On the whole, embracing a more “G” lifestyle has been a rewarding experience. Switching to organic cotton jeans? A no brainer. Shunning animal products in my diet? Enjoyable – well, for 30 days at least (see nutrition). Buying a cruelty-free handbag? Totally depressing.
Philosophically, I’m there. But aesthetically, I am far, far away. Show me a cool alternative to Bottega Venetta and I’m in. But a crappy felt handbag? Forget it.
But there’s good news, animal lovers. I’ve discovered a drool worthy alternative. Matt & Nat is the brainchild of Montreal-based designer Inder Bedi, who founded the company back in 1997 after exploring the intersection between high fashion and animal rights consideration at University. Matt & Nat bags are made using only synthetic materials. Says Bedi: “Our bags are popular because they’re stylish, and the fact that we use PVC instead of leather is just the cherry on top”.
Eco-fashions tend to congregate on the casual end of the fashion. After all, organic cotton and bamboo do make for some mighty comfy tees and great looking denim. But high fashion is finally coming to the party with some pretty stylish threads.
Take Danish label Noir Illuminati II. Their designs are as famous for their stark monochromatic, exquisitely tailored and über-sexy look as they are sustainability. The label consists of two parts: Noir represents the luxury brand, and Illuminati II handles its cotton-creating counterpart. The company uses fairly traded sub-Saharan organic cotton and operates under the business model of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), making it unique in the world of high fashion.
Run by Peter Ingwersen, a former Levi’s brand manager, the label is relatively new, having debuted a mere five seasons ago. During that time, however, Ingwersen has managed to up the use of certified materials from 30% to 70%. His signature fabric is organic cotton, which he sources from Ugandan cotton farmers. A percentage of the profits from the clothes goes back to Africa through The Noir Foundation, which provides essential medicine and micro loans as part of a Humane Business Model.
The Welsh are famous for three things: their inclination to sing (the Welsh have a lot to answer for – after all, the hideous Eisteddfod originated there); their passion for rugby (more religion than a sport); and their love of leeks (which became a national symbol after Welsh soldiers identified themselves by placing leeks on their heads in the battle against the Saxons).
Now, it seems, a fourth can be added. Eco-travel.
Set in the ancient woodland of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, the Bluestone luxury resort comprises a series of log cabins, studios and cottages — perfect for adventurous types who want the freedom of self-catering. Designed according to a typical Welsh village layout, the facilities include: sports club, crèche, restaurants and laundrette — everything you need for a relaxing vacation.
Andy Warhol once said “I admit to having worn suede and leather myself for a while, but you just never felt clean, and it’s degenerate anyway to use animal skins.” Degenerate may be harsh, but Andy did have a point: will we look back on these times and think it was barbaric that we killed and skinned animals for the sake of fashion?
Ethical footwear designers Jodi Koskell and Lauren Carroll no doubt think so. They believe the process of creating PVC-free microfiber is less polluting to the environment than using leather, which relies on factory farming, formaldehyde and other chemicals as well as toxic tanneries… not to mention the fossil fuels required to breed livestock.
To age or not to age. THAT is the question. Well, let’s way up the pros and cons shall we. Age brings you wisdom, experience and wealth, not to mention golf, cruises and the joy of grandchildren. Big deal. Age diminishes muscle definition, slows the metabolism, grays the hair, sags the skin and to top it all off, heralds the onset of wrinkles. Not a pretty picture. So to answer the age old question, where possible, I prefer to prevent, slow or reverse of the effects of aging by choosing the middle path…anti-aging. Luckily, Kimberly Sayer of London is a leader in anti-aging movement.
Have you seen the latest Lous Vuitton print ads? The first features lovebirds Andre Agassi and Stephi Graf entangled on a bed in a luxurious New Hotel room strewn with strategically placed LV luggage. Sexy sports stars, I geddit. Next, has the beautiful and talented actress Catherine Deneuve elegantly sits atop some old-fashioned Vuitton suitcases on a moody Parisian film set. Trust the French to emulate that timeless glamour. Now the third and final advertisement — which celebrity would you guess it would feature? The Beckhams? All sunglasses, pouts and pecs boarding a private jet to the Costs Del Sol with their brood? Errrr, no quite.
How about the former President of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev. Yep that’s perestroika, Nobel peace prize winning, Mikhail Gorbachev. He’s photographed in a taxi, the remains of the Berlin Wall in the background, his luxury Louis Vuitton overnight carryall on the seat next to him.
But what does it all mean? If you read the fine print, you’ll see that LV’s Annie Leibovitz-photographed “core values” campaign supports The Climate Project and The Green Cross. And that Louis Vuitton is getting serious about the environment.
In a world where “natural” is becoming a bit too oblique, “organic” is really where it’s at. The more we’re educated about the dangers of pesticides, herbicides and other carcinogenic chemicals, not to choose organic seems almost negligent. This is true in the world of produce — after all, you are what you eat. It’s also fast becoming the norm in the arena of skincare. In the words of Origins: “you are what your skin eats”.
Here at G Living we really like mixing it up at a gas stations. Okay, I’m being a little facetious. BP Helios House is more than a gas station – it was the chosen location for the debut of Linda Loudermilk’s Spring 2008 collection, Windpower. Supermodel Kristi Hume and other long limbed lovelies pumped gas…I mean, strutted the catwalk…for a host of eco-fabulous celebrities including rumored guest Prince, although the super secretive star did manage to keep well out of the spotlight. How convenient.
When it comes to high-end green fashion, they don’t come any bigger or better than Linda Loudermilk. Linda introduced breakthrough fabrics like mud-dyed linen, vegan silk and milk cashmere. These were in addition to her staples like organic cotton, seaweed wood pulp and sasawashi (a Japanese leaf… don’t worry, I’m half Japanese and I had to look that one up).
Nature vs Future could be a Zen Buddhist koan to which there’s no logical answer. Brooklyn-based designer and graduate of the prestigious Parson’s New School for Design, Nina Valenti, chose the name to honor her belief that there’s a constant struggle between organic existence and technological advancement. “The more we advance, the more we need to consider nature before we deplete it. In this tension to find balance is the living energy of the collection and hence the name,” she says.
The name works on another level, too. “Nature” because of the natural materials Valenti chooses to work with like organic cotton, organic wool, hemp, soy, bamboo, seacell® (seaweed), lyocell (wood pulp) and Ingeo™ (created from corn), and “Future” because her strong, sexy collection represents a deconstructed future complete with asymmetrical hemlines, severe pleats, military collars and creative cut outs. All garments are locally produced in NYC.
There’s nothing like sashaying down the slopes on a snowboard (or it you’re old school like me, a pair of skis). Armed only with a Chapstick and a chocolate bar, you really feel alive and at one with nature…
Unfortunately, that experience can come to an abrupt halt when you’re greeted by a fleet of snow-chained SUVs at the end of your run.
But if you can get your head around skiing in June, it doesn’t have to be this way. Falls Creek ski resort in Victoria, Australia, is the world’s first alpine resort to be recognized by Green Globe 21, an international accreditation scheme for ecologically and socially sustainable tourism. No cars are allowed in the village for the entire season to “ensure the resort is fully ski in, ski out”.
Let’s face it: with a thick layer of negativity permeating the planet, we could all use a dose of positivity. Thankfully, we’ve got Re:volve working to create a better, more sustainable future.
The ethical clothing line debuted at LA’s uber trendy Fred Segal store late last year amid scores of flash bulbs and paparazzi. Socially conscious celebrities Amy Smart, Roger Cross and a camera-shy Anthony Kedis were among the supporters of this brand spanking new sustainable style endeavor from husband and wife design team Joe and Amy Tomlinson.
Parents of six, Joe and Amy were inspired by the lack of positive role models and positive images in pop culture. Rather than lament the status quo, they decided to get creative and do it to great effect.
Pasadena first entered my consciousness back in 2004 with the release of the Scissor Sisters’ song “Music is the Victim”. The verse opens thus: “I left my bag in Pasadena / Where all them girls was doin’…” The rest of the line spirals into drug references which probably aren’t appropriate here. Suffice it to say, apart from that song and the Rose Bowl flea markets, there isn’t whole lot going on in this North East pocket of Los Angeles. Residents of Pasadena can go ahead and send hate mail to me c/o G Living. But before you do, read on…