Sustainably Produced Artisan Clothing | By Gina Ermer
What is a Fringe Dweller? A person living on the margins of a society or community; an outsiderSee our handpicked guides to Newcastle
BY ALICIA POOLE
Originally from Newcastle, Gina has spent the majority of her time in Sydney. Studying art and fashion design, as well as teaching across TAFE and Universities, but finally made her way back to our beautiful city 5 years ago where she now shares her incredible talent with us.
“When I finished school, I moved to Sydney to study art, I ended up studying fashion design a few years later. I’ve worked as a textile designer and fashion designer in the industry. But then, I had a big change and moved into tertiary fashion and design education at TAFE and University in Sydney in order to pass on my knowledge.”
Upon returning to Newcastle, Gina started selling her pieces at one of our local favourites; the Olive Tree Markets. But just over 12months ago, she opened up her first store before recently relocating to King Street.
Gina is an incredible textile and fashion designer who works with natural fabrics to create artisan, sustainable garments with natural aesthetics and neutral colours in high waists or cocoon shapes. Gina spends months making adjustments to her designs before they’re even sent to production.
“I do research online and see what’s happening in fashion worldwide. I do heaps of sketches and honestly, hardly any of them make it through…a lot of work goes into it before anything actually gets into production.”
Gina spent quite some time coming up with the name Fringe Dweller, but the meaning and story is something that needs to be heard,
“It came from an idea that a friend of mine actually gave me. When she was working as a psychologist, we were just talking about how you get different types of people living in different areas, and I asked, what type am I? She told me that I was a fringe dweller…that you don’t really fit in with the mainstream, with that main group, but you sit on the outskirts of it, but you can still mix in with all different types of people. So, when I was setting this up and I wanted a name, I wanted it to represent not being in the mainstream. Fringe Dweller was the perfect fit.”
The Fringe Dweller label is a sustainable and ethical business which is influenced by Japanese fashion design with a contemporary aesthetic. Gina's pieces
transcend the usual fashion trends and can be worn for many years whilst still looking and feeling great.
“I’m interested in simplicity and Japanese design. I like the square shapes and the attention to detail that the Japanese use.”
Her unusual design aesthetic pieces are produced in an environmentally friendly way and based on ethical business practices. Keeping with the principles of sustainable practices, Gina only uses natural fabrics; cotton, linen, silk, Tencel and wool.
"I base all of my decisions on principles of sustainability. From having my garments made in Australia to producing limited numbers of garments. Rather than having things made in China or other parts of Asia, where you need to order hundreds of pieces I have my garments made in Australia which means that our workplace laws are adhered to and people are paid a fair wage and work in safe conditions. Fringe Dweller is a small local brand that has no intentions of competing with the mainstream."