Amelia’s Magazine | The Amazon: Can Fashion Save the Rainforest? A talk with Bia Saldanha


Illustration by Charlotte Hoyle

“We are consumers, capsule addicted. We need to ask ourselves – this t-shirt, this where did it come from? A devastated place with devastated people?” – Bia Saldanha, health 28 July 2011??

Through Bia’s hesitant English – impressively peppered with the vocabulary of her respective fields – there was a message, a mantra, that seemed to resonate from her core with every sentence she spoke. The message? That as people, as a united force of humanity, we must end the selfishness, stop the excuses and start acting on the fact that our Earth cannot bear the brunt of our reckless lifestyle choices much longer. ??I was sitting at the far back of the still, woody space of The Hub, King’s Cross, looking on at Bia, eco journalist Lucy Siegle and novelist Ed Siegle’s discussion unraveling.

If there’s one thing I learnt on that warm Thursday evening, it’s that when a lady like Bia Saldanha gives out such a message from across the room, you sit up straight, strain your ears and listen. Living in the heart of the Amazon rainforest for 20 years definitely grants you a credible opinion on our Earth’s complex ecosystem and how it can be saved. And it only takes a minute or two of hearing Bia speak on the subject to get a sense of just how special she really is. A Brazilian woman who’s dedicated her years to both supporting the indigenous rubber farmers of Amazonia and aiding the battle against deforestation, Bia traded in a life running a stylish clothing boutique in Rio de Janeiro to live in the rainforest with her family and help the Seringueiros (the native rubber tappers) overcome their defeat by mainstream industrial production.


Illustration by Michelle Urvall Nyrén

But why should we care? Why should we listen? We all know of the damage upon the rainforest through mass deforestation and, for example, that Brazil lost nearly 150,000 square kilometers of forest—an area larger than Greece – between 2000 and 2006 alone. But the basis of why we should think again before discarding these past few lines as just another statistic lies in the words of Lucy Siegle; that we are in “the last chance saloon” when it comes to saving the rainforest. And, to further quote the fabulous Bia,

“You can’t imagine how strong, powerful and important the rainforest is if you haven’t been there”.


Illustration by Claire Kearns

With a background in the fashion industry, Bia began her pioneering work after a trip into the Amazon to search for new materials for her clothing line. She described how she found the indigenous rubber tappers storing their goods in traditional waterproof sacks. She then relayed her excitement of noticing how the sack material looked remarkably like leather when it was, in fact, cotton canvas covered in the extracted rubber from the trees. Bia took the idea for wild rubber “leather” handbags and had hundreds made, all of which completely sold out in the 1992 UN Earth Summit in Brazil. And so her crusade against the mass producers began. ?

The Amazon is, in fact, the only place in the world where rubber trees grow in the wild. When ecological and fair-trade brand Veja began their essential collaboration with Bia in 2007, they were already buying wild rubber from the rubber tappers. Veja are a French brand known for their ultra-cool sneakers and luxe accessories, whose products are sourced and produced solely in Brazil. They now work with Bia and use her independent, direct means of extracting wild rubber to produce their bags and footwear.

VEJA – CAOUTCHOUC SAUVAGE D’AMAZONIE from Veja on Vimeo.

In what can only be seen as a triumph in the fight for sustainable fashion, Bia Saldanha has also worked with Hermès, using her ‘vegan leather’ made of wild rubber to collaborate on an accessories collection for the luxury French fashion house.

Despite the dedication and ground-breaking work that’s been recognized the world over, however, Bia hasn’t received the support she justly deserves. In the discussion, she spelt out the level of sheer power and influence that Brazil’s central bank has over what is and isn’t permitted to function in the country. After struggling against many financial disagreements, Bia even faced being shut down completely, despite the continuous funding to unsustainable companies and projects, including the vast amount of cattle ranches that make up 60-70% of deforestation in the Amazon today.?

“I’ve now devoted 16 years to this,” said Bia. “It’s more than a business; it’s a cult.”


Illustration by Charlotte Hoyle

It’s not that she aims to trade with the giant companies, however. “There’s not enough wild rubber to supply the big companies. We don’t want to trade with anyone in particular but we do want to ask those companies, where does your rubber come from? These companies are just looking for marketing, they don’t care.”

Ed Siegle, author of new book Invisibles which is partially set in Brazil, contributed stating “With a lot of these issues, we’re all aware of them but we don’t do anything about it.” Lucy intervened – “That’s because we don’t know what the options are.”

To me, Lucy Siegle made an invaluable contribution to the event. She spoke of writing her latest book ‘To Die For” (Harper Collins; 2010) which she described as “engaging with the producer’s story”, and how she felt about the “contrast between her and the mainstream industry”, recounting fashion as a “vacuum that we know nothing about”. “We are now so distant from the producer,” she said “that the degradation of the consumer, the producer and the place is now inevitable.”


Photographs courtesy of Veja

She went onto ask the frustrating question, something I’d never put my mind to, of “Who are these people telling us what to wear? Telling us to buy this fast, discount fashion?” She feels that we are “told to shop for the economy”. Her answer to this has been to find a few brands that she can “rely on”.

The discussion moved on to the debate of ‘design and production – which should come first?’. Lucy Siegle, naturally, spoke in favour of production, upholding it as the healthier method in place of paper designs being sent across the world for the fastest and cheapest production possible. She believes instead that we need to be taking inspiration from the methods of Bia, who at the outset went into the forest – to the source – in search of materials, from which she then created her designs. This, she says, is a solution.


Photographs courtesy of Veja

Bia declares that her long-standing mission is to “protect the rainforest through economic alternatives”. And I say we need more ground-breaking fashion entrepreneurs like her. In the constant clash between nature and human demands, the more Bias we have in the world today, the brighter our future will be.

And with this mantra that seemed to beam from Bia’s every sentence; she most certainly wasn’t aiming it at the big logger companies or sweat shops or factories, definitely not. It’s US she meant. All of us. It’s you who sits right there wearing clothes that you really know nothing about. Someone’s hands, somewhere in the world, grew that cotton and dyed that fabric and stitched that pocket and, thus far, to you in your life it has made no difference. We’re all perpetrators and I’m most certainly one too. But after last Thursday, I’ll definitely be doing two things – reading Lucy Siegle’s book “To Die For” and taking a long, hard look at me and my wardrobe. And may I suggest you do the same.

Categories ,Amazon, ,Amazonia, ,Bia Saldanha, ,brazil, ,Ed Siegle, ,environment, ,ethical, ,fashion, ,Invisibles, ,Lucy Siegle, ,rainforest, ,review, ,Sustainable Fashion, ,Talk, ,The Hub, ,To Die For, ,Veja

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Amelia’s Magazine | The 3rd Annual Fashioning the Future Awards


Caryn Franklin hosting the ceremony, by Antonia Parker

The third annual Fashioning the Future Awards took place last Thursday, where guests from the world of fashion, business and sustainable living came together to celebrate international sustainable fashion talent. Supported by the United Nations, the awards promote students who produce fashion with conscience.

The setting for this glamorous occasion – the East Wintergarden, part of the Canary Wharf complex – seemed a little unusual in the wake of the current financial crisis, and it’s not the first destination I’d think of if I wanted to host a conscious do. But, I was to learn, that Canary Wharf are committed to environmental issues. The Canary Wharf Group is, in fact, one of the country’s top ‘green’ companies.


Two of the finalists’ work by Joana Faria

Inside the venue, a load of wooden cogs had been dotted around the room, on which frozen models posed for the duration of the evening. Large zoetropes descended from the ceiling, requiring manmade kinetic power to operate that involved guests turning winches in order for them to animate. Drinks flowed and there was no obvious stage or focal point, creating a strange but enjoyable atmosphere that allowed guests to freely mingle amongst the spools and lights.


All photography by Matt Bramford

Circular tubes also hung from the celing, a little lower than average height, in which guests could stand, head fully immersed inside, and listen to interviews with the shortlisted nominees while looking a little silly. It all made for good fun and took the sometimes stifling atmosphere of these kind of events quickly away.

The ceremony itself was delayed in the hope that the members of the celebrity judging panel who could make it (Erin O’Connor and Lucy Siegle had already pulled out for unspecified reasons) would eventually show up. It was repeatedly announced that Jo Wood and BFC chairman Harold Tillman were, together, stuck in traffic. Eventually the producers of the awards gave up and the show commenced, glamourously hosted by fashion protagonist Caryn Franklin. The lights dimmed and Caryn took her place in the centre of the room under one of the zoetropes. Guests were invited to sit, anywhere, or stand to view the ceremony.


Jo Wood and Harold Tillman stuck in traffic by Gareth A Hopkins

Five awards were presented across a diverse range of subjects, including design and innovation, under this year’s theme: Biodiversity.


One of the finalists’ work by Jaymie O Callaghan

Unique Balance
Sara Emilie Terp Hansen scooped the coveted prize for Unique Balance with her intriguing and aesthetically brilliant collection made from cork. The judges said Sara Emilie had ‘found an opportunity to utilise an unexpected material in a fashion context, allowing nature to dictate design.’ It was quite the striking collection and Sara, one of the only recipients to collect her award in person, looked heartwarmingly shocked to receive the award.


One of the finalists’ work by Justyna Sowa

Unique Materials and Processes
The second award, for Unique Materials and Processes, was due to be presented by the aforementioned Jo Wood. Guests still hoped she would leg it in last minute and snatch the mic, but still no joy. Massive props must go to Alex McIntosh from the Centre for Sustainable Fashion who took to the stage (metaphorically speaking as there wasn’t one, of course) and presented also absent Evelyn Lebis‘ wearable light collection with the award.


One of the finalists’ work by Katrina Conquista

Unique Enterprise
Australian Alice Payne scooped the Enterprise award for her conceptual approach to business. ‘Think Lifecycle’ is a sort of social media platform for big companies, allowing them to harness environmental sustainability across the entire business. No, I didn’t completely understand it either, but I did like her spider diagrams.

Unique Design
LCF graduate Lara Torres picked up the award for Unique Design. Professor Frances Corner OBE, head of the LCF, said ‘ironically the design category was the hardest to judge; it’s very hard not to fixate on the idea that the winning entry has to be a perfectly realised garment’. In fact, it wasn’t – Lara’s entry examined the role of the fashion designer in modern society and the relationship we have with the clothing we wear.

The Body Shop One to Watch Award
The final award, presented by Ann Massal, International Brand Director of The Body Shop, went to Ashley Brock, who had flown all the way from the USA for the occasion. Eek. It was a sort of all-encompassing award for the prize student who hadn’t been acknowledged in the other categories. Ashley’s collection showed how ‘seemingly obsolete garments can be re-purposed’.


Erin O’ Connor realxing in the shower and Jo Wood stuck in traffic by Antonia Parker

And so the awards were wrapped up with a brief catwalk show where models stood up from their spools, sashayed around the room and then formed an imposing group under the centre spotlight. Still no sign of Jo Wood or Harold Tillman. It was a marvellous ceremony – genuinely unique – and a celebration of wearable sustainable fashion. I did wonder if it was entirely appropriate that these two were sitting in a car somewhere when they were supposed to be part of an environmentally-aware event (why they didn’t just get out of their bloody cars and get on the bloody tube is beyond me) but infact it didn’t matter; it made the evening entirely about the fashion, the winners, and the real message.

Categories ,Alex McIntosh, ,Alice Payne, ,Ann Massal, ,Antonia Parker, ,BFC, ,Biodiversity, ,Canary Wharf, ,Caryn Franklin, ,Centre for Sustainable Fashion, ,Ceremony, ,East Wintergarden, ,Enterprise, ,environmental, ,Erin O’ Connor, ,ethical, ,Evelyn Lebis, ,fashion, ,Fashion the Future Awards, ,Frances Corner OBE, ,Gareth A Hopkins, ,green, ,Harold Tillman, ,Jaymie O’Callaghan, ,Jo Wood, ,Joana Faria, ,Justyna Sowa, ,Katrina Conquista, ,Lara Torres, ,LCF, ,London College of Fashion, ,Lucy Siegle, ,Matt Bramford, ,Sara Emilie Terp Hansen, ,The Body Shop, ,unique, ,united nations, ,Womenswear, ,Zoetropes

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Amelia’s Magazine | Fashioning the Future 2009 Awards

PLAS1

Following their super successful appearance at Barfly last week I made my way to a west London location to meet the Plastiscine girls. On the way, sales I’m trying desperately to remember my French from school to impress them. On a trip to Paris with my friend Ruth, shop there was no way we would have got by without my “C” grade, I’m sure I can think of something amazingly French to say. I arrive and briefly they are all there, hugs and an ipod charger are exchanged and then drummer Ana and bass player Louise are whisked off back to Paris. I’m sure they are going to have to get used to this whisking about business. So, I was on a very bizarrely patterned couch (see photo above) with lead singer Katty and guitarist Marine. I thought I’d open with my French skills…

Bonjour
K: Bonjour

Cava?
K: Cava merci, Vous parlez francais?

Non, that’s my limit
K: That’s good enough!

(Really?! That’s all that I could have come up with?! I should have revised more.)

You guys played Barfly last night, how do you find London crowds?
K: We really enjoyed the crowd yesterday because it was very busy, so we were really happy! We had a lot of friends in the crowd so they were dancing and jumping! It’s always good to have people reacting when you say something. In Paris people are so quiet, just at the back with their arms crossed and watching. They are interested but they just don’t move.

So it’s good to be here and have the crowd reacting.

There seemed to be a lot of French folks in the audience, That must have been nice?
K: Yeah, I was really surprised! When I asked, “Who is French tonight?” there were quite a lot of people shouting!

plass 019

So, How did your story begin?
K: Marine and I met in high school when we were 15 or 16. We started the band because we watched lots of bands like The Strokes and The White Stripes. We loved them, they had so much energy onstage, they were young and we thought we want to do the same thing. So we started the band and a few months after we were already doing some gigs in bars in Paris. We actually learnt our instruments on stage because we just wanted to play! We didn’t care if we could play, all we wanted was to play and get on stage and get into it!

So, you began by doing covers?
K: When we started we did a few covers, but we were very interested in doing our own songs. We did some covers from The Strokes and other bands for a while then we started doing our own songs, thats what really interested us more rather than covers.

A lot of your influences are English so do you guys find it more natural to write in English?
Both: Defiantly
K: Because all the songs we listen to are in English it is very natural to write in English, but sometimes we do write in French. We get direction from people saying we should say things this way because it’s a better way to say it in English. But yes, its natural because the music we like is English and American, we were never really into French bands

I read that French radio have restrictions (a percentage of French radio has to be French songs)
K: Yeah, so its quite difficult for us to be on the radio in France because we may be French but we sing in English. We are not in the same category as big international bands like the Artic Monkeys, But then we don’t sing in French so we don’t fit into that category either, so its quite difficult to be on the radio.

You worked on your album with top producer Butch Walker what was this like?M: We went to Malibu to record the album and it was amazing, it was really beautiful and we were in the this big house all together and in the morning we would go to record together or go swimming. Everyday we got to work together! It was interesting because it was the first time we were working with someone American. When we are French we don’t know if we would get along or have the right words to express, so we had a really long talk with him and he said what he likes and we said what we like. Butch is really passionate about music.

He’s worked with a wide range of people from Katy Perry to Weezer and now you guys
K: Yeah, he has done a lot of very big pop stars and he also works with acts because he really likes them, he’s done a lot of indie bands like Hot Hot Heat.
M: He was very honest, he said I do some stuff for money I do some stuff for passion and you are a passion for me.
K: He told us that from the first time he saw us playing on stage at Coachella he fell in love with us.

So what acts are you into right now?
M: Lots of stuff, lots of English acts, I love the Jamie T album, I think it’s amazing. I like Metronomy, Katty loves Florence and the Machine. Also I love Eagles of Death Metal, we went to see them in Paris. We like lots of old and new stuff.

“Bitch” was on “Gossip Girl”, this must have been a massive deal for you?

K: I think we didn’t really realize when we did it! It was such a big thing to do! When we saw it on the internet were like “that’s weird!”. We watch the programme, we know the characters and the story so when we arrived we wanted to know what was happening! We were playing on stage at a ball so we couldn’t hear what the actors were saying! It was nice because all the actors came to us to say “hello” and Leighton Meester who plays Blair came up with our album and she wanted us to sign it!

How did this come about because it’s as if the song was written for “Gossip Girl”?
M: No, its on the album so they heard it on the album it was picked out because it worked really well. We recorded it back in February.

You have a great relationship with nylon can you tell us a little more about this?
K: Marvin Scott Jarrett ,the editor in chief at nylon, he is so passionate about music and he always puts a lot of bands in the magazine. I think he wanted to launch a label and so he did it with Nylon, Nylon Records. We are the first band signed because he really liked us and I think he thought we were a good image for the magazine. He knew of us because in Paris fashion week we were on the cover of a magazine, from this he got in touch with our label, at the time which was Virgin, he contacted us we came to NYC to play at a party for the magazine. Then when we came back again he had the idea for the label and wanted to sign us.

So you spend a lot of time here and in NYC, would you ever relocate? K: We would love to live in New York! We all love it there! I think people are amazing with us there because sometimes here when people see four girls on stage in a rock band it is weird for them, like there is something fake, something wrong with it, but in NYC they are just like that’s cool its just four girls rocking and they don’t care.

M: Also, I think that in NYC everybody is doing something interesting. We were only there for a few months we already made such good friends and there’s so much going on so much different music. I think it would be good for the band living in NYC for a bit, for inspiration.
K: You walk in the street and you just feel good there, I don’t know what it is. Its such a big city but you still feel safe.

I follow u guys on twitter and I noticed you had a meeting with Topshop today, You guys are obviously into your fashion, Who are your style icons?
K: Yeah we got it all myspace/facebook/twitter there a blog that marines writes on.
M: Yeah we like fashion because we are girls. I love david bowie from the ziggy stardust period
K: I love Debbie Harry, she’s got it all the music the style, she’s amazing

The same thing could be said about these girls, they have the style, they have the music, they also seem to have it all. I glance and notice the smudge of a stamp on my hand from the entry last night, this reminds me that I have not even bothered to wash for our meeting today never mind attempting to dress nicely. I don’t think there is much point in trying around these girls though. They are naturally chic (I think it’s a French thing) with a playful grunge twist. I’m in love with them for the fact that they just decided to pick up interments to be onstage; from viewing them at The Barfly they all seem to be perfectly at home this platform. These beauties armed with the energy and attitude they bring to their performances, their catchy rock/pop tracks and their effortless style is a winning combination for these pop/grunge goddesses to begin a French revolution.

Single “Barcelona” is available now and the album “About Love” is due out early 2010.
On Ying Lai THImage featuring the work of On Ying Lai photographed by Tomer Halfon.

Last night I was lucky enough to be invited to attend the Fashioning the Future 2009 Awards held within the swanky top floor of the Mayor’s HQ; London City Hall. Organised by the London College of Fashion’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion, viagra the FFA competition was created especially to award both home grown and international students whose work strives to work towards and highlight sustainability within the fashion industry. Building upon the momentum and success of the awards debut last year, last night saw the FFA celebrate and promote the next generation of emerging talent in eco and sustainable fashion, by awarding students in five categories.

Hosted by the lovely Caryn Franklin; fashion commentator and broadcaster, most memorable to me for her stint on the BBC’s The Clothes Show back in the ‘90s, other speakers included Professor Frances Corner MBE; Head of the London College of Fashion, Dilys Williams; Director of Centre for Sustainable Fashion and Lucy Siegle; broadcaster and journalist.

PrizeGiversPrizegivers (L-R): Lucy Siegle, Paul de Zylva, Jo Wood and Duncan Goose. Photography by John Alex Maguire.

With the theme for 2009 being water Lucy Siegle talked us through why this was such an important concept in light of the global water shortage. Some of the horrendous facts and statistics Lucy spoke about really changed my perception of the fashion industry and jolted me and many others in attendance to re-evaluate our personal approaches to fashion and the throw-away culture that we are now so accustomed to. I think what was most scary was how we, as a consuming society are not made aware of the shocking waste of water which is unfortunately currently a bi-product of the industry. Whilst I’m sure the information is out there online and readily available it was great to be able to learn something that I can hopefully pass on to you, loyal readers and everyone I know.

For those who aren’t already in the know here are some of the scariest statistics. Currently 200million litres of water are used globally per second. It is estimated that only 6-10% of this water is used within the home, with industries consuming the remainder. 40% of the global population currently live with limited access to water, whilst 40billion gallons of water is used in the production of fashion each year in the UK alone. Most shocking of all it is estimated that by 2025 over 1.8billion people will not have enough water to survive.

The most valuable thing I learnt was that ‘water is threaded throughout the journey of a garment’ and is used in copious amounts to grow the cotton, spin the yarn, dye, print, produce and even transport the finished article. I learnt how important it is for every individual to take responsibility for their garments as shockingly we as the consumers waste more than the 40billion litres of water used in production by endlessly washing and drying our clothes during their lifespan– proving that the responsibility in part lies with us. For these reasons the FAA is hugely important as without it there would be no one to encourage students to research their production methods and techniques and to challenge the way in which fashion is currently produced, and to strive for a better option. Each winner demonstrated that being sustainable does not mean compromising on style or quality.

Zoe Fletcher SMImage featuring the work of Zoe Fletcher photographed by Sean Michael.

Enterprise and Communication Initiative for a Future Fashion Industry Award
Winner: Zoe Fletcher

Runners up: Ruby Hoette and Julia Crew

Karina Michel SMImage featuring the work of Karina Micheal photographed by Sean Michael.

Role of Materials in a Sustainable Fashion Industry Award
Winner: Varun Gambhir
Runner up: Karina Micheal
Systems for a Sustainable Fashion Industry Award
Winner: Mary Hanlon

Miriam Rhida 3 THImage featuring the work of Miriam Rhida photographed by Tomer Halfon.

Design for a Thriving Fashion Industry Award
Winner: Miriam Rhida

Runner up: Eleanor Dorrian-Smith and On Ying Lai

Emma Rigby 2 SMImage featuring the work of Emma Rigby photographed by Sean Michael.

Water – The Right for All Citizens of this Planet Award
Winner: Emma Rigby

Runner up: Anne Prahl.

You can see the full selection of work from Fashioning the future 2009 at the LCF Fashion Space Gallery until 11 December for free.

Categories ,Anne Prahl, ,BBC, ,Caryn Franklin, ,Centre for Sustainable Fashion, ,City Hall, ,Creative-Idle, ,Dilys Williams, ,Eleanor Dorrian-Smith, ,Emma Rigby, ,Fashion Space Gallery, ,Fashioning the Future 2009 Awards, ,Frances Corner MBE, ,Julia Crew, ,Karina Micheal, ,London College of Fashion, ,Lucy Siegle, ,Mary Hanlon, ,Miriam Rhida, ,On Ying Lai, ,Ruby Hoette, ,The Clothes Show, ,Varun Gambhir, ,Zoe Fletcher

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Amelia’s Magazine | The Papered Parlour: Fashion in the Age of Austerity

Designers Remix by Charlotte Eskildsen. Illustration by Faye West
Designers Remix by Charlotte Eskildsen. Illustration by Faye West.

Designers Remix is a somewhat ridiculous name for the signature brand from Danish designer Charlotte Eskildsen. The press release states that she took as her point of reference the Palais Royal de Paris, visit this site seek where architecture by the minimalist Daniel Buren exists alongside traditional buildings and opulent decor. This point was exemplified in the presentation in the Portico Rooms as Somerset House, which featured minimalist clothing worn by models stood against a plain white ground, versus beehived models in curvaceous boned ruffles who posed against painted backgrounds that alluded to the traditional Palais.

Designers Remix A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryDesigners Remix by Charlotte Eskildsen. Illustration by Katherine Tromans
Designers Remix by Charlotte Eskildsen. Illustration by Katherine Tromans.

Having only just read the press release it now all suddenly becomes clear. At the show it just came across as two very different collections. Of course, the one which the photographers loved most is not hard to guess. Two models cuddled up against an orange and grey photo-real scene was by far the best presentation idea I’ve seen in some time, and ensured some great images for press – photographers thrusting each other out of the way to get the best faux lesbian picture. Sadly the minimalist crew were not nearly as inspiring… and I felt sorry for the under loved models in their poker straight hair and clean black tailoring.

Designers Remix A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryDesigners Remix A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryDesigners Remix A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Designers Remix A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

Designers Remix by Charlotte Eskildsen. Illustration by Faye West
Designers Remix by Charlotte Eskildsen. Illustration by Faye West.

Designers Remix is a somewhat ridiculous name for the signature brand from Danish designer Charlotte Eskildsen. The press release states that she took as her point of reference the Palais Royal de Paris, salve where architecture by the minimalist Daniel Buren exists alongside traditional buildings and opulent decor. This point was exemplified in the presentation in the Portico Rooms as Somerset House, buy which featured minimalist clothing worn by models stood against a plain white ground, viagra buy versus beehived models in curvaceous boned ruffles who posed against painted backgrounds that alluded to the traditional Palais.

Designers Remix A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryDesigners Remix by Charlotte Eskildsen. Illustration by Katherine Tromans
Designers Remix by Charlotte Eskildsen. Illustration by Katherine Tromans.

Having only just read the press release it now all suddenly becomes clear. At the show it just came across as two very different collections. Of course, the one which the photographers loved most is not hard to guess. Two models cuddled up against an orange and grey photo-real scene was by far the best presentation idea I’ve seen in some time, and ensured some great images for press – photographers thrusting each other out of the way to get the best faux lesbian picture. Sadly the minimalist crew were not nearly as inspiring… and I felt sorry for the under loved models in their poker straight hair and clean black tailoring.

Designers Remix A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryDesigners Remix A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryDesigners Remix A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Designers Remix A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

You can see more work from Faye West and Katherine Troman in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration.
 

Fashion in the Age of Austerity, order organised by the Papered Parlour, combined so many exciting elements that I don’t quite know where to begin. It was in the most wonderful building, amongst some rare, antique toys in glass cabinets. Fashion designer and V&A Trustee Betty Jackson was there looking radiant in red lipstick, there was a brilliant panel debate, live music, shopping and craft workshops. 

 
Learning to upcycle jewellery with Tatty Devine 

I was most excited by the panel debate with the Guardian’s Ethical Living columnist Lucy Siegle, Think Act Vote founder Amisha Ghadiali, Labour Behind the Labels Hannah Higginson and the managing director of the Ethical Fashion Forum Tamsin Lejeune; four women that I happen to find pretty inispiring. The debate did not disappoint; we raced around lots of interestting, controversial and pressing issues like slow fashion, how to navigate the moral maze and where/if craft comes into things. 

 

One of the key messages I took from the event was that if you want to shop ethically you can’t be afraid of complexity. Lucy Siegle explained that it isn’t as simple as goodies and baddies in ethical fashion. If you scratch the surface of the ethical issues of clothing supply, you’d be forgiven for getting a little…muddled. There’s organic, local, hand made, made from natural fibres, made in the UK, Fairtrade, tree protecting, wildlife saving or fabrics that use only organic dyes. No garment can tick all of those boxes and no ‘ethical label’ is ever fully, 100% “ethical”. They simply don’t exist. What you choose all depends on your values and the way that you choose to navigate around it all. And as Tamsin Lejeune said, you can’t do everything. 

Ultimately, I believe you can avoid most ethical conundrums by simply buying fewer clothes. But this isn’t always realistic. I was reminded however that we can, be a bit more thoughtful about where things come from and what they’re made of. 

 
The Panel. Illustration by Sam Parr 

Someone asked about changes at a government level, but the panel agreed that there simply isn’t any political appetite for tax breaks or measures that might encourage more ethical practices, which I found pretty depressing. They went on to say that the only way the industry was ever going to change was via direct citizen action, via things like writing letters to company head offices (action pack here). The panel said it’s pointless asking shop assistants about ethical practices because they generally won’t know. Although I think there is a place for this I secretly breathed a sigh of relief; I once stuttered through a rehearsed speech to a cashier in New Look only to be boo’d by the queue behind me and met with blank, skeptical faces from the staff….hmm. 

 
A  workshop in action: students learning to make a wallet out of a Tetra Pak with the Otesha Project 

There was a wearisome discussion about semantics and the need for a new word for ‘ethical’ and ‘sustainable’ which to be honest I found rather frustrating. I don’t think the name matters, I’d much rather peoples energies were spent on putting pressure on the suppliers and informing people. After some all round praise for sewing and making clothes as a way to recycle, appreciate garment making and challenge the way we think about fashion, the talk was done and I was back upstairs. 

 
Hannah Peel illustration by Elizabeth Goodspeed 

My friend and I wondered around the market stalls, wine glass in hand, whilst being entertained by some brilliant bands, including The Piney Gir Country Roadshow and Hannah Peel & Laura Groves. I particularly liked the folky, mellow sound of  Hannah Peel, who wore a bright green maxi dress, and who had some attendees standing in silence as they listened to her.


Tatty Devine illustration by Sanna Dyker 

There were 20 specially selected ethical fashion stalls to browse, which I regretted not bringing any cash for. Here’s a quick run through of my favourites. 

I loved the intricate illustrations on the goods at the Zosienka and Rosie stall. 

 

This is the Create Place’s stall. The craft workshops they offer enable them to prove heavily subsidised courses for their local community via an inspiring initiative from St Margaret’s House. 

 

Fine Cell were there too, a brilliant volunteer led organization that teaches prison inmates how to embroider and supplies them with the materials they need. The inmates are paid for their work, which is sold all over the UK.

I was glad to be introduced to the Offset Warehouse, a social enterprise and the first UK online retailer to sell a wide range of ethical fabrics, a haberdashery, garments and resources for crafts people. Their prices are also extremely reasonable. So if, like me, you like making clothes or interiors products, this is a good resource for ethical fabric.

This is the jewelry of A Alicia. She is part of the handmade wedding collective who are hosting an event this week between the 15th-20th March at the Craft Central Showcase Space in East London.

 

I also went along to Think Act Vote Founder Amisha Ghadiali’s talk, which was good but it felt a little disorganised: loud music began to play half way through. (Note to Papered Parlour: Great event but I think the Make Believe area was too close to the stage!) Fellow contributor Katie Antoniou was also there presenting Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration and answering questions.   

The combination of the panel discussion with the music, wine, stalls and workshops was a winner. And what really set it apart from the run-of-the-mill craft fairs was the focus on ethics and sustainability. There wasn’t one daggy, hippy-ish stand, just good design that happens to be ethical, with inspiring debate and discission. I was a happy bunny. There is another event coming up which, on the basis of the last one, I strongly recommend that you come along too. It’s called It’s Your Write! and it’s on Thursday 7th April 2011. Expect to find a celebration of the self published.

Categories ,A Alicia, ,Affordable Fashion, ,Amisha Ghadiali, ,Betty Jackson, ,Elizabeth Goodspeed, ,Ethical Fashion, ,Ethical Fashion Forum, ,fairtrade, ,Fine Cell, ,Hannah Bullivant, ,Hannah Higginson, ,Hannah Peel, ,Labour behind the Label, ,Lucy Siegle, ,organic, ,Sam Parr, ,Sanna Dyker, ,Tamsin Lejeune, ,Tatty Devine, ,The Create Place, ,The Offset Warehouse, ,The Otesha Project, ,The Papered Parlour, ,The Piney Gir Country Roadshow, ,The V&A Museum of Childhood, ,Think Act Vote, ,Zosienka and Rosie

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Amelia’s Magazine | The Papered Parlour: Fashion in the Age of Austerity

Designers Remix by Charlotte Eskildsen. Illustration by Faye West
Designers Remix by Charlotte Eskildsen. Illustration by Faye West.

Designers Remix is a somewhat ridiculous name for the signature brand from Danish designer Charlotte Eskildsen. The press release states that she took as her point of reference the Palais Royal de Paris, visit this site seek where architecture by the minimalist Daniel Buren exists alongside traditional buildings and opulent decor. This point was exemplified in the presentation in the Portico Rooms as Somerset House, which featured minimalist clothing worn by models stood against a plain white ground, versus beehived models in curvaceous boned ruffles who posed against painted backgrounds that alluded to the traditional Palais.

Designers Remix A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryDesigners Remix by Charlotte Eskildsen. Illustration by Katherine Tromans
Designers Remix by Charlotte Eskildsen. Illustration by Katherine Tromans.

Having only just read the press release it now all suddenly becomes clear. At the show it just came across as two very different collections. Of course, the one which the photographers loved most is not hard to guess. Two models cuddled up against an orange and grey photo-real scene was by far the best presentation idea I’ve seen in some time, and ensured some great images for press – photographers thrusting each other out of the way to get the best faux lesbian picture. Sadly the minimalist crew were not nearly as inspiring… and I felt sorry for the under loved models in their poker straight hair and clean black tailoring.

Designers Remix A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryDesigners Remix A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryDesigners Remix A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Designers Remix A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

Designers Remix by Charlotte Eskildsen. Illustration by Faye West
Designers Remix by Charlotte Eskildsen. Illustration by Faye West.

Designers Remix is a somewhat ridiculous name for the signature brand from Danish designer Charlotte Eskildsen. The press release states that she took as her point of reference the Palais Royal de Paris, salve where architecture by the minimalist Daniel Buren exists alongside traditional buildings and opulent decor. This point was exemplified in the presentation in the Portico Rooms as Somerset House, buy which featured minimalist clothing worn by models stood against a plain white ground, viagra buy versus beehived models in curvaceous boned ruffles who posed against painted backgrounds that alluded to the traditional Palais.

Designers Remix A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryDesigners Remix by Charlotte Eskildsen. Illustration by Katherine Tromans
Designers Remix by Charlotte Eskildsen. Illustration by Katherine Tromans.

Having only just read the press release it now all suddenly becomes clear. At the show it just came across as two very different collections. Of course, the one which the photographers loved most is not hard to guess. Two models cuddled up against an orange and grey photo-real scene was by far the best presentation idea I’ve seen in some time, and ensured some great images for press – photographers thrusting each other out of the way to get the best faux lesbian picture. Sadly the minimalist crew were not nearly as inspiring… and I felt sorry for the under loved models in their poker straight hair and clean black tailoring.

Designers Remix A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryDesigners Remix A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryDesigners Remix A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Designers Remix A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

You can see more work from Faye West and Katherine Troman in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration.
 

Fashion in the Age of Austerity, order organised by the Papered Parlour, combined so many exciting elements that I don’t quite know where to begin. It was in the most wonderful building, amongst some rare, antique toys in glass cabinets. Fashion designer and V&A Trustee Betty Jackson was there looking radiant in red lipstick, there was a brilliant panel debate, live music, shopping and craft workshops. 

 
Learning to upcycle jewellery with Tatty Devine 

I was most excited by the panel debate with the Guardian’s Ethical Living columnist Lucy Siegle, Think Act Vote founder Amisha Ghadiali, Labour Behind the Labels Hannah Higginson and the managing director of the Ethical Fashion Forum Tamsin Lejeune; four women that I happen to find pretty inispiring. The debate did not disappoint; we raced around lots of interestting, controversial and pressing issues like slow fashion, how to navigate the moral maze and where/if craft comes into things. 

 

One of the key messages I took from the event was that if you want to shop ethically you can’t be afraid of complexity. Lucy Siegle explained that it isn’t as simple as goodies and baddies in ethical fashion. If you scratch the surface of the ethical issues of clothing supply, you’d be forgiven for getting a little…muddled. There’s organic, local, hand made, made from natural fibres, made in the UK, Fairtrade, tree protecting, wildlife saving or fabrics that use only organic dyes. No garment can tick all of those boxes and no ‘ethical label’ is ever fully, 100% “ethical”. They simply don’t exist. What you choose all depends on your values and the way that you choose to navigate around it all. And as Tamsin Lejeune said, you can’t do everything. 

Ultimately, I believe you can avoid most ethical conundrums by simply buying fewer clothes. But this isn’t always realistic. I was reminded however that we can, be a bit more thoughtful about where things come from and what they’re made of. 

 
The Panel. Illustration by Sam Parr 

Someone asked about changes at a government level, but the panel agreed that there simply isn’t any political appetite for tax breaks or measures that might encourage more ethical practices, which I found pretty depressing. They went on to say that the only way the industry was ever going to change was via direct citizen action, via things like writing letters to company head offices (action pack here). The panel said it’s pointless asking shop assistants about ethical practices because they generally won’t know. Although I think there is a place for this I secretly breathed a sigh of relief; I once stuttered through a rehearsed speech to a cashier in New Look only to be boo’d by the queue behind me and met with blank, skeptical faces from the staff….hmm. 

 
A  workshop in action: students learning to make a wallet out of a Tetra Pak with the Otesha Project 

There was a wearisome discussion about semantics and the need for a new word for ‘ethical’ and ‘sustainable’ which to be honest I found rather frustrating. I don’t think the name matters, I’d much rather peoples energies were spent on putting pressure on the suppliers and informing people. After some all round praise for sewing and making clothes as a way to recycle, appreciate garment making and challenge the way we think about fashion, the talk was done and I was back upstairs. 

 
Hannah Peel illustration by Elizabeth Goodspeed 

My friend and I wondered around the market stalls, wine glass in hand, whilst being entertained by some brilliant bands, including The Piney Gir Country Roadshow and Hannah Peel & Laura Groves. I particularly liked the folky, mellow sound of  Hannah Peel, who wore a bright green maxi dress, and who had some attendees standing in silence as they listened to her.


Tatty Devine illustration by Sanna Dyker 

There were 20 specially selected ethical fashion stalls to browse, which I regretted not bringing any cash for. Here’s a quick run through of my favourites. 

I loved the intricate illustrations on the goods at the Zosienka and Rosie stall. 

 

This is the Create Place’s stall. The craft workshops they offer enable them to prove heavily subsidised courses for their local community via an inspiring initiative from St Margaret’s House. 

 

Fine Cell were there too, a brilliant volunteer led organization that teaches prison inmates how to embroider and supplies them with the materials they need. The inmates are paid for their work, which is sold all over the UK.

I was glad to be introduced to the Offset Warehouse, a social enterprise and the first UK online retailer to sell a wide range of ethical fabrics, a haberdashery, garments and resources for crafts people. Their prices are also extremely reasonable. So if, like me, you like making clothes or interiors products, this is a good resource for ethical fabric.

This is the jewelry of A Alicia. She is part of the handmade wedding collective who are hosting an event this week between the 15th-20th March at the Craft Central Showcase Space in East London.

 

I also went along to Think Act Vote Founder Amisha Ghadiali’s talk, which was good but it felt a little disorganised: loud music began to play half way through. (Note to Papered Parlour: Great event but I think the Make Believe area was too close to the stage!) Fellow contributor Katie Antoniou was also there presenting Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration and answering questions.   

The combination of the panel discussion with the music, wine, stalls and workshops was a winner. And what really set it apart from the run-of-the-mill craft fairs was the focus on ethics and sustainability. There wasn’t one daggy, hippy-ish stand, just good design that happens to be ethical, with inspiring debate and discission. I was a happy bunny. There is another event coming up which, on the basis of the last one, I strongly recommend that you come along too. It’s called It’s Your Write! and it’s on Thursday 7th April 2011. Expect to find a celebration of the self published.

Categories ,A Alicia, ,Affordable Fashion, ,Amisha Ghadiali, ,Betty Jackson, ,Elizabeth Goodspeed, ,Ethical Fashion, ,Ethical Fashion Forum, ,fairtrade, ,Fine Cell, ,Hannah Bullivant, ,Hannah Higginson, ,Hannah Peel, ,Labour behind the Label, ,Lucy Siegle, ,organic, ,Sam Parr, ,Sanna Dyker, ,Tamsin Lejeune, ,Tatty Devine, ,The Create Place, ,The Offset Warehouse, ,The Otesha Project, ,The Papered Parlour, ,The Piney Gir Country Roadshow, ,The V&A Museum of Childhood, ,Think Act Vote, ,Zosienka and Rosie

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