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Sustainability in fashion

When Heidi Berry’s family moved from far north Queensland to southern Tasmania six years ago, none of them had winter clothes.

Heidi and Dionne Berry.
Heidi and Dionne Berry.

“Mum and I started going to op shops as our weekend activity,” Ms Berry said.

“We slowly built up a winter wardrobe for our whole family, and then we started shopping for friends and going to markets.”

Now Ms Berry and her mother Dionne sell vintage, pre-loved and upcycled fashion from their own shop in Sorell, called ‘deadlysisu’.

“Not everyone has the time to op shop, so we wanted to create a unique boutique where people can come for their school formal or a costume party and find something they love at a reasonable price,” Ms Berry said.

Ms Berry has both Indigenous and Finnish heritage, with the shop’s name, deadlysisu, reflecting this.

“It’s a fusion of deadly, the Indigenous colloquialism for awesomeness, and sisu, the Finnish concept of reflecting resilience, optimism and determination,” she said.

deadlysisu’s goal isn’t just to sell clothes. The Berry’s commitment to the environment has seen them recently chosen as ‘Climate Champions’ by community group Clarence Climate Action.

As a part-time year 12 student at Rosny College, Ms Berry said she was very aware of climate change.

“We wanted to be as sustainable as possible,” she said. “We’re stopping clothes going to landfill, and we’re avoiding micro plastics and all the other environmental problems of fast fashion.

“Our hat stand came from the Salvos, and the fixtures are from a bridal boutique that closed.

“Even our price tags are second-hand.”

deadlysisu has a section dedicated to local craftspeople, with rings made from upcycled cutlery, handmade necklaces from Oatlands, capes made from recycled blankets, and locally made children’s clothes.

“We also have a consignment model where people can bring in clothes they don’t wear any more,” Ms Berry said.

“It’s an opportunity for them to get a bit of money back.”

Ms Berry and her mother want the shop to be both inclusive and welcoming.

They recently held a ‘wear it purple’ day for staff and customers.

“All sorts of different ages and backgrounds came in,” Ms Berry said.

“The momentum has been amazing, particularly at a time when so many businesses are struggling.”

In October 2021, the Berry family opened a second shop in Richmond.

“At the end of the day it’s always best to buy pre-loved, and shopping small, shopping local is the way to go,” Ms Berry said.

Eastern Shore Sun, January 2022, page 11