models are used.”
Other women strutting down the runway were 59-year-old former model Yvonne Tozzi, interior designer Nadine Bush, Sydney-based artist Dina Broadhurst, and some of Mr Puttick’s closest friends.
“I tried to find women who I want people to see the clothes in,” Mr Puttick said.
“I thought often about, not the people in the audience, but the young boys and girls who would look at the images afterwards and I realised I wanted them to see an empowering point of reference and not just a point of beauty.”
The show also doubled as a charity event, with sponsorship and hiring fees for the models being donated to domestic violence charity, White Ribbon.
"I wanted them to see an empowering point of reference and not just a point of beauty.”
The issue of family violence is close to Dr Aly’s heart and she was happy to support anything helping the charity.
“He contacted me and asked me if I would do it and as soon as I saw that it was a young designer and that he was doing it for White Ribbon I immediately said yes.”
Thomas Puttick grew up in Sydney and learnt how to sew from his grandmother who was a seamstress.
At 18 he moved to London and scored a traineeship with Alexander McQueen, before moving back to Sydney to study at the University of Technology, Sydney.
But after several stints working for fashion labels like Alexander Wang, Helmut Lang and Christopher Esber, he grew tired of the unrealistic messages of luxury fashion.
“I got a bit sick of the way that luxury fashion - and fashion in general - presents a message that I don't think aligns with my personal values,” Mr Puttick said.
“So at that stage I stepped away and decided that if I wanted to change it I should do that from the inside with my own company. So I launched my brand at that point about a year ago.”