The dawning of October saw the fashion world descend on Paris to experience what is arguably the most highly anticipated of fashion weeks.
With highly influential and renowned designers: Lanvin, about it dosage Givenchy, this and Chanel showcasing their collections for SS10, you would be forgiven for thinking that Paris was only about the ubiquitous fashion houses. Whilst the presence of big name designers and celebrities alike was a mathematical certainty, thankfully there was one big ethical reason to keep an eye on Paris.
For the sixth successive year The Ethical Fashion Show teamed up with Institut Français de la Mode to present a four-day trade fair exclusively devoted to the cause of ethical fashion. Held in the famed Tapis Rouge (Red Carpet; A Parisian department store dating back to 1784).
The event showcased the cream of ethical fashion on the catwalk whilst looking to raise awareness on sustainable fashion through lectures, workshops and networking events geared towards professionals, students and members of the public.
Supported by the French government, and brands as varied as La Redoute and LVMH, the event oversaw the important Ethical Fashion Show award ceremony. Deserving winners for 2009 were Le Racines Du Ciel and Deux Filles En Fil. Closing with a special auction of designs by Satya Joti, the Ethical Fashion Show raised €2,670 towards helping to build a health centre in the Alwar district of Rajasthan, India.
Among the 100 strong designers there was the great discovery of Brit, Ada Zanditon, who founded her self titled label last year, and showcased at the 2008 Ethical Fashion Show. Winning an award for the creativity of her debut collection. Greatly inspired by modern architecture and art, Zanditon’s SS10 range is titled ‘The Colony’.
A smart and sexy collection, ‘The Colony’ combines heavily structured pieces such as the conical patchwork dress, with super feminine silhouettes such as the pillar-box red cut out asymmetric mini dress. Zanditon’s aptitude for sharp tailoring is visible in the navy blue jumpsuit. With her unique ability to balance proportions, Zanditon’s designs are beautifully crafted, modern and chic making her a key eco designer to watch.
Moreover, for those who like their ready-to-wear fashion on the quirkier side Dutch label Studio Jux specialise in affordable fashion which is fun, playful and most importantly sustainable.
Designed for both men and women by Saskia Boekraad and Jitske Lundgren; Studio Jux aim to create fresh, comfortable garments that feature a signature twist, created by playing with the shapes and constraints of modern fashion.
A quirk that sets Studio Jux apart is the accompaniment of each garment with a numbered label corresponding to the specific tailor behind the construction of the item. The tailor can then be identified through their website. An act displaying the brand’s commitment to their Nepalese tailors who are paid by the hour as opposed to per garment. Studio Jux are deeply committed to the environment by only using eco fabrics that are certified by an International Standard. All product packaging is environmentally friendly and they pay airlines a premium on the transport of their goods. This premium is used by the airlines to plant trees on Studio Jux’s behalf, to help offset their CO2 emissions.
Their SS10 collection,‘Fresh Green Shoots’ features a wide variety of natural fabrics from certified organic cotton, bamboo, hemp to linen. Comprising of chic separates for men and women, each garment is simple in its design, with subtle details such as screen prints, ruching and draping helping to give the garments personality. As a 100% fair-trade non-profit company, Studio Jux is one label that is selflessly fighting the ethical fashion cause that will go from strength to strength. ? ?
A personal favourite was OBA , the edgy French jewellery and accessories design team founded by Ana Paula Freitas. Inspired by the creativity and originality of Brazilian heritage and culture, Freitas’ team comprises of several Brazilian artisan associations such as Cia de Lacra, who work together to use production methods which promote a socially responsible attitude to fashion and the environment, whilst generating social benefits and integration in rural areas where traditional craft workers are prone to exploitation.
Dedicated to sourcing renewable materials OBA use old ancestral techniques juxtaposed with urban methods, combining recycling with organic materials and fibres from sustainable sources. Knitting and crochet are inherited techniques commonly used when making local handicrafts. OBA utilises these techniques by weaving ring pulls from aluminium cans creating a sleek, modern and versatile accessories collection which is 100% ethical.
OBA’s work captures the contrasts and vibrancy of Brazil which is reflected through the vivid colour palette and the range of textures visible in each piece. Stand out accessories from the collection include the chunky ‘Kingston’ bracelets, the futuristic ‘Neide’ ring pull clutch and the ‘Cora’ ring pull shoulder bag.
Each of the designers exhibiting at the Ethical Fashion Show represent the versatility of eco fashion from across the globe, uniting to highlight the grave importance of the fashion industry’s treatment towards its craftsmen. By joining forces on the international stage the Ethical Fashion Show is proof that companies can be profitable without destroying ecosystems.
Whilst pioneering fair-trade and eco friendly techniques the main message emanating from the Tapis Rouge was an appeal to the fashion industry. An appeal to work with a stronger conscience to decrease the environmental impact of the textile industry. Whilst preserving local skills by ensuring the fair trade of goods for everyone, not just those fortunate enough to be living in the Western world.
For further information on the Ethical Fashion Show please visit:
Under the name of X-Lion Tamer, sildenafil Edinburgh-based artist, illness Tony Taylor, more about likes to create 80s-tinged pop songs about romance, friendship and, eh, suicide. He once said his music sounds like, ‘the ending credits of low budget 80s teen movies – played on your mate’s Amiga’. A bit like a John Hughes film, if Erasure and Junior Boys had been asked to do the music. I met up with him in a Swedish bar to talk pop.
What type of music would you say you make?
I say it’s pop. Other people sometimes call it electro, or electro pop, or dance or synthpop, but I think it’s straight pop. I just happen to use electronic instruments when I play.
What do you think makes a good pop song?
There are two types really, aren’t there? There’s the love songs; the ones that say ‘I love you’, ‘I have loved you’, or ‘I want to love you’, then there’s the songs that want you to get down to, get funky. Something like ‘Holiday’ by Madonna – it’s exactly that. It’s a naked, fun time, party record. I try to make party records that have a sense of loss or emotion to them.
Madonna is one of your favourite artists. Who else do you like?
Erasure, Yazoo, Cyndi Lauper – I like clean sounds, and I tend to like stuff with that 80s analogue synth vibe to it. I like to pick from lots of genres though. I’m just as happy to listen to old Belinda Carlisle as the new Fuck Buttons 7”. I take influences from all kinds of music – stuff you’d hear in clubs, soundtracks to 80s movies, Burt Bacharach… There’s no such thing as a guilty pleasure; you either like something or you don’t.
What about your lyrics? Although you call them party records, ‘Neon Hearts’ is about feeling empty inside, ‘Life Support Machine’ is about suicide letters, and ‘I Said Stop’ is about a bad break-up.
I like the idea of making melodically driven pop music, that sounds quite melancholy, but is uplifting at the same time. Music can be immediate and catchy, but that doesn’t mean it can’t have any depth. I like big hooks, and big melodies that will stick in your head, but I try to combine them with lyrics that aren’t throwaway. I love British music’s ability to do that. People like The Smiths, The Auteurs or Hefner, they all do stuff that sounds quite joyful on the surface, but underneath it’s quite heartfelt.
So do you think British pop and say, American pop, are very different?
A lot of British pop is very kitchen sink. It’s not necessarily positive, and it really focuses on the day to day stuff. It’s just some guy who’s sitting in his flat feeling miserable. The American stuff often feels more widescreen, it makes you think of rolling prairies and wide open spaces.
And you prefer the British approach?
Yeah, I like down to earth lyrics, but then giving them a bit of glamour with some electro and pop sounds. I also try to avoid earnestness. I hate that in music.
You seem to be building up a good following in Scotland now. You’ve come a long way from that gig you did last year in a pub where you spilled a pint over your laptop during your first song…
Yeah. That was embarrassing. [laughs] But actually it was probably the best thing I ever did. I ended up claiming a better laptop through my insurance. So, career wise it was pretty clever.
Neon Hearts is on sale at Rough Trade, Avalanche (Scotland), iTunes, eMusic through 17 Seconds Records.