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How this fashion design student is tackling sustainability one Instagram post at a time

Leah-Jane Musch is a self-confessed fast fashion addict turned slow fashion activist.

“My passion for sustainable and ethical fashion is at the centre of literally everything I do. I live and breathe it,” says Leah-Jane Musch, fashion design student at Billy Blue and founder of sustainable fashion blog The Un-Material Girl. “My goal is the same now as it was from the start, to educate people about better ways of consuming fashion.”

Musch is doing just that while also proving you don’t need to finish your studies before launching your passion project. Currently in the final year of her degree in Branded Fashion Design at Billy Blue College of Design, she launched The Un-Material Girl two-and-a-half years ago, as a way of documenting her own journey into the world of sustainable and ethical fashion.

“I sold about 80 percent of everything I owned, started reading about minimalism, and took a dive into the world of slow fashion,” she adds. “I’ve never looked back.”

Now, she focuses on building her Instagram growth for @unmaterialgirl, where she educates others on her fashion revolution.

The Un-Material Girl was launched around the same time as she began her course at Billy Blue – and that’s no coincidence. The Branded Fashion Design course encourages students to develop their own personal brand, meaning they have the freedom to incorporate their own ethics into the branding and design process. “This includes how and where my garments are made, the fabrics and trimmings I use, even the tags I choose to print on,” explains Musch.

In this, her final year, Musch will design a collection made of up to ten pieces, a feat she will be able to pull off because of the mixture of practical and theoretical experience she has been exposed to during her degree. “Even if you don’t want to be a designer, you still need to learn the language of fashion so that you can communicate,” Musch says. “The content of the course is extremely practical [and] they cater to every level.”

As she prepares to enter the workforce, Musch says some of her highlights have been the opportunity to study design overseas in Stockholm and Milan, the latter of which where she was able to attend ready-to-wear shows, thanks in part to a scholarship she was offered by Billy Blue, called The Greatest Degree on Earth Scholarship. “It was advertised as the chance to win up to $80,000, which covered an entire degree plus additional travel, equipment and experiences anywhere in the world. It’s really kept me on my toes.”

All this has been while growing and nurturing The Un-Material Girl, running sustainability workshops on up-cycling and even speaking at fur-free fashion conferences. Plus, she isn’t slowing down anytime soon.

“My dream would be for The Un-Material Girl to keep on growing and for me to be able to keep travelling the world and educating people about sustainable and ethical fashion.”

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