Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Chris Huhne at LSE

The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Chris Huhne MP spoke yesterday at LSE about the new Green Deal. The talk was chaired by Eric Neumayer - Head of Department for Geography and the Environment at LSE.

Chris Huhne was speaking about the Green Economy and also the 3rd Industrial Revolution that will support an economy 'built to last'. The Green Deal will support 'jobs, investment, technology, a skilled workforce and further innovation' and an economy prone to fewer ups and downs with green energy providing the backbone of the revolution.

To nurture new industries through innovation in clean energy and to develop the UK's energy independence through low carbon goods and services. The Green Deal has set itself the target to support 1 million Green Jobs by 2015 by taking the lead in off shore wind and carbon capture technology with other renewable energy supplies and nuclear also having a role to play.

As we move ahead to a low carbon future, Chris was positive that 'the next generation's prosperity will come from green energy'. 

Due to the 'chronic inefficiency' throughout homes in the UK, the Green Deal does not leave out our houses, aiming to 'futureproof' the homes in need of eco-improvements. With further green jobs created through the assessment, installation and construction of further green housing, along with boilers and insulation I really hope the Green Deal works as well as Mr Huhne suggested.

This is sure to improve our current rating of 25th (out of 27 countries in Europe) for our dependence on renewable energy sources. Shocking!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Made Not Manufactured

This was one of the posters towards the end of 2010 at the Origins craft fair in Spitalfields Market. It made me smile, and I love the label 'Made Not Manufactured'. Appreciation of materials, skills, quality and craftmanship are implied through the 'made'.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Kilburn OxJam: Fashion Show

Oxfam's music and fashion fundraiser, OxJam, organise events throughout the country, and on Friday 8th October I submitted an upcycled outfit to be shown as part of the fashion show.

The design brief was to select garments from an Oxfam store (spending a maximum of £15) and upcycle them into a fabulous outfit to be shown at the OxJam event.  I visited the Camden Oxfam DIY store and, inspired by the promotion of pink products from Wednesday's Breast Cancer Care Show, I selected a pink outfit: Leggings (Diesel) and Hoody (H&M) to create my October Breast Cancer Awareness upcycled outfit.

I deconstructed the hoody and leggings and used design features of both garments to inspire the upcycle outfit. I used the zip and the ribbing from the hoody in the dress and turned the hood inside out before reattaching it to the jacket. Modelled here by the lovely Georgia who did a great job at making it look even better than I had imagined on the catwalk!

As well as the fashion show, music was performed by Hawa Power and I Love Zagreb - both talented acts that provided a great accompaniment to the fashion show. Also showing an outfit at the OxJam show: Francesca Warren (whose garment is the black dress above) who is a graduate from the CSM Textile Futures MA. Her work and new label UnButton focuses on reuse and zero waste and you can find more information about her great ideas  HERE!

OCTOBER - Breast Cancer Care Awareness Month

It was a very emotional but also exciting day on Wednesday 6th October - photographing the models backstage at the annual Breast Cancer Care fundraising event at Grovesnor House Hotel. The models are all breast cancer survivors and had a great day modelling fabulous outfits on the catwalk to raise money for a great and essential cause. The best photographs were taken on the big fancy camera and are now in the good hands of Breast Cancer Care, but I also managed to snap away on the blog camera!

The models arrived early at Grovesnor House and were treated to a full hair and make up makeover. There were 20 models all together, so it took most of the morning to get everyone through the fantastic Estee Lauder make up artists and Sassoon hair team. These photos are taken backstage at the dress rehersal and afternoon BCC Show.

 All the outfits had been decided proir to the event, and the models were comfortable  in their selection and also looked AMAZING! Clothes had been donated by everyone from John Lewis to Jaeger, and were split into eight themes.

My favourite of all themes: the Evening Ballgown collection - each model wore a stunning evening gown and for this outfit only was walked down the catwalk by a professional male model.

The fundraiser was a huge success and I greatly enjoyed getting to know the models and being able to capture the excitement and glamour of the day.

For more information on Breast Cancer Care click here

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Annual Dilemma

Around this time every year I begin to get excited when considering my most treasured annual purchase: The winter boot.

As a teenager, Faith served me well. A Kurt Geiger sale pair were a great early purchase and have weared well. A couple of pairs have been passed on to me from my mum, and a couple of others have been found in discreet and quiet beautiful independent shoe shops around the country.

However, in the years since my sustainable fashion awakening - and understanding the need in our society to 'vote with my wallet' - no matter how great the look or label, if it's not been Terra Plana I have not bought it. Unfortunately, my black flat Terra Plana FAVOURITES that once looked like this...

Terra Plana Wood mid Cald Length Boot
Are now (despite much re-heeling) in a state of disrepair: broken zip, chunk missing from the back of both heels, buckle fallen off the top strap, threads coming loose. Looking at how they used to be, I would be more than happy to spend the same amount of money for a new pair on getting these fixed! Anyway, I don't think Terra Plana currently have a send back and renew policy - so my journey to replace them continues.

After lusting after the Terra Plana Lauren Boot (below) for way too long, by the time I had saved up to buy it, it had vanished from the shelves. These lovelies now exist only in virtual shopping areas in a size 3 or in yellow. (I'm a size 5 Terra Plana, if you're reading this and have a few spare black pairs).

Terra Plana Lauren Boot
I feel that the next part of the story is all due to the slight loss I feel by not owning a pair of the Lauren Boots. I have no ankle boots, and although I am searching for flat, black, practical but different, wearable but interesting (obviously responsibly sourced and manufactured) the look of the Lauren boot has always stayed with me in a search for something similar to take its place.

So, finding myself exploring the new Shoe Galleries in Selfridges on Saturday (along with a million other people) I was not impressed with any of the black flat boots I tried on. I was about to leave, wondering how much it would really cost to repair my favourite yet sadly unwearable original Terra Plana pair, when I walked past these black suede Siri boots in All Saints...

All Saints Black Suede Siri Boot
See a resemblance to the Lauren's? I know All Saints isn't at the cutting edge of innovative sustainable design, but they would be a good investment, surely?...I tried them on, squashed between other women trying on similar All Saints styles, commenting on how lovely they all are. I had a walk around in them and felt insantly Rock Chic...but was I really going to buy this slightly impractical yet stunning pair AND a pair of black flat ones? No, too much money. As I put them back in the box, still undecided, a keen sales assistant appeared. "I love these boots, we've sold SO many pairs of these today". Ah. That decided it. I left the Shoe Galleries pretty quickly without my essential Rock Chic footwear realising that however special I felt wearing them, at least 200, 300 + other rock chick boot lovers all over the country had felt the exact same way. I don't think that thought would put many people off...but for me there is no bigger turn off to buy something than knowing it is the most popular item. It is for this reason, not environmental issues, why I began making my own clothes, yet I am not blessed with the ability, nor equipment to make my own shoes. Reminded of my love for the niche and unique (yet affordable) I shall go back to finding small labels run by responsible designers trying to make a difference.

Oh, and until I can get my boots fixed I found my next purchase:

Terra Plana Black Birch Boot

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

BBC Blast @ V&A Fashion Festival

BBC Blast and the V&A have collaborated to create a unique schedule of FREE fashion workshops aimed at 13-19 year olds who are keen to find out more about the fashion industry and ask advice from industry insiders. Saturday 2nd October will see the first dedicated fashion workshop programme organised by BBC Blast and the V&A Sackler Centre. The free workshops include fashion styling, hair and beauty demonstrations, learning how to knit, fashion upcycle, fashion illustration, photoshop skills for image transfer and a live Q&A with Erin O'Connor!

For more information visit the website:

Visit the website to register and pre-book your preferred workshop. Many are drop in, so come along and see what's on offer. Plus it's another great excuse to get down to the ever inspiring V&A museum.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Yellow Dress

Colin and Livia Firth at the BAFTAS 2010
Me wearing the dress August 2010

After falling in love with the yellow Leila Hafzi dress on Livia Firth's Green Carpet Challenge blog on the Vogue website, finding it on the Oxfam E-Bay site, placing my bids, eagerly awaiting the deadline, becoming the successful bidder and making slight alterations, I finally wore it to Laura and Duncan's wedding!

I thoroughly enjoyed wearing it, it is such a comfortable yet beautiful dress - and I greatly enjoyed telling people the story of how I aquired it.

Having a story to tell about a garment you love is something really special. Whether it is associated with a previous owner, an unusual shopping experience or has been created or customised by the wearer or loved ones, the story of a garment is something that has the potential to connect people more to the clothing they wear. It would be so great to hear more stories of clothing when I enquire in the future about someone's outfit of choice.

Friday, September 17, 2010

CSF@Estethica - Martina Spetlova

CSF@Estethica - Romina Karamanea

CSF@Estethica - Josie Beckett

CSF@Estethica - Borders and Frontiers

CSF @ Esthetica LFW Sept.2010

Another season and another fantastic range of exhibitors at Estethica. The Centre for Sustainable Fashion is based at LCF and is an hub "interacting with fashion education, research and the wider industry". As part of the Business Support Programme, CSF @ Estethica is profiling the work of 4 designers enrolled on the programme who are working to improve the sustainability credentials of their business. This season they are: (from left to right on the image below). Martina Spetlova, Borders and Frontiers, Romina Karamenea, Josie Beckett.

Monday, September 13, 2010

THTC Upcycling

After meeting Gav from THTC and helping out this week with the NOI collective workshops at the START Garden Party to Make a Difference, I was inspired to set myself a THTC upcycle project:


2x small t-shirts (as below)
1x waistband

1) Cut off the sleeves from t-shirt 1
2) Cut the bottom half of the t-shirt off
3) Stitch waistband to the bottom of the shortened t-shirt

4) Slice the neckline off the 2nd t-shirt
5) Stitch the top of t-shirt 2 to the bottom of the waistband
6) Fold the sleeves inside the dress and turn into pockets
7) Stitch the bottom part of t-shirt 1 to the bottom of t-shirt 2
(unless you would prefer a minidress!)

I wore my upcycled THTC dress to the Sunday workshops at the START Garden Party and inspired many youngsters to have a go at remaking a t-shirt.
(see for further images)