It no longer cuts it just to have beautiful looking home bedding. Not since Montreal designer Janna Notkin set the bar at such dizzying ethical heights. Her exquisite range of cushions and blankets — the result of five years of research and development — are made from the finest sustainable fibers on the planet and — get this — will biodegrade in a composter in one year.
In a search effort that would put American Idol to shame, Notkin spent two years scouring the globe before deciding upon “Climatex Lifecycle yarns and felt from Switzerland (free of toxic chemicals and hazardous by-products), organic cotton and Kapok, a fibre from the Rainforest in Malaysia.” Development of the chemical-free dyes took another five, but it was well worth it for a designer who believes “good design must incorporate sustainability”. The truly beautifully and utterly unique knitted cushions come in an array of eye catching designs, while the waffle-weave blankets offer a great excuse to stay in bed all weekend.
It’s no wonder Looolo Textiles have been featured in “fashion-forward magazines like Lucky, Domino and Elle.”
And then there’s the name. Those of you skilled at cracking codes may have already deciphered that Looolo is a typographical representation of 100 percent — symbolizing their commitment to wholly organic design with a minimal environmental footprint. Although Looolo’s home wares boast biodegrade properties, you’d have to be 100 percent nuts to throw these cozy items away.
Perched atop the bluffs of LA’s exclusive Pacific Palisades, the Vicino House is more than just a home; it’s an experience. Designer Timothy McCarthy of the Forma Design Group and Owner / Developer Michael Gottlieb made it their mission to create a home that would evoke the feeling of being in a high-end spa. They succeeded. Visiting the Vicino House, I almost expected to be handed a white fluffy robe and some cucumber water.
The epitome of sustainable living and luxury design, the Vicino House was recently awarded LEED Platinum certification. A modern marvel of steel, glass and wood — one of the homes most striking features is the 180-degree view of the Pacific Ocean — which can be enjoyed from almost every room in the house and many of the sun soaked outdoor decks.
Man, I missed those skinny bitches. Especially G Living pal, Rory Freedman, who along with former model, Kim Barnouin, have crafted a very tasty niche for themselves with their (how shall I put it) “unique” voice. After the outrageous success of Skinny Bitch — which with help from the Skinniest Bitch of all climbed its way stiletto after stiletto up the New York Times bestseller list and refused to budge — the girls are back with their follow-up, Skinny Bitch in the Kitch.
The tone is set from their opening gambit: “What’s better than eating? (If you say ‘sex’ you’re either a liar or a pervert). The answer is: Nothing! There’s nothing better than eating!” The book then serves up 75+ healthy plant-based recipes including: the Big Ass Veggie Burrito, made with whole wheat tortillas and guaranteed not to give you one; and Chocolate Suicide Cake, which incorporates unsweetened apple sauce so as not to leave you depressed after eating it. (Preferably not whole thing.)
The recipes are broken up into handy sections with deliciously imaginative titles, everything from Bitchin’ Breakfasts to PMS (Pissy Mood Snacks), Down Home Cookin’ to Happy Endings (Desserts). While Rory and Kim consider their recipes to be pretty “normal”, you will need to stock up with some skinny bitch staples: Bragg’s Amino Acid (soy sans MSG), Coconut oil (as a substitute for Olive Oil) and Agave (nectar of the Gods).
So, take it from the SBs: stop cooking crap and start looking hot! It’s hard to argue with that.
Fact: Unless you’re Justin Timberlake, if you’re a white heterosexual male, chances are you can’t dance and probably shouldn’t. That’s why the smart ones will be drinking at the bar while the not-so-smart ones will be throwing some horribly embarrassing shapes on the dance floor. There are, of course, exceptions to the rule and it’s always a pleasure to discover them.
Scissors for Lefty are an indie rock band based out of San Francisco who have shared the stage with the likes of Arctic Monkeys, Blonde Redhead, The Bravery and Panic! At the Disco. Three of the five performed for us at our Venice studios: Bryan Garza on vocals, Steve Garza on bass and James Krimmel on guitar. (It was rumored the other two band members, Peter Krimmel and Robby Garza, were MIA after a mishap involving a very large red helium balloon went awry. Or perhaps they were at work.)
Here is a very interesting interview we did with John Picard, one of the Advisors for the BP Oil company. His job was to help them go green. See how he explains their thinking at the time and how they changed the companies name for British Petroleum to Beyond Petroleum. A name they thought would announce their new direction as world leaders in the new clean renewable energy market. Clean and green, is what BP wants to present, but reality is a whole other thing. Just ask the people living in the Gulf Coast.
John Picard is a name that you may not be familiar with… yet. This pioneer in sustainability has been quietly revolutionizing homes and businesses across the country. Here’s a brief history of his achievements:
– He started out as a builder and entrepreneur and is now a renowned building efficiency and sustainability expert.
– He was a core member of President Clinton’s “Greening of the White House” team.
– He’s president and founder of E2 Environmental Enterprises, whose clients include Microsoft, BP, eBay, Sony, Ford, The Gap, MGM, CAA and Live Earth, to name a few.
Most of my friends are halves. I didn’t seek them out. It just turned out that way. One of my nearest and dearest is Nikki Bedi, half Indian, half British, a voice of the BBC and perfectly positioned to provide insight on the differences between East and West, developed and developing.
Take recycling. This concept has only really been around in the West since the ‘70s. Nowadays of course, we’re actively encouraged to recycle, to think before we toss something into the ever expanding landfill of our disposable society. We still have a long way to go, but at least recycling is a choice. In India, it’s a necessity that results in almost everything imaginable being recycled, from bottles to newspapers – even toxic metal from the World Trade Center.
Next up: global warming, the effects of which have been felt around the world, including on the Indian sub-continent. Heavy monsoon rains have caused severe flooding (which brings with it disease and hunger), and glacial retreat has been recorded in the Himalayas.
Munching apples from New Zealand, indulging in some Chilean grapes or devouring Turkish dried apricots has become a guilty pleasure for many Americans. In fact, according to government agencies, 80% of all seafood and 45% of all fresh fruit consumed in the U.S. is imported — which is terrible, right? All those carbon-generating food miles doing untold damage to the environment?
Well, what if I said you may not need to hide your imported blueberries at the bottom of your Whole Foods basket anymore?
According to researchers in the UK, food miles are just part of the picture. And at a conference on the economics of food, Chris Foster of the Manchester Business School presented some important ideas with evidence to support it. He explained that “the biggest environmental impact of many food products came from their production. Bulk transport by land or sea was of low significance.” He went further, suggesting that governments “critically unpick the ‘local food’ agenda.”
How does Foster justify his claims? By pointing out that local food production and distribution — which uses a lot vans and cars — misses out on the benefits of economies of scale. Think about it. The CO2 emitted by one big truck carrying produce to a U.S. supermarket is less than that from 60 different cars and vans delivering food to a local farmers market. Yikes!
When it comes to ethical fashion, it doesn’t get much cooler than Social Atelier. The LA-based T-shirt line can be found at the most desirable shopping addresses, both physical and virtual. With an opinion on everything — from Barbie’s vitals and the war in Iraq, to AIDS and global warming — they’re not afraid to speak the TRUTH. Their signature big bold fonts will be as permanently etched onto your retina as they are on their buttery soft 100% organic cotton tees. We caught up Social Atelier co-founder and co-designer, Andrei Najjar.
Every day I happily come across another designer who’s creating super cool clothes, shoes and accessories that are both highly desirable and kind to the environment. Yes, it seems just about every fashionable piece out there is either being made ethically or has an ethical equivalent from faux fur coats to sky high stilettos, from the perfect pair of denim to a funky printed tee.
So, with that formula in mind, if you’re scouting for a gorgeous floaty dress, or a sassy minidress, look no further than California-based designer and manufacturer, Egoganik. As their website states, Ecoganik “focuses on the contemporary customer who wants to look young, hip and together, yet still eco-conscious.”
So stand-alone stylish is their line that Ecoganik was one of just a handful of designers chosen to show (alongside so-called “regular” labels) at LA’s Fashion Week this year proving that green clothing doesn’t need a separate and that great designs are great designs no matter what their origin.
Take it from me, bamboo is the fabric for the future. This super versatile plant has long been used in construction, as a food source (for humans and pandas alike) as well as providing the raw materials for everything from chopsticks to food steamers to martial arts weaponry. Now fashion forward designers can’t enough of bamboo. Why? Well, it’s cool in summer, warm in winter, is anti-bacterial and is as soft and luxurious as cashmere. And best of all, it’s sustainable.
Espadrilles are so ‘80s… what, with their fussy wedges and the ties. Why not get your hands (or, shall we say, feet) on an aughty’s equivalent -– Tom’s Shoes, which are inspired by traditional Argentine footwear. They’re unisex, minimalist and most importantly, ethical. It’s simple concept really: you buy a pair of Tom’s, and Tom’s donates a pair on your behalf to a child in need.
Designer Blake Mycoskie stumbled upon the idea while traveling around Argentina. While he instantly fell in love with the culture and people, he was deeply affected by the poverty. He visited many villages without running water and where the children went without shoes, often leading to infection, disease and even death.
Skin is important. It insulates us, protects us from pathogens, provides sensation and holds together all our muscles, organs and other icky bits, which — let’s face it — are called our innards for a reason. So, let’s honor our skin and caress it with the finest organics fabrics available.
Here’s one way to do that. Drape yourself in ecoSkin, an LA-based high fashion label that launched in spring 2008.
Designer Sandy Skinner’s vision is “to continually raise women’s awareness of their options. We can combine eco-friendly fabrics with a high design aesthetic.”
Having worked in the fashion industry for many years, Skinner jumped at the chance to make a difference in the world with her profession. Her debut collection was aimed at “fashion-forward sophisticated women who want to look great but care about the world and the environment they live in”.