Putting the words Sustainable Fashion together can appear to produce an oxymoron, malady doctor how can an industry synonymous with the fast free consumerism mimicked in high fashion magazines pages that helped herald the economic crash become sustainable? Its very structure relies on the twin polluters of shipping and flying to deliver clothes across the world. Furthermore, tadalafil how can fashion be sustainable considering the volume of water and cotton required to make a single t-shirt, buy information pills a subject Amelia’s Magazine broached when reporting on the London School of Fashion Centre for Sustainability competition. Whilst the majority of the fashion industry has a long way to go with regards to production being ethically and sustainable, the recent collaboration between Fashion-Conscious and TRAIDremade is one example of the possibilities open to commerce. Continuing along the vein of Junky Styling TRAIDremade produces new clothes out of the old with beautiful results, proving it is more than possible to create fashionable items with your own hands. Amelia’s Magazine spoke to the director of Fashion Conscious.
What do you think are the most important concerns for the fashion world at the moment?
For me, sustainability is key. The Fairtrade message seems to be getting through to a lot of people already but the vast amount of waste we produce which is being dumped into landfill is frightening. The rise of fast-fashion culture has increased the rate and amount of discarded clothes in landfill too. I think sustainability needs to be pushed to the forefront of eco-fashion now and I am hoping some projects we have coming up in the near future will do just that. The idea of being able to utilise what most would consider rubbish, literally turn waste in something new, fun and most of all fashionable is so exciting. Fashion recycles styles and trends so why shouldn’t the actual act of producing those clothes reflect that? It’s the future of fashion.
Vegan fashion is also a hot topic at the moment and controversy surrounding the use of leather from the Amazon has appeared in the press recently. We have an incredibly stylish collection of shoes by Olsenhaus on the site at the moment. Finding the most ethical materials and production processes is their paramount philosophy.
What’s in store for Fashion Conscience in the future?
So much! We are currently preparing to launch TRAIDremade Boutique, a project we are incredibly excited about. Fashion-conscience has collaborated with the charity TRAID to come up with a new concept for sustainable fast and affordable fashion. The mini-collections will be much more trend focused than TRAID’s typical pieces and be made up of just a few of each design. New lines will be added every few weeks and as creative director, I’ll be keeping a close eye on the catwalk trends to really keep in touch with high-end fashion. The collection will be available exclusively for fashion-conscience customers. We are also launching an exclusive line of printed tees in the near future- they’re being designed and produced as we speak!
How successful has the store been so far? Were you surprised by its success?
Surprised? Yes and no! I’m ambitious and I always hoped the site would be successful so in a way I wasn’t surprised that the site has seen a success. We started trading as the recession began so keeping in mind the tough trading conditions we’ve seen in the last year we’re growing rapidly. But where we’ve made real impact is within the industry itself. In terms of the fact that most people in ethical fashion industry see us as the number one site for style and new talent. We’ve showcased some fantastic new labels on fashion-conscience and I am always on the look out for more. We have attracted good press, and more than larger companies in the same arena as us. Good exposure is essential and we will always attract attention if we continue pushing boundaries.?
Who are your favourite designers on the site? Which would you particularly like recommend?
Camilla Norrbeck sells her beautiful and timeless pieces exclusively on fashion-conscience. She’s a Swedish designer and uses almost entirely ecological or environmentally certified, natural fabrics
We will soon be stocking a little label called Betty Bridge. Born in Paris then studied in London, the designer sources vintage fabric to transform into gorgeous modern pieces. She brings practical, wearable and femininity to her clothes, mixing French chic with London flair.
Fin is a Norwegian label. Its very elegant, luxurios and sophisticated. I’m looking forward to receiving the AW collection. They use organic and environmentally friendly fabrics.
And vegan label Olsenhaus.
Are there any other sites or shops like yours that you would recommend or that have inspired you?
For pure professionalism and selling good fashion, net-a-porter is great. They’ve managed to expand the designer market and made it more accessible to the general public. Eco blog ‘style will save us‘ has won design awards and simply picks the best of eco, we’re often featured on there too which is obviously always good! BeingContent is an excellent eco beauty and wellbeing site. They have everything from skincare to haircare and men’s beauty too
The possibilities are endless.
See Fashion-Conscious for links to other ethical design initiatives including the designer Rani Jones whose collection is made entirely in London and Fin, a Norwegian company who describe themselves as 100% carbon neutral.
Only on their second single, pharm London-based indie fourtet, Your Twenties have been described as ‘possibly the best group ever formed by a member of another act who wasn’t the frontman.’ The ‘other act’ is Metronomy and ‘the member who wasn’t the frontman’ is Gabriel Stebbing. The delightful fellow chats to Amelia’s Magazine in Brick Lane about what it means to be in Your Twenties.
AM: So your new single, ‘Billionaires,’ I take it you don’t want to be a billionaire….
GS: It was one of the first songs I wrote for Your Twenties ages ago. When I was still in Metronomy. I guess it was me at my dreamiest and most ideological. I basically write music that makes you feel a particular way because of the sound. But with Billionaires, it’s not some big anti-corruption message, but in the music industry you can always see when people are motivated by money or where there is too much money thrown at something. I don’t think the song is 100% about that. It was just my little flag waving stand, the last of my idealism that was then crushed by the actual experience of touring with Metronomy. You can absolutely do everything you need to do on a shoestring. I was thinking about the xx record. They must have started 2 or 3 years ago. Now they’ve just released their album on a tiny label, produced it themselves and it’s brilliant! That’s what we’re trying to do with this band as well. I don’t think the old model really works.
AM: You’ve alluded to the pop sound of Your Twenties, was that a conscious move away from Metronomy?
GS: I just got to the point with Metronomy that I didn’t have the time to do both. They’re still touring that record non stop. Metronomy is completely Joe [Mount]‘s music. Me and him had been in each others bands for ages. He’d been the drummer in one of mine for 3 years, where he drummed and I wrote the songs. Then we swapped and I played bass and he wrote the music. Now it just seemed like the right time. I think he always knew I was going to push off at some point.
AM: Your pop aesthetic seems to be nostalgic of the genre before “that word” became a bad thing….
GS: I was brought up in Devon, we didn’t really have cool music. I sort of learnt everything about the early days, as much as you can learn about music, listening to my parents record collections and other people’s parents’ record collections. That idea of how records from the 60s and 70s could sound really weird and really pop at the same time, like The Kinks – I don’t think we’re a retro band or a throw back band – but what I like about records from that time and the post-punk era and in the 80s, they could make three minute long records that were really memorable and they always had something in the middle of them that twisted it all around somehow. ‘Billionaires’ is quite a classic, straight sound, but in ‘Caught Wheel’, our first single and ‘Gold’, which will probably be our next, I think they have that something a little bit strange. That’s what I’m going for.
AM: How far off an album are you?
GS: I think it’s going to be a 10 or 12 track record. We’ve finished two tracks definitely. It’s pretty much all written, we have two thirds of it demo-ed and I say we’re gonna finish by November.
AM: So Joe is producing tracks on the album? And any more by Stephen Street [producer – Blur, The Smiths]?
GS: Stephen Street did Billionaires, the single, and it was really, really amazing to work with him. I think he did the best thing he could with what we brought to the table. It’s like he did the perfect production of that song. It harks back to all our favourite songs of the 90s. It was like a dream come true. Growing up listening to Blur and The Smiths it really was amazing. At the moment, we’re doing more tracks with Joe. He’s done stuff with us in the past and that kind of opened the sound for us – right but odd. On the couple of tracks we’ve done with him so far, it really works. We’re even gonna do a new version of ‘Billionaires’ for the record which will be Joe’s take on it. It sounds pretty amazing, it’s got a guitar solo in the middle that sounds like an American sitcom, like when Kramer walks in on Seinfeld and there’s that little bit of guitar, it kinda like that.
AM: Your first two singles have been pretty summery. Will there be a darker element to any of the tracks in Your Twenties?
GS: I think it’s going to be quite a varied record. We’ve decided that we’re not going to have any tracks that are really down tempo or ballady. And it’s not that I don’t write those. But on your first album, I kinda want it to be, bam, bam, bam. There are a couple of songs that are shaping up to be, I guess, “bittersweet.” That’s a terribly, pretentious sounding word but it’s not all summer, sunshine. A lot of stuff is nostalgic sounding. You know the calm you get after a crazy night, that’s not necessarily down and depressed but reflective. There are a couple of tracks like that, which should fit nicely within the record so it’s not too gormless.
AM: So by the sounds of it the name Your Twenties is reflective of your music….
GS: In Metronomy, we played quite a few gigs with The Teenagers. That sort of gave me the name. I thought what comes next. I feel like that band really encapsulate what it’s like to be a teenager, you know, snogs behind the bike shed. They hit it on the head. With my twenties so far, everything has been a bit more complicated. I want the music and the lyrics to sum that up. I know that’s a massive statement but I want it to sort of fit that idea. There have been so many amazing points in my twenties and so many dead ends, feelings of exasperation and so many points of elation. The album is going to incorporate all of that. I don’t meet that many people that have been super successful in their twenties but when I do, I’m just like, ‘how do you manage that?’ My twenties have been anything but. It’s an album for people in their twenties that didn’t go into a career in banking.
AM: What else would you like to achieve in your twenties?
GS: I’d just like to get the record out. I’ve always been writing and thinking about the kind of music that I’d make if it was just me. I’ve spent the last few years with Metronomy and then before that in other bands that never really made it. And all the people I’ve been in bands with, have put out albums. So I just want to do that now. When I was 18 I made a pact with the lead singer of the band I was in, that we’d be as big as the Beatles. I remember it now, drinking cider… And gradually my sights have lowered and I just wanna get the record out, tour it, maybe play abroad and travel.
AM: You haven’t toured much yet, have you thought about how a tour would work?
GS: At the moment, because of the equipment we have, which isn’t very much, we’re playing it as a straight four piece indie format. But I guess we’re gonna bring in drum pads and electronic sounds. I suppose it’s a little bit early to start thinking about production but [with encouragement] why not? Video screens… why not one of those gang ways? I’ll run along it. Then there’ll be an acoustic set in the middle, like in the round. Then we ride an elephant like Take That. Ha ha ha.
AM: Tell me about the video to Billionaires.
GS: It was case of timing and a case of something falling apart at the last minute. When you’ve got a band of four people and a video director who is going to work for little money outside of his normal production company. A lot of planets have to align. I was really deflated about it. I was on my own in the flat and it needed something. I am quite pleased with the product but I felt terribly unwell afterwards.
AM: It’s appropriate to what we were saying earlier with the powers of distribution….
GS: Yeah I didn’t really understand the Internet before I did that. I just stuck it up on the myspace and suddenly the next day… it was heartening. You don’t have to spend any money.
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