Be the change you want to see in the world - Gandhi

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wood Wood & More Wood - The New Sustainable Accessory Material

Wood is definitely not the new kid on the block when it comes to an artisan's/craftsman's choice of materials. I'm sure at one point or another we've all bought those wood rings from an ethnic, incense-infused, beaded doorway shop tucked away in the bohemian quarters, only to have it break on you 2 days later. Wood's come a long way baby and here's a line-up of the new reclaimed wood scavengers who have created some beautiful, covetable accessories for Spring and beyond.

Wood Thumb 
Made in San Francisco using reclaimed wood, these ties are lightweight, flexible and I would imagine very easy to care for. You would never have to wash this tie or worry about dribbling food/drink on it. I think this could be the perfect man-ccessory. I want one.

All the ties are unique due to knots, wood-grain, natural colour, nail holes and come in two lengths; small & large. Not bad for $36. Now that's a solid style statement. 

Wood Tie Guys

WeWOOD time pieces
This is what happens when you get 2 social entrepreneurs and an Italian cobbler, wood watches made from yup, you guessed it, reclaimed wood. These watches are unique, splash-proof and for every watch that is bought, an angel plants a tree. Just kidding, their partner American Forests does the dirty work and within the first 3 months more than 5,000 trees were planted. Nothing beats feel-good fashion.

Blonde, Chocolate, Army, Black, Caramel, Beige and Black. Free from toxic chemicals, hypo-allergenic with Miyota movement.

Simple and understated in materials and aesthetics. A piece to keep through the times. 

Contexture Designs
The coffee cuff. This is why I love design, I am such a fan of multi-functional products and this is a pretty good one. You put it on in the a.m., get your to-go coffee and bam, slip it off your wrist and onto your java. Perfect accessory for the hardcore coffe addicts. Enough said.

Waiting For The Sun
I already did a designer profile on these guys so I won't reiterate but I had to mention them again for this wood post. 

Okay, these last 2 images are just some accessories/dish ware that I really liked.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tyvek - Envelopes, raincoats, dresses, bags, post-industrial folk wear and more.....

Oh Tyvek, you have really proved yourself to be an industrious, versatile sheet/textile paper like product. Developed by DuPont, Tyvek is the trademark name, like Spandex (Lycra) or Tencel (Lyocell), for a double spunbonded olefin. 

It is RECYCLABLE, lightweight and extremely durable to light, ageing, tears, abrasion, chemicals, it is UV resistant, colourfast and it's waterproof. It is used to make all sorts of industrial products from textiles, envelopes (think of those FedEx envelopes you can never tear open that serve as your daily workout), ropes, car interiors, insulation, carpets etc, etc.... I think you get the point, it is everywhere. Also, who could forget those Tyvek jackets from the 80s that you could draw all over with your markers. Or maybe you'd rather forget but as a kid, that was the most amazing jacket ever!

So what is olefin you ask, it is a synthetic fibre that is made from polyolefin, such as polyethylene or polypropylene. Polyethylene or polypropylene are petroleum based products. Basically you can keep breaking down what these polymers are made of and you will get to oil eventually as the basic raw material. They are all basically plastics. That's the bad news. The good news, it is RECYCLABLE, whether it actually gets recycled in a true cradle to cradle manner vs. downcycling is still being debated but at least it has a very long life and can be re-purposed. Currently there are companies in Brazil that are developing a bio-polypropylene (bio-plastic) from sugar cane, so one day we may have bio-plastic Tyvek to wear. However, with food security becoming a major issue, do we need to take food crops and make them into bio-plastics for clothing? The best (unrealistic) answer is to just not produce or consume products but we are only human and we need to wear something (pretty things). Tyvek is a great alternative to the many other textiles/disposable fast fashion garments that end up creating a sartorial wasteland. 

So here are some designers who have been playing around with Tyvek and created products that can aesthetically and physically stand the test of time.

Polish designers UEG

Designed by Stefan Diez 
I really want one of these (oh the eternal want/need debate continues)

In the making, these bags require no sewing as they can be heat bonded.

Designer Mau, you can send her Tyvek for recycling: Mau Recycle Reuse, Post Office Box 299, Esopus, NY 12429 

Israeli designer, Hila Martuzana

Monday, February 27, 2012

Oscars - The Green Carpet Challenge

 The GCC or Green Carpet Challenge is not in its freshman flight, it is in its third year since its conception, spearheaded by Livia Firth (Colin Firth's eco-warrior wife). It does give the impression that it is new due to enormous media attention it has garned. While it is a worthwhile endeavor and yes I get it, it is the Oscar's and you be better be looking good walking down that red carpet. I can't help but question the 'green' aspect and how valid it truly is. The marketing allure can be quite tempting - putting a 'green' gown down the red carpet on Oscar night is like the ever coveted beer commercial spot during the Super Bowl. Which is why I can't help but question the validity to get some good 'greenwashing' in on one the most spectacular events of the year. 

So what exactly is my problem? Hearing Livia Firth talk about the new 'traceable' pink diamonds from mines in Australia and her hand made couture gown from Valentino, which she will no doubt wear once and then what??? What about all those gowns she has made for all red carpet appearances, what happens to them?  At least diamonds are forever but as the eco-warrior she is, did she really need to buy new diamonds? I feel like the wife of Firth is surely not short on breathtaking gems. What would be impressive is if she wore a gown that was repurposed from any of her other red carpets gowns (not vintage gowns from the 1930s) and styled with jewels and accessories she already owned. Imagine being able to walk to the red carpet and say "I bought nothing new!" Oh wait, her husband actually did do that. Colin re-wore his tuxedo from last year. That is fantastic because seriously, who pays attention anyways to the tuxedos the men wear. I would never a) be able to tell if they re-wore  b) does anybody actually pay attention to what the men wear. It's always an add-on comment, 'oh and her husband wore.......' Colin could probably wear that tuxedo for the next 10 years and nobody would notice, which is kind of the beauty of men's clothing. You get a few amazing suits, a couple ties, one tux and boom - you are good to go for the next decade. Obviously i'm exaggerating a little bit but you do get my point right?

So there were more participants this year, most notable the ever elegant Meryl Streep wearing the first ever eco-gown from Lanvin. Beautiful yes, actual 'eco' material used to make the gown - that information is not so easily attainable. However, I did find out that the gown adhered to Livia Firth's criteria for sustainable red carpet wears. What???? If these companies truly believed in sustainable fashion wouldn't they just be doing it instead of a one off on what happens to be one of the most widely watched global events of the year. 

So yes, it is great that sustainable fashion is getting some spotlight. It does create awareness that sustainable fashion is more than burlap and brown hemp.  Am I a little skeptical? yes I am, for the reason that I think if you are going to champion this, CHAMPION IT, do more than just wear a gown made from an eco-textile. What about a carbon-neutral or zero-waste gown? Milk that red carpet moment for everything its got to offer.

Now its time to look at pretty dresses. 

Missi Pyle in Valentina Delfino, stunning.
This dress is made from peace silk, recycled zippers & polyester, and natural mineral dye

Meryl is stunning in this lil' gold number

Colin looking dapper and wife Livia in a not so memorable red dress/red carpet moment

Friday, February 24, 2012

Designer Profile: Titania Inglis

Okay, I had to follow up with a profile post because I truly enjoy what Titania has to offer. Minimalistic in her style, philosophy and her values; less but better. You can see it in her designs. I love them because you I know it's the kind of piece that I would love and would stay in some sort of permanent rotation in my wardrobe for many many years. That's what I want with my clothes. I can't be the only one who is tired of buying some cheap alluring 'it' moment piece to wear it maybe once and then have it sit there for years because you feel guilty and until you are finally ready to deal with the fact that you will never ever wear this again. sigh. What an emotional roller coaster for one garment (x all the 'it' items in my closet). That is why I love that someone is finally combing that idea of some sort of permanence to their designs, so you can feel like you're not a walking fashion victim in head to toe 'it' pieces - tres boring. 

I like pieces that can transition from seasons and hemline length, this is what Titania does. Grounded in tradition with sights on the future, the entire line is made in a small factory in NY with sustainable sourced fabrics. Titania was also honored with the 2012 Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation award in Sustainable Design. She buys deadstock vintage wool from the NY garment industry, recycled cottons from Japan and vegetable tanned leather. 

I LOVE LOVE that she still uses leather but in an ethical, environmentally friendly way via vegetables. I will never stop saying it, PVC, PLEATHER & SYNTHETIC LEATHER ARE MADE FROM OIL - a non renewable resource that has killed so many more animals and ecosystems by destroying habitats and oh you know that small lil' spill in the gulf of Mexico *cough cough BP OIL SPILL. That's why there drilling deeper and deeper and having accidents. It's not just cars, its our demand for all these consumer products made from crude oil. Makeup, clothes etc.... Maybe we should through oil on people who wear fake leather/fur. Just kidding, I think that is a silly, unintelligent  way to prove your point. (A fake picture could be funny!)  I also not saying people who believe in fake fur/leather over real fur/leather. I just feel like sometimes they don't truly understand the depth of impacts from these products other that they are cruelty-free DIRECTLY to animals (in-direct consequences seemed to have been lost in the mist). So thank you Titania for finding amazing veggie tanned leather!

She has a store in NY and California, here is her website
Some favorite pieces from her S/S12. I love the sharp lines, soft silhouettes and the contrasts that she has going on here. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

NYFW/Fall 2012 - Titania Inglis

Right out of the gate, DON'T call Titania an 'eco' designer. I love this because this is what 'eco', 'sustainable' design should be about, it should be inherent in the design process and product - not a marketing gimmick or 'type' of designer. Brooklyn-based Titania, is a designer who abides by the principles of sustainability in her creative process and for it she received the 2012 Ecco Domani Foundation Award for Sustainable Design. "As I see it, designing sustainably means trying to make those choices with the minimum possible impact on the environment and the maximum possible benefit to society."

Titania's philosophy is all about lush minimalism and this was evident in her latest Fall/Winter 2012 presentation at NYFW. Angela Walsh grows up and gets minimal. The nod to 90s grunge and My So-Called Life is front and centre but it has a sophisticated minimal edge to it, exactly what I feel Angela Walsh might wear today. A tight collection, it can be summed up in its subtle detailing in the form of crisp cut-outs, intersecting lines and angles, sheer, suple leather and ox-blood and plaid. All the leather is vegetable tanned from France and the plaid is a recycled cotton-linen blend from Japan. 

Titania's work is beautiful and easy to incorporate into a wardrobe without being too trend driven. I feel that any piece would be something that I would have in my wardrobe for years and could easily incorporate into many, many outfits. That's what I expect out of my clothes these days - a permanent spot in my wardrobe rotation, quality and great design. Love the hooded, draped coat and leather tees.