Upon entering the exhibition visitors were greeted by superbly talented stylist Lucy Harvey and her assistant Charlie Divall, who offered to upstyle them with various pieces from the exhibitors’ tables and then photograph them and tweet about it. I thought in this way Lucy offered a really fun, interactive introduction to the exhibition and a great way of promoting both the designers’ and the visitors’ work.
Walking further into the exhibition the first thing to catch my eye was a series of gloriously colourful raincoats by Maria Ampatielou’s new brand Supported by Rain – seen above. Made of recycled umbrellas and end-of-roll waterproof fabrics, these raincoats are not only beautiful but also cleverly fold into their own pockets or hoods, whose insides have remained dry, so that you can put them back into your bag without any soaked diary dramas!
By Stamo, which featured in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, is another brand I enjoyed especially because of the theatricality in the designs and the extensive use of found and recycled materials whose original form is often retained – as seen in this bullet belt.
My neighbour exhibitor Alani Gibbon of INALA London showed some designs which were a natural hit with me becuase of their bright colours, but they further impressed me with their cleverness and versatility. For example a hooded short dress could be turned around and worn as an all-in-one playsuit! Not to mention the use of pulped eucalyptus fabric which felt amazing to touch.
I was thrilled to see the brand Outsider winning the JP Selects womenwear award at the end of the show as they stongly promote the notion that ‘ethical’ fashion should just look like very good fashion with their range of classic but very stylish designs.
Along with Hemyca above, whom I was not aware of, it was great to discover my dream swimsuit designer Agnes Valentine! The brand sources fine italian eco fabrics and their designs are minimal and classic but with bold colours and very feminine indeed.
It was an honour to meet another ACOFI designer Hetty Rose whose fun bespoke shoes are made using vintage Japanese kimono fabrics, Alice Wilby from Futurefrock modelled this pair and did not want to take them off!
Next to Hetty Rose I found the friendly couple behind the Golden Grass Company who design jewellery and accessories for native artisans in Brazil to make out of a naturally golden, light and durable fibre, which is grown without chemicals or pesticides, under fair trade standards – LOVED this clutch!
Sharing a table with me was Monique Luttin who makes intriguing headpieces using offcuts or vintage fabrics and found objects – I particularly liked this bird scull one which has a tribal, ritualistic element to it.
And finally a piece from the Plastic Seconds recycled jewellery collection I exhibited made out of the plastic, colourful bits one finds when unpacking a new printer…
As Hannah Bullivant pointed out in a previous post on EcoLuxe London, hopefully sustainable practices in fashion design will become mainstream and the brands that are still termed ‘ethical’ will no longer have to exhibit in separate showrooms and sections such as EcoLuxe or Estethica. Hopefully soon.
The pop-up shop does what it says on the tin, buy appears in a different location for a limited time, so you have to be quick to get in and see what’s inside. But make the effort as you can find a plethora of goodies from new designers and artists, hand picked from exotic locations all around the world. The store also supports the East End charity Kids Company, so you’ll be doing your bit to help as you shop.
Enjoy an evening of late-night shopping on London’s trendiest street, as well as rumageing through all that vintage, there will be refreshments on hand and special Christmas gifts available only on this night.
Pretty girl music from this ex-Pipette. Still very pop but less of the sixties girl group rip-offs.
Free Fridays: Brute Chorus, La Shark, Josh Weller, 93 Feet East, London
Bonkers hair (Josh Weller) and outfits (La Shark) will abound at this FREE night featuring up-and-coming bands including Brute Chorus who will presumably play new single ‘She Was Always Cool’.
Stereolab, Black Box, Belfast
Long-standing lounge/electronic post-rock with female French singer.
Getting up at 6am on a cold Saturday morning may be unthinkable to some -but for myself and fellow fashion enthusiasts, information pills the Angels Vintage and Costume clothing sale was more than enough motivation for the long, look early trek over to Wembley….or so we thought. The queue turned out to be VERY long… a 3 to 4 hour wait we were told. Despite our earlier determination, it was too long for us and we gracefully admitted defeat, leaving behind a growing queue of seriously hardcore shoppers.
One of those hardcore shoppers was ameliasmagazine.com’s very own Music Editor, Prudence Ivey, here’s her take on it, “Leaving the house at 6.30am, we were in the queue by about 7.15am and, although in the first 500, we were nowhere near the front. Some people – vintage shop buyers – had been there since Friday afternoon. There was a really friendly atmosphere, you could tell these people were true vintage fiends, as there was not a scruffbag in sight, it was all red lipstick and glamourous outfits despite the ungodly hour.
When we were allowed in, after just over an hour of wating, there was virtual silence and heads down as people rifled through the cardboard boxes packed with clothes on the floor. A cloud of dust filled the room after about 10 minutes, most of the clothes were in a bit of a state and everything I ended up with turned the water black when I put it in to hand-wash, not to mention my black snot… A quick sort through, try on and swapping session with my friend, along with some excellent packing meant that I left with 18 items of pretty decent, some of them really excellent, vintage finds for a measly £20. One of my favourite shopping trips EVER.” (above and below is Prudence modeling her two of her wonderful buys)
So now I wish I had stayed in the queue – but my day was not wasted, I found a far more inviting alternative, which boasted the benefits of being a. inside and b. no queue! It was the first London edition of New York magazine BUST‘s Christmas Craftacular.
Set in the St. Aloysius Social Hall in Euston, a mixed group of cool crafty kids, cute guys and even grannies filled the aptly dated-yet-cozy bar, and the Shellac Sisters played classic retro tunes on their wind-up gramophone, which added to the kitsch atmosphere. Having taken off in New York over the last 4 years, the Craftacular event has now come to British shores and brings together craft sellers, knitting circles, badge making stations and of course, lots of cake!
Tatty Divine turned into doctors for the day and set up their very own ‘craft clinic’ offering advice and tips to craft novices or lovers.
An ArtYarn Guerilla Graffiti Knitting Crew even set up a training camp, where boys sat happily next to their teachers, learning how to knit one, pearl one and Random Monkey Designs offered lessons in cross stitch.
With a packed out venue and buzzing crowd, it’s likely that (and we hope) the Craftacular event will become a regular date in the British calendar.
Monday Dec 8th
It seems most exhibition spaces in this area begin like this, drugs in someone’s flat. Every day this week at 79a Brick Lane, viagra 100mg there will be an exhibition of seven separate artists (one for each day) alongside a selected feature film, including the likes of Saturday Night Fever, North by Northwest, and The Truman Show. It starts at eight and ends when the film does. For a more detailed itinerary, check here. Admission is free.
Tuesday Dec 9th A Family in Disguise, by Yu Jinyoung has been extended at Union on Teesdale Street and is worth a look, if not only for the fact that entering the exhibition is a surreal experience in itself. Not a curator to be seen, and with a camera that links the room to their gallery in Ewer Street, you are alone in a haunting room with this disparate family of forlorn faces. Ring the buzzer and take a look.
Wednesday Dec 10th
Indian Highway is the new exhibition starting today at the Serpentine, describing itself as a snapshot of the vibrant generations artists working across the country today, well-established artists shown besides lesser known practitioners. Using a array of medias they are threaded together with a common engagement with the social and political, examining complex issues in contemporary India such as environmentalism, religious sectarianism, globalisation, gender, sexuality and class. It runs until Feb 22nd.
Thursday Dec 11th
Hermetic Seel is a new exhibition by Shane Bradford opening on Wednesday at the Vegas Gallery. It might just be satisfying to see fourteen historical art encyclopedias subjected to Bradford’s “post-Pollock” dipping technique.
Friday Dec 12th
Here’s what one of our writers said of Omnifuss’ last exhibition: In the heart of Dalston, down the end of a small alley road was a large garage with a little door. Through this door, a group of 24 artists showcased their work. Sculpture, music, performance and photography took place in the old car workshop that was far away from the usual pristine white walls of gallery spaces and created a rustic, and inspiring location for this exhibition. With flame heaters to warm those tootsies, and the symphonious sound of a violinist haunting the open rooms, I found myself immersed in the eclectic furniture and art… Downstairs is their new exhibit, an exploration of domesticity in its rawest states through sound, sculpture, video and installation, and by the sounds of it is worth a visit.
Saturday Dec 13th Awopbopaloobop. Artists listen to music, everyone listens to music. Lyrics are etched into our minds whether we want them there or not, and we can’t help but allow them to inform our everyday. Awopbopaloobop (I just like saying that word) is an exhibition at http://www.transitiongallery.co.uk/index.html, asking a host of artists to produce based on a favourite song lyric. This exhibition is coming to an end, (21st of Dec), so go and see it if you haven’t already. The space itself is worth the trip, and it’s fun to walk around a gallery with a song-sheet in your hands!
Brian Aldiss’ short story, drug “Super-Toys Last All Summer Long”, this to which the exhibition “Super-Toys” makes reference, abortion tells the story of a mother and her android son in the overcrowded world of the future who, however hard they try, cannot find a way to love each other. It makes love seem like a human malfunction, a flaw which can never be imitated. But moreover it captures the feeling of dismay when two people who know that they should love each other realise they can’t – that they fundamentally don’t know how. The android boy, who questions whether or not he is real, seems more humane than his human mother; who sends him to be repaired for the flaw from which she herself suffers. Love cannot be programmed; but is a lover not someone who says all those things that you want to hear, like an automated machine?
So with high expectations of an exhibition dealing with the strange interaction between humans and machine, fantasy and reality, love and compromise; what I found was initially disappointing. The notions the story had alluded to, the emotions and the complexity of them, were not to be found. Machine ducks floating in a pond, a room of human shaped stuffed objects lying mundanely on the floor; flashing machines dancing in a square box; all interesting to look at, but lacking explanation. The most interesting part of the exhibition was the nightmarish, garish and lurid room that followed, full of toys ripped apart: toys with two head, toys mutilated and deformed by visitors, and all in the name of art. With shelves and window ledges packed already, I was invited to create my own monster from a pile of rejected toys. There was something sinister about being instructed to rip the head off a teddy bear; glue Barbie legs where paws should be; and to work at a designated workstation. Despite the visual pleasure and hands on aspect of super-toys, it seemed to be an exhibition full of concept without real content. But maybe that’s what it allows you to do; to explore you own memories of love, childhood, playfulness and ultimately rejection; and realise that everyone else feels the same way too.
Anne Collier Dispersion is a patchy affair. Curated by the director of the Chisenhale gallery Polly Staple, hospital it features seven artists working from different locations, view tied together under the banner of an examination of the ‘circulation of images in contemporary society….in our accelerated image economy’. This seems a fairly sound starting point, although a bit nebulous and too wide in the sense of the number of artists that could be described as grappling with these issues.
Recycling and colliding of images is examined most clearly in Anne Collier’s photographs. Iconic posters, complete with creases, walk the line between multiple realities; but unlike other work in the show, the centre of power lies not in some theoretical hinterland but in the jarring sensation between seeing the photograph of the image and the image itself. Again this is hardly a new idea but it is well executed. The twin set of images a box of photos of the sea provides a further layer of tension between the natural and man-made.
Most of the the other works are films. Seth Price’s ‘Digital Video Effect:Editions‘ (2006) , juxtaposing high and low cultural references (such as those barriers still exist), feels like an early 90′s MTV insert in its scope and complexity. Mark Leckey, now with the epithet ‘Turner Prize Winner’, is due to give a one off lecture/live performance ‘Mark Leckey in the Long Tail‘ in January tackling the similar ground, hopefully to better effect.
A better example of the film work on display is Hito Steyerl’s fascinating ‘Lovely Andrea’ (2007). This is an engaging documentary-esque look at a Japanese bondage artist, cut with scenes fom Wonder Woman cartoons and ‘backstage’ footage of the creation or recreation of scenes, calling the whole film’s authenticity into question. This could have led to a horribly self reflexive pile of mush but is actually a taut and gripping set of mixed narratives.
Henrik Olesen’s computer printed images mounted on blackboards, ‘some gay-lesbian artists and/or artists relevant to homosocial culture V,VI.VII’(2007), a collection reappropriated around queer history, touched on interesting ideas; a collection of female portraits by female artists from Renaissance onwards, for example. But the sum of its parts felt lazy and, like the rest of the show, he veers into hectoring or frustrating silence instead of fostering conversation between the work and viewer.
This is a problem, but one the ICA can absorb better than other cultural centres. The institution was founded as an ‘adult playground’ and this remit naturally involves risky and challenging work, which sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. Dispersion is a perfect encapsulation of this.
The disjointed art punk of San Fransisco’s Deerhoof is pretty brilliant on record but I’d heard it was even better live and so couldn’t wait to see them at ULU on their only UK date this year. Their music is disarmingly simple sounding, online loved by music aficionados and 10 year old girls alike – my kid sister loves Panda Panda Panda and Milkman almost as much as any Girls Aloud single. Perhaps I should have sent her along to review the show. It would have been easier for her to convince the people on the door that she was called Prudence Ivey (the name I was under on the list) than a scruffy and definitely male reviewer. They thought I was a street-crazy.
Achieving such wide-ranging popularity is an impressive feat considering that, sick underneath that childlike simplicity, their songs consist of complex structures alongside fragments of dissonant guitar thrash/twang and improvisation. However, seeing Deerhoof is no overblown, intellectual chore. They manage to be simultaneously clever, loud and cartoonishly entertaining and enlivened ULU with a set that encompassed a lot of new album material alongside some stuff to keep the old school fans happy.
The crowd were particularly receptive to old favourite Milkman, along with the Yo La Tengo-in-a-parallel-universe sounds of new album Offend Maggie – a title that always gives me the mental image of an outraged, pre-dementia Margaret Thatcher. There were clipped drums ahoy, along with Deerhoof’s twinkling wire to fuzz guitar textures. Satomi’s vocals, all coy and Japanese, were accentuated by goofy hand gestures – a fitting accompaniment to her surreal and playful subject matter. The whole band were really tight and surprisingly enthusiastic after fourteen years playing together. I can’t wait to see them again.
For anyone wanting to brush up on their climate science, drugs I thoroughly recommend this charming animation by Leo Murray.
The friendly and clear narration takes you steadily through the various chemical processes that are happening on our planet in it’s present climatic state. Without being overly ominous, the film warns how these processes, unchanged for millions of years, are being disturbed by man-made CO2 emissions and may be heading towards a tipping point where we will be plummeted into a place of no return. This definitely ‘isn’t about polar bears anymore!’
I found it really helpful for clarifying some terminology, the science bits- told in a simple way- are up- to- date, and it projects a statement of encouragement, not one of doom. The prospects are scary but we’re lucky to be the generation who could prevent them from happening.
To vote for Wake Up Freak Out then Get a Grip in the Aniboom Awards 2008 click here.
For anyone wanting to brush up on their climate science, buy information pills I thoroughly recommend this snappy animation by Leo Murray.
The friendly and clear narration takes you steadily through the various chemical processes that are happening on our planet in it’s present climatic state. Without being overly ominous, the film warns how these processes, unchanged for millions of years, are being disturbed by man-made CO2 emissions and may be heading towards a tipping point where we will be plummeted into a place of no return.
I found it really helpful for clarifying some terminology, the science bits- told in a simple way- are up- to- date, and it projects a statement of encouragement, not one of doom. The prospects are scary but we’re lucky to be the generation who could prevent them from happening.
To vote for Wake Up Freak Out in Aniboom Awards 2008. No Equal clothing are a company who don’t pander to press agendas and celebrities, sick instead they are refreshingly focused on working with new and exciting design talent and helping charities.
They also know how to throw a party – and it was good cause central. In the first room of The Russian Club Studios was a display of logoed t-shirts and hoodies, website like this made in collaboration with three emerging illustrators– Yann Le Bec, Thibaud Herem and Jean Jullien.
10% of the sales – not just profit – of this No Equal apparel are being donated to three charities, which No Equal Clothing are supporting, Kidsco, Addaction and XLP. To mix up the mediums and give some background to the collaborations, there was also a video installation showing the three artists at work.
In the second room, as part of their desire to champion new designers, No Equal clothing held a silent auction (of which all profits go to Kidsco, Addaction and XLP) for the London College of Fashion. Seven of LCF’s undergraduate students working for the college’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion created collections that were environmentally and ethically conscious and these were being sold.
The auction is also a possible reason for the eclectic mixture of guests. East London kids hung out with men in suits (in separate groups obviously) in the sparse concrete venue created an unusual atmosphere, you could have been in an underground club, art gallery or exclusive couture shop.
The students collections were varied and interesting, Michela Carraro (pictured below) used hemp based fabrics sourced from small family run businesses to create a romantic chiffon-esque collection, while Manon Flener created deconstructed / reconstructed garments made of pieces of fabric pieced together with studs. She says her motivation for the collection was to reduce waste in fashion; each piece can be put together in a different way to make many garments.
Supporting the Fashioning the Future programme at LCF, which encourages designers to think about the environmental imapct of their work, No Equal clothing are actively championing eco-friendly designers of the future and with their own clothing label, bucking the greedy fashion trend by giving a percentage of profits to charity. Good work all round.
Last week the Earth team at Amelia’s Magazine went along to the Friends House in Euston to listen to a report made by the Public Interest Research Centre (PIRC). The issue was climate change and the information it uncovered was alarming.
As a self-confessed newbie to these sorts of events I must admit to harboring uneasiness about feeling out of place in a room full of swampys. But my silly preconceptions were immediately flattened.
Lead by a panel of speakers expert in their field, story the atmosphere at the Friends House was alive with people from all manner of backgrounds but united in the opinion that climate change is a matter of urgency.
Chairing the debate was Christian Hunt who kicked off by asking the audience a few questions. 99% raised their hand when asked whether they would describe themselves as environmentalists. Roughly 70% would say they had some knowledge of climate change while roughly 20% would say they had lots of knowledge on the subject. 99% of us responded yes we did like his t-shirt that read ‘don’t give up.’
The first to speak from the panel was Kevin Anderson from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. He started with a clear message: the question of climate change is a humanitarian one. While the U.K. and E.U’s definition of a dangerous climate change as 2°C per annum may be an adequate threshold for us in the western world, it is not nearly small enough to safeguard the rest of the world.
It is the southern hemisphere, containing the world’s poorest, that is targeted the most by global warming in it’s present state, with people dying on a daily basis. Therefore it is an ethical decision about how much we care about the world’s weakest as to how and when we go about dealing with the climate.
He went on to say that the entire climate change debate needs an urgent rethink when taking into account the latest emissions data. The planet is heating up at an even faster rate than we thought, and our government seems to be denying this is happening by following the miscalculated advice from the Stern Report and not pumping in nearly dosh needed to implement a strategy that will radically cut back our emissions.
But Kevin Anderson pointed out there may be a silver lining to retrieve from the present economical situation. History has shown us that larger emission reductions occur when there is economic turmoil. I guess this has something to with cut backs in industry forced by a plummeting economy. When the Soviet Union collapsed, for example, there was a record drop of 5% per annum.
Tim Helweg-Larson, the director of Public Interest Research Centre bounded onto the platform next. So this is where it gets rather technical but don’t worry, Tim’s clear and straightforward delivery meant that even my mind didn’t drift into thinking about what I might eat for tea.
He showed us a series of images showing the levels of sea ice in the arctic in 1979 and in 2007 and I was taken back to those pretty pictures in my school science lab…Predictably the more recent images contained a much larger surface area of dark gloominess.
These dark regions absorb more heat. This additional heat penetrates 1500km inland across a plain of perma-frost. This stuff is harmless if left untouched but once melted, its carbon content-which is twice the amount of the entire global atmosphere-is released into the air. Yep that means even more bad stuff is added to the high intensity of CO2 that started this whole malarkey.
The knock-on effect going on in the arctic-known as the triple melt- is steadily destroying the climatic state of the entire planet. Soon we will reach the point where we will no longer be within the realm of temperatures that enable things to grow and humanity to survive (known as the middle climate). If this isn’t scary enough this tipping point is likely to peak sooner than we thought; as early as 2011 to 2015.
George Momboit was next to speak. Hello. His exuberance for the cause was exciting…ooh la…did you know he has been shot at, shipwrecked and pronounced clinically dead? Well he was very much alive that evening as I listened – intently- to his practical, if ambitious, advice to the government to stop fannying about and introduce a ‘crash program of total energy replacement.’
He whizzed through a series of steps geared to cut our emissions by 20% by 2012 and more thereafter. But those wild curls, brisk demeanor and air of academic brilliance were just a little distracting. Without getting too carried away I managed to jot down the key points of this radical plan:
1. To train up a green army of builders that is equipped to build more energy efficient homes
2.A mass subsidy program to re insulate homes
3.Replacement of power plants
4.Re engineering of roads to cater better for cycles and coaches
5. To Cap number of landing spots for airports so that by 2030 the maximum number of flights is 5% of current levels.
6.Agriculture should be devoted to the most efficient carbon saving schemes
7.He summed up with the statement that lowering demand for fossil fuels should happen simultaneously with lowering their supply and we need to dramatically cut oil and gas exploitations.
Pretty rousing stuff…
Solar energy pioneer, Jeremy Leggett gave us a more buisnessy slant on what can be done for climate change especially in this current state of economic upheaval and an encroaching energy crunch (the I.E.A. predicts 5 years time). With people becoming increasingly disheartened by the government’s spending priorities, now’s the time to duck in and make a collective effort to re-engineer capitalism. He enforced the notion that money needs to go into building a carbon army of workers that would create 10 thousand new jobs and…cost a measly half a billion squid
Caroline Lucas, MEP for South East England and Leader of the Green Party, disheartened by the inertia of our government, shocked us all by urging ‘a massive campaign of civil disobedience.’ This prompted uproar amongst the audience and I must say it felt pretty inspiring .She went on to talk about Climate Rush, an activist group who take their inspiration from the Suffragette movement. Like the women who were denied the vote, their rush on parliament really is a demand for life itself. They also dress-up in fancy Edwardian petticoats, which sounds fun. But their theatricality is not without sincerity, direction and a passion to change the injustices that climate change is causing on humanity. Caroline Lucas’ speech stirred an energetic drive to ‘do something’ in me. She reminded us of the words of Emily Pankhurst ‘to be a militant is to be a privilege’ and something hit home. We are very lucky to not be totally powerless in this situation, as so many people across the world are, and it is possible to make our government listen to us, albeit with a bit of hard work. To find about the next climate rush action click here.
So I’ve dipped my toe into the murky sludge of our current climate. All the facts and figures might not have filtered through into this article but I hope if, like me, you previously thought this issue was for only for really clever people and maybe just a little put off by dreadlocks, you’ve realized that this is something we should all be aware of whether we want to listen to it or not, including our government.
As I left the Climate Safety talk to cycle home, I felt almost grateful for never bothering to learn to drive as perhaps in a small way it might make up for that stomach-sinking feeling of how terribly selfish I had been for only vaguely paying attention to news of melting popsicles and greenhouses.
The truth is I felt safe in the view that the really scary things won’t happen for a very long time, well after I’m buried in the ground and used for compost. Well I was wrong, it’s not our grandkid’s grandkid that’s going to feel the full force of climate change-it’s us.
We’ve searched online for hours to find these wonderful gift ideas for Christmas this year! Including solar powered fairy lights, advice recycled wrapping paper, rx sew-it-yourself dresses, fairtrade teddies and handmade jewellery.
Kate Slater First up on our list, and featured in Issue 10 of Amelia’s Magazine, we have wonderfully talented illustrator Kate Slater. She is one of many artists currently selling her work on etsy in the form of these gorgeous little accessories that she has made. Kate‘s illustrations come alive through the use of collage, mixed papers and wire for relief work.
Butterfly Dress Kit Gossypium is a great place to buy gifts from! All the clothes on their site are high quality, fairtrade and made from biodegradable materials. They’re one of the great sites working with the idea of a zero-impact on the environment, and we’ve love this Butterfly Dress Kit. It is a sew-it-yourself organic cotton kit that comes with a lovely printed fabric and easy instructions to create one of three garments. You can make a blouse, a dress or a smock with or without pockets, and have the option of long or short sleeves; with nine different styles to choose from you are in total control of how your finished product looks! Buy the Butterfly Dress Kit here.
These 100% recycled wrapping papers are by Lisa Jones and come in many different styles! They are modernist and brightly coloured using vegetable inks. Get some Recycled Wrapping Paper here.
Cardboard Cutting Table This 100% Icelandic made brilliant cardboard table can be used as a meeting table, a cutting table (it comes with a laminated white surface top), a dinner table and a baby changing table! It’s portable and folds away to save space! (and comes with a handy 18% discount for design students!). Buy the Cardboard Table here.
‘Woodsy The Owl’ Bib This adorable bib is by etsy seller ‘cocoandmilkweed‘, consisting of Evan and Lila Maleah- a husband and wife team intent on creating lovely products for little and big people! Woodsy has been handmade in a dark brown eco-felt that has been made from 100% recycled plastic bottles, and sewn onto a soft cotton woodgrain fabric. the entire bib has been backed with organic cotton flannel and lined with organic cotton and bamboo for extra absorption! All this detail has added to its appeal, and it even has a snap closure to make sure its little wearer isn’t able to yank it off! Buy a ‘Woodsy The Owl’ bib here.
Witness are a group, based in New York, that use video and online technologies to expose human rights violations all over the world. By making videos of victim’s personal stories, they direct attention to injustice and promote public engagement and policy change.
Sam’s first up on the video (below), telling us that the images of a school teacher in East Burma hiding out in a forest with her children is one of the images that shows us we need to go further with our actions to help those whose human rights have been severely violated.
A video producer, trainer and human rights advocate, Sam’s videos have been screened at the US Congress, UK Houses of Parliament, The UN and in film festivals worldwide.
The group are also launching an online channel for these videos called The Hub. This is a new multi-lingual online portal dedicated to human rights media and action. It provides the opportunity for individuals, organizations, networks and groups around the world to bring their human rights stories and campaigns to global attention.
To find out more about Witness (www.witness.org) click here.
The non-existent morality faeries that do not sit either side of my head were in a fluster last Thursday. I took them down to a police auction in Bethnal Green, salve and for the entirety of my pedal there, they could not be resolved: surely there is something fundamentally wrong with capitalising on the lost and stolen goods of hapless victims, or worse still, liquidated assets, urgh! But then again, stolen … and retrieved; lost … and found. Where else would these items, long since departed from owners, go? I have nothing to say about liquidated assets, but apparently that’s next time – this week was reserved to lost and stolen goods only, courtesy of the metropolitan police; thanks.
Once we arrived, debates were dispelled and there was nothing to fluster about – it did not seem in the least bit seedy. This fortnightly event, put on by Frank G. Bowen Ltd Auctioneers and Valuers, two men both of whom are very friendly, one of whom looks like Santa Clause, takes place in an old air raid shelter, making for a strangely intimate and cosy affair. Potential bidders arrive early to browse, an advisable precaution seeing as nothing can be returned once purchased. I felt like the passer-by who steps into a regulars-only pub, my obvious excitement an instant give-away; but I tried my best to look like this was routine, and nestled myself in amongst the clutter on Lot 135, 1 wooden kitchen-table chair. Pensive brow in place, I concentrated on my catalogue sheet, my mind now settling to the bewildering list before me …
An initial glance reveals nothing of a surprise: bicycles, phones, cameras, and mp3 players; but it’s not long before you start to wonder … who steals a kitchen chair? A cupboard? An oak mirror overmantle (Lot 379)? The clothing list is the strangest of all: Lot 4: A pair of Ladies sandals, size 40; Lot 58: (non-specific) Ladies Clothing as bagged. One Lot contained a pair of jeans, a jacket, and a pair of trainers – all stolen from a single owner? How did that happen?
Against all inclinations, we ended up describing the place and the experience as a gem. Don’t go expecting to find vintage treasures, but there are amenities at a good price (surely I need a quad bike). And a few pointers: don’t let the excitement of bidding make you go for things for no other rational reason than the pleasure of raising your hand; careful of the man who will out-bid everyone for bikes; and don’t take a lunch break in the middle, thus missing that one item you’d circled in red that you were willing to spend forty quid on, and ended up going for under twenty, pah.
Don’t miss this excellent event tonight:
Cheshire Street Christmas Shopping
Friday 12th December
This Friday, case pop down to Cheshire Street as the whole street will be open to 10pm, cost so you can get your quirky Christmas gifts till late(ish) into the night and enjoy wine and nibbles while you do it. The shops will be offering exclusive discounts also, including 20% off on the night at I Dream of Wires. Amazing.
Frock Me! Vintage Fashion Fair
Sunday 14th December
Frock Me! vintage fashion should not be confused with the questionable television show of the same name hosted by a certain over-exposed designer and TV presenter. It is in fact a fabulous vintage fashion fair, and this Sunday, in the swanky surroundings of the Chelsea Town Hall you can pop down and pick up a genuine vintage garment.
They even have their own tea-room. What more could you want?
Open: 11am – 5.30pm
Admission: £4 (students £2 with ID)
Nearest Tube: Sloane Square / South Kensington
Christmas singles, diagnosis still the preserve of naff novelty acts, pillpop stars in trendy coats and X Factor winners, or newly fertile ground for acts that are unlikely to even get a sniff at the bottom of the charts? As the Top 40 becomes less and less of a barometer for success and following much-loved Christmas releases from the likes of Low and Sufjan Stevens, this year it seems that more and more indie bands are joining in on the act. But are any of them actually any good? And how to stop them seeming like lame commercial cash-ins in the style of the Christmas tunes of yore?
1. One way to quash accusations of rabid commercialism is to give your single away for free as Slow Club (see above) have done, with ‘Christmas TV’ offered as a free download in a spirit of seasonal goodwill to all mankind. A sweet little folk pop tune about travelling home for Christmas and snuggling in front of the Vicar of Dibley or some such, this is good for anyone feeling the pangs of seasonal separation. The boy/girl vocals chime prettily together in a song that has thematic echoes of ‘Driving Home For Christmas’.
2. Stay true to your signature style. If you’re usually a grumpy old misery guts, Christmas is no time to suddenly become cheerful just for the hell of it so why not whack out a truly miserable Christmas EP a la Glasvegas? A Snowflake Fell (And It Felt Like A Kiss) is the one to pull out when your Dad forgot to turn the oven down, your mum’s sobbing into her charred potatoes and your granny’s being cantankerous.
3. Restrict your mentions of the season to atmospherically wintery weather references a la The Leisure Society with their pretty waltz ‘Last of the Melting Snow’. Cinematic strings, romantic lyrics and a slightly more upbeat B-side in the form of ‘A Short Weekend Begins With Longing’. It’s available to download but it would be far more festive to buy one of the limited edition handmade copies in the spirit of wonky gingerbread men and glitter-glued everything.
There’s just one thing we’re a little bit worried about. Where are all the sleighbells???????
Now I know I sound like a purist, medicine but sometimes I wish Photoshop had never been invented. After seeing the ingenuity of the post-war artists featuring in Estorick’s ongoing exhibition, rxCut & Paste: European Photomontage 1920-1945, I longed for the days when you could actually tell something had been done by hand. When skill was quantifiable – based on precision, patience and masterfully cut and mounted shapes; not down to your aptitude with adjustment layers, clipping masks and liquify tools. Of course these arguably require a well-honed set of digital skills within themselves, but Photoshop has cheapened photography to a certain extent. Unimaginably cool things can be done on it by anyone with a shard of creative impulse, so we can’t help but lose the eensiest bit of respect for the end product, no matter how groundbreaking this may be. Don’t you think?
Regardless, this is a little gem of a show. Small – with only around 25 pieces – it looks at the modernist manipulation of photomontage (in which cut-out photographs and fragments of newsprint from illustrated journals were pasted into drawings and paintings) by the Cubists, Futurists and Dadaists. There’s also a healthy dose of angular Russian Constructivism in there, so for such a small exhibition, they have all the seminal art movements of the early 20th Century well and truly covered.
Developed towards the end of the First World War by the Dadaists in Berlin (the word ‘photomontage’ was taken from engineering and film editing practices) it was a way of making art with a new kind of conceptual clarity. And grit. It was powerful and playful – there is one untitled image of Hitler and a devilish-looking Churchill quaintly enjoying a cup of tea together – and mixed mediums in a way which made people stop and look. And they still have that affect today.
All the works are beautifully balanced and composed. Italian Futurist Enrico Prampolini’s Broom (1922) is a punchy little piece with huge red circles and chunky text overlaid on a photo of a massive machine, while Gustav Klucis’ Spartakiada Moscow / All-Union Olympiad (1928) is packed with movement and angles so sharp you could cut your fingers on them.
Curated by Lutz Becker, Cut & Paste showcases work made almost a century ago, but which feels surprisingly fresh and modern. It’ll make you turn off your computer, pick up a pair of scissors and start attacking The Daily Mail like there’s no tomorrow. I think that’s always a good thing.
I’m not a person who wins things; Lady Luck is not my friend. Never has my name been picked from a raffle or hat, discount scratch cards always defeat me, and even when I tried to Derren Brown the ticket man at Walthamstow Dogs, “Look into my eyes, this is the winning ticket”, I still came away empty handed. So when my name was electronically selected for the Time Out Bus Tour, a heavily over-subscribed perk to First Thursdays, I was veritably excited.
I’m not sure what I imagined, a day of musing amalgamated in something entirely inconceivable bearing reference to the Playbus and set firmly beyond the realm of reality. This is the description from which I fabricated: Each month, join leading curators, writers, academics and artists on a guided bus tour visiting a selection of First Thursdays Galleries; and that’s precisely what it was, but I couldn’t help feeling a little disappointed when I saw a very ordinary looking bus waiting outside Whitechapel Gallery, a bit health & safety and sanitised, OAP visit to Hastings anyone?
If you were in fact there for a guided bus tour with leading academics, curators, and artists, and not for a bus of dreams, then you’d probably be satisfied. Four selected galleries, a talk from a curator in each, and the wealth of information that only a guided tour can give, adding much more depth to your engagement with the work. My favourite part was a six-strong bowling team that unofficially tagged along, following the bus in a Transit, and innocuously joining the talks wearing matching blue team shirts, names on the breast. I did feel a pang of jealousy at the scores of people casually strolling between galleries on Vyner Street, drinks in hands, hmmms and ahhhs at the ready. I’ll opt for a home made bicycle tour next time, but that doesn’t mean I don’t recommend this.
If you’re planning on going to any of these events, sale or have something you want to write an article about for the Earth Blog, email us: email@example.com!
Now here’s a lovely story: One felt-making coffee morning in South London, three suburban mums discover a shared hoarding habit, a joy in rummaging through rubbish and a desire to make pretty things (with or without the use of felt). Out from the discarded chicken-shop boxes and begrudged lotto tickets emerged, not Oscar the Grouch (think Sesame Street) but The Skip Sisters.
These ladies really know how to make-do-and-mend, rescuing shabby bits and bobs found in skips and attics and revamping them into something truly lovely. 100% eco-friendly.
From now until Christmas Eve the Skip Sisters will be selling all sorts of treasures from the debris at 14 Northcross Road in East Dulwich. (Not open Mondays).
Clocks made out of tins…found in a skip!
Jewelry…found in a skip!
Necklaces made with real human hands…found in a skip!
At 3am on the morning of the 7th of December two mini buses, thumb a 1960s fire engine and just over 50 cold, eager and very excited protesters turned up at a gate near the long stay car park of Stansted airport. Calmly and attentively we piled out of the mini buses and began to swarm around the entry point. A security vehicle happened to be passing just as we arrived, which instilled some nervous butterflies in our stomachs, but there was no stopping us. Once through the fence panel with our wire cutters we marched, as if to a temporary ark of safety (which we were to construct), two by two, carrying the tools and materials we were to need. Our objective was to reach the taxiway and setup a Harris fence enclosure around us to which we would lock-on to for as long as possible. After 6am, which was when the first flight was scheduled for take-off, every minute was to count as extremely important – directly stopping the release of ridiculous amounts of CO2 into the earth’s atmosphere.
At The Climate Safety Talk delivered at Friends House, Euston, a few weeks ago I became scared – and directly inspired by that very fear to act, with others feeling the same way, as soon as I could, as this seems to have the most impact. I am newly accessing this level of climate science through living with some of the most inspiring women I have had the pleasure to meet and we discuss this issue of climate change daily, and innovatively focus most of our energy in the direction of raising awareness and creating social change methods and access points. Tamsin Omond lives upstairs and is helping to organize another suffragette style Climate Rush at Heathrow on Jan 12th, which I invite everyone to attend. Beth Stratford, Mel Evans, who spoke to the press after the Stansted protests, and Clemmie James from the Drax 29 also inhabit this eco-warrior house.
This action came as an opportunity for myself and others to not just discuss what is happening, but directly and physically respond, and gain immediate results – we stopped 86 flights from leaving the airport and acted as a catalyst for many many discussions.
Stansted has on average at least one flight leaving its runway every minute during working hours generating a shocking 4.2 tonnes of CO2 every single minute! Aviation is the fastest growing source of emissions and already contributes at least 13 per cent of the UK’s total climate impact. In October controversial plans for an expansion of Stansted Airport were given the go-ahead by the Government. Airport owner BAA wants to increase passenger numbers from 25 million to 35 million a year and flights leaving the airport from 241,000 to 264,000 a year. Objectors say an expansion would damage the environment, but some unions said the proposal could bring new jobs. Do we really need new jobs in this sector, should the Government not be pushing for new green jobs to go along with its emissions reduction target? The target that has been broadly accepted by many bodies including our own Government is that a rise in global average temperature of more than 2C above its preindustrial value must not be allowed. If this airport expansion is really given the go-ahead there will be very little chance of us being able to achieve the targets.
Aviation is the fastest growing cause of climate change and a major threat to the earth and everything living on it. But rather than reining the industry in and trying to reduce demand for flying, the government is promoting it through tax breaks and through its plans for massive expansion at our airports: the equivalent of a new Heathrow every five years!
Plane Stupid demands a fundamental rethink of the government’s 2003 Aviation White Paper which predicts that air travel will treble by 2030: an increase in annual plane journeys from 180 million to 501 million.
We, as Plane Stupid want to see airport expansion plans scrapped, and an end to short haul flights and aviation advertising.
Discussions and presentations are important, as the information and science needs to spread as far and wide, and touch as many people as possible, but we need to follow contact with this information with direct action as nothing else seems to be getting the results we need as soon as we need them. The Government has been making empty promises of reductions in the levels of CO2 emissions, and as nothing has happened yet we want to directly affect this ourselves.
It’s Saturday and everything at the Eco-Design Christmas Fair in the Old Truman Brewery, piluleBrick Lane, is daubed in gloominess. Thanks to the amazing British weather, the Christmas spirit is not in the air as greyness bears down through the skylights and umbrellas drip a murky trail behind each visitor. We all gravitate towards a stall selling mulled wine, but the smell – delicious at first – soon mixes with the sickly sweetness of organic soap and incense.
The fair, now in its fifth year, brings together designers whose work is centered on sustainability and kindness to the environment, the products on sale range from clothing, jewellery, toys and furniture to edible shoe polish.
The best find of the day is Finnish designer Minna Hepburn. Hepburn looks and sounds like she is channelling Claudia Schiffer, and is selling her leftover designs from London Fashion Week’s eco-sustainable show ,estethica. Her clothes, all creamy Scottish lace and organic or fair trade silk embellished with found brooches, buttons, outshine neighbouring designs. (pictured below)
Around the relatively small space, recycled jewellery stalls clamour for attention. Rosie Weisencrantz‘s display is by far the most elegant; some of her work is even framed and mounted on the wall. (pictured below) Weisencrantz was a weaver for 25 years before becoming a jewellery designer, and her pieces hang on intricately woven string. She also likes to root around at markets and on ebay for antique brooches, which she transforms into one-off, textured necklaces.
Using an altogether different approach, Kirsty Kirkpatrick buys enormous bags of old jewellery and spends hours sifting through, detangling chains and picking out gems, before reassembling them into new designs. She uses recycled materials too, making geometric necklaces from wine and biscuit boxes. Kirkpatrick has a quick smile and soft Scottish accent, and is obviously proud of her “anti-landfill” label. (pictured below)
After Minna Hepburn, the rest of the clothing at the fair is a bit of a let down. T-shirts are in abundance, most sporting slogans and stencilled graphics like those by design collective Edge. (Their ethos: “We will make eco-fashion cool if it kills us”). (pictured below)
Overall, there was far more here for the eco-jewellery enthusiast than anyone else.
“We stand for slow fashion, click respect for clothes and those who created them, cure and the return to individuality” heralds the SIX Magazine website, viagra 60mg and I’m sold. Sign me up. The launch of SIX excites me as much as Alina’s infectious enthusiasm for creating change in the fashion industry. Read on and be inspired…
Firstly, can you tell me little about yourself? Who are you what floats your boat?
I am your average 25-year old, who decided against any kind of social life and instead willingly works without weekends and breaks. I get high knowing I am doing my own thing, paving my own way and working towards a great cause though, and that’s worth missing out on that Bali holiday…
Who is your hero?
I have to say if there is one person who I look up to it’s my mum. She’s a titan, the strongest person I’ve ever met. She also has a great intuition. If I am half the person she is I already did well.
What ethical issues are you most passionate about and why?
I feel most strongly about child labour in developing countries. Poverty, exploitation, not having an opportunity to go to school. I am planning to take time out next year, and help one of the charities hands on – I would love to work with children. Someone once said that in a hundred years no one will care how much money you earned, but the world may be different because you were important in a life of a child. I concur.
What are your ethical pet peeves? I have a thing about over-filled kettles…
Electricity left in every room when no one is in the house. It’s one of those moments when you realise you ARE in fact your mother.
Favourite item in your wardrobe?
Camilla Wellton’s Cepheid dress. It was a gift from the designer herself. I am a very lucky girl. I hope I can travel to Sweden this summer to meet Camilla in person.
Northener or southener?
Northerner. I’ve got Scandinavian blood in me, so North will always have a magic hold on me.
Ketchup or brown sauce?
Mmmm…. garlic mayo with potato wedges!!
Ok, now we’ve covered the most important issues (!) lets move on to the magazine. Please could you Introduce SIX to us in 2 sentences?
SIX brings design and style to the forefront of the slow fashion revolution, aiming to stimulate the industry and excite the readers about S&E* fashion (*Sustainable & Ethical). SIX aspires to connect the dots globally, and bring all of the ethical brands and designers under one title to form a powerful force capable of creating change in the fashion industry.
What is its raison d’etre?
SIX came around when, after doing some extensive research, it struck me that there isn’t a publication in the UK trying to involve and interest people who aren’t directly involved, or are unaware of, the ethical fashion scene*. No one is packaging information in the ‘fashion format’ aimed at the fashion magazine readers. If a company takes a take a step in the right direction, but is not fully ethical and sustainable, it often gets vicious criticism, which in turn, discourages many brands to even mention that they are in fact doing a great job supporting local business or ethically sourcing their fabrics etc. There is also still a big stigma hanging over ethical fashion. Most consumers still associate hemp t-shirts and bad design with the term ‘ethical fashion’. SIX is here to showcase and celebrate those who are doing an amazing job combining cutting-edge design with strong ethical and sustainable credentials. SIX is here to inspire, to lead and to encourage.
*Of course Amelia’s Magazine does in fact cover lots of amazing ethical fashion labels, but granted we cover lots of other stuff too and don’t exclusively focus on fashion
Why should people read it?
The consumer mood is changing, and this change has been happening for a while now. The value system was shaken up by the recession, and as a result people realised they needed much more then a moment’s satisfaction. Instead of buying the same amounts of goods from cheaper retailers, a lot switched to buying less but at a higher price – choosing to pay for quality, for durability, for the knowledge of where the product came from, who made it and what it is made of. Ethical fashion is one of the markets that’s undergoing a fundamental change in how consumers buy and how companies produce. SIX gives its readers a full picture from across the world, of the designers and brands who share their values and points of view.
Camilla Wellton’s Cepheid dress Illustration by Sam Parr
Who should read it?
Girls who pick up Vogue on the newsstand, but who would choose a fairtrade coffee, and a recycled notepad. Fashion is self-expression and style comes first, but now with the additional dimension of ethics. We are what we wear takes on a bigger meaning. SIX readers are not necessarily activists, but they are aware, and they feel the passionate about making the change happen.
We’ve covered the ‘why’ and the ‘who’, now the ‘when’. When and why did you launch Six?
The idea of SIX came around last February. I was working for a small fashion brand at the time, a company I adored working for, and I still follow its progress. But I was at a cross- road and feeling like something had to change. It felt like the moment had come. And then I bumped into a guy in a bar. The guy’s name was Joe Oliver. And he asked if I’d be interested to come to a fashion show with him. Seeing it was London Fashion Week at the time, and I’ve never been at a fashion show before I jumped at a chance. The show Ada Zanditon. I was reading the press release about Ada’s collection and the story behind her work while waiting for the lights to go out and models to come on, and something started to happen. I was still in the dark but I was pretty sure my fingers were feeling a switch on the wall. I got to meet Ada at her after party that night, as well as a bunch of people from the ethical fashion scene, and it all suddenly started to make sense. I knew i was in the right place, at the right time, and there was a capacity for me to do something meaningful, to support a great cause. I still had no idea how I could get involved, but slowly SIX started to shape in my mind, and by the beginning of March I knew I was on the right track and started working towards making it happen. Joe was the catalyst of SIX, no doubt. But I was also extremely lucky to have had as much support and help as I did from the people I met on my journey. SIX supported Ada’s show this February and officially launched on 24th March this year, and I feel elevated. The response has been incredible, and I can’t wait to make it bigger and better.
Respect those who make our clothes. Illustration by Mina Bach
Launching a Magazine is no small feat, how have you found it? What have been the best and worst moments?
The last 6 months in the run up to the lunch were the toughest ever. I’ve had great highs and great lows, I’ve tested myself to the point of my emotional and physical limit, and I have to say that nothing compares to the emotional rollercoaster. Not even the physical drain, which you can overcome. Overcoming emotional drain was the worst and toughest challenge I faced. Best moment… the feedback I am receiving. There is a lot of positive and excited voices, and it’s incredible.
Moving on to wider ethical fashion issues now, do you think that awareness of ethical fashion is rising? If so why?
Compared to when I started SIX 12 months ago, today the ethical fashion message has become much louder and the number of people aware of and passionate about the message has tripled. The mass media has definitely picked up on it too- it’s curious to see that the likes of Stylist, Grazia and even Vogue make sure to include at least one ethical brand, designer or product in each of their issues. And it’s the influential public figures like Livia Firth who help to spread the message and make it heard, and who are really helping to make a difference.
What do you think needs to happen to embed ethical practices in mainstream shops?
A revolution no less. Mainstream shops survive due to the huge numbers of garments sold. Thousands of the same top or dress are produced, and to be able to monitor their factories they will need to switch to a multitude of small manufacturers and drastically cut the amount being produced. Which can’t happen because they have to cover their overheads and still make a profit. Moving the whole manufacturing process from a large overseas manufacturer whose activities you can’t physically control is tricky for a small brand, let alone high-street giants. The only way they can truly make a difference is to invest in high-tech fabrics and raw materials that require no land and little water to produce, and don’t damage the environment in the process. Utilising local businesses and supporting communities in developing countries by having a particular detail or accessory made with local artisan talent – in return supporting them with medical care, providing their kids with a place at school, and paying fair wages – that would already be a huge step towards a healthier industry that large mainstream brands can do.
And the one hundred million dollar question; How do you get the man (and woman) on the street to care? Although awareness of ethical fashion is rising, still thousands of people shop away without giving ethics a second thought, does this matter?
In all matters, be it ethical fashion or fast fashion, fashion comes first. And for people to care, and we are talking about those who love fashion because they are the ones we are targeting, we need to package it in the format that appeals to them. Preaching doesn’t work, putting environmental and ethical credential first and telling consumers to pay attention often has a reverse effect. What we truly need to get them to care is a choice of stunning ethical designs, and more influential public figures to promote the idea. In a cool fashionable way of course.
A return to Individuality. Illustration by Mina Bach
In order to create change, Is it purely about citizen action? What role can industry play? And how does slow fashion fit in?
Industry is responsible for the blue rivers in China (denim dye factories), purple men in India (leather dye baths), thousands of murdered animals (fur coats), 20,000 cotton pesticide related deaths a year (your plain white t), and thousands living in poverty and being exploited in third world countries. When you really look at it, and read on it, it becomes completely unclear how only a handful of people really seem to care. It’s a question of pulling together – industry needs to see that consumers are truly involved and care about ethical issues (i.e. will not spend money on unethically produced garments), and consumers have to be aware of what ethical fashion really means – to them and to the society. It’s a circle.
At a recent ethical fashion event journalist Lucy Siegle said that if you want to shop ethically, you cant be afraid of complexity. How would you respond to this?
The sad truth is that it’s still a real challenge to be a 100% ethical consumer. You have to search high and low for the products that you like and that are ethical and sustainable. Food and beauty situation has dramatically improved in recent year – everything else is still a Fort Boyard, and we are all on a hunt for that golden key. So Lucy is right – we are pioneers, and we don’t have it easy, but we are part of a movement that is seeking to change it.