Best in Category - Fashion Design 2021

MPavilion 2020 Uniform

Chelsea Hickman / MPavilion

The MPavilion 2020 Uniform is sustainable, practical and hard-wearing workwear fabricated entirely from uniforms recycled from prior MPavilion seasons.

MPavilion is an architectural commission which annually engages a leading architect to design a pavilion for Melbourne, which then becomes an innovative civic space for the community to enjoy a free diverse cultural program. Chelsea Hickman was asked to design the front of house staff uniforms for the MPavilion 2020 season.

In keeping with the themes of reuse and repurpose of the MPavilion program, Chelsea created sustainable, durable workwear fabricated entirely from uniforms recycled from five prior MPavilion seasons.

Design Brief

At a time when many had been disadvantaged and displaced due to the pandemic, MPavilion 2020 adapted its operation to be as sustainable and efficient as possible.

MPavilion 2020 prioritised an expanded program that supported local designers and artists by reusing its past pavilions and uniforms. MPavilion commissioned Chelsea Hickman to design the uniforms for its 2020 season of cultural events in keeping with the themes of reuse and repurpose.

Chelsea was asked to design workwear made entirely from recycled MPavilion attire. The garments needed to be light-weight, breathable, easy to move in and aesthetically interesting in order to ensure the front-of-house staff felt comfortable and secure on the job.

Additionally, the pieces needed to be highly-practical, long-lasting and tough to withstand the nature of the staff’s daily tasks, as well as be suitable for Melbourne’s very varied weather conditions.


This project was developed by:

Design Process

The MPavilion 2020 Uniform was developed through a thorough collaborative process between MPavilion and Chelsea Hickman to ensure the highest quality outcome.

Chelsea was given staff garb from the 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019 seasons, including t-shirts, vests, boiler suits and bum bags, which she thoughtfully, innovatively and deftly converted into original, fun and practical new uniforms for the front of house team.

The MPavilion 2020 Uniform comprises of a comfortable and light underlayer (t-shirt); an all-weather, hard-wearing and functional coat; and matching facemask - the essential 2020 accessory, all individually made by Chelsea herself.

Chelsea thoughtfully interrogated the many environmental and conceptual considerations of the project, in order to fulfil and exceed every element of the design brief. The MPavilion 2020 Uniform is a modern, refreshing, utilitarian design that epitomises professionalism, sustainability and ethical practices.

Design Excellence

The brief for the MPavilion 2020 Uniform was to prioritise functionality, quality, sustainability and of course user experience.

The workwear needed to be highly practical and hardwearing in order to last the 4-month season of MPavilion events and exposure to Melbourne’s elements, relatively unscathed and to continue on to have a long life.

In order not to compromise on the quality of the uniforms, and to ensure their uniqueness, Chelsea fabricated each piece individually, including making custom-made labels with specific care instructions. It was extremely important that the MPavilion 2020 Uniform provide exceptional user experience.

In her design, Chelsea carefully considered varying body types and genders, comfort, aesthetics and wearability as it was essential that the FOH staff feel secure, safe and confident in their attire.

Finally, the fundamental intention of the project was to create the most sustainable outcome, and Chelsea absolutely accomplished this with the MPavilion 2020 Uniform, demonstrating the limitless and achievable possibilities of garment manufacturing through the repurposing of defunct materials.

Design Innovation

The innovation of the MPavilion 2020 Uniform not only lies in its distinct and contemporary aesthetic, but beyond that in the effective way it addresses the pressing challenges of fast-fashion, textile waste and unethical garment manufacturing.

The MPavilion 2020 Uniform is a small-run of purpose-designed, hand-constructed hard-wearing and long-lasting garments, made from repurposing obsolete fabrics rather than sourcing virgin materials.

The Chelsea Hickman and MPavilion collaboration counteracts unethical garment manufacturing by having a completely transparent production process with fair pay, and safe and healthy working conditions, an astonishingly uncommon practice within the fashion manufacturing industry.

Additionally, the uniform was wholly designed with the wearer at the centre of the design process to accommodate the highest level of comfort and functionality for the project outcome.

Design Impact

The MPavilion 2020 Uniform is an exemplar of the possibilities of genuine sustainably conscious and ethical design practices. In producing highly functional, quality, aesthetically appealing and comfortable workwear entirely from upcycled fabric salvaged from landfill,

Chelsea Hickman has set a new benchmark for what is achievable in the garment industry. In creating workwear that focuses on durability and longevity, with low economic input, the MPavilion 2020 Uniform whole-heartedly resists the throw-away culture prevalent in the fashion industry.

Chelsea Hickman’s clever, efficient and morally driven work has without a doubt had an extremely positive social and environmental impact throughout the MPavilion 2020 season and has set a new standard by demonstrating the incredible potential of recycling and repurposing.

Circular Design and Sustainability Features

The MPavilion 2020 Uniform epitomises circular design practices and holds sustainability at its core.

The uniforms are made entirely from recycled materials, repurposed from past MPavilion seasons.

The pieces are made with quality, durability and longevity at the forefront, to ensure they withstand wear and tear and have a long life.

The Pavilion 2020 Uniform is a small-run of purpose-designed unique pieces, made and designed locally by Chelsea Hickman herself, in Melbourne.


Comments from Chair of the Victorian Premier’s Design Awards Jury, Celina Clarke

"The innovation of the MPavilion 2020 Uniform lies in its distinct and contemporary aesthetic, as well as exceeding that in the effective way it addresses the pressing challenges of fast-fashion, textile waste and unethical garment manufacturing.”

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