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FASHION WORDS W WOR ORDS ORDS DS R ROX RO ROXANNE OX XA ANN NN NNE M MCCARTY-O’KANE CCA CARTY ARTY-O RTY TY-O’ -O’K K PHOTOS GREGORY MILLER

IT’S NOT OFTEN you can get away with telling someone to Get Rooted, but Natalie Lucken has made this both her life motto and successful business model. The 32-year-old Maroochydore resident founded the Grass Roots Boutique in order to provide an easy alternative for fashionistas who want to consciously buy sustainably and ethically made clothes from local designer labels, and the online store’s catchy hashtag, #GetRooted, has quickly gained traction. Natalie spent a decade travelling the world, visiting more than 40 countries working in the human welfare sector and although she had no previous experience in the fashion industry, she admits to being “addicted to fashion” and embraced the opportunity to tap into the various labels and designer brands available around the world during her travels. But it was when she was standing outside a “squalor sweatshop” in India that her two passions collided, igniting a newfound drive to enact change in the clothing industry. “There actually was a catalyst for me,” she says. “At first it was an accumulation of trips overseas to developing and third-world countries, but the pivotal moment was in India – finding out what they were making in [that sweatshop] and it was labels that I knew of and that I actually owned. That was my wake-up moment to shift how I travelled and how I spent my money, especially in terms of fashion. 28

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“My primary focus is always the human welfare aspect. I wanted to support and bring together labels that were creating ethical employment for their manufacturers and employees, so all our labels are either Australian made or verified ethically made globally. “We only stock slow fashion, so nothing is mass produced. The majority of our labels are a ‘make to order’ basis, so there is no extra strain on the manufacturing process and limited waste.” Australians spend $5 billion on fast fashion each year and more than half a million tonnes of textiles and leather end up in landfill in the same period of time. With such unharnessed waste a part of our lifestyle, Natalie has set out to ensure every one of the labels in the boutique meets standards of sustainable and ethical manufacture. “I strongly believe in shopping local when possible and being able to contribute to our local economy. All of our labels so far are owned by women. Women who are raising their children, surfing our beaches, shopping in our stores, just like we are and we are proud to be supporting them,” she says. “We are also very conscious of materials, so a lot of our labels are made from sustainable materials. For example, all of our swimwear labels are made from recycled nylon and plastic waste. This is real and alive and working to impact change at a grass roots level within the fashion industry.”

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11/06/2018 1:39:20 PM

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