Monday, 24 June 2013

Bite Sized Kindness: Beyond Skin has a Chic New Look!

One of my favourite online ethical boutiques - Beyond Skin - has revamped their website to create an even more sublime vegan shopping experience!

The new look site was developed by UK e-commerce specialists (with an awesome name) Jellywall. According to Beyond Skin Co-Founder Heather Whittle, the new site boasts"...better usability, clear site navigation and will enable a smoother journey for the online shopper". 

All of these fab changes mean you can now browse the new SS13 Collection in style! This collection features a unique mix of vintage flavours with bold colour choices and can be separated into 4 capsule collections:
  • Vintage evening wear
  • Adventurous animal prints
  • Bold block colours
  • Exclusive dog head embroidery by UK graphic designer, Cat Finnie - with a percentage of the profits going to The Dog’s Trust Charity

I love that Beyond Skin isn't only cruelty-free but eco-friendly as well, with the majority of their shoes crafted from faux suede manufactured in Italy from 100% recycled materials. 
"We are passionate about making a difference whilst staying true to our ethos; that of creating beautiful, ethical footwear for discerning style-led ladies proving that fashion and ethics can go hand in hand!" - Beyond Skin
You can also connect with Beyond Skin via their Blog, Facebook and Twitter!

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Australian Label Sinerji is Exceptional in Design and Ethics

Based on the Sunshine Coast of Australia, Sinerji is a designer clothing label which creatively balances a caring ethos with a distinctive aesthetic. Sinerji is the brainchild of designers Alice Jones and Louise Visser, and it's my pleasure to share with you my interview with the inspiring Alice!

Q. What inspired the creation of eco-fashion label Sinerji?

Louise and I wanted to create a label that produced stylish & fun clothing, that was also flattering, comfortable and that could be worn to work and play…sounds simple enough right?  BUT it also had to be produced with ethical, sustainable principles and absolute transparency.   

After having worked in mainstream fashion and seen the lack of ethical accountability that was standard practice, we wanted to shine a light on that aspect of things at the same time as creating beautiful, wearable collections.

Q. How would you describe the design aesthetic of Sinerji?

We are definitely classic gals, and Sinerji is all about feminine lines and clothing that accentuates your good bits.  There is dose of 1950’s and 60’s structure; we have found those shapes really work for our customers and the varied body shapes of the modern woman.  Having said that, we are inspired by modern themes and trends, and our natural environment too.

Q. What makes Sinerji a great choice for eco-conscious fashionistas?

Sinerji is a fabulous choice for the eco-conscious fashionista; we created our core principles when ‘eco-fashion’ was just a blip on the horizon, and nearly 6 years on, we have seen the fashion world embrace the change toward eco and ethical the way no other industry can! We strive to go over and above our customers and our own expectations at every turn. 

To that end, we use only sustainably farmed, organic fibres, natural based dyes, and our production is not just fair trade, but we work directly with every individual in our supply chain…from farmer to sewer.  Even our tags are printed on hemp using vegetable based inks.    

Our designs are unique and I think we have created a strong signature using those beautiful, soft, cool organic fibres but the Sinerji story really sets us apart from the mainstream.  We believe we are showing how to make a positive difference through fashion.

Q. Which ethical designers are inspiring you right now?

Vivienne Westwood has always been an inspiring woman, but her more recent eco offerings have been great.  There are some amazing Australian eco labels; One Colour, and Pure Pod, are both doing wonderful things, as is our gorgeous friend, eco model Amanda Rootsey.  But we are inspired by the people we work with more than anything; particularly the women who weave and dye our fabric in Thailand.  They are funny, strong, intelligent and so positive about life and community…all while juggling children and hard work.  A few days spent with them is truly inspiring! 

Q. Can you tell us a little bit about the artisans you work with overseas?

We work with two different groups; in Thailand we work with a small permaculture village where the organic cotton is grown, loomed, and dyed with natural dyes in the traditional method (meaning no nasty chemicals).   

And in India we work with another group who have access to some incredible eco fibres, and who are G.O.T.S and Oeko Tex Certified.  Both groups are Fair Trade, and the most important thing to us is that everyone is paid well, is safe and is able to grow and strengthen their family and community through working with us.

So far we have seen some beautiful, positive changes in the communities we work with, like children going to school and university, and the establishment of a Community Bank, so that is very rewarding.  We are able to see a positive environmental impact also, which makes us very happy!

Q. Do you have a favourite item in store right now?

Our new Pleat Pant is my current favourite…and the Embroidered Mini.  The pants are a great fit, with inverted pleats in the front and a little button feature at the bottom for adjustable length (so you can show off your winter ankle boots!).  The Embroidered Mini is great with tights and boots.

Q. What’s your advice for young people interested in making a career out of ethical fashion and design?

My advice is to ask lots of questions, keep an open mind, follow your heart, and don’t be afraid to ask for help, or to question something that you think could be done better.   

Your choices shape who you are as a person, in business, and who you are as a designer, and all of these things create the signature of your label…which you want to stand out from the crowd.  You won’t achieve this by following the pack!

Q. What does the future hold for Sinerji?

We hope to spread our message as far as possible; that beauty and fashion are more than just trends and marketing.  That fashion can be the catalyst for truly magnificent, positive change in our world.  True beauty comes from how we carry ourselves through the world, and how we relate to those in our immediate community, and in our global community. The positive flow on effect from the choices we make everyday are infinite. 

You can also connect with Sinerji via Facebook and Twitter!

Monday, 17 June 2013

Always Take the Weather with You

Here in Sydney, Australia, over the past few weeks the weather has shifted from sunny, dry and warm to dark, wet and cold - with a few variations in between! It's been hard to know what the day will bring - and this has catapulted the weather to the forefront of my mind, inspiring me to curate this unique collection of ethical items. So pop on your raincoat, sunglasses, gloves, hat and a warm-ish jacket and enjoy :-)

Silver Lightning Bolt Earrings by Dogeared - These recycled silver earrings are sure to add some electricity to your ensemble!
Stormy Weather Earrings by Plastic Bat - These fabulous handmade earrings by independent artist Tracy Romaszkiewic, are sure to make you smile no matter the weather!

Thunder Cloud Tee by Rapanui - This organic meteorologically inspired cotton tee will make a man look good come rain or shine

Cloud Earrings by Epheriell - Dreamy yet modern, these handmade 100% recycled sterling silver earrings are a delight!

1965 'Our Weather' Book from Sandshoe Vintage Prints - Give your kids (or yourself!) a truly kitsch treasure with this illustrated vintage book about the science of weather 
Delilah Storm Cloud Minidress by Nancy Dee - Chic yet cheeky, this party dress is perfect for dancing up a storm! Made from 95% organic cotton
Raindrop Bamboo Socks by Rapanui - When it's cold and dreary outside you can be sure to keep your feet snug in these pretty bamboo and organic cotton socks!

Upcycled Cloud Cushion from Eco Chic - You will find so many comforts on rainy days with this cuddly cushion! Cleverly handmade from vintage blankets and filled with fibre made from recycled plastic bottles
Raindrop Stud Earrings by Go Gin Gin Jewellery - These dainty raindrops are so sweet! You'll be singing in the rain with these 100% reclaimed and recycled silver earrings :)

Rainy Day Fund Coin Purse by Blue Q - Who knew saving for a rainy day could be so cute? This super fun vegan purse is made from 95% post-consumer material
Head in the Clouds Tee by Pini Piru - Sweetly surreal, this 100% organic and fair trade cotton kids tee puts the fun back into drizzly weather and puddles. Loving the Dr Seuss vibe!
Recycled Cloud Necklace by Factory on the Moon - Handcrafted from recycled magazines, this one of a kind accessory is a bold choice that will endanger you with a steady rain of compliments!
Lightning Cloud Notelets by Earth Greetings - Now you'll never write a boring note again with these beauties full of 'zizz' and 'pow'! Made from 100% post-consumer waste
Colour Spectrum Cloud Brooch by Jetta's Nest - Not every cloud is a stormy one! Handmade from vintage and salvaged timber and decorated with unique designs, this brooch will be a silver lining to any outfit
Vintage 'I Don't Care For Chilly Weather' Postcard from Plaid Pearls - Sometimes you just get fed up with cold weather, but this fab vintage postcard from 1912 will remind you that it's the perfect time for cuddling up close :)
Rainbow Cascading Brazilian Beleza Bracelet + Necklace by Live Worldly - Both literally and metaphorically, after the rain comes the rainbow! Handcrafted by artisans in Brazil, these beautiful pieces of Acai seed jewellery are skillfully created using techniques that take decades to learn
Laughter is the Sun Wall Print by Eco Jot - If you've got laughter in your life then you can make your very own sunshine no matter what the weather! This poster made from 100% post-consumer recycled material

"Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather"

~John Ruskin

My little Teddy Cat enjoys a lull in the rain =^..^=

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Make a Unique Fashion Statement with Ethical Label - Make Amend

Cassandra Pons, Founder of Make Amend,  graduated high school in 2011 and since then she has worked hard to create an amazing ecochic label that blends vintage aesthetic with a femininity and boldness that caught my eye. Come and let me introduce you to this amazingly vivid and inspiring designer who is committed to making gorgeous one-of-a-kind pieces that are kind to the planet!

Q. What drove you to branch out and create your own fashion label at such a young age?  

For as long as I can remember I have been a very creative person and always very ‘artsy’. When I started high school I was encouraged to pursue my creativity more through my studies of Home Economics and Art, and this really got me going. I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I finished school, but I knew it had to be something that fed my creative spirit. I didn’t want to fit into the mould of what everyone else was trying to make me. 

Being the typical girl that I am, fashion was always something that I loved but I never knew I had a talent for sewing. It wasn’t until my senior year of high school where I went through a somewhat obsessive stage of op-shopping that I discovered my love for redesigned and handmade fashion. Once I started I couldn’t stop! It all happened so naturally and it brought me so much happiness that I knew that this was what I am meant to do. I’m a very determined person so once I set my mind to having my own fashion label, I just worked and worked and worked to make it happen. 

Q. How would you describe the design aesthetic of Make Amend in 10 words or less?   

Quirky and cute inspired by the 50’s and fashion 60’s with a focus on sustainability.  
Q. Can you tell us a little about what makes your label both ethical and eco-friendly?  

Make Amend is a fashion label that encourages young ladies to adorn their bodies with unique designs that embrace femininity, support independent designers, and help our environment. My garments are hand crafted by me, and I think that this not only gives them a special personal touch, but also makes them ethical because they are not being manufactured by under-paid and probably under-age staff overseas! 

They are eco-friendly in the sense that I work with recycled materials to ensure that Make Amend represents sustainable fashion. I have a selection of redesigned retro garments and handmade garments made from recycled materials. This is my small way of making a difference in the world, minimising waste and helping the environment.

Q. Which ethical designers are inspiring you right now?  

Not really a designer but more an event for designers! A friend just recently introduced me to Undress Brisbane. It’s a festival for ethical designers held in Brisbane and I am totally in love with the concept, and the fact that ethical designers are being recognised and celebrated!

Q. I see that your designs are now available in Hiroshima – what makes Japanese fashionistas a great fit for your label?  

Japanese fashion is crazy – they use it to express themselves and tell a story. They live and breathe fashion and elaborate fesitvals such as Harajuku show that fashion is something very special to them. Japanese girls are also very cute, and I think this is the design aspect they love about my label. I’ve never been into being ‘sexy’ or ‘hot’ but rather my emphasis is on cute. I want to create something that when a girl looks at it, it makes their heart smile. 

Q. In your opinion what is the major challenge facing designers who want to be more sustainable?  

The time, effort and resources that it takes to do so! It takes more effort to source sustainable materials, more financial resources to make them and lots and lots of time to ensure that they are produced using sustainable methods. I think it is important to make this effort though, and like they say ‘Anything worth having never comes easy’ so it’s just a matter of being determined to make it happen.

Q. Do you have a favourite item that you’ve created?  

One of the first dresses I made was for a local fashion show and it was entered in the Apex Australian Teenage Fashion Awards. It was the first dress I sold on Etsy and while I was so happy to make my first sale, it was so sad too – the dress was like my baby! That dress would have to be my favourite, not only because the design was great but also because it symbolised the beginning of Make Amend.

Q. What does the future hold for Make Amend?  

Big things. First I want to have my own retail store, a retro emporium where it feels like you are being taken back to the 1960’s. I then want to grow this to several stores nationally and internationally, showing that you can look cute and help the environment too. The sky’s the limit I guess! 

You can follow Make Amend's journey via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and their Blog! Also stay tuned for an *exclusive* Kindness by Design + Make Amend photo shoot!