Monday, October 26, 2009

Aldo DIY

Aldo and their DIY campaign although it's not so much 'design it yourself' but CISY 'customise it slightly yourself'.

This isn't an outright message to design your own shoes, but I guess any way that involves the consumer within the creative process and to engage with the product to develop variety would encourage longer wear.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Leeds Bin Strike

Leeds are now in their 9th week of bin strikes.

The strikes are still ongoing due to disagreements over equalising pay.

The council are willing to talk once the refuse collectors go back to work, but the workers won't work until they have sorted the dispute. It is a stalemate situation with unhygienic side effects.

Due to the lack of refuse collection, the council, universtiy and many businesses have had to hire private contractors to clear the backlog.

From BBC news:
"Rows of full up black wheely bins"
"In street after street bins stand full and black bin bags are piling up"
"In some places the piles are massive and there is increasing risk of public health"
"There is cause for concern"

This is an unusual scenario and I am intruiged as to how will this effect the attitudes of the people of Leeds towards waste.

As we never have to deal with or even see the rubbish we throw 'away', it is easier for us to live in a throw-away society. However, if the waste we throw into the black wheely bins stays within sight and mind, as currently happening Leeds, will people start to think about what parts of a product they will need to throw away before they even buy it?

Will people reduce the amount they throw away? Buy less food with excess packaging? Reuse carrier bags and containers?

Will people think about the waste they will create? And if this is a lot will they not buy it?!

If you are from Leeds please comment and share your views on the bin strikes!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Lumberjack check shirts in fashion?


Today on BBC Breakfast news:
'We are now in the longest and deepest recession since the records began following the second world war'
George Osbourne

In the eyes of the economists the GDP measures how happy and successful we are. The GDP is currently going down. Are we ALL less happier and less successful?

In a seminar last week a speaker referenced the following quote from Bobby Kennedy in the 60's which I thought was very poignant. The arguments we are having regarding the development and changes faced within the economy and the difficulties of implementing climate control systems are not new. For over 60 years speeches have been made, books have been writen to encourage the world to change behaviour and think differently before it's too late. Also, during the last 60 years carbon emissions have increased, erratic weather has become more frequent, and the situation we are in has serverely worsened.

Maybe it's time to stop telling and start doing.

"Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages; the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage; neither our wisdom nor our learning; neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile."

Robert F. Kennedy Address, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, March 18, 1968

Sunday, October 18, 2009


The Fabrics Behind Your Favourite Fashions: Upcycling
see the full article click here

Platform 21 Repair Manifesto

Platform 21 is a 'design platform aiming to positively influence the relationship between user and product'

Just in case the above isn't a clear image, their repair manifesto (downloaded from their website) is...

1) Make your products live longer
Repairing means taking the opportunity to give your product a second life. Don't ditch it, stitch it! Don't end it, mend it! Repairing is not anti-consumption, it is anti-needlessly throwing things away

2) Things should be designed so that they can be repaired
Product designers: make your products repairable. Share clear, understandable information about DIY repairs
Consumers: Buy things you know can be repaired, or else find out why they don't exist. Be critical and inquisitive

3) Repair is not replacement
Replacement is throwing away the broken bit. This is NOT the kind of repair that we're talking about.

4) What doesn't kill it makes it stronger.
Every time we repair something, we add to it's potential, its history, its soul and its inherent beauty

5) Repairing is a creative challenge
MAking repairs is good for the imagination. Using new techniques, tools and materials ushers in possibility rather than dead ends

6) Repair survives fashion
Repair is not about styling or trends. There are no due-dates for repairable items

7) To repair is to discover
As you fix objects, you'll learn amazing things about how they actually work. Or don't work.

8) Repair - even in good times!
If you think this manifesto has to do with the recession, forget it. This isn't about money, it's about a mentality.

9) Repaired things are unique
Even fakes become originals when you repair them

10) Repairing is about independence
Don't be a slave to technology - be it's maste. If it's broken, fix it and make it better. And if you're a master, empower others

11) You can repair anything, even a plastic bag.
Buy we'd recommend getting a bag that will last longer, and then repairing it if necessary.


Reet Aus

Taken From Reet Aus Website...

"More sustainable textiles: We use only recycled, organic or natural fibres. And we try to produce to a high level of quality, so that pieces will last for years (or can be easily repaired and re-worn) to reduce waste. Equally, we are doing as much as we can to draw on traditional Estonian designs and handicrafts, to keep these alive for future generations to appreciate.

Slowing down the fashion cycle and reducing waste: Reet Aus is never going to create a new collection every two weeks. In fact, while we may work seasonally, Reet’s starting point for a new ReUse collection is to assemble different fast fashion collections from previous seasons and redesign them to create up-to-date pieces. As well as trying to use more sustainable materials, we rely on natural post-processing of the fabrics, using environmental friendly dyes.

Local production and fair trade: All our clothes are put together locally in Estonia and the artisans involved are treated with respect, including when it comes to their wages. All our recycled textiles are sourced in Estonia too (unfortunately no one is producing organic textiles here at the moment, so we have to look further afield for those).

Fashion en masse vs. Mass Fashion

Just because there are thousands of millions of people on earth (and counting) and we need to clothe everyone, does not mean we need to clothe everyone in the same, uniformally boring, cheap, simple tat that is sold by the likes of Sainsburys. In my opinion Sainsburys, Tesco and Asda etc. need to stick to selling food, get out of the clothing market and allow clothes shopping to become a luxury and an enjoyable experience again rather than a chore you bung in the trolley along with a sack of spuds and a can of spam. P.s Upon closer inspection of 20 garments in the Sainsburys clothing line, NONE of them had their country of origin marked on the label. Isn't this illegal? I'm going to investigate...

Friday, October 16, 2009

Timberland & Recycling

Timberland Shop window on Regent Street. Their Global Commitment logo from reads:

'We've all been part of the cause. We can all be part of the solution'

Recyclable product is another way of saying designing product that has an after life. This means at the end of a product's life, it doesn't go into the landfill, but becomes an input for the next generation of products. This aspirational goal leverages our outdoor heritage and environmental credentials in a competitive and green marketplace by providing durable products that meet our consumers' needs and exceed their environmental expectations. '

Click here to read more from their website

I like the way the product they design becomes the raw material or 'input' for the next generation of products. Thinking in cyclical ways, avoiding landfill, using recylcled materials and promoting reuse of product after use are essential messages to communicate to the consumer and I think the Timberland window on Regent Street is a good example of this.

Underground Ethical Fashion Show

As part of the Islington Contemporary Art&Design Fair 2009 in collaboration with the concious design collective:

Current Members of the Concious Design Collective:

House of Tammam


Sew Last Season

Elena Garcia Eco-Couture

Ria Roberts

Nancy Dee


Vogue November 'More Dash Than Cash' Issue 2009

With the number of talented and innovative UK fashion designers, product designers and artists exploring themes of re:use and 'make do and mend' it's a joke that for their November 'more dash than cash' issue, Vogue decided to produce such ridiculous creations.

It completely undermines the work of serious desingers running businesses in the recession who are inspired by such themes. Instead of producing irrelevant 'garments' that aren't reusing anything (the team actually went out and bought all this cheap domestic plastic stuff new from the shops) they could have taken the opportunity to profile some amazing contemporary and relevant British talent.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Primark Bags Galore

Visiting the White Rose shopping centre in Leeds I was intruiged to see two women wheeling around their ENORMOUS Primark haul in shopping trolleys whilst food shopping in Sainsburys.

There wasn't much space left for the food!

Is it just me, or is this excessive shopping entirely unncessary??! This fascinating extreme of consumption is fuelled by the cheap likes of Primark

Clothing Ration Books

After a weekend spent with Grandma, old photographs and Wedding Albums of 4 generations, the clothing ration books above were found mixed in with various family birth and death certificates.

No clothes could be bought without also handing over the ration coupons, leading to the development of a 'black market' where those who did not want to buy any new clothes could sell their coupons to others wanting or needing new clothing for example, a wedding dress.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Revolve: Recycled Products

Walking past a skip today I saw this circuit board on the top of the contents. It reminded me of a company I heard of initially about 3 years ago -Revolve UK. They take circuit boards, plastic bags, juice cartons, coffee cups, yoghurt pots and plastic bottles and recycle them into new materials and products. Click here to be taken to their website. They are familiar products made with unusual and unique 100% recycled materials.

Boots Display

I love Boots.
They are my favourite type of footwear.

Walking through Sainsburys (above left) and then BHS (above right) I saw these boots displayed and I was really shocked to see the stores obviously not making any secret of how mass produced, syntheticially similar they all are!

I'm not saying they are amazing quality and deserve to be put on a pedestal, but i'm sure there used to be a time that stores at least attempted to mask the fact their products were mass produced and cheap by presenting them well?? It is such a shame that they are hooked together and packed in like sardines so the store can sell more, faster, and in the process entirely compromise on display.

I know this isn't just BHS and Sainsburys by the way, there are plenty of stores that are worse, but it seems really sad.

Recycling Vans that have been driving round London

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Mary Portas V Day

Real life mannequin: Three 'senior citizens' modelling in the window of House of Fraser on Oxford Street a couple of days ago. Filming with Mary Portas for the new series of Queen of Charity Shops.

The V Day campaign aimes to encourage everyone to volunteer at their local charity shop, encourage donation and consumption of second hand clothing.

As a result of this I will spend some time volunteering at my local charity shop - The Salvation Army.

Monday, October 05, 2009

SHOWstudio Fashion Revolution

Show Studio Fashion revolution article

As Fashion Week and the Design Festival hit London, so did the opening of SHOWStudio Fashion Revolution. As well as providing the new base for London Fashion Week, Somerset House is also the venue for the temporary exhibition.

SHOWStudio is a website and blog platform established by fashion photographer Nick Knight that aims to ‘demystify the creative process’ ( Opening the virtual doors to The Studio, a mostly hidden world, provides an insight into concept developments, mistakes and inspiring moments that precede the ubiquitous polished fashion image.

The diversity of projects documented within the unique SHOWstudio frame are regularly uploaded by an industry network of contributors and collaborators. Viewers are able to voice their opinions and interact with the website content, blurring the divide between ‘viewer’ and ‘artist’. One feature of the exhibition that demonstrates this concept is Design_Download. Paper patterns for garments designed by Martin Margiela, Alexander McQueen and John Galliano, to name a few, are available to download and viewers are encouraged to incorporate their own unique creativity as they construct the garment. When complete, the interpretation is photographed and uploaded onto The beauty of this concept lies in the fascinating results. Unfortunately sometimes within the mainstream fashion industry ideas of unique interpretation and diversity are replaced with repetitive garment shapes. However, this process communicates the multitude of possibilities that stem from a single pattern when you encourage creativity and participation.

The three main areas of the exhibition are Process, Performance and Participation. As well as including the work of well known designers and fashion in a familiar catwalk or studio setting, the exhibition successfully questions how we see Fashion. It opens our eyes to the importance of movement, body, life, art, music, colour, film and photography. They weave together and pull apart to stimulate ideas and challenge opinions.

As I left the exhibition I felt forced to redefine my view of ‘Fashion’ - an appropriate question in uncertain times of necessary change. SHOWstudio Fashion Revolution displays our time of Fashion transformation, for which the internet will continue to provide an essential platform. Interaction and communication are also vital elements that have the ability to involve and sustain the artist/viewer.

To look beyond the final product and styled image, to question the process, to ask ‘how did it get here? ’ is not exclusive to the core of SHOWstudio. The future of the fashion industry requires all involved within it to ask questions, to redefine, challenge and doubt what we already have. To look behind the scenes, to realise our clothes are part of a much larger ‘fashion’ chain of actions and events. Challenging such actions and looking beyond what we see, remains a key element to sustaining our industry.