Good News: H&M Conscious Exclusive Collection Launch

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H&M have launched their 2016 Conscious Exclusive Collection (which will be available in Australian stores next week!).

Described as a merging of history and modernity, the H&M team have delved into the Musee des Arts Decoratifs collection of archival fashions, to inspire the collection’s key pieces. In fact, the launch coincides with the opening of the museum’s exhibition- 300 Years of Fashion– to which it pays homage.

The fluid and easy styles revolve around languid dresses, kaftans and sculpted skirts- with pieces turning into works of art with pops of colour and surprising print. Botticelli’s ‘Three Graces’ even adorns one of the dresses, as a nod to the link between old and new.

The forever stylish Julia Restoin Roitfeld who is the face of the campaign, said one of her favourite pieces from the range was a mini asymmetric dress which is inspired by a painting of Gustav Moreau.

Importantly, sustainability stays at the heart of the style. H&M Creative Adviser, Ann-Sofie Johansson said, “Working with innovative sustainable materials and ornate embellishment, the collection is a layering of references, shapes and textures topped off by intensely decorative accessories and deco-inspired bijoux.”

The materials used to create the collection include organic silk, hemp, recycled linen and Tencel blends, as well as beads made from recycled glass and ‘Denimite’- a new material made out of worn out denim, which is being used for the first time by the iconic fashion company.

H&M are also dipping into the green wedding trend, with three wedding dresses forming part of the collection for the ‘eco bride to be.’

The H&M 2016 Conscious Exclusive Collection will be available in stores from 7 April, but in the meantime, fashionistas can catch the collection’s ‘Behind the Scenes’ video on YouTube.

Images courtesy of H&M. 

 

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Good Style: U&I in a Surf State of Mind

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A unique collaboration between Australian fashion designer Jodie Hayes and Swedish designer and photographer Emma Backlund, has created the first independent women’s surf label from Bells Beach- U&I.

The chase for waves led both Jodie & Emma to Torquay in 2012, where they bonded over their love of good surf and great style. Together, they decided to create a surf wear line for women that ’empowers instead of objectifies.’

The concepts and styles are dreamt up between surfs, laughs and beers and Jodie and Emma say that “every stitch is inspired by the power of the ocean and designed to complement the grace of female board riders.”

In addition to their Summer 15/16 range (which is a very clever interchangeable mix of tops, bottoms and one-pieces) the recently launched Storm Collection is a more ‘luxurious’ extension of the summer staples- complete with on trend prints.

All garments are designed and hand dyed in Torquay and are proudly made in Australia.

Shop your surf style at U&I!

Celebrating Social Media with Bronte Hogarth

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Fashion Revolution Day is fast approaching (it’s this Friday!) and it’s one of those rare advocacy campaigns that has a truly international feel. On April 24 each year, it aims to raise awareness of the true cost of fashion and celebrate those who are creating more sustainable fashion futures.

Organisers are encouraging people to use the hashtag #whomademyclothes and ask their favourite brand more about their manufacturing practices and ethical commitments. It’s a great example of how social media can be used to bring together a global community of like minded people. It got me thinking about the role of social media in advocacy, campaigning and culture.

Bronte Hogarth understands this world better than most. She is Head of Communications at 1 Million Women, a homegrown organisation that knows how to work the web, make messages meaningful and connect people to power. Bronte is a driver, thinker and social media guru. A self confessed ‘beach girl,’ she is passionate about food, conscious living and turning old things into new things.

Here, Bronte talks about how social media can influence sustainable change and shares some of her own favourite fashion labels and tips!

I’ve been involved in 1MW since the very start and am continually inspired by the work we do.

My mum, Natalie Isaacs, is the founder so the ethos of 1MW has been pretty ingrained in me from a young age. I strongly believe that driving behavioural change is vital if we are to preserve the future of our planet. That’s exactly what 1MW is all about – showing that you can live a full and succulent life, with fewer negative impacts.

I spend a large part of my working life ‘online’ and the use of social media varies greatly depending on the cause.

But…something that’s similar across all campaigns is this ability to build communities of passionate and engaged people who want to share what they are seeing and also share the fact that they are a part of something. That’s how you reach and inspire more people.

Social media is extremely important for 1MW and our community grows bigger everyday (which I hope means we’re inspiring more and more people!) We have members in our community from all over the world, which is something we never imagined would happen when we first started. Our social media engagement has a lot to do with that.

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Humans are curious beings and social media plays to this part of us.

Fashion Revolution Day did extremely well last year in creating interest in the campaign through hashtags and a photo challenge where people took a selfie with their clothes inside out. It’s such a wonderful cause and another example of the online world bringing passionate people together, to tell the fashion industry that business cannot continue as usual.

The internet however is flooded with people trying the same tactics, but what makes something successful is when people can easily connect to it. Most people on the planet can connect with Fashion Revolution and to the issue of ‘who made your clothes.’

I have a few favourite sustainable fashion labels.

The Reformation is one. They use deadstock and sustainable fabrics which otherwise would have gone to waste and everything is produced ethically in L.A. I also love the simplicity of New Zealand based label Kowtow who are 100% certified organic and fair trade. I discovered a fantastic vegan shoe label in Brazil called Insecta Shoes, which recycles vintage materials to create beautiful oxfords and loafers.

I also love vintage and second hand clothing. I ran my own online vintage clothing shop for a while and customised a lot of things myself. About half my wardrobe is vintage, so if you can learn how to sew then you can easily make small changes to vintage pieces, to make them more modern or fit you better. It’s a fun and creative way to recycle rather than buying new all the time.

And finally…

I hope that fashion and the act of getting dressed will become more thoughtful, and perhaps even business models will move away from being reliant on people buying more and more things all the time!

Hustle & Scout with Tegan McAuley

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The capital’s Hustle & Scout market is only two days away and once again, is set to be a bustling marketplace of unique, quirky, eco friendly and local Canberra design. For regular readers of this blog, you’ll know that the ’roundabout city’ holds a special place in my heart. It was my hometown for over five years and despite its reputation for being beige and bureaucratic, its creative scene is thriving (heck the New York Times even calls it ‘hipster’). Canberra now has its own fashion week (yes you read right!) and is producing some exceptional talent, like up and coming photographer Sally-Forth.

In my eyes, the Hustle & Scout market is the ACT’s answer to Finders Keepers, but with a truly local twist! I caught up with founder Tegan McAuley to find out more about how she put her stamp on the Australian style scene.

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The Hustle & Scout market is such an innovative idea- how did it all come about?

Early last year, I was feeling an urge to do something with my life that was both creative and bigger than myself. One night, my husband Simon showed me a video featuring the wise words of philosopher Alan Watts, who asks the question, ‘what would you do if money were no object?’ That night, we talked about the things we loved. For Simon it was cricket and coaching and for me, it was all things design and fashion. That week, Simon launched a cricket coaching business and I decided to found a new fashion design market!

Hustle & Scout didn’t just come about from Alan Watts’ motivational clip, it was also born out of months of observing Canberra’s design scene grow and flourish. I came to realise, particularly after attending the inaugural Fashfest 2013, that Canberra was home to a very talented network of fashion designers whose collections I had never had the privilege of seeing up-close. And so, I decided my fashion market would create a space where people could meet these designers, feel, try and buy their innovative pieces and have a fun night out at the same time!

For me, it was important to form a point of distinction from other markets, and this had to be rooted in the way it made people feel. So, I worked to curate an event with atmosphere that provides people with an experience. The market not only showcases Australian designers but also local live music, roaming models, food and cocktails and other exciting things like fashion photoshoots and parades.

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Why do you think it’s so important to support local, homegrown and ethical design through a market like this one?

Today, our shopping malls are full of chain stores selling cheap, ‘fast’ fashion with little transparency into how garments are produced. It’s becoming more and more difficult to buy handmade, one-of-a-kind and sustainable fashion pieces in these retail environments – this is why markets play such an important role in our communities.

Markets represent an important means through which people can come together to speak to designers and makers face-to-face and learn about how a garment was made and the inspiration behind the design. For me, supporting local, homegrown design through a market event is also an extremely important step toward strengthening both our communities and Australia’s fashion industry at large. It may only be a small step, but if we can create more demand for Australian and ethically-made items, hopefully we will see less Australian designers forced to pack-up shop due to the fast-paced pressures of the international fashion industry.

Many people don’t realise that the Canberra style scene is truly on the rise. What do you think makes it such a creative city?

There is definitely a movement happening across Canberra at the moment. As the city expands, so does it’s creative population. Unlike some major cities, Canberra has a wonderful, tight-knit sense of community, which has encouraged people like myself to innovate and collaborate with other creatives. Since starting Hustle & Scout, I’ve been overwhelmed by the number of people who have jumped on board to support the event and get involved in any way they can. Other events such as Fashfest, have really helped to put Canberra’s fashion scene on the map in recent years.

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Your next market is coming up in just a few days- what can we expect from it? Any labels you are particularly looking forward to seeing?

The 5 July winter market will be the largest market to date! It will feature 42 fashion stalls, three local live music acts, roaming models by April’s Caravan and $10 apple cider cocktails by Palace Electric. New pop-up street food market The Forage, will also showcase lots of Canberra’s finest cafes, restaurants and mobile vendors.

New labels I am excited to see include womenswear labels Eva Cassis, Fabboo and Audrey Blue, which all produce beautiful, modern pieces using natural fabrics and sustainable materials. I am also very excited to see some of our new jewellery labels, including Paul Krix and Sarah Bourke.

The thing I am most excited about for this market is our collaboration with Vinnie’s 2014 Winter Appeal. At our upcoming market, the Vinnie’s Night Patrol Van and its volunteers will be taking voluntary gold coin donations and accepting donations of blankets and men’s socks and gloves. There is a serious shortage of these items in the ACT at the moment for those sleeping rough this winter, so I feel very privileged to be able to help in any way I can.

And finally…Canberra is a city that enjoys beautiful wintery weather- what are your top style tips for the cooler months?

My style tip for the cooler months is to layer, layer, layer! Also, don’t be afraid of colour – whether you throw on some red lippy or brighten up an outfit with a vibrant scarf, a splash of colour can totally lift your outfit. Lastly, before heading to the shops to buy that brand new winter coat, consider scouting out some op-shops or vintage retailers first.

Etiko Excellence with Nick Savaidis

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Etiko is a fairtrade fashion, footwear and sports gear company that has been around for almost a decade. I wrote about Etiko last summer, when they released a series of ‘thongs for good,’ asking Australians to put one foot forward for a cause. Now they are back with a brilliant new partnership, having recently teamed up with not for profit organisation Not For Sale, who help victims of human trafficking and modern day slavery.

Once again raising awareness (and funds!) through style, they have jointly created some tees, for this very important cause. I caught up with Etiko’s founder and director Nick Savaidis to find out more about this creative campaign.

Your new partnership with Not For Sale is very exciting. Can you tell us a bit about how it all came about?

We have been fans of Not For Sale for years. The work they do is incredibly important and it’s awful that in this day and age there is more slavery than ever. The fashion industry is not immune to it. As recently as last year, slave labour was found in the supply of cotton from Uzbekistan. Not For Sale have done a great job in raising awareness and educating the public about this.

Through this campaign and the other great work you do, what are the main messages you would like people to ‘take away’ about ethical production?

I want people to realise that there is no point in just talking about ethical production because everyone knows by now that child sweatshop and slave labor exists. Nothing is going to change until everyone becomes not only a conscious consumers, but also a conscientious consumers. That is, to be aware of the impact of their purchases, especially on their fellow human beings who produce the products which end up in our homes and on our bodies.

For those who aren’t as familiar with your brand, can you tell us a bit about Etiko and the work you guys do?

Since 2005 we have been developing and marketing eco friendly and ethically produced footwear and clothing. Last year Etiko was ranked the most ethical fashion brand in the 2013 Australian Fashion Report and our sneakers were voted as the 2013 Fairtrade product of the year.

What are your top tips for shoppers who want to become more conscious about what they buy?

Don’t be scared to ask retailers where their products come from and if they know if those products are free from child sweatshop and slave labour.

Don’t be afraid to do your own research. Jump on the Internet and educate yourself on these issues. We have found that a lot of our customers discovered Etiko by simply searching ‘ethical or Fairtrade products’.

Look for genuine ethical accreditations for international products such as the Fairtrade label that you see on some coffee and chocolate brands. For Australian made products, look for the Ethical Clothing Australia label, because surprisingly sweatshops exist even in Australia!

We need people to tell their retailers that they genuinely do care about how the products they buy are sourced and that it’s not just about finding the cheapest item.

You can find the tees and all of Etiko’s ethically made and Fairtrade certified products at http://www.fairtradeshop.com.au

Perfect Pekho with Buffy Murray

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So tonight’s the night! Fremantle’s best and brightest design stars will take to the runway as part of the Fremantle Fashion Collective. But just before they grace the stage, I managed to sneak in one last interview with Buffy Murray, from another wonder of the West, Pekho.

Can you tell us a bit about your label and how it all started?

I’ve been designing for years and have actually had a few labels. i.sixseven started straight out of college when I was naive and idealistic, then I was the design half of Mabu.

We had a couple boutiques- the one on High St is still going, selling Mabu clothes to essentially a larger, older market than i.sixseven. It was great because it was a market that was largely untapped and a bit more of a challenge for me ‘designwise’.

I left Mabu in 2009 and started what is now Pekho!

After a few seasons, I was looking for a new studio and came across a shop space on Wray Ave and decided to open a small boutique with the studio within the space. That’s when I rebranded Pekho: wear + wares. Pekho has a very European flavour, lots of linens and natural fibres in earthy tones and comfort driven styles. I cater for sizes 10 – 20 so I design with a fuller figure in mind.

It’s not theme or concept based fashion, it’s about designing clothes women want to wear and want to come back for, because they love how they feel when they wear them. After pumping out 45 piece collections twice a year for 6 years based on themes and concepts for i.sixseven, the Pekho approach feels very natural and real in comparison. It’s also more of a challenge because every style really needs to work, rather than purely satisfying some abstract thought or trend whim.

What do you think makes Fremantle unique and such a creative hub?

Fremantle is great because the people who live and have businesses in the area have such a strong love for the place. This makes for many passionate souls who are doing things that make them happy. There is a ‘devil may care’ attitude to trying new things. From my perspective of being a business owner in the area, I love that there is an attitude of supporting those who are making a go of something in Freo.

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From your perspective, why is it so important to support homegrown and local fashion?

I think even more important than just supporting homegrown fashion, is supporting homegrown and produced fashion. Clothing has become this throwaway product with places like Supre pumping out ‘on trend’ pieces at stupidly low cost.

Apart from the environmental cost of producing clothing like this, the cost to our local manufacturing is devastating. If we have no local production companies, it makes it really hard for young designers to start out too.

Pekho is all made here in Perth. I have set up a work+shop recently to do inhouse production as well. I like to keep production runs short and frequent and my customers know they’ll be buying something that is not everywhere, is well made and is supporting the local industry.

What can we expect from you in the runway show?

There are some beautiful prints with fresh pops of colour in the new season’s range. The signature Pekho vibe will there too with lots of linen and simple shapes. And some fun accessorising from the shop too!

Images: Pekho