A new social enterprise for fashion which offers a thoughtful new way to design, make and use locally-produced fashion.
Space Between was founded by Senior Lecturers and sustainable fashion researchers Jennifer Whitty and Holly McQuillan, while working at Massey University's award-winning School of Design (SoD), at the College of Creative Arts, New Zealand. Massey was ranked 1st in Asia-Pacific in 2019 by Red Dot and SoD was the only school in Australasia to be included in the top 10. Space Between was instigated to fill a gap between tertiary education and industry, bringing their academic research and others into an ‘applied’ space. Operating in a third space, between university, industry and civic communities, it acted as a platform for design activism, social innovation, sustainable mindsets, models, materials, systems and methods for fashion and textile design.
Our initial goal was to address sustainability through resource depletion, consumption and production. We directly confronted the glaring issues of endemic waste of the current linear system. Drawing attention to the inequities and injustices of this system through concepts and methods such as transparency, advocacy, localism, slow design, and remanufacturing. We saw this as planting a seed in our hearts and minds. Our longterm goal was to disrupt this paradigm, to ultimately design out waste at the source and create value and equity for all resources both material and human. Our aspiration was to herald in an entirely new system for fashion that was inherently holistic, sustainable and equitable for all.
During Space Between's time at Massey it occupied both the physical and digital realm. A vibrant studio of practitioners, and an online community of supporters formed this ecology of work. It connected university research and external partners to create design-led solutions that took the form of products, services, events, systems, films, teaching resources, workshops, curriculum, book chapters, academic papers, presentations and exhibitions. It was nationally and internationally recognised as a finalist in the Gold Awards, Best Awards, and NZI Sustainable Business Network Awards and in 2017 it won the Golden A' Design Award at Sustainable Products, Projects and Green Design Competition Category in Milan, Italy for Fundamentals Range Reuse Clothing System the largest design competition in the world. Space Between served as a bridging mechanism for students pre and post graduation, creating a fluid community of independent designers, artists, academics working together to address the myriad of issues, social, and environmental caused by the industry while empowering them to develop their own models and capability.
Now in its second iteration, we recognise that the world is different, and that we are different. Our world urgently needs design and designers to play a more strategic role in this time of great transition. Space Between’s new focus is to be a lab for preferable futures, to be a true agent of change that can help us uncover, shape and make sense of the world around us through new tools, methods, services, consultancy work, workshops. We want to help us to dream new dreams for the 21st century!
Space Between has been created to reframe consumerism for a new form of green fashion entrepreneurialism as a way of achieving and sustaining environmental and social goals.
We offer designers/researchers pre and post graduation to test, experiment, investigate and experiment to transform their thinking and equip them with the skills and confidence to respond to the challenges of industry.
To challenge our assumptions and the boundaries of the current fashion system to affect positive change.
We want to create a vibrant, flourishing fashion ecosystem that enables its physical human, social, intellectual capital to thrive.
Fashion for true innovation, not just the illusion of 'innovation' operating only on a stylistic level.
To create goods and services that embody our values and ethics.
Fashion for values like transparency, authenticity, meaningful engagement.
Space Between sets out to create as Otto Von Busch (2012) describes as ‘new ecologies of work’ which are horizontal and create communities rather than vertical and top down enabling graduates to create jobs for themselves on their own terms.
Developing human and social capital (Fuad Luke 2009, 7) is central to Space Between as the team has worked in collaboration with the manufacturers Earthlink to engender trust, generate reciprocity and to develop good practices across the supply chain.
By engaging in a form of design-led fashion activism we can encourage a shift in industry practices whilst setting up new opportunities for designers, producers and new participants.
Advocating for a system that offers more than just one speed, i.e fast.
Researchers McQuillan and Whitty were contacted by NZ Post to develop a solution to their post consumer corporate uniform waste – approx. 9,000 uniforms every year in workable condition were being downcycled or exported to be disposed of. A pilot solution ‘Postmodern Collection’ (2012-2013) was created through upcycling (remanufacture) process including conjoining, splicing and pieced techniques. This research was a catalyst for much of Space Between’s later endeavours including the Fundamentals Range.
McQuillan and Whitty's work on the Postmodern Collection / NZ Post uniform pilot was exhibited at Auckland University of Technology's event Shapeshifting: A Conference of Transformative Paradigms of Fashion and Textile Design. The conference explored shapeshifting as a process of change and responsive agency in relation to "cultures of transformation, navigations of the social and technological and the transversal hacker who unpicks and revises in order to contest what is current and deliver our future".
Space Between received funding in 2014 from Massey University's Vice Chancellor's Strategic Innovation Entrepreneurial Partnership Platform. The collaborative relationship and funding was key to the development of Space Between's team, physical and online infrastructure, as well as the overheads and external costs.
The Fundamentals range was created as a way of designing out textile waste and design in 'closed loop' solutions. The garments were made by upcycling uniforms otherwise destined to become textile waste. The range utilised three remanufacturing techniques Space Between had developed during researching this project and the pieces were available for purchase through our online shop.
Eight videos were created to raise an awareness of sustainable fashion to an audience of potential collaborators, buyers and corporate partners. The videos introduced its viewers to Space Between and concepts like garment production cycles and close loop systems.
In the lead up to Space Between's official launch a flash mob was organised at Wellington's Midland Park as a part of Fashion Revolution Day, April 16. Space Between hosted an event on the 24th as part of Fashion Revolution with a panel discussion at Massey Wellington and a free screening of the documentary Traceable which looks at the growing disconnect between where and how clothing is made and its consumers. Massey & Space Between also participated in the #whomademyclothes campaign which challenged people to consider the origins of their wardrobe.
Space Between co-founder Jennifer Whitty's research on social innovation for fashion was presented at the UnMaking Waste 2015 conference in Adelaide. This research looked at design-led activism and used Space Between as an example of new design models and social enterprise.
The Oversew Fashion Awards held in Wairarapa, New Zealand, promotes 'upcycled' fashion by recognising talented, aspiring designers. Space Between was involved as a category sponsor, judging, and offered an internship to an award winner. The brief was to create a smart, contemporary outfit, 80% of which to be constructed from pre-loved, dated or second-hand clothing. Independent designer Jessica Wigg was the recipient of the Space Between internship for her project DARK KNIGHT.
Space Between collaborated with Child Labor Free and Sustainable Fashion on a fashion activism project alongside New Zealand Fashion Week. Jennifer Whitty and Bec McMaster worked together to support Kiwi brands, particularly those at NZFW, to become more sustainable and show transparency with their supply chain. Whitty and McMaster set about raising awareness about the Fashion Revolution Movement and creating discussion around alternatives to mass manufactured high waste clothing.
An ageless, body-inclusive fashion event was held at NZ Post House featuring the garments from the Space Between Fundamentals range. The range showcased the collaborative solution for up-cycling NZ Post's old corporate uniforms developed by Space Between at Massey University's College of Creative Arts and Earthlink Apparel. After the fashion show the garments were exhibited for a month at NZ Post House.
Jennifer Whitty and Trish Given were interviewed by Radio New Zealand (RNZ), New Zealand’s independent public service multimedia organisation for their culture show Standing Room Only. Sonia Sly spoke to Whitty and Given discussing the challenges of working with pre-worn items and the reality behind the true cost of fashion.
Space Between were selected as a finalist in the Mega Efficiency Innovation category. These annual awards recognise and celebrate success in sustainability in New Zealand.
The Fundamentals range was exhibited at New Zealand's largest sustainable lifestyle show, the GoGreen Expo. Organisers describe the event as "dedicated to promoting a healthy, environmentally friendly, sustainable lifestyle for New Zealanders" and it features businesses and initiatives across a wide range of industries.
New Zealand's national museum Te Papa Tongarewa purchased three garments from Space Between's Fundamentals Range for their contemporary fashion collection, which looked specifically at ‘disruptive’ practices. The collection focused on acquiring work by designers actively engaged with the problems inherent in the fashion industry in the 21st century, namely sustainability.
Space Between's work and research was included in a symposium hosted by DesignCo. on the New Zealand Design DNA project. This two-day symposium sought to demonstrate, across a wide range of disciplinary approaches and perspectives, the fundamental and distinctive characteristics and qualities of New Zealand Design. It featured the work of six leading university-based designers including Jennifer Whitty's work at Space Between, and speakers from a range of educational, corporate and governmental groups.
Twelve Massey designers travelled to China as part of Space Between. Operating as a summer school paper, the students were tasked with creating a 'fashion design activism' manifesto and paired with students from X’ian Polytechnic University and The Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts.
Space Between was featured in a full page spread on Page 2 of Publication X. This new-look, new-focus publication was created as a way of communicating with government, local business, industry and potential students to highlight some of the exciting research projects, events and activities undertaken at the College of Creative Arts, Massey University.
Together with artist Vanessa Crowe, Annie Bretherton, Sadie Hawker, and Kate Elder, Space Between’s Jennifer Whitty and Patricia Given worked with women from the Colombian community in Porirua to open a store that countered fast fashion and consumer culture. The project served to share skills, stories and experience through the conduit of clothing and textiles. Sharemart utilized vacant commercial spaces, collaborative workshops, and challenged our preconceived notions around the clothes shopping experience.
Starting in January of 2015 a range of curriculum was designed for Massey University students to learn from the research and work of Space Between. These papers Creative Ecologies, Creative Futures and Creative Leadership all incorporated either Space Between knowledge and/or resources. These courses were offered through to 2018 and drew from the sustainable practices developed by Space Between. It also served to foster a support network for research students and staff.
Space Between was a finalist in the Green Gold category of the annual awards which celebrates the enterprise and business excellence of the Wellington region.
Space Between returned in 2016 to judge The Oversew Fashion Awards held in Wairarapa. They were once again a category sponsor and offered the Massey University Space Between Internship. This year the internship was awarded to St Matthew’s student Ella Hume, Natasha Wall, and independent designer Amy Williams.
The Space Between team participated in the Low Carbon Challenge, led by Enspiral and the Wellington City Council. This initiative focused on building a low carbon future and included seven weeks of workshops, mentoring sessions and a funding incentive for the winning pitch. Space Between was one of six startups selected to participate.
In July Space Between launched their crowd-funding campaign with PledgeMe as part of the Low Carbon Challenge in order to compete for match-funding from Wellington City Council. The Space Between team decided to focus on the goal of increasing staffing capacity and hiring Larissa Banks to work on sales, design, logistics and marketing strategies. A video was filmed to promote this campaign and by September the funding target of $10,000 was achieved. 174 pledgers contributed to this goal and from September to November Space Between set about fulfilling the pledge rewards. These ranged from workshops, products, services such as an upcycling how-to workshop, through to a Friday night in with Space Between and entertaining challenges completed by the Space Between team.
An interactive fashion experience was created to showcase the Fundamentals Range at New Zealand Fashion Week. This display facilitated an engaging way for participants to learn about the sustainable approaches like circular systems and upcycling that the Fundamentals Range utilises.
Space Between’s Pledge Me campaign was featured in an online article titled “Wellington Fashion Designers Solve Textile Waste Problem” on the New Zealand fashion and lifestyle blog Thread.
Space Between's work was featured in the September edition of New Zealand print publication MiNDFOOD STYLE.
As Creative Director of Space Between, Jeniffer Whitty was invited to speak during the Textiles section of the WasteMINZ Conference in Wellington amongst fellow sustainable fashion initiatives like The Formary. The topic of her talk was “Space Between: a new green business model for fashion design”.
Jennifer Whitty presented Space Between’s Fundamentals range at the ‘Making Circles’ exhibition which accompanied the 2016 Circular Transitions conference. This exhibition featured 25 international exhibitors representing the very best in current Circular Design practice. The event was held at Chelsea College of Arts in London.
Space Between’s work was acknowledged by the Designers Institute of New Zealand Best Design Awards. They were named a finalist in the Public Good Design category.
The Space Between team, lead by Jennifer Whitty, were the recipients of a Massey University research award in 2016 to further their research on sustainability systems.
In 2016 Space Between worked with Life Cycle Analyst Joanne Duncan to implement a Life Cycle Assessment of our Fundamentals Range as another means of communicating the environmental impact.
New York's The UnSchool of Disruptive Design ran a Christchurch Fellowship supported by a team of six mentors including Jennifer Whitty. They delivered a sustainable fashion workshop to 5-19 other change makers for a weeklong brain-activating adventure that explored social change, creative interventions and all things related to sustainability using some of the methods of Space Between. The programme was led by UNEP Champion of the Earth Dr Leyla Acaroglu.
The Fundamentals Range Reuse Clothing System by Jennifer Whitty and Space Between was the winner in the Sustainable Products, Projects and Green Design category 2016-2017. The A’ Design Award and Competition is one of the world’s most prestigious and influential design accolades and considered one of the highest achievements in design.
Space Between's work was featured in the March edition of Simply You, a print magazine considered a New Zealand fashion bible that was published with Bauer Meria for 20 years until it's final edition in April of 2020.
A video about how to refresh your wardrobe without buying new clothes was created by Space Between's Larissa Banks. This video was released as part of the 2017 Fashion Revolution Day and shared across Space Between's social media platforms.
The Fundamentals Range Reuse Clothing System was the winner of the Sustainable Products, Projects and Green Design category of the A' Design Golden Design Awards. This is the largest design competition in the world and the work was exhibited in Como, Italy before it was put on display across different locations in China and Asia.
Massey student and Space Between member Samantha Hodgins presented her textile research and development as part of her fourth year honours programme. The project used discarded materials including Space Between post-consumer corporate uniform waste stock to create new textiles and displayed an array of upcycling techniques.
Jennifer Whitty introduced sustainable fashion methods and strategies to budding secondary level / high school sustainable designers from Queen Margaret College, Wellington on a tour of the Space Between facilities at Massey Univeristy. Space Between's work and practices was incorporated into the high school curriculum by educator Barbara Knight.
Back for their third year as a category sponsor and judge of this sustainability-focused fashion competition, this years winner of the Massey University Space Between Internship was St. Matthews Collegiate student Emma Schdroski.
An exhibition of international work arising from collaborations was curated by the Textile Design Research Group at Loughborough University and Loughborough University Arts alongside the one-day INTERSECTIONS Conference on September 13. One of over 30 collaborations from leading practitioners Space Between's contribution 'Open Fashion: Exquisite Corpse' was a developing fashion decision making system that utilises pre-consumer clothing waste in combination with an emergent web-based information platform.
The exhibition Thread Redemption was a week-long event held at Thistle Hall on Cuba Street, Wellington. The event was curated by Anna Hicks to raise awareness and offer creative ideas around how we deal with fabric and textile waste in Aotearoa. Space Between's Fundamental's Range was part of the body of work showcased. Thread Redemption also hosted a range of activities including workshops, panel presentations and discussions.
Jennifer Whitty was invited to give a lecture at the University of California's art school in Davis, USA, titled 'A Fashion Designer in a Space Between'.
Space Between's work was featured in the April edition of New Zealand print publication MiNDFOOD STYLE.
Jennifer Whitty presented the Space Between project 'Open Fashion: Exquisite Corpse by Space Between' at Design, Justice & Zero Waste: Exploring Pathways to a Circular Economy conference at Tishman Environment and Design Centre, The New School, USA. The session was titled 'Eliminating Textile Waste' and Whitty was joined by circular systems designer Carmen Gama of Eileen Fisher, and Kate Black talking about fabric recycling initiative FabScrap. The discussion included a global audience with innovative and creative eco-minded collaborators including practitioners, researchers, advocates and activists.
The publication 'Fashion Activism: Space Between China & NZ' produced about the 2015 Space Between China Tour teaching programme was exhibited at The Engine Room at Massey University as part of the Asian Aotearoa Arts Hui. AAAH aimed to support Asian New Zealand arts practitioners through presenting practice, sharing ideas and networking. The publication was edited by Jennifer Whitty and Sarah Gardenier, and authored by Jennifer Whitty, Dorothy Lee, Kristen Meaclem, Lachlan Philipson, Maggie Meiklejohn, Megan Alexander, Matisse Rendle Mitchell, Pania Tucker, Tom Pringle, Yoshino Maruyama, and Sarah Gardenier.
'Open Fashion: Exquisite Corpse part Deux' an interactive exquisite corpse game made from deconstructed cotton jersey textile samples from pre-consumer clothing waste and a 3D scanning film, was exhibited at The Office for Design & Architecture as part of the Unmaking Waste: Transforming Design, Production, & Consumption for a Circular Economy conference and exhibition. This annual event centres on the problem of consumption itself, and its role in increasing emissions, resource depletion and environmental degradation and is hosted by the China-Australia Centre for Sustainable Urban Development at the University of South Australia. The 'Exquisite Corpse part Deux' project was lead by Space Between's Jennifer Whitty, Faith Kane, J. Mitchell, Natasha Wall, Larissa Banks, and L. Madden.
Space Between's fashion activism in New Zealand was featured in Alison Gwilt, Alice Payne and Evelise Ancient Ruthschilling's book Global Perspectives on Sustainable Fashion. Published by Bloomsbury, this text "showcases the global fashion industry's efforts to reduce the negative impacts associated with fashion production and consumption". It is now included in the Harvard University assigned text list.
Hosted at Massey University, the Create1World conferences feature a panel of local and international artists who are using their creative practices to solve global issues such as peace, inequality, the experience of refugees and migrants, and climate change. Space Between's Fundamentals Range was exhibited alongside a broad range of disciplines including writing, dancing, theatre, performers, visual artists and many more. The event was supported by UNESCO, Massey University and New Zealand Centre for Global Studies.
Redress is an environmental NGO working to reduce waste in the fashion industry. Space Between’s founders Jennifer Whitty and Holly McQuillan were both invited to contribute to the 2021 Education Packs produced and distributed by Redress annually. Whitty's project brief for the pack focused on upcycling/reconstruction and referenced the three techniques developed with Space Between's Fundamentals Range. These resources help facilitate sustainable design amongst higher education students and are available for download online in English and Chinese (traditional & simplified).
As a fluid ecology of designers we have worked with a number of research lecturers, student employees both pre and post graduation and collaborators, striving towards the shared goal of positive change in the fashion industry.
Director / Co-Founder
Jennifer Whitty is a sustainable design educator,researcher, designer, facilitator, writer and activist. Originally from Ireland, she went on to teach and practiceat Massey University’s School of Design in New Zealand asSenior Lecturer of Fashion Design.
Advisor / Co-Founder
Holly McQuillan is a designer, maker, writer andfacilitator, who works primarily in the field of sustainabledesign practice. She worked as a Senior Lecturer at MasseyUniversity School of Design, teaching across all levels;undergraduate, post-graduate, as well as deliveringmaster-classes to the public.
Space Between Operations Manager
Trish has worked in the fashion industry for over 20 yearsin the areas of design, pattern-making, manufacturing andteaching. Working and consulting for many reputable fashioncompanies in Ireland, UK and Australia.
Earthlink Inc is a not for profit organization committed to providing work for people facing workplace challenges. They have partnered with Space Between to produce the 'Fundamentals' range, a limited edition range of upcycled garments made from discarded materials.
New Zealand Post Group consists of a range of businesses providing communication and business solutions. Space Between is part of NZ Post's corporate sustainability mission to identify a more sustainable method of “disposing” of end of life retail uniforms.
Booker Spalding, are a corporate uniform manufacturer based in Wellington. They produce around 10,000 garments for New Zealand Post every year. As part of this service, used uniforms can be returned to Booker Spalding to be disposed of if they are worn-out, or become obsolete after a redesign or a change in corporate branding.
Massey University is a bold and innovative university, regarded as the engine of the new New Zealand. Space Between is an outward facing platform for design education with strong links to industry, community, and the global economy.This project has been supported by the Vice Chancellor’s Strategic Innovation Fund for an Entrepreneurial Partnership Platform.
The Prime Minister’s Scholarships for Asia (PMSA) and Latin America (PMSLA) are funded by the New Zealand Government and administered by Education New Zealand Manapou ki te Ao (ENZ). Space Between were the recipients of this scholarship for their China Study Tour.
The Oversew International Fashion Awards established in 2011, is the only upcycled fashion competition aimed to recreate, revamp and redesign pre-loved clothing into desirable fashion garments. Space Between was a supporter of the Awards since its initiation, sponsoring an ongoing internship award. Jennifer Whitty was a judge every year.
Wellington City Council is a territorial authority in New Zealand, governing the country's capital city. Their vision for Wellington to be a city where the natural environment is being preserved, biodiversity improved, natural resources are used sustainably, and the city is mitigating and adapting to climate change – for now and future generations. Wellington City Council were a partner of The Low Carbon Challenge an initiative Space Between participated in during 2016.
The Zero Waste Academy (ZWA) was established in 2002 by the Zero Waste New Zealand Trust, Massey University and the Palmerston North City Council (PNCC). The ZWA is located within the School of Agriculture and Environment at Massey University. The aim of the ZWA is to facilitate R&D engagement between the PNCC (and more broadly New Zealand waste and recycling industry) and the University’s academic community. The Academy has supported and mentored Space Between.
Enspiral is a collectives who believe in and practice new ways of organising. Enspiral uses facilitated Co-budgeting, collaborative decision-making and transparent agreements to support a community with a shared vision and purpose. They supported and ran the Low Carbon Challenge that Space Between was a finalist in.
New Zealand’s largest, longest-standing sustainable business organisation, Sustainable Business Network enables system change in the areas of climate, waste and nature. Operating as a social enterprise, a community and a movement - their role is to transform leading ideas into action in Aotearoa. Space Between has been a finalist in their awards on two occasions for the Mega Efficiencies Award and they sponsored the “Waste Create it, Not Waste It" show at NZ Post House.
Tsinghua University (清华大学) is a major public research university in Beijing, and a member of the C9 League. It is also a member of Project 985 and Project 211. Since its establishment in 1911, it has produced many notable leaders in science, engineering, politics, business, academia, and culture. The university is ranked as the 15th best university in the world in the QS World University Rankings.
LETTING SPACE is a Wellington Independent Arts Trust project focused on Urban revitalisation through community engagement, and art and media projects to enable social change. Letting Space helped a team led by Jennifer Whitty broker the use of vacant urban space for Sharemart as part of TEZA.
The Transitional Economic Zone of Aotearoa (or TEZA for short) is a major event in Porirua in 2015. A team from Space Between led by Jennifer Whitty developed the project Sharemart for TEZA, with groups from the community on projects that explore new ways for a diversity of people to work together. Work was developed across the city, and came together with gatherings and displays in November.
Xi’an Polytechnic University (XPU), is a comprehensive university with distinctive feature and strong foundation in running schools. It is the only university specializing in Textile and Apparel in West China.
An award-winning design studio at the College of Creative Arts, Massey University that brings together experienced design professionals, academics, graduates and students into multi-disciplinary teams that solve problems and create unexpected design solutions. A team at Open Lab worked with Jennifer Whitty and Holly McQuillan to develop the Space Between website.
The NZ Life Cycle Management Centre is a collaboration between Massey University, AgResearch, Landcare Research, Plant & Food Research and SCION to build capability in Life Cycle Management by providing education, training and research to LCM professionals to meet increasing consumer demand for green metrics on products.
Fashion Revolution was founded in the wake of the Rana Plaza disaster in 2013. Since then, they have grown to become the world’s largest fashion activism movement, mobilising citizens, brands and policymakers through research, education and advocacy. Space Between aligned their launch with Fashion Revolution Day, and has held annual events in solidarity of the cause. Whitty has been an advisor since 2015.
Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts is an art and design public university in Songjiang District of Shanghai, China. The institute consists of six subordinate colleges, focused on the following subjects: Communication Design, Spatial and Industrial Design, Fashion Design, Fine Art, Digital Media, and Media and Films.