When it comes to ethical fashion, it doesn’t get much cooler than Social Atelier. The LA-based T-shirt line can be found at the most desirable shopping addresses, both physical and virtual. With an opinion on everything — from Barbie’s vitals and the war in Iraq, to AIDS and global warming — they’re not afraid to speak the TRUTH. Their signature big bold fonts will be as permanently etched onto your retina as they are on their buttery soft 100% organic cotton tees. We caught up Social Atelier co-founder and co-designer, Andrei Najjar.
G Living | Fashion turns our lens on British Fashion Designer Katharine Hamnett, and her extensive history of using style to spotlight world issues. She has a flair for building content into fashion, and using her connections to some of the hottest models in the business to promote them. These organic cotton SAVE THE FUTURE tanks have been seen on high profile models such as Lily Cole, Naomi Campbell. With Hamnett’s help issues such as child labor, blood diamonds, and pesticide use in the garment industry have captured public interest and concern.
Perfectly Imperfect. When I first came across this sustainable clothing line, it sounded to me like something you’d find in an outlet mall. Imperfects. What a great idea, I thought, marveling at my own perspicacity.
There’s no shortage of bankruptcy-inducing English brands on the market. From Burberry and Alexander McQueen to Paul Smith and Dunhill, these established high-end luxury labels are as desirable as they are decadent.
But here’s something to get excited about: a UK designer label that’s both sumptuous and socially conscious.
Old-time English luxury label, John Smedley (established 1784), best known for their opulent knitwear, have teamed up with Better Thinking Ltd. to come up with the perfect tee. The shirt is touted as “Luxury Redefined” — and with two years in the making, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better made garment.
39” 19” 33”. No, Pamela Anderson hasn’t had (another) rib taken out. These vital stats belong to another impossibly proportioned buxom blonde: Barbie. The slogan is just one of the straight-forward social messages of the new high-end T-shirt line, Social Atelier.
Stewart + Brown co-founder, Howard Brown, talk about the organic fashion business; Sarah thinks Boise is bulimic.
Husband and wife duo, Karen Stewart and Howard Brown launched their eponymous line back in 2002. What started out as a basic t-shirt and bag line has evolved into a “fully contemporary, ready-to-wear collection”. Designer and mother, Karen is the embodiment the line. Living and working in the beachside town of Ventura, a few hours north of Los Angeles, she’s about as far away from a Manhattan socialite as you can get. No wonder Stewart + Brown’s designs are practical and casual with an emphasis on function.
Yoga is to the nineties as aerobics was to the eighties. There are similarities: both increase flexibility, both build strength, both develop muscle tone and both are a great excuse to wear something cute (if lycra G-strings were ever considered cute).
The big difference, of course, is that yoga offers something intangible. Possibly best classified under the umbrella of spirituality, it’s an innate awareness of our interconnectedness to the environment around us. To ensure that yoga doesn’t get Jane Fonda-rized, the Green Yoga Organization can help us to stay grounded to the true meaning of yoga.
I heart H&M. Or Hennes as it’s called in Europe. In London, Hennes and TopShop are the two staples for fashionistas to get cheap yet cutting edge clothing – a slinky tee to go with designer jeans or shirt-dress you could dress up with a fabulous belt. Here in the States there are so many inexpensive retails stores (Target, Forever 21, Old Navy, American Apparel, Loehmanns, Ross) that it’s utterly confounding. I’ve lived here for four years and am still absolutely clueless on where to shop for basics. Oddly the higher end posed no problem, I drifted to Neiman Marcus and Barney’s like a leaf in a current. But one can’t live in Jimmy Choos alone. Which brings me back to Hennes, rather H&M.
While David Blaine holds his breath for 17 minutes, I’ve been using that time productively by unearthing the coolest raw green designer talent. While this latest find may look like it walked off the set of “Gone with the Wind”, it’s actually straight outta Brooklyn. Loup Charmont means “the charming wolf” — a beautiful force of nature, fierce protector and loyal pack nurturer.
In human terms, this translates to a romantic array of flowing floor length halter dresses, tunics, sarongs and string bikinis. The bloomers, nightie and plantation dress, while historically inspired, are so in the now. Designer Kee Edward’s collection is made entirely from organic, sustainable cotton fibers, with her driving force being her goal to “do no harm in the world”. Not only are there any no synthetics or toxins in her production, there are no dyes. Everything comes in a natural color palette.
When you think of socially responsible retailers, Walmart probably isn’t the first name that springs to mind. And rightly so. The world’s largest corporation has come under fire from grassroots organizations, environmental groups, labor unions, women’s rights campaigners (and just about everyone except shoppers in middle America) over its sometimes questionable policies and business practices.
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.