Sunday, November 22, 2009

FASHION FOR ALL

Written by Abigail Doan

n the ongoing quest to refine the materials and methods of sustainable style and the underpinnings of eco fashion, one must not overlook another persistent force fueling the democratization of contemporary fashion – DIY fashion. For some, the DIY realm rather frightfully necessitates that one be super crafty and adept with sewing kits and bolts of fabric in order to excel, but for others the DIY spirit is merely a matter of learning how to be clever, resourceful and often ritual-like in one’s examination of how to wear and don things more sustainably.
HandmadeNationGraphic.jpg
Handmade Nation Graphic

I am reminded of the early days of DIY fashion and the brilliant, groundbreaking blog, fiftyRX3 created in 2005 by Jill Danyelle. For anyone who does not know about Jill’s creative foray into the depths of sustainability and sartorial innovation, this is a primer for all fashion blogging that followed. Created as a 365-day project ‘documenting (Jill’s) goal to average fifty-percent sustainability in the clothing that (she) wore for a year’, the reuse, reduce, recycle mantra was further personalized by the author’s clever and artistic interpretations of ‘the true substance of style’. The Uniform Project of 2009 further plays with this admirable goal, adding an element of theatricality to the multitude of ways that accessories can add mileage to the most basic, covetable garment.

JillDanyelle_fiftyRX3.jpg
Jill Danyelle fiftyRX3

Perhaps one of the most empowering elements of the DIY fashion movement, particularly in regards to eco fashion, is the practice of thriftiness and trash-to-treasure wizardry. With prospects like e-bay, the increasingly popular swapping and swishing parties, and local flea markets to comb through, a resuscitated “objet d'art”, lovingly rescued from the bin or some one else’s closet, becomes a rewarding gem of a find. Closing the loop on ownership and the possibilities of fashion resuscitation seems to bring us closer to the materiality of our lives and our relationship to the life and death of our garments.

SublimeStitchingTemplates.jpg
Sublime Stitching Templates

One of my favorite fashion/design blogs to address our day-to-day consumption habits and the upcycling possibilities that might be crafted in our domestic sphere is Swyyne. Founded by the savvy fashion editor and writer Yuka Yoneda, Swynne (pronounced ‘swine’), dishes up the ‘true confessions of a recovering gluttonness’ via an examination of the clothing flotsam and fashion cravings of contemporary life, smartly satiated by Yuka’s DIY recycling projects, ‘freecycle Fridays’, and some refreshing tongue-in-cheek humor.

YY: It seems like there are always haterade-drinkers trying equate eco-fashion with something that is price-prohibitive or only for the bourgeoisie. To that, I just want to respond by saying "Hey, I just ripped apart this old mumu and sewed it into a supercute A-line minidress for the mere $10 it cost me to buy it at a thrift shop and about $20 worth of elbow grease. Isn't that eco-fashion that is both cheap and green?" And I think there are plenty of other DIYers out there who will back me up - just check out Etsy.com.

TheUniformProject.jpg
The Uniform Project

In many ways, the DIY movement is eco-fashion at its realest. It's the gritty underbelly of eco-fashion that neither flaunts its organic fabrics nor boasts about its lack of sweatshop labor, because it doesn't need those things to make it environmentally friendly. My "organic fabrics" are old stockings and ripped sweaters and my "fair trade labor" is my own foot on the pedal of my sewing machine in my bedroom. Fashion that you make with your own two hands is proof that you don't need money to participate in the eco-fashion movement.

One of the best ways to get someone to recognize the value of an object is to have them create it with their own two hands. I deconstructed a fabulous floral print dress the other day, figuring it would be simple to put it back together, but it wasn't. It took time, consideration and effort to make it look the way that I wanted it to. And I realized that the construction of the dress was really only one tiny step in producing it from start to finish. What if I had to grow the fibers the cloth was woven from and then paint on the intricate pattern? What if I had to mold the golden button that clasps the collar together or carry the final piece to Asia? All of these thoughts flowed through my mind as I stitched. For me, the act of fabrication bonds me to my creation and infuses me with an appreciation for it and the materials it is made of. Hopefully, that is true for other DIYers, too.” - YY

There is no doubt that the rise of online DIY retailing venues like etsy has fueled a revolution in the handmade aesthetic of handcrafted, hands-on fashion. At perhaps no other time in history have artisans, designers, and new fashion labels been able to create, share, and sell their latest designs as a one-person enterprise via the vast open market of the Internet. The rise of handicraft, fueled in part by Faythe Levine’s hugely popular film, Handmade Nation has also been a grassroots way of reaching out to the community, while also becoming more grounded when times are tough. DIY projects and the communities that support them often soften the blow of challenging times.

EkovaruhusetCrochet.jpg
Ekovaruhuset Crochet

It is not so much how DIY projects liberate us but perhaps how they bring us together that should be the point of fascination for us all. I am reminded of Jenny Hart’s Sublime Stitching initiative, where embroidery patterns can be easily acquired online, to embellish and humor one’s day and flouncy apron. Threadbanger DIY projects are fun to watch on video, but I for one, am not able to follow their rather complex instructions conveyed at lightening speed. The idea of stitching a cute bumblebee on my lapel, though, somehow seems so fashion-forward in ways that surely have nothing to do with the trendier preoccupations of eco fashion.

My uber-talented friends at The House of Organic and Eko-Lab spend long afternoons conversing together - collaborating, sharing, and discussing - the pros and cons of crafting sustainably for the fashion realm. It’s an attitude that seems to permeate all that they create and market, from free-form crochet collars to the hand-dyed ecouture dresses that they send down the runway. In this instance, DIY becomes DIO (do-it-ourselves) as a new way to bolster the independent labels of fashion craftivity as well as models for sourcing, producing, and marketing one’s unique collections and designs. With more and more venues like The Ethical Fashion Forum’s social networking site as well as open source blogs like Hiphonest popping up , it seems as if DIY strategies are taking on even more democratic dimensions in the effort to cross-pollinate fashion knowledge and skills for all.

Read more ...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

FASHION FOR ALL

Written by Abigail Doan

n the ongoing quest to refine the materials and methods of sustainable style and the underpinnings of eco fashion, one must not overlook another persistent force fueling the democratization of contemporary fashion – DIY fashion. For some, the DIY realm rather frightfully necessitates that one be super crafty and adept with sewing kits and bolts of fabric in order to excel, but for others the DIY spirit is merely a matter of learning how to be clever, resourceful and often ritual-like in one’s examination of how to wear and don things more sustainably.
HandmadeNationGraphic.jpg
Handmade Nation Graphic

I am reminded of the early days of DIY fashion and the brilliant, groundbreaking blog, fiftyRX3 created in 2005 by Jill Danyelle. For anyone who does not know about Jill’s creative foray into the depths of sustainability and sartorial innovation, this is a primer for all fashion blogging that followed. Created as a 365-day project ‘documenting (Jill’s) goal to average fifty-percent sustainability in the clothing that (she) wore for a year’, the reuse, reduce, recycle mantra was further personalized by the author’s clever and artistic interpretations of ‘the true substance of style’. The Uniform Project of 2009 further plays with this admirable goal, adding an element of theatricality to the multitude of ways that accessories can add mileage to the most basic, covetable garment.

JillDanyelle_fiftyRX3.jpg
Jill Danyelle fiftyRX3

Perhaps one of the most empowering elements of the DIY fashion movement, particularly in regards to eco fashion, is the practice of thriftiness and trash-to-treasure wizardry. With prospects like e-bay, the increasingly popular swapping and swishing parties, and local flea markets to comb through, a resuscitated “objet d'art”, lovingly rescued from the bin or some one else’s closet, becomes a rewarding gem of a find. Closing the loop on ownership and the possibilities of fashion resuscitation seems to bring us closer to the materiality of our lives and our relationship to the life and death of our garments.

SublimeStitchingTemplates.jpg
Sublime Stitching Templates

One of my favorite fashion/design blogs to address our day-to-day consumption habits and the upcycling possibilities that might be crafted in our domestic sphere is Swyyne. Founded by the savvy fashion editor and writer Yuka Yoneda, Swynne (pronounced ‘swine’), dishes up the ‘true confessions of a recovering gluttonness’ via an examination of the clothing flotsam and fashion cravings of contemporary life, smartly satiated by Yuka’s DIY recycling projects, ‘freecycle Fridays’, and some refreshing tongue-in-cheek humor.

YY: It seems like there are always haterade-drinkers trying equate eco-fashion with something that is price-prohibitive or only for the bourgeoisie. To that, I just want to respond by saying "Hey, I just ripped apart this old mumu and sewed it into a supercute A-line minidress for the mere $10 it cost me to buy it at a thrift shop and about $20 worth of elbow grease. Isn't that eco-fashion that is both cheap and green?" And I think there are plenty of other DIYers out there who will back me up - just check out Etsy.com.

TheUniformProject.jpg
The Uniform Project

In many ways, the DIY movement is eco-fashion at its realest. It's the gritty underbelly of eco-fashion that neither flaunts its organic fabrics nor boasts about its lack of sweatshop labor, because it doesn't need those things to make it environmentally friendly. My "organic fabrics" are old stockings and ripped sweaters and my "fair trade labor" is my own foot on the pedal of my sewing machine in my bedroom. Fashion that you make with your own two hands is proof that you don't need money to participate in the eco-fashion movement.

One of the best ways to get someone to recognize the value of an object is to have them create it with their own two hands. I deconstructed a fabulous floral print dress the other day, figuring it would be simple to put it back together, but it wasn't. It took time, consideration and effort to make it look the way that I wanted it to. And I realized that the construction of the dress was really only one tiny step in producing it from start to finish. What if I had to grow the fibers the cloth was woven from and then paint on the intricate pattern? What if I had to mold the golden button that clasps the collar together or carry the final piece to Asia? All of these thoughts flowed through my mind as I stitched. For me, the act of fabrication bonds me to my creation and infuses me with an appreciation for it and the materials it is made of. Hopefully, that is true for other DIYers, too.” - YY

There is no doubt that the rise of online DIY retailing venues like etsy has fueled a revolution in the handmade aesthetic of handcrafted, hands-on fashion. At perhaps no other time in history have artisans, designers, and new fashion labels been able to create, share, and sell their latest designs as a one-person enterprise via the vast open market of the Internet. The rise of handicraft, fueled in part by Faythe Levine’s hugely popular film, Handmade Nation has also been a grassroots way of reaching out to the community, while also becoming more grounded when times are tough. DIY projects and the communities that support them often soften the blow of challenging times.

EkovaruhusetCrochet.jpg
Ekovaruhuset Crochet

It is not so much how DIY projects liberate us but perhaps how they bring us together that should be the point of fascination for us all. I am reminded of Jenny Hart’s Sublime Stitching initiative, where embroidery patterns can be easily acquired online, to embellish and humor one’s day and flouncy apron. Threadbanger DIY projects are fun to watch on video, but I for one, am not able to follow their rather complex instructions conveyed at lightening speed. The idea of stitching a cute bumblebee on my lapel, though, somehow seems so fashion-forward in ways that surely have nothing to do with the trendier preoccupations of eco fashion.

My uber-talented friends at The House of Organic and Eko-Lab spend long afternoons conversing together - collaborating, sharing, and discussing - the pros and cons of crafting sustainably for the fashion realm. It’s an attitude that seems to permeate all that they create and market, from free-form crochet collars to the hand-dyed ecouture dresses that they send down the runway. In this instance, DIY becomes DIO (do-it-ourselves) as a new way to bolster the independent labels of fashion craftivity as well as models for sourcing, producing, and marketing one’s unique collections and designs. With more and more venues like The Ethical Fashion Forum’s social networking site as well as open source blogs like Hiphonest popping up , it seems as if DIY strategies are taking on even more democratic dimensions in the effort to cross-pollinate fashion knowledge and skills for all.

Read more ...

Monday, November 16, 2009

GUESS GOES ORGANIC FOR INVISIBLE CHILDREN

Written by Vanessa Voltolina

Celebrities have always been on the cutting edge of what’s new and fashion forward, particularly when it comes to going green. Back in the day, hip New York designs from Doucette Duvall developed a following with Sadie Frost, Rihanna and in the Sex and the City movie; and as of late, more and more celebrities have been launching their own sustainable fashion lines.

GUESSInvisibleChildrenTeecloseup.jpgThis trend continues with nonprofit Invisible Children, which combines celebrities, a big-name designer and organic materials to create a buzz. It all began when the Invisible Children partnered with denim label GUESS back in 2006. It was the daughters of GUESS CEO Maurice Marciano, Caroline, 18, and Olivia, 16, who first convinced their father—and the mega-brand--to design for the cause. Ever since, GUESS has been a part of a number of initiatives for the organization.

This year, GUESS and Vanity Fair magazine unveiled the 2009 designs at an October 21 Invisible Children event in Beverly Hills, California. Hosts were actresses Kristen Bell and Rachel Bilson, as well as Fall Out Boy musician Pete Wentz, with celebrity appearances by AnnaLynne McCord, Shenae Grimes, Ben McKenzie, Rick Foxx, Chris Lowell and others.

KristenBellhostsInvisibleChildren.pngGUESS’ 2009 designs benefiting underprivileged youth are both homespun and organic, made from Edun Organic Cotton grown and harvested in Uganda. The men’s designs are short sleeve crewneck tees with an Africa graphic on front and a charity logo on the back; the women’s racerback tanks include a floral graphic that reads “LOVE.” Both sets of apparel will benefit education and economic rebuilding in the war-ravaged country.

Beginning this past Monday, the t-shirts and tanks will be available on Guess.com www.guess.com and in every Guess store across the United States with 100% of the sale price going to Invisible Children.

Read more ...

Friday, November 13, 2009

ORGANIC ADVENTURES

Written by Magaly Fuentes

Whether it’s a long hike, boarding down a mountain, fishing on a lake or camping in the woods - there’s no better way to enjoy the bountiful gifts of Mother Nature than to experience the thrill of the outdoors.

Performance clothing for the active lover of the outdoors has to cover a lot of bases, protecting you from the potential harshness of different climates and allowing you the flexibility to play. Clothing for outdoor activities should be water resistant, breathable, durable, reliable, comfortable and versatile. Add fashionable and eco-friendly to the mix and it’s no short order but many dedicated companies are investing money and time into the research, testing, and development of new fabrics and techniques to bring customers exactly what they need and want.

Nau2.jpg
Nau

The outdoor gear industry has stepped up in the mission to lighten the fashion industry’s carbon footprint with the use of materials like organic cotton, recycled polyester, recycled nylon, soy, hemp, corn fibers, and bamboo. Technological advances continue to allow room for improvement as the spotlight moves from the typical synthetics of the past toward sustainable plant-based fabrics that successfully resist moisture, control odor and shield the wearer from ultraviolet radiation. Although the future just keeps looking brighter, there’s already quite an impressive selection of eco-gear for the outdoor adventurer.

Superstar outdoor apparel companies helping us to brave the elements while brilliantly blending performance with aesthetic appeal include:

prAna – Prana is the sanskrit word for “breath.” Breathing their green production values into the world, this company creates yoga and climbing gear, a product line that is diverse and truly demonstrative of their eco-focus. www.prana.com

Patagonia.jpg
PATAGONIA

Patagonia – Radical views, unconventionally run, passion for the outdoors – all things representative of this successful and inspiring 30+ year old company that provides a full range of outdoor gear and accessories. www.patagonia.com

Nau – Beauty, Performance, Sustainability – these words encompass this company’s mantra as they continue to develop a multitude of new eco-fabrications offered in stunning styles while consistently encouraging industry peers to do the same. www.nau.com

Nau.jpg
NAU

Hemp Hoodlamb – As the company name suggests, they believe in the wonders of hemp. This amazing material is worked into a very strong fiber which protects from the winter cold. Their product line is proof positive of the endless possibilities of hemp. www.hoodlamb.com

Howies - It’s all about the journey! This company believes in making high quality, low impact products for sports and every day life and they have managed to add “super cool-looking” to their already extraordinary bag of sustainable goodness. www.howies.co.uk

Read more ...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

TRENDS IN SUSTAINABLE SHOPPING

With Black Friday quickly approaching, be inspired by these innovative ways to shop!

We have previously reported about companies that let consumers rent expensive clothes instead of buying them. The latest to join the herd is New York-based Rent the Runway, which allows women to rent designer dresses. The concept is simple: you browse through RTR´s collection, order your dress and receive it the next day. The cost is around 10% of the retail price and ranges from USD 50-100. RTR offers customer friendly extra services like the same dress in a second size to ensure it fits and another dress as back-up style for just 25 USD. Brands currently on offer include Just Cavalli, Helmut Lang and HervĂ© Leger.

Another trend that appeals to transumers is to be part of the creation process of a product. Online indie clothing retailer ModCloth asks its customers to help choose which items to take into production. As the company explains: "Sometimes there are designs that we absolutely adore, but the designer can only put them into production if they make a large quantity. As a small company, it’s difficult for us to make these big inventory commitments without knowing if you will love the designs as much as we do." ModCloth launched the Be The Buyer initiative two weeks ago and encourages its fans to add comments on each design, and to share their voting decisions on Facebook and Twitter, turning the voting process into a useful marketing tool for the company. If a design is taken into production, customers who voted for it receive an email notification as soon as it's available, allowing them to be the first to buy and wear it.

hubshop.jpgThe last trend worth mentioning is shopping in multi designer stores like The Hub Shop. The Hub Shop recently opened in Rotterdam, The Netherlands and rents out empty cube-like boxes under attractive conditions. Any product or service with a sustainable or social touch can be sold at The Hubshop. The concept is not only perfect for small brands and designers who can´t afford a retail space, for customers it´s ideal to find so many ethically made products in one location. We look forward to shops opening at the other 50 Hub locations around the world. Happy shopping!


Read more ...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Emma Watson to launch ethical fashion label

EMMA Watson is set to branch out from her Hollywood career - by launching her own ethical fashion label,
according to reports. The star is close to securing a deal with Fairtrade company People Tree to create a
teenage clothing line, which she hopes to launch later this year. Emma - who was recently unveiled as the face of
British fashion house Burbery - has previously said she is not a fan of celebrities cashing in on their names.

But a source close to the young star told Britain’s Daily Mail, “She’s a big supporter of ethical concepts so liked
the idea of this.
“There’s also a lot of interest from other influential brands since her success as the face of Burberry. “Acting is
always going to take priority, but she’s keen to branch out.”
A spokesperson for the actress said, “Emma supports many Fairtrade organisations but has no formal
relationship with any company.”
Read more ...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Industry adapts to changing trends-make way for ethical fashion!

Last week was the largest Spring/Summer Pure show ever staged, with over 900 exhibitors from 35 countries. Even better news was that this year, brands were no longer categorised by their ethics but integrated with other stands: a significant and symbolic move forward, allowing buyers to appreciate the high standards of design first, with their ethics being the added bonus.

In the current economic climate, retailers increasingly need to find great products that give consumers that little bit extra of an incentive to spend their pennies, which may be why there was such an increase in attendees this season.

This boded well for the 106 ethical fashion brands exhibiting, whose designs are not only unique and innovative in their own right, but also happen to be fair trade, organic or sustainable.

At the ethical fashion seminars hosted by the EFF, some of the most exciting emerging designers were selected by speakers Jules Hau and Alex Smith. These included (amongst others), Nancy Dee, Terra Plana, Komodo, Pachacuti and Monkee Genes, as well as INNOVATION design winners, Mia and Lalesso, all from a variety price points, luxury and street-wear.

Max RogersD&G model Max Rogers shows his support at the ethical fashion seminar on 3rd August

The consensus was that ethical designers are successfully competing and integrating with other fashion brands in the way they communicate, market and sell themselves, demonstrating how the industry has embraced changes so far.

We’d love to hear what you think so please let is know your thoughts…How do you see ethical fashion progressing? What can be done to further engage and integrate with mainstream and designer brands? And the Biggie: how long will it take for “ethical fashion” to break out of its niche and become synonymous with “fashion”?

Further detail here
Read more ...