Saturday, 29 September 2012

Setting the Standard for a Sustainable Fashion Future

Jessica Althoff, founder of Future:Standard, is doing what many of us only dream of - she's taken a leap of faith in order to follow her passions in life! I was delighted and inspired by her story and I think you will be too.

Q. Can you tell us a little bit about that lightbulb moment that inspired you to create Future:Standard?

Yes, I had just started grad school with the intention of going into microfinance. A few weeks in, I realized that was a terrible idea and started to freak out a little. I went to a conference, and a woman was talking about not compromising when it comes to your career. 

She said if you love two things, find a company that does those two things. She said, “If you want to save the rainforest and you love chocolate, work for a chocolate maker that saves the rainforest. If you can’t find one, start one.” I thought, YES! Now I just need to figure out how to combine the environment, fair trade, and my other love, shopping!

Q. How would you describe the design aesthetic of Futre:Standard?

I am from California and have never lived anywhere else, so we definitely have a California aesthetic. I pick things that I want to wear, so it is defined by my casual lifestyle. It is also inspired by an antique/reclaimed home that I love so much.

Q. What advice would you give to other young women thinking of changing course in their career to follow their dreams?

Just start. There is never a perfect time and you will always have an excuse to not start. You just have to take the leap. And, just start asking people for things. I am always amazed how many people I know know someone else that can help me with what I need. Amazed.

Q. What makes Future:Standard a great choice for ethically-minded fashionistas?

We ask all the questions. We talk to the designers about where everything is made and what it is made out of. We only carry things that don’t compromise our values. While there is an eco/ethical spectrum, every company that we work with is concerned about sustainability and doing what they can to create a more sustainable and ethical product.

Q. Which ethical designers are inspiring you right now?

I am a really casual person, so wear a lot of basics. I love Toggery by Kate D’Arcy and am really inspired by her. She is involved in all aspects of her company and is really passionate about the environment and the ethics of her company. She is also really great to work with and just beautiful! 

Brooklyn Skirt by Kate D'Arcy - Love the colour of this organic cotton and sustainable modal skirt

I also met Carrie Parry a few months ago and was introduced to her line. She is really passionate about what she is doing and very talented. I look forward to the day that F:S carries more career items so we can pick up her line.

It is so beautiful. I am always inspired by anyone that value ethics as much as beauty in the products that they create. 

Q. Do you have a favourite item in store right now?

I have been wearing the Striped Mullet Skirt non-stop. I am already dreaming of ways to wear it with boots and sweaters when it cools down. I pretty much live in everything Groceries

Q. If you could instantly transform one aspect of today’s fashion industry, what would that be?

I think that if the industry realized that ethical fashion can be just as fashionable as conventional fashion, it could transform the industry. From designers to consumers and everyone in between, this knowledge would immediately get people looking for better materials, processes, and labor. 

Q. What does the future hold for Future:Standard?

We can’t wait to carry more ethical items. We’d love to be a one stop shop for all the ethical fashionistas out there! We cannot wait to carry shoes and more accessories as well as men’s. There are so many really great designers out there doing great things, and we want to work with them! 

Swallow Necklace by Ija Designs - A beautiful bird pendant made from recycled gold in a studio run on 100% renewable energy

You can also connect with Future:Standard on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest 

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Special Discount Offer for Kindness by Design Readers!

Hello eco-fashionistas! :o)

As some of you may already know, I'm about to launch a new philanthropic organisation called ScienceRewired.  

Our mission is to act as a bridge between science practitioners and the digital domain, to look at science from new perspectives, and help educate and empower individuals in such a way as to create significant positive change in the world. 

There are so many amazing people around the world working hard to improve the lives of others through social or environmental projects. 

I want to explore how innovations in social media and digital technology - as well as advancements in science - can enhance the impacts of these vital endeavours.

Check out these great examples:

On October 11th we will be launching ScienceRewired in Adelaide with a one day event of digital insights, practical workshops and cases studies.

I'm delighted to offer all Kindness by Design reader's a special 20% off the regular ticket price!

Simply visit the registration page here and click on the yellow button which says "click here to enter a promotion code" and use SCIENCE20

I hope to see you there!

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Fashion Less Waste 2012

Last night I had the pleasure of immersing myself in the fabulous Art and About Sydney 2012 celebrations!

Photo credit: Paul Mac
After grooving to the sound candy of DJ duo Jingle Jangle at Martin Place, I boarded a very chic retro double-decker bus to the Australian Museum for a night of eco-fashion and deep sea exploration. 

Each year the Australian Museum holds an ethical fashion competition open to adults and high school students called Fashion Less Waste. The theme varies from year to year - with the current theme linked to their Deep Oceans exhibition.

FLW 2012 Winner (Open) - ‘Paco Remote’ created by Joseph Mashett. This outfit made from TV remotes was inspired by the amazing colours and textures of nudibranchs
According to the designer "TV media have a responsibility to inspire and to educate about our natural world" -  Photo credit: Australian Museum
FLW 2012 Runner-Up (Open) - 'Untitled' created by Annelyse Lumley. Crafted from red tent tarp to create a look inspired by the basket star, which is a type of brittle star
The designer is a student of Australian College of Professional Styling - Photo credit: Australian Museum
FLW 2012 Runner-Up (Open) - 'Untitled' created by Stephanie Powell. The designer has used a fan cover, bubble-wrap, CDs and Christmas lights to recreate the look of a bioluminescent jellyfish of phyla Ctenophora or Cnidaria
The designer is a graduate from the Whitehouse Institute of Design - Photo credit: Australian Museum
FLW Winner (Secondary School) - ‘Poly-medusa’ created by Tess Tavener Hanks. The designer made use of strips of aluminum and wire, clear plastic suction bath mats, pieces of coloured translucent pencil cases, ‘Knobby balls’ – bumpy toy balls and exercise balls
The designer was inspired by the Red Lantern Medusa and the Deep Sea Spanish Dancer - Photo credit: Australian Museum
FLW 2012 Runner-Up (Secondary School) - ‘Bentley the Benthocodon Jellyfish’ created by Bonita Poppy Alexander. She cleverly found most of her materials washed up on the beach. The outfit is crafted from onion bags, snorkels, a crab pot, fly-screen, denim, stationery folders, bottle tops, knitted gift-wrap, braided chip packets, fishing line, flippers and fishing reels...phew!
The designer was inspired by the Benthocodon jellyfish
FLW 2012 Runner-Up (Secondary School) - 'Untitled' created by Rebecca Lee. The designer employed fly-screen, plastic sheets, foil and cardboard
The designer used both materials and cut to re-create the look of a viperfish

According to the Australian Museum:

The main aim of our competition is to encourage a more sustainable fashion industry – to help to fashion a less wasteful world. We also hope to develop entrants' design skills, and to foster an appreciation for the natural history theme of the year.

Big ecochic high 5s to the Museum for supporting ethical fashion designers and a sustainable future! Also congratulations to all of this year's finalists :o)

Monday, 17 September 2012

Ethical Designer Spotlight: House of Beth

Talia Chain is the Managing Director for House of Beth - Ethical and Vintage Fashion boutique. In partnership with Creative Director Sarah Kendal, Talia is combining her love of beauty with her determination to fight the human trafficking industry. I'm delighted to share with you this amazing enterprise that goes beyond fashion in pursuit of a better life for women all around the world.

Q. What made you and Creative Director Sarah Kendal decide to create House Beth? Have you always been passionate about ethical fashion? 

Sarah and I always shopped in a mixture of charity shops for bargain designer clothes and high street shops. We loved original style but we hadn’t really considered the impact of our purchases, either in terms of environment or who was making the clothing – the labour behind the label.

Sarah and I originally worked in an anti human-trafficking charity where we discovered how tragically widespread sweatshops are, which opened our eyes to the need to shop ethically. We decided that you could have just as much fun with fashion without harming people or the planet.

Q. Where does the name ‘House of Beth’ come from?

It comes from the enjoyment of being BEautiful and ETHical

Q. How is House of Beth earning its status as an ethical choice for socially and environmentally conscious eco-fashionistas? 

House of Beth is ethical in that all clothing is recycled, 50% of each clothing purchase goes to charity and the two jewellery designers we work with use responsibly sourced/recycled materials.

However we are earning our fashionable status by offering excellent fashion and designer clothes at bargain prices. 
Our aim is to go beyond the ethical fashion niche and we are doing this with our styling, fashion films, fashion events and collections based on inspirational from the past.

Q. Who or what is inspiring you right now?

Our inspiration is our passion for fashion and need to change customers’ purchasing power. A key inspiration is our work in trafficking where we saw the negative impacts of fashion.  We are constantly inspired by the women in history we discover when doing research for our collections. 

Q. Can you tell us a little bit about your upcycling service? 

We work with two upcyclists who go through the clothes that have holes in or are not suitable for sale. They choose the materials they like and create new clothes out of them. We have not released the upcycled collection yet but we hope to in September so watch this space!

Q. Why did House of Beth become involved in the Red Light Campaign? What does this collaboration mean to you?

Red Light Campaign decided the retail sector was an interesting way to make money for the charity. However setting up a shop is expensive and at House of Beth we can provide 20-30% more profit than a charity shop. We are extremely happy to be selling clothes on behalf of Red Light Campaign. They are a wonderful charity doing great work and we are looking forward to our strong relationship continuing. 

Q. How would you describe House of Beth in 10 words or less?

An online ethical fashion platform selling preloved clothes for charities. 

Q. What exciting adventures are in store for House of Beth?

We are very excited about our big event on November 12th, Fashioned For Freedom. We are working with the International Organisation of Migration on the event to raise money for the survivors of trafficking and media partnering with Slink Magazine

BBC personality and Newsround presenter Nel Hedayat and Sky Sports presenter Olivia Godfrey will be presenting the acts of the evening. The event will be premiering the innovative ethical fashion film of the year in the form of an instillation directed by Tamzin Haughton

Leading ethical designers have donated items of clothing to the film, including:  
    The tickets are now available for purchase here!

    Generally we are excited about the future of fashion and House of Beth’s place in the industry.

    You can also find House of Beth on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest

    Thursday, 13 September 2012

    A Is for Apple and E is for Ecochic

    I've been struggling with illness over the past couple of weeks and it brought that old adage to mind - "An apple a day keeps the doctor away". So here's me blowing a kiss to the delicious apple (here's hoping some healthy goodness rubs off!). 

    A is for Apple Tote by Apple & Bee -This adorable tote is made from eco-friendly jute with a biodegradable lining
    The 'Red Delicious' Scoop Neck Dress in Organic Cotton by Isabel Knowles - This is such a fresh fun sundress!
    Illustrated Apple Brooches by Jetta's Nest - These funky brooches are individually crafted from salvaged Brown Pine
    Apples & Lace Steel Boned Underbust Corset by Purrfect Pineapples - This tempting lingerie is 100% cruelty-free. Be alluring with apples!
    Apples Sketchbook from Eco Jot - All of the paper and board used in this incredibly sweet sketchbook is made from 100% post-consumer waste
    Apple Spice Lip Balm by Crazy Rumors - Doesn't this just sound lip-smackingly scrumptious? This lip balm is 100% vegan and contains only natural ingredients
    Vintage Apple Print Dress from Bunny's Vintage Closet - This is summer dress is such sweet nostalgia :o)
    Red Apple Reusable Lunchskin by 3GreenMoms - This is a much safer (and much prettier!) alternative to plastic sandwich bags!
    Kid's Apple Tee by Bugged Out - This is a simple yet eye-catching design. A percentage of the proceeds from Bugged Out sales goes directly to Multiple Sclerosis Research at the MS Care Center of NYU Langone Medical Center
    Apple Orchard Soybean Votive Candle by Lil Sprout - This vegan candle is made with pure soybeans, premium apple fragrance oil, therapeutic grade essential oils and all natural cotton wicks...sounds almost good enough to eat!
    Fruit Juice Make-Up Bag from Fresh Cargo - This cheeky cosmetics bag was handmade in The Philippines from recycled fruit juice cartons under fair trade conditions. For the girl who prefers her accessories quirky rather than frou-frou
    'The Sweetest Sting' Wasp and Apple Pin from Beaut Vintage - Dating to the 1960s this unique brooch would add a sugary bite to any outfit ;o)
    Cedar Apple Trainers by Vans - Loving the contrast of the juicy red apples and the black background on these vegan shoes!
    Vintage Apple Dress from Studio Loretta - I really like that this dress can be edgy and sweet at the same time!
    I Heart Apples Necklace by Vinyl Cuts Jewellery - I adore the design used for this necklace made from upcycled records
    Hot Baked Apple Pie Soy Candle by Loft co. - Just when you think things couldn't get any tastier, this beauty comes along! Perfect for when you're in a cuddly mood
    Vintage Red Apple Canister from Mod Rendition - A very fun addition to the kitchen!
    Peanut Butter and Applesauce Dog Treats by Waggy Dog Bakehouse - Looking for a healthy treat for your buddy? These organic and low-allergen biscuits are sure to get that tail wagging
    Vintage Apple Appeal Serving Bowl from Mod Cloth - Why not be daring and fill this 1970s bowl with oranges or limes? ;o)
    Organic Cotton Baby Cloth by Kimoley - This is such a clean crisp print! Perfect gift to give to a Mum-to-be
    Apple Of My Eye Lunch Tote by Dabbawalla Bags - This bright and colourful lunch tote is made from a cruelty-free and non-toxic eco-friendly material :D