Where Does It Come From?

Ethical Fashion is no longer a niche, but rather a common everyday practice that we should all be supporting and promoting. It is the lack of awareness that is really holding ethical fashion back, and this is what I have endeavored to do over the past few weeks. Ethical fashion doesn’t have to break the budget, it doesn’t have to be a second-hand item that was bought at the local markets, and most importantly it doesn’t have to lose its style and trendiness appeal. Ethical  fashion is far more readily available than what you may have originally thought.

Fashion is a form of self-identity, we are our own blank canvas, and the clothes that we wear are a creation of our minds, an artwork on display for the rest of the world. Fashion is the story of not only ourselves but we are also providing support to the story of the individual who produced that clothing, and the processes involved in the production of the clothes that we wear. We as humans need to step away from the disconnected process that we undergo as shoppers in the fashion market, we need to stop and think and ultimately be more mindful as to where we are purchasing our clothes and the conditions in which those clothes are made.

The only way we can make a difference is to start asking those challenging questions, to start demanding that more information as to the history of the product, to educate ourselves and in turn others. So next time you walk into that department store, or trendy little boutique start asking questions, start raising awareness and educate yourself on the items of clothing that you wear.

The True Cost- Andrew Morgan

Want to watch a documentary film that will change your perception forever? This story is global in context, it affects everyone, it exemplifies how connected we are, it is about simplicity, it is about fashion.

Andrew Morgan’s 2015 film The True Cost was the game changer for me. Watching this film on a Thursday evening, after a friends recommendation changed my shopping habits for life. I can honestly say I was an ignorant consumer prior to seeing the stark reality behind the production of clothes that I wore. I was an active participator in fast-fashion. I would purchase any item for the “bargain price” despite knowing that I would probably never actually wear the item more than once, if at all.

This film highlights the journey of the ethical costs not only in regards to the environment but also the human costs associated with out clothing. We are all actively participating in a fast-fashion culture where we are concerned with low-cost items with little to no regards or concern for the external factors that are suffering at our expense.

We are participating in a culture where we are only benefitting the big brands, the large producers and are forgetting about the little guy. The price for items has lowered, however, the cost of the product being made and produced has increased. We are living in a time period where we practically expect 52 seasons a year, with new products coming in every week, where previously we were receiving 2 seasons a year.

This new model that we have all become accustomed to- the 52 seasons a year model meant that corners had to be cut, or prices would have to be increased. Corners cut was an extremely common condition that resulted in one horrific accident in the early morning hours  on the 24th April, the Rana Plaza. The eight-story building completely collapsed, killing more than 1000 people, being the worst garment industry related disaster.

How can we as consumers be happy purchasing these low-cost items, when the consequences of our actions can cause such horrific and terrible outcomes. This film has caused me to start thinking about the journey behind the production of my clothing and those people who have been involved in the production process. The True Cost is a truly remarkable documentary film that opened my eyes into what really goes on in the fashion industry.

Wedding Fever

The notion of ethical fashion comes with a misconstrued idea that it isn’t high end or fashionable in nature. With my friend, recently engaged the hunt for the perfect wedding dress has begun. Every bride has an idea as to what they are looking for, what style/cut, price guide, and colour. What this particular bride had added into the mix was “ethical”.

This was a great starting point as we trolled websites such as Good On YouThe Social StudioEthical BrideDesert DesignsKowtow, and Bindarri. With this as our starting point it became apparent to both of us that finding an ethical wedding dress may be a much easier task than we first thought, thank goodness!

Moving away from the classic brands such as “Grace Loves Lace” “Vera Wang” and the commerical wedding stores meant that the crowds we had to face were far less stressful than it would be for others, we avoided bridal fairs and other exhibitions, indirectly saving both herself and myself a lot of money on travel costs, accommodation and even our sanity!

A Rachel Cassar design captured our eye, and the beautiful, textured design was a one-off unique piece as it was produced from recycled materials. Her brand exemplifies her philosophy of producing garmets with a focus on the free and “creative spirit”. The dress looked absolutely stunning on, and knowing that no-one will ever haeve the same dress was a selling point, Cassar maintaining that she is “one person, not a machine, and don’t want to produce just anything for the sake of it” gives each piece a story, that works in conjunciton with the purchaser. Her semi-coture gowns and pieces matches the personality of the bride perfectly, proving that you can truly have high-end eco-friendly fashion.

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Summer’s Coming, Wardrobe Spring Clean!

It’s coming up to my favourite time of the year; sun, surf and sand are all on our minds which means one thing-goodbye to those winter jackets, and hello to warm summer nights! During this time of the year, I typically change all of my bedding to lighter, more breathable fabric, say goodbye to heavy shaggy rugs and hello to a much more summer friendly jute rug, cushions change from thick textures in dark greys hues to light coastal shades, and of course flowers in every room. I was thinking, if go to this much trouble for the house and our furnishings, why am I not doing this for my clothing!?

This takes me to today’s blog-post. Over the past weekend I managed to remove every item of clothing I own in both the house that I currently live in, as well as doing a skype session with my mum to rid myself of those daggy home clothes that are reserved for the small rural town that I grew up in only.

So what were my findings!? Winter weight, isn’t just for the body alone. I had stacked it on in the clothing department!

I owned 12 pairs of jeans! 12- why I ever thought this was necessary, I do not know! I now have 4. Two black, one denim and one white. I had three of the exact same long-sleeve tops, couple this with all the other striped long sleeve tops I owned, I could be called the striped lady, it was ridiculous! After getting rid of those that had a hole in them, or looked a little worse for wear, I started to feel a little more neat and tidy. Jumpers were a whole other issue itself, but again I managed to pile a fair number into my “donation box” leaving less to be hung in my wardrobe. Once complining all of my winter gear together, I was able to put these clothes away in the bottom two drawers of my dresser, leaving the top four for the clothes that I would be frequently wearing in the warmer months.

My summer wardrobe, also need to have a bit of a cull before everything was placed away neat and tidy for the upcoming months. Owning 7 demin shorts seemed a little excessive, so again after trying some on, I decided to cull a few. T-shirts; the amount of the t-shirts and tops that I was pulling out of my wardrobe and not being able to remember the last time I wore it, or even thought about wearing it meant another serious cull was about to happen!

What I learnt from this little exercise is that I had far too much in excess as maybe clothes, as clothes that I once like 3 years ago, but would now never wear again! The shoes were another story entirely however, and they are still in the process of elimination!

The Social Outfit

Newtown’s King Street is the heart and soul of celebrating all individual’s, whose style and ethos are completely unique to themselves. Walking along King Street, you’ll find yourself immersed between an abundance of funky beats, bright and bold colours, street art, markets and whole in the wall cafes. What you find most with Newtown is its ability to transform you into another world, a story of magic and uncertainties, where one minute you’ll be  sipping on your organically roasted coffee bean takeaway coffee in your keep-cup, followed by stumbling upon a gig at Newtown Social Club.

Wondering along King Street, I’ve spotted the most gorgeous ‘Gorman’esque fabric, that would make a truly beautiful shift dress. Walking into the store I am approached by a warm and friendly personality. Once speaking with the shop assistant for a while, she informs me that “out back” is where the true magic happens. The women who are employed in this company, The Social Outfit have all come from refugee or migrant communities.

The Social Outfit has been created mirroring the success of the Melbourne-based social enterprise, The Social Studio. The point of difference that I would like to highlight here, is that the non-profit organisation not only employees those from migrant and refugee communities, but it also helps educate them in providing a safe, welcoming and supporting environment. The CEO, Jackie Ruddock has highlighted that teaching the employees about their working rights and contracts are also a key part of the organisation.

With half of the material sourced being from industry waste, The Social Outfit is environmentally sustainable also. The Social Outfit believes that creativity combined with fashion can produce empowerment, especially through the traditional art forms that each of their employees brings with them. Focusing on all aspects of the business from marketing, advertising, promotion, designing, producing and the sale of the product, this company is doing an incredible job in supporting, and encouraging ethical fashion.

Vege Threads

Another week, another great discovery! Vege Threads is an Australian Brand that will give your wardrobe the basics you need. Vege Threads products are all made in Australia in an ethical and socially responsible way. The 100% Australian AW16 collection highlights the identity of the brand as being sustainable, quality controlled, and designing with local figures to create a relaxed, organic and inclusive culture through their designs.

Take a step back in time with their earthy, unique, comfortable designs that pay an homage to the inner gypsy child in every one of us. Their products all shot amongst mother nature shows the inextricable link between nature and humans. The founder of “Vege Threads” has identified her brand ethos as being a collaborative, inclusive culture that cherishes and encourages a fashion forward approach concerned with conscious living.

Vege Threads not only carefully select where they source their fabrics and materials, they also choose the materials used for the environmental impact. Using fabrics that have a low impact on the environment such as hemp whose benefits include it being a long-lasting and durable fabric that is extremely UV resistant, organic cotton being cotton that is produced without chemicals, pesticides or herbicides eliminating the potential of harmful potentially carcinogenic chemicals into the environment, and modal a bacteria resistant natural fibre made from the beech trees wood pulp cellulose all contribute to their ethical and sustainable approach to clothing.

The dyes used by Vege Threads are either natural dyes or ACO certified. ACO certified dyes ensure that the water can be re-used without having any toxic waste polluted into the environment. The natural dyes ensure that not only is the environment being catered for and taken into consideration, they are supporting local Balinese people and their livelihood.

Vege Threads has a something for everyone. From womenswear to menswear,  yoga gear to swimwear there is a product for you. Make a change today, and know that the items that you are purchasing are really having a long-lasting impact on our environment. Be sure to get in quick, though, as each of their products/designs is run on a limited stock so as to reduce waste in another way.

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The 2016 Met Gala.

What once was a relatively mundane philanthropic event focused on raising funds for the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute, the Met Gala has shifted into one of the biggest nights on the celebrity calendar year. The invite-only event that occurs on the first Monday of May annually, allows celebrities to stand and pose in one-off designer gowns and suits alike upon the famous New York steps heading into the museum itself.

 Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology  was the theme of this year’s event orchestrated by Fashion powerhouse Anna Wintour. This theme looked at the collaboration and organic relationship between clothing and technology. Whilst few celebrities and invited guests rarely dress to the theme, this year Calvin Klein teamed up with three influential personalities and produced some of the most fashion forward and ethical/sustainable designs of the decade. Margot Robbie, Lupita Nyong’o and Emma Watson all looked stunning in their pieces that utilised recycling plastic, organic cotton and other recycled materials.

Emma Watson’s outfit was a true show stopper, that was created entirely from taffets woven from plastic yarn, sustainable cotton, and satin. Having sustainability in mind every step of the way, the use of three types of plastic, organic cotton, and organic silk. Not only is the piece made from the perspective or repurposing and recycling materials, it has also been produced with the idea that each part can be worn on its own.

Emma’s outfit proves that high-end fashion can be sustainable, & red carpet winners can be designed and made with an ethical and sustainable focus in mind. Watson pairing with Eco-Age and Calvin Klein for this Green Carpet Event has since vowed to wear only ethical designs and items on her upcoming red carpet events enhancing the vision of sustainable clothing. In her collaboration, the influence and power of technology for turning everyday waste and repurposing it into a high-end runway piece.

London Fashion Week

Another fashion week has ended and with this year’s SS16 London Fashion Week change was apparent. Not only was there a change in venue for the event from Somerset House to Brewer Street Car Park there was also a shift away from the ethical and sustainable fashion selections known as Estethica, which was founded in 2006 as a part of the British Fashion Council.

Whilst there were a few shows and designers such as Erdem’s Green Carpet Collection that launched in conjunction with Livia Firth’s Eco Age. The notable absence of ethical and sustainable focused/orientated fashion caused a few brows to be raised as the principles of Esthetica are current buzzwords and trends in the fashion industry.

Whilst there was a notable absence of an abundance of new ethical and sustainable designers and brands, there was the continued support of previous brands that have walked the catwalk before such as Christopher Raeburn whose collection focused on sporty sustainable fashion with fabric sourced from parachutes that were involved in humanitarian aid drops.

The biggest nod towards and support for ethical and sustainable fashion came from the Estethica short film “The New Black” which highlighted the current fashion industry shedding light on the processes involved in the balance between technology, sourcing, production, and science when creating, designing and producing clothing.

The biggest stand-out piece is from the creative minds of twins, Annette and Daniela Felder with their “Carbon Dress” from their brand Felder Felder . This collection uses up-cycled carbon fibre from the BMW electric vehicle program, and sustainable fabrics. Both Felder girls live and participate in a socially and ethically conscious lifestyle, and for them bringing this into their designs and works was really the next step forward. Their rock’n’roll chic style has been enhanced through the tassels and unique style as a result of the carbon fibre fabric.

 

Image source; http://img.huffingtonpost.com/asset/scalefit_630_noupscale/57da9fe61800002f00314ba7.jpeg

Indelust- A Brand You Need To Know About

“WE BELIEVE SHOPPING SHOULD HAVE A SOCIAL CONSCIENCE” Sana Rezwan & Nihar Sait. 

Now isn’t this the type of store that you would like to shop at!? Focusing on the Indian subcontinent, Indelust promotes ethical design and production, ultimately resulting in ethical, sustainable and socially and environmentally conscious practices being promoted by individual designers and artisans within the region.

Using this website as your base enables you to look at several artisans/designers within the Indian subcontinent and their products. Indelust allows you to click on the designers so you can have a snapshot of the story behind the brand, with a few of their products listed underneath with photographs from their warehouse/place of production providing a photographic glimpse into the environment as to where and how their products are made.

Whilst ethical products do appear to have a rather high price tag, you can be assured that in purchasing products from this site you are promoting ethical fashion across all platforms of the process of creation. Whether you’re looking for leather or fabric, a bag made on the ethos of sustainability or its social impact there is a range of beautiful handbags, clutches, and weekenders ranging from $86 to $354, suitable for all budgets and lifestyles.

Indelust’s ethos are; organic, handmade, vegan, sustainable, vintage, social impact, nest reviewed and made to order. Indelust is a great online shopping platform that brings together fashion that has a social conscious. In supporting local artists from small economically disadvantaged communities, Indelust provides a unique foundation that focuses on the traditional art forms and practices of the people of the Indian subcontinent working in collaboration with designers for long-lasting, durable designs and pieces. Through the support of Indelust, these local artists are working conditions, resulting in  sustainable living.

Knowing the transparency in the production, knowing that the item of clothing that you are wearing hasn’t contributed to an individual’s poor and unacceptable living conditions is enough for you to make a difference. You are responsible for influencing and impacting someone else’s life, you have the power to make the right choice, don’t contribute to someone’s poverty, contribute to someone’s adequacy and richness. Indelust is the perfect platform for  just this.

Restyle Your Wardrobe

So it’s a Monday morning & you’re staring at all of the clothes in your cupboard, but yet you’re thinking to yourself that “I have nothing wear”. This is a common occurrence for women from all corners of the world, however, what we need to understand is that we do have enough clothes, we do have a nice enough top to go with that skirt that we think we should wear. Our love and obsession with fast fashion isn’t economical, and instead of owning two pairs of jeans, we now own ten.

The sad truth is, the more clothes you own, the more time you waste in the morning trying on numerous outfits to only end up wearing that same “staple” outfit that you’ve already worn a thousand times over.

This is where I come in, I always used to wonder how males, men & boys alike always had fewer clothes, yet their clothes seemed to last a lot longer than ours and would resurface on many more occasions. #outfitrepeater ! Thank you, Lizzie McQuire, for instilling this fear in all of us after Kate shamed you at your graduation for being one.

So what exactly do I propose you do!? Follow these steps and before long you’ll start to feel like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders, and your wallet will also feel a lot better too!

 Go Through Your Wardrobe.

Take everything out from the shelf or hanging space and be ruthless, donate those items that you’ve only worn a few times and will probably never wear again. Don’t keep something that you think “Oh I’ll wear that next season”- chances are, you probably won’t.

The Coat Hanger Trick

Hang your clothes up with the coat hangers facing one way, once you have worn the item turn the coat hanger around the other way. This is a really simple way for you to actually visualise and know what you are or aren’t wearing.

Keep Your Work Wardrobe & Casual Wardrobe Separate

Not only will this handy tip save you time in the morning, it also highlights how many clothes you actually have! Remember for must of us, you’re in work clothes 4-5 days a week, and casual 2 or 3 days. Why should you then need more casual clothes than work clothes!?

Basics Are Your Friends

Stop over complicating your wardrobe with lots of bright, patterned, poor quality cheap statement pieces. Have good quality basics that will allow you to mix and match outfits easily. Quality is better than quality always in regards to your wardrobe.

Don’t Have The “Stay At Home” Drawer

This is a trap that we have all fallen into. DON’T! If you wouldn’t want to be seen in public in an item of clothing, throw it out! Yes, this includes those jeans that have a hole in the wrong place, the white t-shirt that has seen better days and any item that needs some alterations!

Hang Up As Much As Possible

Hanging up as many of your clothes as possible acts as a visual reminder of what you do have! Organising your clothes by colour will help you in knowing what items of clothing you really need vs. those items that you think you need so next time you go for a shop you will think twice before buying that cheap & unethical white t-shirt.