Milly McHardie


Bachelor of Design Menswear Womenswear Streetwear Product Design Contemporary Crafting Locality Materials Sustainability

AD20 Award
Eileen Keir Memorial Award
For Top Graduating Fashion Student

Through the lens of upcycling, Creature Comfort is a product line of unisex garments that as a result of COVID-19, explore the rise of dressing for comfort. The humble tracksuit, alongside sweatshirts and other comfortable garments have become a staple for many this year, more so than ever. Creature comfort looks to celebrate these garments by making them fun to wear and using sustainable practices to make them. The work takes reference from Chav culture in the UK, a variety of traditional surface patterns used in fashion in addition to a variety of traditional embroidery stitching techniques. The method of upcycling informed an experimental approach to making textiles and garments through the use of limited resources. Creature comfort is a gender neutral product line that values comfort and sustainability through its young and playful spirit.

I’m Milly, a third year Fashion Design student studying a double Degree with a Bachelor of Business majoring in Sustainable Enterprise. My journey at AUT has almost come to an end, and although sad, I am beyond grateful for the opportunities provided to indulge in my interest and passion for sustainable design and business practices. This journey has resulted in the creation of a sustainable, gender neutral product line as a response to COVID-19 for my graduates collection.

The COVID lockdown influenced how I approached my work throughout the year and ultimately the outcome of my graduates collection. Studying fashion design whilst in lockdown forced me to use the limited resources available at the time, which pushed me to take a new experimental approach to my work. The materials available informed the end product, rather than the traditional linear approach of design to creation. This new approach led to a heavy emphasis on fabrications and reworking them from their original form to create a new material. This way of working alongside an emphasis on gender neutral comfortable clothing transcended through from lockdown and into my final body of work.

Everything apart from the thread was sourced second hand. Personally I buy the majority of my clothing from op-shops, so am aware of the vast amount of materials available; from scrap fabrics to old woollen blankets. The blue and red shell suit was originally two tents, reworked to form the argyle pattern. As for the sweatshirt and shorts, they were made from old crochet blankets, hand sewn down onto bedsheets using a traditional Japanese hand stitch called Sashiko. The making of the fabrics was the core element of my process, with the hand sewing taking approximately 130 hours in total. Due to the labour intensive nature of this project, my family helped with this hand stitching, bringing a community aspect to my project through the local and intimate nature of the process.

Although I have just completed my Fashion Degree, I still have one more year of study for my Bachelor of Business majoring in Sustainable Enterprise. Having received the Eileen Keir Memorial Award for top graduating student of 2020 I am looking forward to entering the fashion industry once I have completed my final year of study. I hope to carry on my sustainable design approach with future work I create, whether this be for a brand or ideally my own; whilst incorporating my sustainable enterprise and business knowledge.