From Romulus and Remus to Mary-Kate and Ashley, two is better than one when it comes to founding the Roman empire or conquering the ‘tween one. The same applies to the world of ethical fashion. Twin sisters Katleen and Liesbet founded Georgette, their Belgian-based webstore (with a storefront in Antwerp), on the dual premise of animal-friendly materials and European craftsmanship.
From their website: “Together with small family-run companies in Italy and Spain, the girls work out exclusive collections that are made in the best non-leather and eco-friendly materials, like natural fabrics and luxurious Italian faux leathers”.
Shoes and Italy. These two words are very comforting to me. Just like rhubarb and custard or “24” and TiVo, they go together well. Two words that don’t sit well (in the fashion world anyway) are leather and fur. That’s the belief held by Bologna-based ethical shoe company, The Flying CowContinue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos
Just in case you thought it was okay to buy non-organic cotton, here’s a wakeup call: the workers sowing, picking, weeding, hoeing, cross-pollinating and carrying the heavy bundles of cotton are often… children. And I’m not talking about kids working their way through college. A report published by the Environmental Justice Foundation estimates that one million children are working 12-hour days earning $2 per day, if anything, to satiate demand for a global industry worth $40 billion.
“China, India, Pakistan, Brazil, Uzbekistan and Turkey – six of world’s top seven producers – have been reported to use child labor in cotton fields,” stated a recent press release. These children forgo their education and health to carry out the backbreaking work in extremes of temperature, many suffering physical, verbal and sexual abuse.
The last word on Scandinavian eco-luxury has got to be FIN. This socially conscious label, which already enjoys a firm following in its native Norway, will be rocking the runways of London’s fashion week next month. With an ethical spin on timeless classics like trench coats, asymmetrical dresses, pencil skirts, tuxedo blouses and denim, FIN would be a welcome addition to any fashionista’s capsule wardrobe Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos
If you’ve been following my columns (I won’t mention you three by name here), you’re aware of the roadblocks I’ve faced in my effort to embrace a completely “G” Lifestyle. In the realm of fashion, my frustration can be summed up in two words and a particle: bags and shoes. To speak frankly, giving up leather in exchange for PVC just isn’t an attractive proposition.
I want to want these new green creations in the same way I covet a Gary Harvey dress or Elsom jeans or an Arcona oxygen therapy facial.
Who would have imagined that hair pins, toothpicks, phone cards or even PET bottles could become the focal point for that most sought after of female adornments – jewelry? Certainly not me. Luckily for the rest of the world, Brazilian born designer, poet and visual artist Mana Bernardes did… and she executes her vision with aplomb. Her imaginative designs have received international acclaim and have been featured in cutting edge design magazines like Dwell, ID and Wallpaper.
Bernardes’ brilliance lies in her ability to transform everyday objects — some of them with a negative value (i.e. trash) — into objects of value, not to mention exceptional beauty. The “Intimate Immensity” necklace made from Acetate is reminiscent of modern day Ivory Coast coral necklace, minus the need to harvest a precious natural resource. The “Clasp” necklace could pass for something Cleopatra once owned, were it not made from black and light gold hairpins. Finally, the exquisite “Manda La Ca Pet” necklace may look like a Hawaiian lei, but required no water, sunlight or land to cultivate.
Residing in Los Angeles, there’s rarely an opportunity to flaunt an umbrella. Which is a shame, because after spying the 100% biodegradable umbrella from Brelli, not only am I smitten, I’m considering moving to Seattle. Plus there’s the added bonus of getting to ride the SLUT. (I’m not being crude here; for those of you not in the know, it’s the name of their fabulous mass transit trolley.)
But back to the brolley, which is so beautiful it looks like it belongs in a gallery. It’s also the world’s first biodegradable umbrella. The spokes are crafted from bamboo, a renewable resource, and the clear canopy is made from a unique bioplastic which will “fully biodegrade in one to two years in any conventional landfill site”. Plus get this, the gases released during this process can then be captured and used to generate electricity (not sure how one collects gases, other than under a duvet, but it sounds intriguing).
What do you do if you’re an A-list actress who wants to be ethical yet stylish from head to toe? If you’re Natalie Portman, you design your own sustainable shoe line. Portman’s signature Mary-Janes (in provocative patent red) will debut with the rest of her shoe collection in February 2008. Hungry fans can pre-order exclusively at the site of NYC boutique Te Casan as early as January 15th.
Kerouac had it. So did Ginsberg. Puccini wrote an opera about it. Past residents of Montmartre in Paris or London’s Soho or East Village in Greenwich Village in NYC lived it. All the while struggling artists, writers and actors (that’s you, LA) are experiencing it everyday. I’m talking, of course, about the Bohemian lifestyle Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos
Don’t blow off Chicago when it comes green fashion. Thanks to her versatile ethical designs, Lara Miller has been named the Windy City’s “Best Indie Designer”. If you’re already a Miller fan, you’ll be familiar with her trademark “flip” garments like the Jasmine sweater made from 100% hand-loomed bamboo which “can be worn three entirely unique ways: as a cowl neck top, a pullover with an attached capelet or even as a long dress”.
Not only it is imaginative and original, but by buying one, you’re exercising your right to sustainability.
Inspired by architecture, the backbone of Miller’s designs is geometry. Once donned, each angular line caresses the curves of a woman’s body. The line can be twisted, wrapped and flipped upside down to reveal a totally new garment. Organic shapes are grounded by classic pieces with precise fit, which together to create smart, clean sophistication.
In an age of homogenization and mass production, it’s refreshing to stumble on a rare gem like this one.
Alabama Chanin is a curious collection of limited-edition jewelry, clothing, home furnishings, accessories, furniture and fabrics for interiors made by locals artisans using a mixture of new, organic and recycled materials. The brainchild of owner/designer Natalie “Alabama” Chanin, she conceived the idea back in 2006, after returning home from many years living abroad.
Winter. Snow flakes. Roaring fires. Hot cocoa. And Santa, of course. Well, that’s the fantasy anyway. The reality? Dry skin. Chapped lips. Nasty colds. And localized flooding. (Or maybe that’s just our offices.) Fear not, itchy, flaky & sniffly ones. Luxury holistic skincare brand, Dr Hauschka is coming to the rescue with their winter must-have products that will keep you looking and feeling your best during this punishing season.
Founded in 1967, Dr Hauschka is a German holistic skin care company that believes beauty can be drawn from the healing, therapeutic properties of plants. They rely exclusively on ecologically and socially responsible sources for their ingredients, obtaining many from certified Biodynamic and organic sources. “Biodynamics is a holistic, sustainable form of agriculture that dates all the way back to the 1920s. It takes into account everything from the cycles of the moon and stars to the soil, plants, animals and people, with the ultimate goal of making each garden or farm a healthy self-sustaining ecosystem.” But their holistic approach extends beyond ingredients. They encourage Biodynamic farming in developing countries, support international fair trade and their iconic packaging is all eco-friendly. Natch.