Shopping mall champions green cause


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  • Thursday, 25 Apr 2013

ENVIRONMENTALLY conscious fashionistas have reason to rejoice, for the ‘green garments’ of ingenious couturiers ensure that stylish appearances need not be detrimental to the planet.

These nature-friendly outfits, which made ample use of old clothing and discarded household items, were greeted with enthusiasm during Gurney Plaza’s Green Fashion Remix and Revamp Showcase in Penang.

They were crafted by 16 budding fashion design students of Equator Academy of Art in the hope that they would help reduce the consumption of materials and spark a positive change.

One of them, 20-year-old Tan Chun Yong unveiled a pinkish ‘Fantasy’ outfit inspired by dandelions, and made of raffia and papier-mache as well as a dress adapted from pieces of old T-shirts in the event on Saturday.

“If one day I achieve my dream of having my own label, I intend to be a responsible designer and champion this ‘green fashion’ concept. By re-using old materials to create new clothing, you can reduce the need for resources.

“Climate change is a serious matter and every little effort helps,” said Chun Yong, who said recycling old paper was a regular practice in his family.

Another student, Lim En Yi, 19, impressed the crowd with a puffy white gown fashioned out of coffee filters and towels, and modelled after the White Queen of Alice in Wonderland.

Enduring sleepless nights crafting her outfit and searching for the materials in secondhand shops, she was pleased that the final product had a surprising effect.

“This is a great and viable concept that should be explored further. One can come up with unconventional and innovative outfits that not only look good but are also gentle on the planet,” enthused En Yi, also an advocate of recycling.

The academy’s fashion design students will be having another showcase at the mall on Saturday starting 3pm.

Gurney Plaza marketing communications manager Peter Chan said the mall had always espoused a ‘green’ message in line with the state’s environmentally friendly initiatives and policies.

“Besides providing a platform for local talents to showcase their abilities, this event also shows that, with a little creativity, one can breathe new life into old materials and make them look great,” Chan pointed out.

The mall’s green initiatives go further, as unbeknownst to most shoppers, the nine-storey complex with a net lettable area of 882,405sq ft (as at Dec 2012), is also equipped with green building features like rainwater harvesting systems and energy-efficient lighting.

These, the mall’s senior centre manager Lawrence Teh estimated, resulted in energy savings of around 1.5mil kWh/year, and water savings of 60,648 cu m/year.

The harvested water is used for the building’s cooling towers and toilet flushing.

The mall has implemented a recycling programme where dedicated bins are provided for paper, plastic and metal, and also installed activated carbon filters and silencers in exhaust systems to minimise noise and air pollution.

These features, implemented in late 2011, saw Gurney Plaza becoming the first mall in Malaysia to be awarded the prestigious Green Mark Gold rating by the Singapore Building and Construction Authority.

“We have a social responsibility to reduce our carbon footprint. Despite the cost in re-configuring an existing building to accommodate these features, in the long run it is beneficial to the world at large,” Teh said, adding that plans were also afoot to install solar power systems.

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