Not Just A Label, isn’t really a Brand, it’s more of a marketplace for Avant-Garde up incoming fashion designers in need of a place to sell their latest creations. To that end, Not Just A Label has been racking up the launches of new “G” organic collections. The latest is by Fashion talent Patrick Mohr, Aoi Kotsuhiroi and Spon Diogo, who make up Aoi Kotshuhiroi. Wow, interesting names, right? The collection consist of long semi-tranparent wife beater Tees with, you guessed it, cows floating across the fabric. Yes wife beaters, but wait a minute, these are made from some very nice organic cotton. Yes, the price point is a little high for the average Joe Blow, trailer rocking, beer slamming, practicing wife beater, ( £ 55 ) the normal target for this look. But since this is a Brit thing, maybe they have in mind the Euro youth culture, the concert hopping oh so gay-not-gay semen and their lady friends. If that is the case, as it appears to be in the ads, these cows may just be leaving the barn and never coming home.
If you didn’t make it to NYC Fashion week back in February, here is what you missed when it came to the Green Shows. 2010 was the first year green “G” designers came together to present their collections during the biggest week in the fashion industry, The NYC Fashion Week.
I have to admit, I didn’t make it over to see the shows either. But the videos are still inspiring and give me hope the “G” fashion world is just beginning to burst into the main stream. Everyone should go out and support these designers. Buy something, show it off and hook up your friends. I know I will. Continue Reading / See Additional Photos
Imagine if you will, ladies, that you’ve got a big night out on the town. You have to look your best. What better choice than a sexy bamboo number like the beau rome by Beau Soleil?
Beau Soleil was founded by New York entrepreneur Anne Salvatore Epstein and her husband. Having worked with companies like as Marc Jacobs and IISLI, Epstein realized she wanted to create a organization that offered organically made – yet fashionably tasteful – clothing. Taking what she’d learned from her previous experience in the fashion industry, Epstein wanted Beau Soleil to be kind to both the environment and those who worked for it.
Beau Soleil’s products are created using organic materials such as bamboo, vegetable- dyed organic cottons and other recycled materials. They’re sexy, affordable, if you have $275 in your pocket, which seems to be the favorite price point for almost everything and of course the most important part, everything is completely sustainable.
The world of green fashion designers is still a pretty small one. It’s almost shockingly small, after 30 years of pushing this green fashion rock up this hill. What went wrong? By now I would have thought there would be millions of little Paris Hiltons demanding closets full of organic fairtrade clothing. But, that fantasy world just hasn’t materialized yet. No, the world is still full of twiggy women with a lust for the old faithfuls. Dead this, dead that and oh yes, lots and lots of chemically grown cotton please.
If we have any chance of turning the beastly giant fashion vessel around, it truly lies in the hands of the designers we are featuring here on G Living. These brave designers, with big hearts, wild imaginations and un-ending courage. Designs such as Meiling Chen, who is our feature designer of the week.
Meiling Chen, calls herself the Fearless Dreamer. And one look at her fashion collection, you can understand why. Meiling caught the fashion bug from watching her father transform traditional suits and shirts into the latest contemporary styles. This re-imagining what already existed, must have had some impact on her own green fashion ideas. Her fashion creativity has gotten her noticed by some of the big names of mainstream fashion, such as Italian Vogue, Bazaar, and others.
We caught up with Meiling via email and she was nice enough to answer a few of our questions.
Julia: How did you choose to become a designer and how did you start your career? Why G/Fashion?
Meiling: I love to draw since I was little and had my heart set in the creative field since then. My schooling has always been in the fine arts, sculpture, visual communication design (graphic design) and fashion design. I walk into the path naturally. Also, my father used to be a tailor, I was growing up immersed in the surrounding. I live in a green lifestyle and I love nature.
In my quest for truly luxurious, fabulous & sustainable life, fashion plays an important role. I’ve long been a fan and a customer of Kayce Armstrong’s Art of Shade fashion label. I first came across Kayce and her amazing fashions as I was walking along Lincoln Road in Miami Beach one Sunday afternoon in 2003. Her clothes were gorgeous and like nothing I’d ever seen. You see, Kayce makes her dresses from totally recycled materials.
One dress I fell hopelessly in love with was made out of an antique electric blanket. You could see the tracks running across the fabric from where the cables used to be-and it was stunning. She makes wondrous creations from old tablecloths and stuffy old dresses and almost anything you can imagine.
I don’t know if there’s such a thing as one-stop shopping for the fashion-forward “G” set, but Eco Citizen is definitely the most earth friendly find of the week. This new boutique, located in San Francisco’s Russian Hill, caters to eco-fabulous fashionistas in search of high-end, sustainable style.
(From their website) “Eco Citizen strives to offer high quality, fair trade, classic fashion design and construction to the eco-conscious consumer. Our mission is to support the planet and its people while encouraging and implementing fair trade practices, sweatshop-free merchandise, and organic fashion products. Eco Citizen promotes a lifestyle choice that goes beyond the traditional allure of fashion, by transcending the self through transparent business practices, while providing fashion-forward and classic clothing for the 21st century woman.”
The ability to take one of the world’s oldest sustainable fabrics and spin it into a sleek, luxury designer line is exactly what G Living looks for. And this writer has a special fondness for hemp. Enter Viridis Luxe, where hemp is sexy and luxurious.
Hemp as a fabric is a time-honored tradition dating back to the Italian Renaissance. History would have us believe that hemp denim was even used in the creation of the very first pair of Levi’s.
Focusing primarily on fabric made from sheer silk hemp (you have to see their jersey tops), the Viridis Luxe creative team of Hala Bahmet and Amadea West have designed a collection of fashionable sweaters, skirts, wraps and tunics. (There’s also a terrific line of exotic bamboo t-shirts.) Their hands-on approach to beautiful, sustainable creation involves long fiber hemp harvested by hand, along with the use of all-natural dyes and routine supervision to ensure healthy factory working conditions.
This weeks Exclusive G/Fashion interview is with New York based Fashion Designer Mika Machida. Mika started her company after being influenced by Johanna Hofring, the owner of Ekovaruhuset / House of Organic. Everyone should remember, we interviewed Johanna back in January. I can see why Mika would be inspired by such a dedicated and amazing woman.
But Mika is obviously inspired by more than just other G Living fashion designers. One look at Mika’s line and you can’t help but notice something different is going on here. Mika literally wants you to wear your love of nature on your sleeve, chest, and back.
Julia: Mika, your dress have to be a major conversation starters for the women wearing them. I have to ask you about all the embedded animals in your design, what inspired this design path?
Mika: I think being a designer right now is an extension of what I have been doing since my childhood. I Always loved drawing, making things, flipping through animal books…and I still do the same things! As for green fashion, after I realized that there’s the other side of urban human life, the whole human impact on nature and on ourselves. With the knowledge of unfair labor practices in poorer countries, there was no other choice left for me than going green with a responsible production process. It’s still hard to be 100% ethical and have no impact on the environment, but I am trying as much as I can and hope this will someday make a difference.
The mission of BOA Studio is “to provide eco-friendly and aesthetically-wise designs that will truly become a part of your life”. This was my introduction to the green fashion brand coming out of Istanbul of all places. I don’t know about you, but the name Istanbul pulls up childhood images of adventures with our beloved Michael Palin. In his very English way heading out to exotic locations around the world, to visit the natives. Well, could he have imagined Istanbul, a place seeming so ancient, would be home to the highly creative and inspiring green fashion duo, Sena and Seray.
Sena Çevik and Seray Cengiz had a dream called Boa. More than another fashion brand, a company who’s focus is to inspire you to live green through fashion.
Julia: How did you choose to become a designer and how did you start your career? Why G/Fashion?
Seray: Boa Studio is actually formed by a graphic designer and a design manager. Neither of us had fashion design backgrounds. The idea behind Boa was to create eco-friendly pieces that would become a part of our everyday lives. What we put on at home, outside or even when we go to bed defines how we live. Our bodies are in full contact with several kinds of fabric everyday. Why not prefer to create your designs with such a fabric that is responsible to the ecology as well as your body? Boa is the result of a one full night’s talk at home, thinking how we can collaborate our experience and ideas and how we can do it responsibly. Continue Reading / See Additional Photos
Amidst the all excitement that surrounds socially conscious fashion these days, it’s easy to forget about the basic principle that either makes or breaks beautiful garments, green or otherwise — the cut. There’s no such oversight when it comes to Japanese design duo, Kaito Hori and Iku Furudate. Their Paris-based label Commuun has been presenting exquisite collections at Paris Women’s Ready to Wear Fashion Week since its debut in 2005.
The core of each collection is nature with all its idiosyncrasies. The designers reconstruct these ideas through “simple but strong shapes and fine detailing”. Their commitment to the environment is also displayed through their choice of fabrics: Japanese organic cotton and Italian linen, to mention a few. With the design and materials chosen, the duo employ their trademark French pattern technique to construct long-lasting, beautifully tailored garments that are functional and stylish.
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.
In my never ending quest to be the hottest darkest green bitch in London, I find myself seeking out the under exposed G/Fashion brands and stores. This is how I came to learn about Ekovaruhuset (House of Organic). After a night of clubbing and one too many organic vodka on ice with a twist of lime, I curled up on my sofa, cracked open my macbook and started to search. My closet was screaming for something new, something fresh. My exact search was, organic fashion for women with balls, but nothing came up. I decided to checkout one of my semi favorite stops online New York Magazine and with my slight buzz I had some difficulty focusing my eyes on the screen. But within a few clicks I had landed on a screen which said, Ekovaruhuset, House of Organic NYC. A gem of a shop, which was not only in New York City but also, had locations in Stockhom and Paris. No London, so popping in for a look is off the table, but from the description this is feeling like a true fashion house. My heart started pounding and my sweaty organic cotton tights were getting uncomfortable from all this excitement.
Un-able to contain my enthusiasm, I shot an email off to G Monkie, to get his darknesses take on this place. I stroked his ego a little, and promised him some banana cake, if he would allow me to cover this designer and her shops. Lucky for all of us, he was in a better mood than usual and sent a series of questions to me and Johanna Hofring, the owner / designer. His questions where the same dull Monkie dribble he is always asking, so I altered them a bit, to fit, what we women really want to know. You know how dull that freaking Monkie can be. “Yes we know you have an electric bike, you told us.”
Before we start with the questions, let me tell you a little about this little gem of a green fashion house/ shop. First, this isn’t your typical web online based green womens store. They actually have three physical locations, which I stated earlier. They almost cover all the fashion capitals, New York, Paris and Stockholm. I know, Stockholm doesn’t count as a fashion capital and no G Monkie, L.A. doesn’t need to be on the list. They do need a london store, which I am sure will be coming soon, (hint). At Ekovaruhuset all the clothes you will find are made the natural way, using all organic materials. This means the fibers that the fabrics are made of have been grown without the use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides and made into fabric, then dyed in facilities that are environmentally responsible. Johanna likes to say ” It’s all about having fun and looking fabulous while saving the world”. That is something I can totally get down with. Lets do another round of organic shots, and get into this interview.
Julia Ocean: You have chosen to open your stores in very international cities like New York Stockholm, and Paris, why is that?
Johanna: The first one I opened in Stockholm because that is where I was living at the time, the second one in New York because we believed it to be the best place to spread eco-fashion awareness internationally and the third one is opened by a wonderful french woman named Helene Sananikone on a franchise basis. So we chare our concept and collaborate in many ways but it is her store.