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Category Archives: sustainable fashion
Upcycled footwear designer Amanda Fox of Dames and Divas (see prior interview here) is expanding her repertoire. Keeping with her design ethos of upcycling products into stunning new creations, today she is launching her new upcycled jewellery collection.
For the past six months, Amanda has been working closely with a fairtrade workshop in India, designing the handcrafted limited edition range of bangles, earrings and rings. On first look, the range looks to be made from strand upon strand of expensive gold and silver. But instead, the jewellery is ingeniously crafted from materials far less precious. You may be surprised to learn it is simply made using nickel free scrap iron which happens to be malleable and perfect for making jewellery.
If you want to get your hands on this new upcycled iron jewellery range from Dames and Divas, best to get in quick smart as it is a limited edition only. Head on over to Amanda’s store for a peek, and you may well get caught up in viewing her beautiful recycled kimono shoes too!
$19.95 – $39.95
When I was a younger gal,
I spent hours on a Saturday traipsing through Melbourne’s city laneways, shopping for clothes, with nary a thought about how they were made, where and by whom.
But with a new understanding that the clothes we wear have a direct impact on the health of our planet and its people, I now want to shop in a more responsible way. Problem is, much of the time when I go into a boutique or visit an online store, there is no information on the provenance of the garments on display, leaving me with the frustrating realisation that I need to do a truckload of research before I even set out.
It’s enough to make me want to boycott the fashion industry altogether!
However, there are a handful of entrepreneurs blazing a trail towards a greener fashion future.
Modavanti.com is one of them, a new online sustainable fashion retailer based in Brooklyn, New York, which has picked up on the discontent of socially conscious fashion consumers. Modavanti.com have tackled the issue head-on by labelling stock to alert consumers to the particulars of each item’s “green” credentials.
What a good idea! Surely, this is the way of the future for Australian retailers. I don’t want to be kept in the dark anymore. I want to know what I’m purchasing.
This week, I contacted director of operations Adam Clancy to find out more about Modavanti.com. By way of introduction, he said: “We believe that ethical and sustainable practises in the fashion industry are the next big wave to affect consumers directly. This transition to a more sustainable mindset has occurred in other lifestyle arenas such as home, beauty and food. Now it’s fashion’s turn, and we want to be leading that movement.” So began our QandA.
1. What is Modavanti.com? It’s a new online shopping destination for contemporary sustainable fashion. Our mission is to promote the sustainable fashion movement by building an active community around a curated and social shopping experience. Basically, we want to bring sustainable fashion into the mainstream by showcasing incredible designers who are producing with an eco-friendly and ethically sourced mindset. For us, it’s about fashion first, because let’s face it – the clothes have to look great. We don’t ship beyond the US just yet but I hope you take a moment to look around the site and let me know what you think!
2. Who founded the site and what inspired its beginning? The site was founded by David Dietz. David founded Modavanti.com because he believes passionately in the potential of for-profit businesses to do social good and believes that his generation – Gen Y – has an obligation to protect the environment and promote labor rights. The fashion industry, in particular, has been slow to change the way it operates. To give you one example, it takes 400 gallons (1514.2 litres) of water to grow enough cotton to produce just one cotton t-shirt. This is clearly an unsustainable path and we believe that by promoting designers who are producing clothes in a more socially conscious manner, we can bring about real change within the fashion industry.
3. How do you choose the designers on your site? Our designers are chosen very carefully. We want to have a finely curated selection that represents the very best in sustainable fashion.
To achieve this broad appeal, we recognise that no matter how good a product or a brand is from an environmental or labor perspective, nobody is going to wear it unless they look great. We have a specific aesthetic we are trying to achieve and our fashion team takes a lot of time to select and curate the product we sell on Modavanti.com.
4. How would you describe that aesthetic? Our aesthetic is contemporary and energetic.
We will let you know when Modavanti start shipping outside USA. In the meantime, have a look through the Modavanti range, and let Adam Clancy know what you think of his new socially conscious fashion store.
You may never look at your husband’s, boyfriend’s or father’s boring old corporate work shirt quite the same again. Well known Melbourne based sustainable fashion designer Ellie Mucke is once again teaching us how to think outside the box ~ taking the ordinary, and turning it into the extraordinary.
On first look, the photograph above does
not look any different from other fashion images ~ an attractive model draped in eye catching fashion. But on closer inspection, you may recognise the skirt has been artfully upcycled from an old business shirt. If you have a man in your life, you will be well aware of the vast number of business shirts that no longer see the light of day, hanging idle in the corner of his wardrobe. Some are too tight, others bear outlandish designs (once “trendy” in the day), and some are simply showing small signs of wear. What do you do with them?
On Saturday 6 April, Ellie is holding a six hour workshop, teaching a select group of participants how to creatively upcycle old business shirts into your very own sustainable fashionable piece. If you can bring your own sewing machine, cotton, tape and a few old shirts, you can learn, sew and chat with other like minded participants.
Since graduating in Fashion Design at RMIT in 2007, Ellie Mucke has actively pursued innovation in sustainable design. Exploring ways to encourage slower paced fashion consumption, she turns her back on seasonal trends and instead focuses on ways to recreate and use re-use items in ways you may not ordinarily envisage. There are only a limited number of spots available at Ellie’s latest Workshop, so be sure to let her know if you want to participate (details below). And guys, if you are still hoping that garish paisley shirt will come back into fashion, you better hide it!
Shirts to Skirts Workshop by Ellie Mucke at Colour Box Studio
GET IN QUICK ~LIMITED PLACES!
I recently had the enormous pleasure of visiting Yahav Ron’s fashion salon Paris 99, tucked away inside a lovely old apartment building behind the cafe strip in beachside Elwood. Attending by appointment, Yahav offers up a special fashion shopping experience. Not only does he source new and preloved high end fashion from Europe and the USA which he offers at much more affordable prices, but he also creates his own unique fashion label.
Stepping inside the foyer of Yahav’s studio, is where the delightful experience of visiting Paris 99 begins. The foreground is set with a half made couture gown artistically strewn across an antique sewing machine table, and mannequins dressed in exquisite drapes of fabric tease the eye. But this is just the beginning to a much more wonderful two hours ahead. Yahav led me up a sweeping staircase, from which a number of rooms were filled with racks of garments. But before exploring the racks, Yahav and I sit down and chat over chocolate, champagne and cranberry juice ~ an experience not just reserved for me, but to all Yahav’s visitors!.
Yahav passionately shared his journey over the past 15 years from fashion student, to designer and collector of high end fashion items. In 2007, whilst undertaking a Honours degree in Fashion at RMIT, Yahav participated in an exchange program in Amsterdam, where his love for old clothing and working with reconstituted materials took hold. An old discarded armchair spotted on a side street provided the inspiration for his Graduate Collection completed in 2008. As is characteristic of Ron Yahav’s own label, his designs are based on drapes and folds. He says he “enjoys letting the fabric speak” by keeping the integrity of the fabric, letting folds fall naturally. And he rarely pulls out a sewing machine. Instead Yahav rolls, folds, and creates weight throughout the garments which affects the fall of the piece. Where required, Yahav sews by hand. The delicate hand stitching is a sight to behold, and rarely seen.
Whilst it was hard to pull myself away from Yahav’s stories and wonderful collection of fashion text, delving into Yahav’s new and preloved fashions finds from Europe and USA soon put that to the back of my mind. Yahav busied himself amongst the racks, pulling out items of clothing for me to try on. We didn’t discuss sizing at all, nor what I was after. Incredibly Yahav pulled out all sorts of pieces in my size – exquisitely made skirts and tops, cocktail dresses, gowns, outlandish coloured jackets, sequined pop star jackets ….. he
certainly challenged my fashion choices, which was just what I needed! I had a ball, and a good laugh too. And he doesn’t pull any punches either. Yahav told me if the piece I was trying on didn’t suit my shape, if it needed taking in or didn’t sit quite right. All the items are incredibly well made, which is not particularly surprising given some of the labels he has on offer, which ranges from the big well knowns to the smaller edgy salons (think Balenciaga, Lanvin, Dries Van Noten and ALAIA, Ann Demeulemeester, Proenza Schouler, A.F Vandevorst and Narciso Rodriguez amongst so many others!).
Whilst Yahav is based in Melbourne, he does make the occasional visit interstate with bags full of garments for you to peruse. He is in Sydney this week, before dashing back to Melbourne to participate in the the L’oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival Cultural program. Commencing on 14 March 2013, Yahav is celebrating his sold out event, “The Highest End of Green Fashion”, where he is offering special appointments to attendees to explain and share his range …. and of course drink champagne! Yahav is happy to take appointments to visit his salon – You are bound to have a wonderfully personal experience, with lots of laughter guaranteed.
By Appointment Only
A: 4/6 Ormond Road
Elwood VIC 3184
M: +61 424 583 409
E: enquire @paris99.net
Incorporating sustainable design principles into every aspect of her business, is integral to how textile designer Rebecca Desnos operates. Working from her London based studio, Rebecca uses plant based dyes to transform soft
bamboo and organic fairtrade base cloths into a small but absolutely exquisite range of scarves and clutches.
What is impressive about Rebecca’s range, is that no two pieces are exactly the same. And the love and care that has gone into each beats a machine printing process any day. Every scarf goes through a lengthy design process. Rebecca uses the traditional technique of Shibori, first hand dyeing individual bamboo cloth, prior to it being transformed into a fashionable neck piece.
And check out the clutch bag! They are made from 100% fairtrade organic cotton, and lined with unbleached cotton ~ the perfect size for a phone, some cash, keys and a night out!.
Stephanie Watson is one talented and imaginative fashion designer, who has bucked the trend of spending alot of dough on a wedding dress. Using over 10,000 bread tags collected over a period of ten years , she has created an eye catching, upcycled wedding dress that cost just $36.00.
Stephanie and her boyfriend started collecting bread tags ten years ago after finding a pile of them on a windowsill when they moved in together. If you are trying to do the math on this, don’t think Stephanie and her new husband ate their way through 10,000 bread loaves ~ approximately 3 loaves a day. Friends added to the collection too, and as fate had it, when Stephanie ran short of tags towards the end of her wedding dress creation, her baker cousin stepped in and contributed the remaining required!
Whilst this gown may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it certainly does provoke thought about everyday items that contribute to landfill, and celebrates innovation in re-thinking ways we can re-use materials – bread and butter stuff.
Since Anna Ross of Kester Black released her new toxin free range of nail polishes just a few months ago, they have garnered a HUGE following (see our first post). Not only are they better for our health, but the range features punchy cool colours like Tutti Frutti (my favourite), Mai Tai, Ice Cream Soda and Cherry Pie amongst others …. and it just got even better! Whilst visiting the Melbourne Design Market two weeks ago, Anna was there incredibly busy selling her polishes, and was also launching two new great Kester Black colours which I think are about to become my favourite ~ Supernova and Blue Raspberry.
The Supernova sparkles are huge, and really fun to apply. Suspended in clear polish, I dotted the pieces over my nails to great effect. Loving it for upcoming Christmas and New Year festivities. As for the Blue Raspberry – this may well make me push Tutti Frutti aside for a while and kick me off to a bright start to 2013! Isn’t it beautiful!
Just before heading back to New Zealand for Xmas holidays, Anna kindly provided a small order of the above colours for the State of Green store ~ the rest almost flew out the door at the design market!! If the above colours tickle your fancy – get in quick!
~~ Kester Black ~~
OOh Christmas must be close, as we are celebrating back to back giveaways where you can win gift vouchers to purchase some wonderful products over Xmas. Today, the friendly team at local shoe store SOLED are very generously offering up a $300 VOUCHER to get you well shod ~ for pure indulgence you can spend it on yourself, or spread it amongst the family ~ My god I wish I could enter this giveaway!
SOLED is physically located in Hampton St, Hampton (VIC), and are online too. Now let it be said, this is one seriously cool store – From the fit out to the footwear, they endeavour to tread lightly (excuse the pun!). The sneakers are truly funky coming in a range of colours, the mens range is just so urban cool, and the kids shoes are incredibly cute! Some shoes are made from recycled components, and a wide range are vegan friendly too.
You’ve never met a friendlier bunch than the team at Soled. Suey Cooper was ever so gracious to answer our questions about the store AND offer the $300 Voucher to a State of Green reader:
1. Can you share with us the SOLED story and how you got involved ? Gary came across these two incredible brands on one of his overseas trips and he became so passionate about them that when they ( the distributorships) were offered to us, even though it was ahead of schedule, we just had to take the leap. Finding the location was also a natural progression. Gary and I fell in love with the Bayside area as soon as we moved here from Sydney four years ago. We knew we wanted to stay in the area and since Gary – who’s been in the shoe industry since he left school- wanted to take the leap and start a business of his own, it seemed an easy decision. I became involved because after the ridiculous amounts of research that had to be done in the name of “Due Diligence” and writing our Business Plan, I became as passionate as he was. Funny really, because my only previous interest in shoes was getting them on the right feet! I just fell in love with the brands – VIVOBAREFOOT and Dansko- and their respective attitudes towards, people, the environment and thinking outside the square.
2. The shop design is great! Tell us about the fit out : It was very much a question of working out a way to do something they said couldn’t be done. I was basically told that I would struggle to have a design that complimented two such visually diverse products, and also that there was no way we could do a shop fit with a low budget and be environmentally aware. I am a huge believer in taking things back to basics and finding the beauty in the faults or irregularities of life. So with the environmental message being the design premise for the fit out,. Everything needed to be recycled repurposed or preloved. The cardboard has a fabulous and suprisingly natural feel to it and was great to work with. The glue we used was non toxic and the only tradesman we used was an Electrician. Lucky for me, I also have some incredibly talented friends who let me bounce my crazy ideas off them and helped me when I needed direction.
3. Do you have a favourite pair of shoes at the moment? Not one, two!! I lived in my Dansko Ankle Boots over winter and my VIVO Evo’s are always a favourite, they’re yellow, how could you not love yellow funky sneakers?!
4. What can we expect to see at SOLED over the next year? The lifestyle range in VIVOBAREFOOT is super cute, ballet flats and lace ups, such a huge vegan range. With Dansko their range is ridiculously comfortable, it’s such a change to have comfort and cool shoes. I also love doing the Visual Merchandising using recycled stuff.
5. Share with us your easy eco living tip: Give everything a second chance and try looking at things with fresh eyes. Ankle freezing jeans become shorts.
ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!
To go in the running to win a $300 Gift Voucher* from SOLED, simply leave a comment below sharing with us your favourite shoe in their online store! The winner will be drawn at random on Wednesday 19th December after 7pm. Good Luck!
* Open to Australian Residents only