Saturday, 18 January 2014

Purposely Pretty Ethical Fashion in Shades of Purple

According to colour experts Pantone - Radiant Orchid is the Colour of the Year for 2014! I'm personally very partial to the purple spectrum and am loving this gorgeous hue. 

Here are some of my fashion and design picks that proudly carry an ethical purpose behind their purple aesthetics:

Audrey Dress by Mumu Organics - This gorgeous flattering dress is made with 100% organic cotton fabric, fairly traded and GOTS certified and is available online from The Beautiful Think
Glossy Plum Rain Boots by Roma Boots - If I'm wearing my gumboots (Aussie talk for rain boots) I feel like a million bucks as I splash in the puddles with lovely dry feet! For every pair of  these natural rubber boots purchased, a brand new pair is donated to a child in need PLUS 10% of all sales proceeds go to the Roma For All Foundation to help these children break out of their cycle of poverty and despair
Upcycled Body-Con Skirt by Goodone -This visually bold and sexy skirt has been cleverly crafted from old ethical fashion stock which was sourced fairly in its original form! That makes it both socially and environmentally friendly as well as cute :)
Purple Eco Watch by Sprout - Feel like a distinctive timepiece that doesn't weigh you down with guilt? This chic watch is made from sustainable materials such as cork, corn resin and organic cotton
Fabric Button Earrings from Perch and Pantry - Made by women living in Chiang Mai for a project called Sunshine House, these delicious earrings will have you feeling sweet inside and out! Proceeds go toward empowering disadvantaged women including medical care, counselling services and education
Bandeau Bikini by Auria - This purple candy coloured swimsuit is made from 73% recycled polyamide! British designer Diana Auria has collaborated with London based illustrator Margot Bowman to bring you chic prints with a difference
Design Your Own by KeepCup - I love that the quintessential environmentally friendly coffee cup can be custom made to suit your style! I choose a mix of Pantone's Royal Purple, Plum and Aqua Blue
Feather Print Maxi Dress by Folks Like Us - Fiercely pretty, this fairtrade cotton dress has been made under ethical conditions in Nepal
Purple Zandra Rhodes Skirt from People Tree - I like the quirky nature-inspired vibe of this 100% fairtrade and organic cotton print skirt. This fun piece was made by a socially responsible business based in India called Creative Art of Souls
Crush on Trees Tee from Tree Hugga - Share your love of trees with this cute organic cotton tee that's as green as it's message :)
Cutaway Halter Swimsuit by Emobi - Now I'm not 100% convinced that I would personally feel comfortable wearing these provocative bathers, but I am convinced that this purple design printed using eco-inks is gorgeous!
Floral Lace Contrast Tee by FAIR + true - Feel pretty and edgy all at the same time with this stunning limited edition top lovingly crafted from end of roll fabric under fairtrade conditions
Purple Doggy Swag from Carpets for Communities -Pampered pooches love a little purple comfort too! This lovely travel bed has been handmade from cotton t-shirt off-cuts, used hessian rice sacks and cotton thread. By purchasing one of these lovely carpets you're  also supporting the education of some of the poorest and most vulnerable children in Cambodia
Surinam Top by Kokomo - If you're after something out of the ordinary then this top with its distinctive pattern and purple hues could be for you! The design is actually taken from the Surinamese five dollar note. Suriname is located on the South American coast. The top is made from 95% recycled polyester using low-impact dyes and low-waste pattern cutting techniques
Bastille Bracelet in Purple Thistle by Mata Traders - This beautiful piece of jewellery has been handmade under fairtrade conditions by artisans in India. Another beautiful thing is that Mata provides on-site daycare, communal furnaces, and strict health standards for its employees. I really like the combination of purple and orange on the clean neutral background! 
Wrapped Cardigan by - Despite the fact that it's summer here in Australia right now, I'd be so tempted to put this cardy on! It just looks that comfy! This super versatile and flattering wrap about has been made from surplus fabric, meaning either fabric left over from mills and garment factories or materials thrown away by big companies because of slight imperfections
Urban Fingerless Gloves in Orchid by Indigenous - These handy (ha ha) gloves are adorable!!! I'm a massive fan of fingerless gloves that keep you comfy but still let you do all important 'gripping of things'. These lovelies are made from a blend of organic cotton and tencel and coloured using low impact dyes...all under fairtrade conditions of course!
Purple Quartz Crew Neck Top by Monolog - This super funky hand-screenprinted organic cotton top celebrates of splendor and multitude of form of the eye-catching purple quartz crystal (one of my personal favs!)

Did You Know that purple is the colour associated with the Crown Chakra - thought to connect one with the infinite consciousness? No wonder it always puts me in a philosophical mood! You can find more fun purple-y facts here.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Kindness by Review: One Colour

In November last year I was fortunate enough to chat with Di Stitt - the Founder of ethical label One Colour. Now I'm delighted to take a closer look at some of their amazing and empowering products, including: Kenana Knitter Critters, the Martha Shell Top and the exquisite range of East African tribal dolls.

How completely adorable is this fella? He and his friends have been lovingly hand-knitted from organic cotton yarn by the female artisans of Kenana Knitters in Tanzania. I love that each creature comes with the name of the specific artisan who created them!

Since its foundation by local Kenyan Patricia Nightingale in 1998, Kenana Knitters has "taught women in the area to knit beautiful, organic products using local, sustainable resources". 

These delightful products are also available in leopard, lion, tiger, zebra, elephant and monkey. Being individually made, each character is distinct...even within a species! 

I can also confirm that Kenna Knitter Critters are highly huggable for both adults and toddlers alike...

Late last year One Colour was awarded a ‘Highly Commended’ in the Kids’ Product category as a distributor of Kenana Knitter toys, at the inaugural Green Lifestyle Awards

One Colour has now launched their new collaborative collection with Viva Africa called Detour. Inspired by Founder Di Stitt's travels through Kenya, Paris and Namibia, the collection includes both dresses and separates. According to One Colour, each piece has been created by skilled Kenyan tailors who are employed in a clean, safe environment. They are paid award wages and entitlements and have access to further training.

I took the Martha Shell Top in fawn out for a spin! This extremely versatile top is made from 100% African grown, rain fed cotton from small scale farmers. 

The fabric feels lovely and soft on your skin and the top is just as easy to wear with shorts as it is to dress up. 

Added bonus? My new top seems to be very attractive to cats! =^..^= You can also purchase the Martha Shell Top in ebony, white and starlight blue. 

My final treasure from One Colour is this beautiful Kikuyu Dancer, which has been hand-stitched by the ladies at Dolly Craft based in Kangemi.

The creation of these charming dolls helps to generate income for women living in the Kangemi Slum, putting food on the table, paying school fees and covering basic medical needs. 


Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Witjuti Bamboo Clothing Combines Comfort and Class

Happy 2014 EcoFashionistas! x

I wanted to kick off this sparkly new year of kindness with an exclusive interview with Sydney-based eco-designer Banika Smee.

Banika – Owner + Designer of Witjuti Bamboo Clothing – is determined to bring you sustainable bamboo fashion that effortlessly combines comfort and class with a uniquely Australian flavour. It was my pleasure to speak with Banika about her journey and the eco-ethos behind her brand. 

Q. Can you tell us a little bit about how Witjuti came to be and what drew you to bamboo as a fabric?

It was after working as an Operations Director/Graphic Designer for 10+ years, when I started to think about having kids. I knew I could not do a 50+ hour work week with kids. So I started to think about starting my own business.

I started the business doing Graphic Design but it was after I bought some Bamboo undies, that I fell in love with the fabric. It just felt so soft and didn’t irritate my skin. So I started researching, and could not find much clothing for women in this fabric, so it was then I started designing my own clothing range specialising in Bamboo fabric. 

Q. How would you describe Witjuti in 10 words or less?

Australian Designed, Organic, Ethical, Bamboo Clothing for Men & Women with every day comfort in mind.

Q. What makes your clothing a great choice for environmentally and socially conscious shoppers?

  • Bamboo is Eco-friendly The bamboo plant absorbs 35% more carbon dioxide than an equivalent tree and it does not use up precious water resources
  • Bamboo is Organic – Due to its natural antibacterial properties it is grown pesticide free, herbicide free, GMO free. The bamboo we use is also certified organic by The Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA), which means each bamboo stalk is 100 per cent natural and without any chemical pesticides
  • Bamboo is 100% Biodegradable so bamboo garments can be composted
  • Ethical Manufacturing - Our manufacturer's working conditions are ethically certified by Fair For Life

Q. Which ethical designers are inspiring you right now?

I am loving Lalesso at the moment, their colours and designs are inspired from Africa – a place I would love to go one day.

Q. Does the natural landscape of Australia influence your designs at all?

I keep my designs simple and timeless. My influence from Australia is mainly from the coast, I have always lived on the Northern beaches of Sydney, and travel up and down the coast on holidays. So initially my colour choices have been influence by the blues and sandy tones.

I name all my pieces after an Indigenous Australian word that has meaning and connection to that design for me. For example, our women’s lounge pants are call “Kalina” the Indigenous Australian word for “love”, because really I LOVE these pants.

Q. What advice would you give to other designers thinking of starting their own eco-friendly label?

Stick to your goals, focus on your dream and the rest will follow!

Q. Do you have a favourite item that you’ve created?

Would have to say the women’s lounge pants, I wear them everyday, either out, at home or to bed. They are the pants I get straight into when I get home, or I search the washing basket for!  

Q. What does the future hold for Witjuti?

Definitely more designs and more colours. We released the men’s range in July 2013 and it has been very popular, so we will be expanding the men’s range too.

We will also be available from more retail stores throughout Australia and Internationally.

You can also find Witjuti on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter! Stay tuned for our exclusive Kindness by Design review of one of these ecochic pieces :-)