Exclusive Interview With Designers Kajsa Cappelen Holst and Paula Kermfors
The last time I wrote about this stand-out Scandinavian fashion label, I was lamenting the fact that their website was in Swedish.Righteous Fashion’s beta site had me in the throes of agony and ecstasy: the stunning ethical designs drawing me in; the Swedish lexicon causing flashbacks to numerous frustrating and unsuccessful attempts at assembling Ikea furniture. What was I to do? It all too much for an ethical fashionista with an aversion to plywood to bear.
Well like any good journalist (eh hem), I wrote to Kajsa and Paula to inform them of my predicament, and guess what? They created an English version. Just like that. It’s this can-do attitude, this desire to constantly improve and this patience with the linguistically-challenged that’s been the secret to their success. So without further ado, let’s meet the design duo whose clean lines and organic materials have created waves in the Scandinavian fashion world and beyond.
Sarah: When did the environmental bell toll for you?
Kajsa / Paula: As a company our aim was to work with fair trade, but going to Uganda seeing the impact the production environment had on people, making our clothes ecological as well was a given. To be frank it was the only way.
Like the new modular mobile container houses, designer Ben Chappell has created a very uniquely designed trainer (or, as we in the U.S. like to call it, “sneaker”) that embraces cradle-to-cradle thinking to its fullest. Think trainers. It’s a shame more products haven’t been produced using this simple, completely sustainable approach.
But I guess not everybody’s Thinking.
The Think trainers are made with only five separate parts. The design consists of no toxic chemicals. They are simply held together using a mechanical lock system instead of toxic adhesives or cements. Each individual part can be removed, replaced, or recycled at any time. If one part wears out, you don’t have to throw the shoe away, you just recycle the piece. With a variation of colors and styles, it makes it easy for the Think Shoe owner to switch up a look and customize these funky, trendy sneaks to accessorize even the sauciest outfit.
Todays exclusive interview is with fashion designer and stylist Kate D’Arcy. Kate started the Toggery Collection to combine the idea of sustainability with her innate sense of style.
G Monkie: Kate, when you decided to start a new fashion line, what previous experience did you have with fashion?
Kate: I have a background in styling which has given me an amazing understanding on what fits and looks best on most body types, how to style and accessorize different pieces (old and new) to make them work best. Most importantly what shapes and styles are truly effortless, seasonless, classic…the kind of styles every woman needs in her closet to help make everything else wearable.
What were you doing in 1985? Angsting over St Elmo’s Fire? Harmonizing to A-ha’s Take On Me? Celebrating the birth of Keira Knightley? Or Greenland’s departure from the European Union? While you were doing some/none/all of the above, on a small farm in South Australia, chemist Jurgen Klein and his horticulturalist wife Ulrike, were quietly going about their business of starting an organic skincare line. That company was Jurlique.
It’s remarkable to think that this Aussie skincare company was founded when organic was, quite frankly, out of vogue. Let’s face it, the 80s were a celebration of the artificial: big hair, red lips and plenty of lycra. But 20 odd years on, Jurlique is an international brand and their organic skincare business is booming.
What sets Jurlique apart from other organic and natural skincare lines is their use of biodynamic farming. This involves paying close attention to soil health and to the earth’s cycles — which in turn affect all aspects of a plant’s life – from seeding to propagating to growing and harvesting. Not surprisingly, maximizing the living energy of plants maximizes the potency and efficacy of the end product.
NAU reached out to its customers today in an effort to have an open honest conversation about the true cost of the clothing on our backs. We thought this would be great opportunity for NAU to speak directly to all consumers, not just their current customers. And yes, many staff members here at G Living are current customers. I myself own more than 30 NAU Clothing items and you will see me in a NAU shirt most days of the week. So, I guess you can say I am more than a little curious to hear what they have to say. I understand the issue of cost and find myself weighing cost vs usage. How many times will I really wear something and what does that cost workout to be. Most of the time it works out to be pennies, so it makes it worth the up front investment.
Tell us what you think about pricing of green clothing. If you have an opinion, please say something in the comments.
The following is from nau.com about us section: The post is titled, Our case for a new value equation.
In any economic climate, and particularly in one as difficult as this, it’s natural to consider the price of the products we buy, and whether their value justifies their cost. In recent months, we’ve received a number of comments on The Thought Kitchen regarding the prices for Nau products. One poster commented that “the clothing is great and unique but the pricing is outrageous,” while another wrote “You have to own the grid to afford those prices.” At Nau, we’re big believers in making considered choices, so we understand our customers’ desire to understand what value our prices reflect. So here’s a look at the true cost of producing Nau clothing.
Photography by Stefan Arni and his directing partner SIggi Kinski
This week we are lucky to have an exclusive interview with the founders of the fashion house SUST. With the seeds of their company planted in California, these two women, Marion McKee and Tristan Gribbin, have set out to make a mainstream fashion brand, with a green core. They are committed to designing desirable clothing, which looks and feels great, using only the finest 100% organicly grown cottons. They have even committed to having all their garments made in Northern California to ensure all workers are fairly treated, while receiving sustainable wages. Not your typical fashion company business model by a long shot. I guess they didn’t get the insiders handbook to creating a global brand on the cheap. You know the standard chemical / near slave labor production cycle. Isn’t that the right path to creating a main stream brand?
G Monkie: Tristan / Marion, your company is fairly new, only starting in 2008. When you jumped in to create this new fashion brand, what previous experience did you and how did you know what you wanted. to create?
Marion McKee, Co-Founder: I have fourteen years experience as an accessory designer with my own line Marion McKee Designs, which sells in specialty stores and boutiques across the nation. I also owned a skateboard/snowboard shop of street wear trends in the 1990’s in the heart of San Francisco’s Haight Street District. All my experience has stemmed from my love of fashion when I was in school and the merchandising and design classes I took in college.
Tristan Gribbin, Co-Founder: I have a background in theater and entertainment and have seen eye to eye with Marion on style since we’ve been friends in the seventh grade. When we were in junior high we were always sketching punk and new wave designs and passing them around in class! And then, when we were in high school we were Mods and that is still a heavy influence in our style and our designs for SUST today.
Last week I posted about how it is time to get off the Carbon Copy Wagon, in which vast majority of the green new and old media are on. It’s time to make things a little more personal and about the things we directly are part of or are inspired by. So, to begin down that path of change, we are starting a series of exclusive interviews with some of the most inspiring green architects, designers, chefs and other professionals who have drawn a line in the sand and are not looking back. Yes, they believe in a "G" future and they intend to make it happen on their terms.
Our first interview is with G/Fashion designer Sara Kirsner, principle designer and founder of the company Doie. According to Sara’s website, she named the company after her grandmother, a fashion icon, in Sara’s eyes. Her sense of style ran the gamut from vintage Calvin Klein coats to tee-shirts by the Gap. Doie is always put together in a chic, individual way. Stylish, sociable and comfortable in her clothes and in her own skin.
G Monkie: Sara, after seeing your line of clothing and how playful it was, I was wondering a few things. Before becoming a designer, what was your background and when did you get started?
Sara: After graduating from the University of Vermont and working in advertising, I decided that I wanted to be a fashion designer. I had always had a strong interest in fashion (ie making barbie clothes and giving fashion makeovers to friends when I was younger) but I wasn’t sure how to get started. I then went to Parsons School of Design (in NYC). After graduating, I interned at Marc Jacobs and DKNY and then got a contract job with Ann Taylor (corporate). I left Ann Taylor in 2004 and started Doie shortly after.
For me, it’s all about the packaging. Give me black, sleek and chic with a hint of gold and I’m in. This versatile formula holds true for shoes, handbags, dresses, you name it. It also happens to perfectly describe the exquisite range of face and body products from Saaf Pure Skincare. This beautifully packaged skincare range ensures we stay beautifully packaged too.
Indulgent yet organic, ethical yet luxurious, scientific yet natural, Saaf Pure Skincare will help every woman’s skin to look its best. Founder Dr Mah Hussain-Gambles, a Homeopath and Pharmacologist, shuns alcohol, irritants and anything synthetic. Instead her products are packed with active ingredients like Neem Oil, Safflower Oil and Rosehip Seed Oil, which have been used in cultures around the world for centuries. Combined with some modern day mojo, the result is a range must-own items including: the Organic Ultimate Moisture Face Serum to rejuvenate the skin and smell like heaven in the process thanks to a heady splash of Ylang-ylang; the Organic Hydrating Face and Lip Balm which helps reduce pigmentation and scar tissue; the luster-restoring Organic Enriching Hair Oil; and finally, the Organic Eraser Body Oil, which new moms will especially dig as it prevents unwanted stretch marks and helps erase existing ones.
Finally, an alternative to the tree based paper bag. Here is a stylish flax-viscose non-woven fabric bag called 60Bags. First thing you notice about this bag, is that is actually looks pretty hot. The bag is designed to replace all those thick paper bags you get from stores like Banana Republic. The shape and design of the bag will help turn heads and get the retailers brand noticed. Plus it’s a feel good product for their customers, who can go home, toss the back in the compost pile and 60 days later, presto, more dirt for your garden.
Listen up, gentlemen. Here’s a gift both you and your eco-conscious girlfriend can enjoy. Sexy lingerie made from sustainable fabrics. Nice for the skin and nice for the environment. Everyone wins.
Just in time for Christmas comes Enamore’s line of environmentally responsible nightwear. The aptly named Jezebelle set features a sexy range made from luxurious lemon soy and organic cotton. The camisole and matching shorts evoke their intended lustfulness on their own, but I would suggest adding the optional eye mask and garter (each sold separately).
Creationists can cool their heels. By “evolution”, I’m referring to the clothing label from LA-based designers Ali Alborzi and Andrew McCarthy, not that lunatic Charles Darwin. The duo were among just a handful of green designers selected to show their spring/summer 2008 collection Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos
What do you get when you mix a pop icon with a celebrity animal activist? If you’re lucky, you get creative force with a firm consciousness. But did Stella McCartney inherit the best of two impressive gene pools?
Following the creation of her first garment at age 12, McCartney’s signature style of sharp tailoring with sexy femininity began to emerge, eventually earning popularity among celebrities, like style icon Kate Moss, and eco-worshipping fashionistas worldwide. In keeping with her lifelong vegetarian lifestyle, Stella’s lines eschew leather and fur. She also has a co-partnership with Adidas and designs her own skincare and fragrance lines, both of which are strictly organic.