It was only the other day when I said the Internet is a perfect way to find new designers.
Today I get to prove myself right; I found a brand, which truly is, pretty special. It’s a rare occurrence when I know I’m right, so forgive me while I take a second to soak up this moment.
Ok, now onto the good bit; the designer.
Alice + Olivia presents a collection with everything you want for Winter/Autumn this season. It presents some wonderful basics, but the outfits are spruced-up with lots and lots of texture.
The collection also showcases a delicious and huggable range of knit-wear. The styling is nearly better than the products. Stay with me for a second. Remember the days – lets be honest, remember last weekend – when you would go out in Winter and freeze your non-existent willy off? Not anymore. Designer of Alice + Olivia, Stacey Bendet, shows how-to throw a knit cardigan with a sexy outfit; you can now look great and stay toasty all night long.
If only I knew this when I was 18!
Posted in FASHION
Atlas of fashion designers
The majority of people know the famous fashion designers from America, Paris and Italy but very few of us could name a single designer from South Africa, Argentina, Poland or Germany.
It’s a shame really because these designers have so much spunk and sophistication to them. Atlas of Fashion Designers profiles designers from all over the world. Author Laura Eceiza says the book is about “looking beyond the epicenters of fashion, yet without losing sight of them”.
If you’re like me and constantly crave fashion knowledge then this book is a rare opportunity to learn and soak up as much information as you can. I promise, you’ll never want to let this book go.
Emma Watson wearing Love From Emma
Emma Watson has just designed a new range for People Tree called Love From Emma. Not only does 80% of the collection use 100% organic and Fairtrade certified cotton, but it is also made entirely by Fair Trade groups by hand. The use of hand weaving, hand knitting, and hand embroidery creates livelihoods for some of the most disadvantaged people in Bangladesh, India and Nepal.
Safia Minney, the founder of the sustainable fashion brand People Tree, met Watson only 18 months ago and very quickly began talking about Watson creating a collection. Love From Emma is for men and women and prices range from £12 to £115. Watson has incorporated many quirky touches to the collection such as a “School of Fair Trade” badge on a brushed fleece blazer, a “daisy-chain necklace” motif that Watson painted and had printed on a T-shirt, and a hand-drawn Union Jack for tops and bags.
For more information on Love From Emma check out www.peopletree.co.uk/
Architects have proved they can build environmentally friendly houses. Gardeners have moved away from spraying environmentally dangerous poisons. Even car manufactures are trying to find a way to reduce their carbon footprint. Now the fashion industry is going green and aiming for both ethically and environmentally friendly products.
The industry is playing catch-up, but is this just a trend like plus-size models, Capri pants, side-shoulders, low-crotch pants, and slogan tops?
Retail expert and founder of Country Road, Steve Bennett believes this isn’t the case. In an interview with The Age he says, “Green is not a trend… Over the next 10 years the focus will be even more on sustainability and the planet.”
Fashion festivals around the world have started to produce entire runway shows devoted to designers creating eco-fashion. At the 2010 L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival there was an entire runway show devoted to “slow” fashion. New York, London and Paris Fashion Weeks also have a show for designers who blend ethical production with high craftsmanship.
Lesser known designers such as Elsom, Good Society, Cylk and Minna are heading up the eco-fashion world, but it’s not just for the smaller companies. Nike completed a line of sportswear made from 100% recycled polyester. They also created shoes from environmentally friendly materials that eliminate toxins. New Zealand fashion designer Kate Sylvester has used organic cotton and eco-Marino fabrics in her collection. In Australia Elle Macpherson Intimates and Gorman are also doing it for the team and using eco-friendly materials. Elle Macpherson’s collection Procession makes use of bamboo cotton and sea cell, while Gorman uses organic-certified yarns and recycled fibres.
With so many designers and shows backing-up eco fashion perhaps the ‘green’ trend will be more than a fleeting presence within the industry.
Trash. Garbage. Two seemingly harmless words allowing the reader to conjure up a particular image and feeling based on their previous knowledge. The words trash and garbage seem self-explanatory. What else is there to say? Society uses a product and then once they’re finished with it, they throw it into a bin. It then gets taken to a large piece of ground – also known as the tip – where it is left there until most of it decomposes.
If you are a designer there is more to the story. Sonja Cook is a Tasmanian designer who creates handbags from reused materials. She turns our trash into pieces of art; she gives inanimate objects a new life. “They are like living organisms if you wish,” says Cook.
Through the use of trash our clothes and accessories are imbedded with the past: “Old things have a history and a soul, they’re nice to work with. After the era of making ‘disposables’, we are slowly coming back to using resources sensibly… I hope.”
About 80% of Cook’s materials come from tip-shops and op-shops. She hunts for different fabrics, but most often than not she creates her bags from old pieces of clothing, men’s suits and old leather jackets. For stiffening Cook uses second-hand lino samples and placemats. For the decorative features she finds inspiration from picking “bits and pieces up from the ground. It’s fun to see what one can find on a simple walk up-and-down the road”.
But how do you take these products and make a bag?
“First I think of the size and the shape of the bag I want to make. Secondly, I roughly put together materials I think I might use. I make the shape of the bag in the background fabric and then design the bits to make it interesting. I do this very quickly and spontaneously. Once this is ready I make the lining and put everything together.”
Seems simple. Some might go as far as say it’s cost effective, but in-fact it’s quite the opposite. “The whole process takes longer and the logistics of ‘how-to’ are more challenging. This means fun in my language and makes my bags unique.”
Designers who use re-used products are passing on an important message, which hopefully will be acknowledged on a bigger scale. Many poorer societies have already worked out the benefits of reusing and recycling; perhaps we should follow Cook and admire this instead of seeing trash as useless and disposable.
So what do you think of Cook’s bags? And have you ever created something from trash?
Sonja Cook Bag
Sonja Cook Bag
Sonja Cook Bag
Contestant Jay's garbage bag pants
Look in your rubbish bins, what do you see? Bottle-top lids, cardboard boxes, plastic bottles, cans, plastic bags, pieces of paper, and a clump of unidentified objects. To most of us this is trash, we can’t see it as anything else. There certainly is no way we’d sort through it and risk getting some of the gooey unidentified substances on our hands. Fashion designers see the world differently to most people; in an attempt to create unique, one-of-a-kind pieces, and put in their small contribution to help save the world, designers have turned to trash to make our beloved garments.
This trend has slowly but surely been making waves in the fashion scene. Project Runway’s last season challenged designers to create a look using materials from a hardware store. Contestant Jay saw beyond the shinny metallic sheeting and silver chains and opted for the modest garbage bag. The result was a stunning pair of leather lookalike pants. Who’d have thought this was even possible?
Better-known designers are also moving to garbage for their accessory collections. Christian Louboutin designed a pair of sling backs called ‘Cate Trash’, which are made from a collage of bits of paper, doilies and other pieces of trash. These reused products are then covered in plastic to create the shoe. Nicholas Kirkwood designed a pair of trash bag platforms. He transformed garbage bags into flowers and placed them on a sexy black platform shoe. Maserati saw beauty in brochures and recycled them into a handbag.
None of these products look like they were made from trash. They’re all eco-friendly and contribute in helping to save the planet. This is why it’s so important that designers are embracing the trend. They need to leave their studios and safe materials behind, so they can play and manipulate our trash into new and gorgeous pieces.
Exhibitions and awards have sprung up all over the world to encourage and promote fashion made from trash. Just a hop, skip and a short flight away are the Trash to Fashion Awards in New Zealand. It all began as a small community project but has since developed and is now based on the ethos of responsible fashion design. It rewards those who recycle, reuse, and reduce. In Tasmania there is the annual exhibition Art from Trash. This is another commemoration of designers creating beauty through reused products.
All we need now are the chain stores to source their materials in eco-friendly ways and hopefully keep our cities green.
Do you think this trend is a good idea? Should more designers be doing it? And what do you think of the clip from the Trash to Fashion Awards?