Sunday, January 31, 2010

Local Wisdom

Today I have been at the South Bank Centre, London,
assisting Kate Fletcher with a research project
titled 'Local Wisdom'

"An on-going unique fashion project recording the clothes-based ingenuity of our communities"

It is great to see people so passionate about special items of clothing. Local Wisdom is a great platform for these hidden items with amazing stories and just goes to show that wonderful and special clothing can arise anywhere, for anyone at anytime.

If you have a garment that is special to you, bring it along to a local wisdom event, tell its story and be photographed wearing it.

The Local Wisdom website gives more information and lists 18 case studies of garments that people within communities have brought to their nearest Local Wisdom event. The stories of the garments are varied and give a fascinating insight as to why people feel more connected to certain garments and why these have more value than others.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

UAL Go Green Week


@HUB - Davies Street

Renew your wordrobe! Search your wardrobe for garments you never wear, bring them along, and swap them for ones you will wear and love!

There will be sewing machines on hand to get your clothes ‘up-cycled’ and some clothing customising workshops.

Come along any time with your unwanted clothing.

ALSO - Speakers from TRAID (Textile Recycling for Aid & International Development) AND -

AND - for one night only in London … the infamous Italian Vintage Stall from Milan … Mercatino Michela …

Hosted by the lovely MA Fashion and the Environment students from LCF in collaboration with the Centre for Sustainable Fashion (

Any questions -


@HUB _ Davies Street

An informal evening introducing and exploring the diverse and innovative areas of sustainability within the Fashion and Textile Industry. Hosted by MA Fashion and the Environment students from LCF.

Come along to learn more and find out why this is such a vitally important area of contemporary design, ask questions and even get help with ideas for projects.

Speakers from...

People Tree |
Ethical Fashion Forum |
Environmental Justice Foundation (also selling their t-shirts) |

...will discuss the work they do to play an important role in a changing industry. We will also be:

• Launching the UAL Sustainable Design Society
• Showcasing the Premiere of the MA Fashion and the Environment Film

Followed by a Q&A session
Bar will be open & maybe even some free drinks!

Centre for Sustainable Fashion

Friday, January 22, 2010

SHIFT Festival

This weekend sees the first graduate exhibition of MA Fashion and the Environment students from the London College of Fashion as part of the Shift Festival organised by Cape Farewell.

The Southbank Centre will be the base for this weekend of a:
"Stimulating, provocative and energising programme of climate-focused cultural events"

The Cape Farewell Residency at the Southbank centre is running from August 2007 - July 2010. Taken from the website:

“Nothing is more important than our planet, and we all responsible for its welfare: we are already beginning to experience the catastrophic effects of ignorance. But statistics and constant messages of doom are not necessarily the best way to face these challenges. I asked Cape Farewell to join us as Artists in Residence because of the important and unique work they are doing in bringing together the artistic and scientific communities in order to address issues around climate change, in highly imaginative and thought-provoking ways. Their residency is part of our vision for Southbank Centre to become a place for debate through artistic encounter.”
Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of Southbank Centre
The MA Fashion and the Environment Exhibition will run in the foyer of Queen Elizabeth Hall from:

FRIDAY 29 JANUARY 17.00 – 22.30
SATURDAY 30th Jan & SUNDAY 31st Jan 12.00 – 22.30

Included in the exhibition:

From Fashioning the Future 2009, the international student awards for sustainability in fashion

REMADE IN LEEDS - SAT 30 JAN 12.00 – 17.00
Participatory sewing workshop run by MA graduate Lizzie Harrison

LOCAL WISDOM - SAT 30 JAN & SUN 31 JAN 12.00 – 17.00
An opportunity for you to share the story of a favourite garment by Kate Fletcher


!!!see you there!!!


Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Green Carpet Challenge

Livia Firth (Colin Firths wife) has set herself the challenge to find beautiful red-carpet worthy creations that she will wear for the 2010 Awards Season. This venture however, is made even more exciting by the recent news that Colin Firth has been nominated for an Oscar! (Actor in a leading role). So there will be one dress out there that will be worn on the red carpet for the 82nd Academy Awards and could be photographed on the arm of a potential winner.

Livia is documenting her mission for the perfect dress for a blog on


Her hunt for the best of luxurious sustainable design has included the work of Linda Loudermilk, Sara Shepherd, Stella McCartney and Made

07.03.10 Oscars
21.02.10 London BAFTAs - Colin Firth wins Best Actor: Yellow Silk dress by Leila Hafzi.
08.02.10 Paris Premiere - 'A Single Man': Bamboo Suit by Linda Loudermilk
01.02.10 London Premiere - 'A Single Man': Upcycled Dress by Sara Shepherd
23.01.10 Screen Actors' Guild Awards: Milk Fibre Dress by Casey Larkin Mr. Larkin

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Metro Re-create in Association with Oxfam

above image from

Metro launches their competition to encourage Art and Design students or graduates (of two years) to use the paper to inspire an artistic creation that responds to one of the four themes below:


And fits into one of the 3 categories:

Fashion and Jewellery

The deadline for entries is March 26th 2010. There are three great judges, one representing each of the three categories.

The winning pieces will also feature in the metro newspaper, online at and in Oxfam stores. And 20 runners up prizes will be awarded to those who narrowly miss the top spot.

See the website for more information and to apply

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Eco Jewellery at the Science Museum

Eternal Lace Products
By Laura Marsdon

(Graduate BA Textile Design and MA Textile Design Chelsea College of Art and Design, University of the Arts London)

"Challenging the preconceptions about undesirable products that are recycled"

Each piece is hand crafted and a one off, combining traditional lace techniques with the plastic bag material.

Check out her Website for a look at more intricate lace products and further information about the designer.

Although not updated for a while, the blog has some great pictures of the pieces.

Uncommonly Beautiful Recycled Accessories
by Kirsty Kirkpatrick

(Graduated MA Textile Futures at Central St Martins, University of the Arts London)

'Anti Landfill Fashion Accessory Label'

Products used as materials for the collections:

Abandoned Furniture
Wine Boxes
Scrap Leather
Broken Jewellery
Fashion Industry Waste

Check out the Website
To buy the jewellery products online - unusual and beautiful necklaces, vintage button stud earrings and cute 'Brooch Pins'.

And also the Blog to keep up with the latest product news!

Lula Dot
by Lucy Norman

(Graduated BSc Product Design in 2007 at Brighton University)

Beautiful jewellery pieces included in the display at the Science Museum, although the earrings and accessories are not the only strings to her eco bow!! Checking out the Lula Dot website is a MUST! Through the website you can see how impressive and how far her product upcycling capabilities reach - quirky and clever product design through Upcycling insentives.

by Lucy Fergus

(Graduated MA Textile Futures in 2007 at Central St Martins, University of the Arts London)

Reusing waste and unwanted silicone, 'celebrating the element of unpredictability' to make jewellery and also lighting and floor coverings, once a material has been found it seems that the talent of the designer can manipulate this for any forms and the lines between fashion/product sustainable designer can blur.

Re-silicone Website

Prove It @ The Science Museum

'Prove it!'
At the Science Museum, London.

To be honest I was expecting grander things from this exhibit.

I have been meaning to go since early December, and before the Copenhagen COP15 talks.

However, I visited today and felt that, although the content was easily understandable and to the point, it was only accessible if you sat and watched the changing text on the main screen, or sat at one of the interactive screens round the back to click through all the different options. There were also 3 screens where you could find more information and leave a comment about the exhibit.

The title of 'Prove It!' suggests that it is aimed at an unconvinced audience (in relation to Climate Change). It is only because of my concern for and interest in such issues that I could be bothered to sit for 20 minutes, going through all the options and reading all the information on the interactive screens. I feel someone not as interested wouldn't fuss with it, and I think may remain unconvinced, as no real arguments are demonstrated. Although it is a scientific fact that carbon emissions are contributing to global warming and climate change, I would like to have seen the arguments debated in a way as to convince the unconvinced; challenging and correcting the excuses the sceptics would use to remain convinced global warming is not happening.

Also, this small exhibit was right at the back of the museum on the first floor, beyond the 3D imax next to the time I would like to see it in a place of maximum exposure and bigger!! The arguments, issues, debates and importance of this subject are surely worthy of a larger space?!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

My worn out Textile Products

I am having problems deciding what to do with the following items...
How can these products avoid the waste stream? It is too easy to throw them away, rather than to do something with them...because in the case of Umbrella and Slippers - as well as broken they are also really dirty.

Umbrella - The wind got the better of it in the end, and the handle snapped.

Slippers - Worn them almost every day for 2 years.

Dirty Makeup bag ( could just wash this, but I'm concerned as to what would happen to the outside layer - I will handwash this but not sure how easily the combination of black eye shadow/mascara and leaky foundation would wash off!)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Earth: Art of a Changing World

Earth: Art of a Changing World at the Royal Academy.

I was intrigued to see this exhibition. With the emphasis on climate and the environment I was interested to see how engaging the issues explored would be.

Overall, I found there to be a varied and understandable approach to many of the complex elements that contribute to, are affected by, and are a result of the damaging way in which a large proportion of humans live.

Favourite concepts and themes included the issue of false security we rely on to assure ourselves the world will still turn, the sun will still shine.

An excerpt from the poem 'What If' by Lemn Sissay:
Let me get it right. What if we got it wrong?
What if we weakened ourselves getting strong?
What if our wanting more was making less?
And what if all of this wasn’t progress?
What if the disappearing rivers of Eritrea,
the rising tides and encroaching fear
What if the tear inside the protective skin
of Earth was trying to tell us something?

Another concept explored in the exhibition by Ackroyd & Harvey captured the close relationship and fine balance between the strong and the weak, the basic and the luxury.
Taken from the Royal Academy Website:
'Polar Diamond' was created using a polar bear bone found by the artists during a trip to the Arctic with the Cape Farewell project. A complex scientific technique extracted carbon from the residue ash of the cremated bone, and this was then subjected to immense pressure and heat to produce a diamond. Using technology to accelerate a process that usually occurs naturally over millions of years, Polar Diamond questions our sense of value and loss, and asks what price is being paid for carbon

Towards the later stages of the diamond production however, the diamond cracked and crumbed due to (if I remember correctly) a polishing process. This furthermore questions and demonstrates the fragility of our materials and power of human control

My favourite element of the exhibition however, was Amazonian Field, 1992. Terracotta by Antony Gormley RA. I feel embarrassed that I am not familiar with this piece of work, but today was the first time I saw it.

Taken from the Royal Academy Website:

Amazonian Field puts us in the uncomfortable position of being confronted by numerous figures made from the earth itself, all looking towards us questioningly. In previous installations the work has taken on strong identities of place and Gormley was intrigued to discover what sort of reinterpretations might arise in the context of this exhibition: ‘From the beginning I was trying to make something as direct as possible with clay: the earth. I wanted to work with people and to make a work about our collective future and our responsibility for it. I wanted the art to look back at us, its makers (and later viewers), as if we were responsible – responsible for the world that it, and we, were in.’

For me, this intention was strongly felt. Pretending to be in a position of responsibility when facing this installation was a scary, emotional and unnerving experience.

What would I say to these people to encourage them to change their behaviour?

Even if whatever I said they would all return home and do, what would that advice be?

I feel a major issue that needs to be overcome on the road to a sustainable future is for everyone to take responsibility for all elements of carbon reductions, waste reduction, sustainable behaviours and attitudes. The feeling of 'I'm only one person what can I do' needs to be quickly eradicated for everyone to feel part of a collective change.

Everyone should stand in front of this installation and feel the need to be responsible, before remembering that we are all one of the little statues in it. We can all be in charge of the change, and we are all a link in the chain. The chain of change!

Artist as a reflection of the Designer?

Throughout time and the history of our world, the 'artist' has documented life, imagination, fantasy - artists document (sometimes without intent) the changes in our world and respond to emotive, historical, current, engaging cultural arguments and topics to inspire thinking and provoke emotion.

It is the 'designer' however, that works to realise the practical need for change. The ability to design products and systems based on concepts (perhaps often explored by the 'artist') to promote and encourage a change of behaviour or lifestyle. In the context of sustainability and the environment: to make the objects we use within daily life more appropriate for environmental concern and to enable us to include sustainable behaviour in our lives. How we do this through fashion however is varied and difficult.

Further info on Art and The Environment from EcoLabs website

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Estethica and London Development Agency

As part of a development programme new to Estethica, brand consultants Susanne Tide-Frater, Yasmin Sewell and buying consultant Bev Malik will support the selected Sustainable fashion labels and
"take an active part in brand development, offering advice and support throughout the season, as well as helping with editing and display at LFW and at the dedicated estethica press and buyers day." (taken from the Estethica website)

This initiative is supported by the London Development Agency and aims to increase opportunities for ethical designers competing in the mainstream.

The designers selected are

Ada Zanditon
Christopher Raeburn
Nina Dolcetti (shoes)
The North Circular

Monday, January 11, 2010

A question of Responsibility

A question of responsibility arises when negotiating our path to a sustainable future. At the October 2009 RITE Group conference there was much debate regarding the lack of responsibility within industry, and whose role it should be to lead the way, setting examples of sustainable behaviour. Mark Sumner, raw materials specialist for Marks and Spencer, was disappointed by the volume of people too eager to pass the blame and the lack of people willing to take responsibility for their own actions. People often look to industry
and the government for guidance and encouragement to make sustainable choices.

However, in a consumer led economy, companies are unlikely to take risks and invest in product development if there is little evidence it will be successful in the marketplace.

Similarly, the government needs to ‘feel the pressure of their public calling on them to make ambitious commitments’ (Brown 2009) in order to initiate and see through commitment to necessary change. It is vital that individuals show their support for sustainable development wherever possible, to communicate concerns and expectations with local councils and government. Governments require evidence of support for changes they make, and although it is their responsibility to make decisions to benefit the population, they will first need to see a large percentage of the population in favour of such change. Retailers should provide opportunities for the consumer to become more environmentally aware when shopping and as previously mentioned, be transparent and honest about the products you are selling, the
labour you are using and how sustainable the supply chain is.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Fashion Fund USA and UK

The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and Vogue...

For the sixth year, up-and-coming American fashion talent competed for cash prizes and mentoring from industry insiders.

“The ten finalists we selected are a talented, diverse group, who are building healthy independent businesses in challenging times.” Anna Wintour.

Sophie Theallet (See above image of s/s 2010 collection)was the winner and two runners-up Jeweler Monique Péan and menswear designer Patrik Ervell were announced at a gala on November 16 2009 in New York City. 

Finalists of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund:

ALABAMA CHANIN – Natalie Chanin

ESQUIVEL SHOES – George Esquivel

GARY GRAHAM – Gary Graham

HOUSE OF WARIS – Waris Ahluwalia


OHNE TITEL – Flora Gill and Alexa Adams

PATRIK ERVELL – Patrik Ervell ** RUNNER UP**

SOPHIE THEALLET – Sophie Theallet **WINNER**

SPURR – Simon Spurr

WAYNE – Wayne Lee

The British Fashion Council (BFC) and Vogue...

On the 11th January 2010 announced the shortlist of designers for the inaugural Fashion Fund.
Taken From the British Fashion Council website...
"The Fund will provide one British based designer with £200,000 and high level mentoring support...The aim of The Fund is to assist talented British designers with the potential for commercial growth to start making the transition from a developing creative business to a global fashion brand"
The shortlisted designers are:

Angel Jackson

Christopher Kane

Clements Ribeiro



Marios Schwab

Nicholas Kirkwood

Richard Nicoll

Supporters of the UK Designer Fashion Fund include:

Arcadia Group, Burberry, Condé Nast, Debenhams, Harrods, House of Fraser, HSBC Commercial Bank, Jaeger / Aquascutum, Marks & Spencer, Paul Smith, Tesco Clothing, TONI&GUY and Westfield Shopping Towns.

They are going to keep us waiting for new of the winner, to be revealed in the May 2010 issue of UK Vogue.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Alabama Chanin

Natalie Chanin left her home town of Alabama for New York before realising the appeal and potential success of her garment designs focused on sustainable values. Finding a manufacturer in New York to produce her collection at an affordable price was proving difficult. Chanin remembered the success of the textiles industry in Alabama in previous years, although ‘textile companies across Alabama...had packed up or replaced people with machinery to keep up with the ways of modern manufacturing’ (Bond 2004).

Fortunately there were many hands ‘itching for work’ (Bond 2004) and the first collection, Project Alabama, was produced by local people whose skills had been replaced by machinery. To redevelop an industry and involve the local community in the production of a collection is an important feature of the brand. ‘We obviously had a product that was right, but I believe showing the people behind it, their stories, had a lot to do with the success,’ (Chanin 2004).

This example shows sustainable fashion not only as a way to bring people together, to promote the importance of community and local production, but also as a source of
income for skilled people. To boost the local economy through sustainable fashion is a pioneering aspect of the Alabama Chanin business.

Natalie Chanin talk to Ecouterre about the importance of craft

Check out the Alabama Chanin website
Taken from the website...

"Sustainable Life - Sustainable Style

Alabama Chanin is a lifestyle company that focuses on creating an array of products through focusing on slow design and sustainability.

We craft limited-edition products for the individual and the home. Our products are made-by-hand using a combination of new, organic and recycled materials. Each piece is constructed with care by talented artisans who live and work in communities in and around Florence, Alabama.

Our products come numbered in one-of-a-kind or limited edition series and signed by the artisan that made it.

We dedicate ourselves to producing quality products that become a part of daily life in this generation and beyond. From farmer to fiber to artisan to home, our products are “grown-to-sewn” in USA. "

Sustainability Tour Across America

American eco fashion brand SUST set off on their Sustainability Across America Tour on the 22nd July 2009. Travelling across the continent in van, their aims are to initiate collaboration projects, interview experts and those involved with sustainability and to educate the consumer and retailers regarding sustainable fashion.

Profiled in Eco Textile News, ‘A California‐based Eco‐fashion label is using the economic downturn as an opportunity to take the message of sustainable design to grassroots America’ (Magruder 2009). This diverse guerrilla marketing experiment allows people to interact and become involved with SUST and their journey. Their Twitter and Facebook sites provide up to date information regarding the tour and allow you to comment on their progress. By acting on impulse and writing their own rules, this fashion brand is exploring exciting ways to communicate sustainability in times of a recession.

Check out their website and also on facebook,

Both allow you to post comments and interact with the content they upload onto the site.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010


'Worst snow fall Britain has seen for a generation' BBC News

Schools closed, Airports closed, Trains Cancelled, People stranded in cars.

I (fortunately thank goodness) do not have to make any 'life or death' emergency journeys, so until I can get back to London within 3 hours I am perfectly happy to be snowed in in North Yorkshire because it is BEAUTIFUL.

Photographs taken in various places whilst on my Christmas travels, mostly Holmfirth, Saddleworth, Whitworth and Knaresborough.

However, I feel questions surrounding climate change might lead to an air of doubt as people see the cold 'Frozen Britain' weather as a direct contradiction of 'Global Warming'.

I do love the snow, but I fear climate change sceptics may use it as an example, used as an excuse to contradict the frightening scenario and threat of climate change.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

'Primark 4 York'? (Bad Times)

Walking through lovely York looking in the window of the recently empty Borders book shop, wondering what it would become next...when I saw the above.

I really hope it doesn't become a Primark!! Bad Times!!