What? Not enjoying my label-inspired writing style? Look, everything I want to say about Sam Elsom’s label is reflected in the gorgeous images on their website. I’m not exactly speechless. Just buzzing with buzzwords.
In 1969, Easy Rider the film launched the career of Jack Nicholson and marked the birth of independent cinema in America. In 2000, Easy Rider the jean launched LA designer Mik Serfontaine’s eponymous label and the West Coast denim movement.
Serfontaine is the brand of choice for many A-list derrieres, from Britney to Beyoncé, from J.Lo to Jen. Young Hollywood style mavens Mischa Barton, Kate Hudson, Sienna Miller and Wentworth Miller also can’t get enough.
Serfontaine is creation of South African born designer, Mik Serfontaine. Leaving home at 18, Mik traveled the world before settling in the city of angles. A stint at design school led to the opening of his first boutique on Venice’s Abbot Kinney in 1995.
I had a few moments to catch up with Tim Gunn at the Bryant Park Hotel for his conference with PETA on the fur industry. Tim is an outspoken advocate for animals used in the fashion industry, and calls for responsibility and accountability from every single person using or wearing the skin of an animal – whether it is fur, leather, or wool.
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”.
Fellow Londoner Stella McCartney stands firm in her beliefs that high fashion doesn’t have to include such things as fur and leather. Showing off her latest collection in Paris, to an audience which included super stars, such as Pink, Kanye West, and even her father Paul McCartney. The collection focused on the idea of femininity, sensuality, sheerness and delicacy. All the things I would love to have in my closet, this summer. She even does some amazing things in black which would look amazing on me if only I could come up with the cash ($1145.00 for the Cotton Cashmere Dress in the image at the top of the page). I am sure all of the designs are well beyond my G Living micro pay budget. But if it didn’t cost a small fortune, then it couldn’t be called high fashion, Right!
To get the Stella Look, check out her pretty interactive site stellamccartney.com. She has most of the collection online for you to try out.
Fashion designer and daughter of famous Beatle Paul McCartney has teamed up this year with Comic Relief and T.K.Maxx to sell Stella designed Red Nose T-Shirts. Really it’s a complete family affair, when you count that dad is tossing in the photos of his band and Stella’s sister joined in to shoot the celebrities wearing the shirts for the ad campaign. Look how the Vegan Super Rich do it. They are givers!
The Details from the official Red Nose Facebook site: Since 2005 TK Maxx has worked with Comic Relief raising money through selling the official Red Nose Day t-shirt and staff fundraising. 40% of the funds raised go to projects in the UK, while 60% covers long term developmental work in Africa. The Comic Relief philosophy is giving a leg up not a hand out. To date, we have raised over £3 million for Comic Relief. This money has helped Comic Relief to fund projects to fight poverty and social injustice in the UK and Africa. We have designed, manufactured and sold hundreds of thousands of exclusive t-shirts and have engaged in some outstanding and downright mad fundraising efforts. We raised £2 million in 2007 alone… twice what we raised in the previous campaign! We are incredibly proud to be a partner of Comic Relief and to support the life changing work that they do. This year, more than ever. TK Maxx will be encouraging all its staff to go all out and raise tons of money themselves in addition to transforming every TK Maxx store into a celebration of all things funny for the duration of the Comic Relief campaign. We hope you’ll join us in the challenge to make RND 09 a sidesplitting success.
Stella enlisted Sienna Miller, Gwyneth Paltrow, Claudia Schiffer and Keira Knightly to show the British public how best to wear the tops.
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.
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”.