Friday, 19 December 2014

Contribute Some Kindness this Christmas!

Are you over the frantic flurry of gift-giving that occurs around this time of year? Want to be part of something bigger but still receive a fun treat in return? Why not contribute to an inspiring start-up initiative, either for yourself or on someone else's behalf? I'm all about crowdfunding some ethically designed Christmas cheer :D

Here are 3 of my top ecofashion project picks:

GOO LiFE on Pozible

Who: This independent Melbourne-based label was launched in early 2014 by RMIT design graduate, Sophia Coughlan. According to Sophia "The more I learnt about it the more I thought that I don’t want to be part of an industry which values a dollar sign more highly than the ethical treatment of humans, animals and the environment".

What: Sophia is aiming to raise AUD$5,000 to create an entirely new ethical and sustainable collection to feature at the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival in March 2015. She aims to use locally-sourced fabrics whenever possible, which will then be printed locally by an ethical print studio in Sydenham and then the garments will be constructed in her studio in Northcote. 

Why: You can help to shine a spotlight on sustainable fashion by funding Goo LiFe to showcase their designs at a major fashion event. Rewards include nabbing your own piece from the new collection!

When: Pledges close on 6th February 2015 

Fashion Positive on Indiegogo

Who: Fashion Positive is a massive initiative which is partnering with a wide range of brands, designers and others along the fashion supply chain to create better materials for both people and planet. Current partners include Stella McCartney and G-Star RAW.

The campaign is hoping to raise US$100,000 to go toward pilot projects which will look at: decreasing the ecological footprint of factories, improving social impact on workers and their local communities, and investing in materials take back, recycling or upcycling programs within the facilities, brands, retailers or across the entire supply chain.   

Why: Be part of the creation of widespread change for a brighter fashion future! Rewards include sustainable fashion accessories, being part of team meetings and enjoying a personalised styling session. 

When: Pledges close 27th January 2015

Osei-Duro on Kickstarter

Who: Based in Los Angeles California and Accra in Ghana, Osei-Duro was created in 2009 by Maryanne Mathias and Molly Keogh. They work closely with artisans to create high-quality, contemporary apparel using handmade textile techniques and transparent, small scale production processes. A guiding philosophy behind the brand is respecting the rights and aesthetics of local makers.

What: The campaign goal is US$10,000, which will assist Osei-Duro to: fund their current round of production,  preserve the traditional artisan techniques of Ghana, provide employment and training for local artisans, and expand the collection into housewares.

Why: Stand up for makers and encourage the world to recognize the value of traditional techniques! Rewards range from handmade accessories, to unique housewares and amazing pieces of ecofashion.

When: Pledges close 26th December 2014


Thursday, 11 December 2014

RIYKA is Collaborating for a Sustainable Fashion Future

Rebecca Johnson - designer for London-based women's wear label RIYKA - recently got in touch to share her new project with the Kindness by Design community! This season the team at RIYKA have embarked on a new collaboration with Elizabeth Loopy, a 27-year old woman living in Gambia. 

Very sadly, Elizabeth's father passed away when she was only 13 and soon afterwards she was sent from her home country of Senegal to live with a family friend in Gambia. Despite the many challenges she faced, and with the support of charity GETS, Elizabeth completed her final two years at school, where she was awarded best sewing upon graduation. 

Now Elizabeth is crafting a range of dust bags made from end waste fabric for RIYKA. According to Rebecca, "For every RIYKA purchase made in December over £100 we're including one of Elizabeth's hand-sewn dust bags - for free. Not only does this make the perfect sustainable gift wrap for Christmas, but you will also be helping Elizabeth work towards living in her own flat and achieving financial independence". 

I had the chance to talk to Rebecca about ecochic fashion, her work with Elizabeth and the philosophy behind RIYKA as a fashion label. 

Q. As a designer, why is eco-friendliness important to you? 

Eco friendly/sustainability is a way of life for us, even before we started RIYKA. We try to minimize the effect of our lifestyle on our surroundings. It's a less selfish way of living, and that is the most important thing to us and about being eco. 

Q. How would you describe RIYKA in 10 words or less?

Functional, comfortable, classic, timeless, fun, playful, sustainable, unisex.

Q. If you could change one thing about the current fashion industry, what would it be?

Make it less fast, more transparent, the big companies have so much power to do this, and I am constantly shocked by how this power isn't utilized in a more positive way. They have the power to change the way we all consume, but hopefully things are starting to change...

Q. Can you tell me about RIYKA's collaboration with Elizabeth Loopy in Gambia and how it began?

I was contacted through another designer friend who thought that I might be interested in working with her. We started the project about 6 months ago, the idea is to start with something small, and see how we get on, and hopefully grow the range and give Elizabeth more complex pieces. At the moment she is sewing it all on a manual singer machine, but the ideal would be to set her up with a proper machine. These are all baby steps at the moment, but we love the challenge and I love the idea that we can connect with people in different parts of the world, and help them somehow.

Q. Who or what is inspiring you right now? 

People who are encouraging and promoting for a more sustainable fashion industry- like Lucy Siegel, Livia Firth and and Carry Somers.

I'm loving RIYKA's Flourance shirt made out of light organic crossweave blue chambray, with reclaimed denim panels on the sleeve :-)

You can also connect with RIYKA via Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter