the Ecospot Eco Gift Guide 2016 – day 16 – McNair Mountain Shirt…

Buying clothes for someone else at Christmas is always rather tricky. Getting the size right, will they like it – and will they actually wear it and will it be used? But what if you gave a gift that not only was beautifully designed and made in Yorkshire, but a gift of a piece of clothing that would work really hard for the owner? That they could take into the elements with no fears whatsoever, that would see them through woodland walks, coastal wanders and mountain hikes? For someone that loves the outdoors, that would be a gift that would be special indeed. It’s day 16 on our Eco Gift Guide 2016 and we have chosen the beautiful Recycled Merino Wool Mountain Shirt by McNair…

Made from sustainably sourced worsted spun recycled merino wool, this tough athletically fitted shirt is water and wind resistant and also doesn’t hold odours. It has stunning detailing and comes in three, natural colours – smoke grey (above), midnight blue, and our favourite – cinder (below).

It is long enough to cover your back and the arms are long enough to go over your gloves, very much like a winter outer jacket. Mid layer or Top layer, this shirt would see you through all weathers and is a much more natural option than the synthetic, plastic coated, sealed and bright jackets that we often associate with ‘outdoor gear’.

Do we really need to coat ourselves in plastic to go outside? No.

We really like the fact that McNair do a recycled wool version too – it ticks all the boxes for us – a well made product in a responsible material that will last.

McNair mountain shirts come in a variety of fits too, for both males and females, so if the recycled merino isn’t quite their style, then take a look at the rest of the range, or give them a gift voucher so they can choose their own.

At over £300 each, they are not a frivolous buy, but it will be worth it, because a McNair Shirt is for life – not just for Christmas. 

(images via McNair shirts)

the Ecospot Eco Gift Guide 2016 – day 1 – Patagonia Powder Town Beanie

Well, where has this year gone? It seems like only yesterday that we were putting together our Eco Gift Guide for last Christmas… But, here we are – pinch punch – on the 1st December already. So – looking for an eco gift, an ethical gift or a sustainable seasonal present for a loved one? Stay tuned for the next 24 days as we open the doors on 24 things that we would be delighted to find in our stockings this year. There will be stuff for all budgets and tastes, with all things made with love by nice people…

So – for day 1 on our Eco Gift Guide we have… a Patagonia Powder Town Silver Birch Beanie.

eco-gift-guide-day-1-patagonia-powder-town-beanie

With the temperature plummeting in the UK, we have been digging out our hats over the last few days, but if you know someone who is in need of a new woolly to keep their head toasty, this is a rather nice one indeed.

As many of you will know, we are huge fans of Patagonia here in the studio – not only for their well made clothing, but for their material choices and dedication to longevity and repair. Plus their recent drive for Black Friday saw them increase their usual 1% For The Planet contributions to 100% for the whole day – resulting in a staggering $10 million being spread by Patagonia amongst grass roots environmental charities. Wow. 

This lovely Powder Town Beanie is made from recycled polyester with a bit of elastane for a comfortable stretch, in the classic white and grey that will suit everyone. A bobble for a bit of fun, a cosy head and a great company to support.

Get yours now from Surfdome in the UK, where you can pick it up for a very reasonable £25.59 + P+P. check it out here.

(image via Surfdome)

SPOTTED – PLANE – luggage made from reclaimed aeroplane textiles on Kickstarter…

We think it is pretty safe to say that Kickstarter has dramatically changed the way products are marketed and manufactured. If there is any place to see the cutting edge in product launches, it is here. And we were delighted to see the new product line from Plane Industries go live – PLANE – a series of accessories made from reclaimed aeroplane textiles.

PLANE phone sleeve

Mostly destined for landfill, aeroplane seating textiles that have been removed are by their very nature, hardwearing, with many years of use often left in each section. So, Plane Industries have decided to recover this waste material and reinvent it into luxury travel goods, from phone covers to weekend bags.

PLANE products

The pieces are well designed and look well made, using quality fixings and secondary materials, with a quilted cross hatch pattern reminiscent of other high-end pieces of luggage. Available in blue plain / striped colourways, the products mean business. Luxury reinvented, they say, but luxury in a different way…

PLANE quote

Hear hear. But what we particularly like about the range is the attention to detail, along with the emphasis on stories and history. Each item gets stamped with the fingerprint of the material – the heights reached, the miles travelled. Things that take the piece from the ordinary to the extraordinary, and things that help to identify the product as something far more special than a mass produced item.

PLANE label

When using ‘waste’ materials, it is critical that these stories are communicated from the maker to the eventual product owner. We like things that have history, yet we are conditioned to think that ‘waste’ is worthless. And whilst using reclaimed materials is critical as our resources continue to deplete, costs are often higher, meaning that we need to connect waste with a higher standard of product. This is no mean feat, but those that do it well, do it very well indeed. The PLANE range of products certainly does this well.

PLANE messenger bag

To top it all? Plane Industries will also stamp your initials on the tag. Personalisation, ownership, emotional attachment – meaning love, care and a long product life…


Head over to the PLANE main site, and check our their Kickstarter page (till August 11th 2016), where you can pledge for something special.

(images via the PLANE Kickstarter)

SPOTTED – reclaimed vinyl banner products by Vaho…

Last weekend, when the UK was imploding from the shock of Brexit, we were very pleased to be elsewhere – watching the events unfold from the sunny climes of Barcelona. And whilst we were there, we found a stack of innovative companies who are channelling the cities waste into new products. First up is Vaho, who use reclaimed vinyl banners as their base material.

In a similar way to Swiss company Freitag, who convert truck tarps into new accessories, Barcelona based Vaho take the advertising banners that proliferate through the vast city and convert them into bags, wallets, belts and cases – with each one being unique. Their tag line of ‘Trashion Bags handmade in Barcelona’ says it all.

Of course, the key factors of the vinyl banners are durability (strength and waterproofness) with the ability to print good images on the material, but despite their ephemeral nature when used for advertising a date specific event, they are notoriously hard to recycle. With metal eyelets and other co-mingled materials, the banners are often consigned to landfill.

But the bright colours they have, combined with their durability make them perfect for use in every day accessories. You don’t want your stuff getting wet, after all.

So it was with delight that we spotted a Vaho outlet store tucked away in the gothic quarter of Barcelona.

Vaho wallet 1

The first dilemma was to choose the shape we fancied – with a number of different configurations, zips, pockets and sizes available, the large array of accessories was mind boggling. And once you had chosen your model, you then had to choose your colour combination…

Some were quite plain, some had text, some referenced Barcelona landmarks and events, some were completely abstract. It took ages.

vaho wallet 2

But really, this is part of the charm. It was great to find a product that we could take home as a memento of our visit that was not only useful, but was made by hand in the city directly from the waste material generated advertising things to tourists like us. A sort of self fulfilling product purchase, but hey. We know this wallet will last for a very, very long time.

(images by claire potter and Vaho)

creating the perfect capsule wardrobe…

There are many things that make up the world of ‘sustainable design’ – from energy efficiency to reusing materials, and when you look at ‘sustainable lives’ we have everything from zero waste living to clean seasonal eating. 50 shades of green perhaps. However, a massive shift we have noticed of late is directed towards ‘decluttering’, with books and websites giving us tools and tips for removing (and recycling / reusing, obviously) the things we do not really need. And creating the perfect capsule wardrobe is a good place to start.

Imagine getting up and looking into a clear and clean wardrobe where everything co-ordinates across the seasons? No more hunting for a perfect outfit – the capsule wardrobe does it for you.

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But were our wardrobes always as stuffed full as they are now? No. Women in the 1950’s had an average of 36 items in their wardrobes – women today average around 122 or so. And whilst all of my own clothes come from charity shops, I can certainly relate to that figure. *ahem*

So why the increase? Well, in the 50’s, clothes were an investment – they cost more and were chosen carefully. They were also cared for and repaired. Fast forward to today and we have a ravenous appetite for fast fashion where buying a new piece of clothing does not need to be a huge decision. It’s so cheap it can be throwaway.

Buying stuff secondhand has many advantages – it is cheaper than new (so you can afford a better quality item for the same price), you have the thrill of finding something unique and of course, it has huge environmental benefits. But you can still have too many things stuffed into your (secondhand) wardrobe – as is aptly shown by our #secondhandhaul tag we use when we get something (most) weekends…

But putting together a true capsule wardrobe is a tricky thing. I’ve mastered the travel capsule wardrobe, but not the daily one.

But hang on. There is an app for that. Enter Capsules by Cladwell. Still in beta stage, the app helps you to put together a set of ingredients for the sort of of capsule wardrobe that you need.

capsule wardrobe

What is interesting to note is that this is a paid subscription style app, at $5 a month, presumably so you can add in any ‘new’ purchases and ensure your capsule wardrobe remains true to itself. And you look like you can save multiple capsule wardrobes too, for different seasons perhaps…

So – could it be worth a go? As a guide to really help you be ruthless with a clear out and a guide when you are shopping – or charity shopping, it could be really useful. Would we continue to use it? Perhaps.

capsule wardrobe 2

Very much like the fitness apps – we think Capsules by Cladwell works by being your constant reminder. Think before you buy. Good advice we think…

Let us know if you are already a Capsule user – and check out the video below which explains all…

SPOTTED – Tauko Design – using reclaimed textiles in new, utilitarian fashion…

Fashion is often heralded as one of the biggest bad boys when it comes to wastefulness and a huge turnover of raw materials – telling us daily that the new thing is the best thing. Fashion moves quickly. The waste clothes soon follow. But not all fashion is created this way, and we were really interested to discover Finnish brand Tauko Design, who use reclaimed textiles in their collections.

Tauko design 3

Based on waste textiles from the service sector, Tauko Design takes lots of sheets (often waste from hospitals), dyes them in vibrant colours and completely transforms them into new items.

Tauko design 4

“In our creations, we show the minimalism of the Nordic design tradition as well as the coolness of the Finnish landscape. There is always a hint of Baltic humor in our garments; small colorful details that give them a unique edge. We love big pockets and guarantee that the clothes won’t limit anyone from biking, running, dancing or just having a rest. 
Each of our designs were made with passion and commitment, always keeping in mind to make them work for diverse occasions and various body types.
We want to keep it classy, yet make the day a brighter one!”

Tauko design 2

What is really interesting is that the intro quote from Tauko says absolutely nothing about reclamation, recycling or reuse. It’s just part of what they do.

Tauko design 1

Many people have a preconception that ‘sustainable fashion’ has a particular ‘look’. Hair shirt and sandals is the phrase that we often coin for this kind of preconception – that all sustainable products are somehow stuck in the 1970’s. But of course, sustainable fashion can be anything but. We are totally in love not only with the ethos of Tauko, but their stunning designs too.

Take a look at Tauko Design’s main website to see the full range of their stunning garments…

(all images via Tauko Design)

2015 recap – October – the sustainable Brighton Fashion Week…

October 2015 saw us heading to the sustainably founded and focussed Brighton Fashion Week, to see the latest responsible developments in ladies and menswear – from the high street ready to the conceptual…

(first published 19th Oct 2015)

Talk about sustainability, and haute couture fashion is often not the first thing that springs to mind, but with a commitment to all things ethical and sustainable, the Brighton Fashion Week 2015, which was held on 15-17 October certainly put this straight. All this week we will be looking at the activities and shows – starting with our Photo Special of the Showreel Design Competition, sponsored by Bolli Darling.

Located in All Saints Church, Hove, the last of the catwalk shows was actually a design competition, where designers, artists and creatives created one outfit from a ‘Beauty from Waste’ brief for a showcase of fashion, art and performance. It was rather spectacular too… starting with an incredible construction from competition sponsor and costumer extraordinaire, Bolli Darling…

Bolli Darling BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospot

And so, here are a few of the entries.

Elpida Hadiz-Vasilva – Gunna – chicken skin and recycled cotton combine to explore the notions of beauty and elegance… This dress was as delicate as paper – and was modelled beautifully.

Elpida Hadiz-Vasileva BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotElpida Hadiz-Vasileva 2 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotElpida Hadiz-Vasileva 3 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotGenieve Couture – Rags to Riches  – a dress created from 58 recycled garments, showing how post-consumer waste could be reimagined… A stunning, flowing dress that felt almost mermaid like, with a huge trailing tail of material. This was one dress where the origins of the material could be seen clearly.

Genieve Couture BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotGenieve Couture 2 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotGenieve Couture 3 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotAnne Sophie Cochevelou – Glorious Junk – tribal inspired costume made from waste… This was a performance – with each model adorned in jewel like creations of material, plastic and metal. The opulence was incredible in these stunning pieces.

Anne Sophie Cochevelou BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotAnne Sophie Cochevelou 2 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotAnne Sophie Cochevelou 3 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotAfton Ayache – Les couleurs d’Afrique Recycler – inspired by a heartfelt story of selflessness and appreciation for what we have, waste was used to create these African prints… Beautiful prints, with structure and flow.

Afton Ayache BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotAfton Ayache 2 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotHayley Trezise – Raggedy – Rebirth- A design which explores confidence and the process of being reincarnated or born again… Another performance piece, with a cloaked ‘crawler’ adding pieces to the long tail of the dress, which itself was highly textured.

Hayley Trezise Raggedy BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotHayley Trezise Raggedy 2 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotHayley Trezise Raggedy 3 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotKumiko Tani – Evening Coffee – couture dresses created from upcycled materials that explores our desire to dress up… A dress that was clearly constructed from waste, but that was well conceived in design.

Kumiko Tani 2 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotKumiko Tani BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospot

Freya Von Bulow – Flow of Nature – a technical gown designed to raise awareness of production and efficient recycling techniques… This dress was very structured and featured interesting pieces, like the clothes pegs in the neck section.

Freya Von Bulow 2 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospot

Juliette Simon – American Dream – a journey through the dark side of the American Dream… Very American Beauty, this dress told a clear story of waste and consumerism.

Juliette Simon 2 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotJuliette Simon BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospot

We were blown away by the creative theatre of each of the costumes, but after lots of deliberation, the judges awarded Afton Ayache the £1000 prize, courtesy of Veolia.

Afton Ayache 3 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospot

A fantastic competition, showing the wealth of talent out there – and we will be staying with Brighton Fashion Week 2015 for the rest of the week, with the Zeitgeist and Sustain shows, plus a look at the debates…

(all images copyright Claire Potter)

Green Gift Guide – day one – the Brighton Fashion Week Xmas pop up…

Each year we publish our Green Gift Guide – based on stuff that we have seen, loved and would be delighted to find in our stockings this month. For the rest of the week we will be posting our usual type of Green Gift Guide, but unusually, today we are starting with a pop-up event happening in Brighton until 6th Jan, but which has a late night special tonight – the Brighton Fashion Week Pop Up, in association with the FAIR Shop…

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We had a blast covering the Brighton Fashion Week in October, which was unique in that every designer showed a collection that was firmly ‘ethical’ from reused materials, to recycled pieces, to fair trade collaborations. It was a night of colour and excitement and showed that ethical fashion does not need to be er, unfashionable.

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So for everyone in the Brighton area who has a fashionista to buy for, or is still looking for that special piece for that special party, look no further. Head to The FAIR Shop on 21 Queens Road for a late night special tonight featuring designers such as What Daisy Did (who we wrote about here), Rolfe and Wills, Nivo Jewellery and Maria Tilyard – whose crow cushions we have been coveting for a while in the studio. Very Game of Thrones and the closest Claire is going to get to a pet corvid.

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And if you make it tonight between 6-8.30, you will also be able to sample some fabulous Tey Lattes from the award winning Massis Tea too… on International Tea Day no less. Hope to see you there!

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(images courtesy of BFW)

*** REVIEW *** Brighton Fashion Week 2015 – pt 3…

Whilst editing our images from the fully sustainable Brighton Fashion Week 2015, there were a series of designers that we were drawn to, and in the Zeitgeist Emerging Talent Catwalk Show, we were loving the collection from Carlotaoms – Alegoria. With strong colours and structural urban qualities, we really could image these pieces on the streets of Brighton and beyond. And with a pledge towards creating for longevity, these pieces would no doubt age and wear beautifully…

Carlo Taomos 3 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospot Carlo Taomos 2 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotCarlo Taomos 4 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospot Carlo Taomos 5 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospot Carlo Taomos 6 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospot Carlo Taomos 7 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospot Carlo Taomos 8 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospot Carlo Taomos BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospot

(images by Claire Potter)

*** REVIEW *** Brighton Fashion Week 2015 part 2… Zeitgeist Catwalk Show

Last week we were at each of the catwalk shows for the Brighton Fashion Week 2015, showing the cutting edge of ethical and sustainable fashion design, so for the next of our photo specials, we are looking at the Zeitgeist show. This showcased designers who are shaping, shifting and progressing the fashion industry by starting to integrate ethical practices within their work in a range of ways, organised as ‘pledges’:

1 – The inclusion of organic, upcycled, recycled fabrics or other sustainable materials in the garments and collection.

2 – Designing out waste and reducing material consumption during the making of the garment.

3 – Designing for longevity – creating value for the garment to ensure the consumer will treasure it forever.

4 – Designing garments with a lower carbon and water footprint and ensuring no harmful dyes are used in the process.

Fanny Holst – Draped in Smog (pledge 3)

Fanny Holst BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospot

Gabriella Sardena – Sugar (pledge 1)

Gabriella Sardena 2 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospot Gabriella Sardena 3 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospot Gabriella Sardena 4 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospot Gabriella Sardena BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospot

Isaac Iva – Blue Lights (pledge 3)

Isaac Ava BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospot

Tracey Dockree – Parade of Giants (pledges 1/2/3)

Tracey Dockree 3 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospot Tracey Dockree 4 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospot

Tracey Dockree 2 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospot

Isaac Raymond – The Revolution of Bravery (pledge 1)

Isaac Raymond 3 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospot Isaac Raymond BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospot Isaac Raymond 2 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospot

Leif Erikkson – The Leif Erikkson Collection (pledges 1/3/4)

leif Erikson BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospot leif Erikson 2 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospot

No Such Thing – (pledges 1/3/4)

No such Thing 2 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotNo such Thing 3 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotNo such Thing BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotLuqman – (pledge 3)

Luqman BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospot

L.O.M. – Tribal Tales (pledge 1)

LOM 2 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospot LOM 3 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospot LOM 4 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospot LOM BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospot

Rozanna Walecki – Black & Blue (pledge 3)

Rozanna Walecki 2 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 Rozanna Walecki 3 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 Rozanna Walecki BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015

Hellavagirl – Diary of a Lost Girl (pledge 1)

Hellavagirl 2 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 Hellavagirl 3 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 Hellavagirl 4 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 Hellavagirl BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015

(all images by Claire Potter)

 

*** EVENT *** the EcoFabulous Walk In Wardrobe clothes swap – 24th October…

This week we are all about the fashion – having attended lots of the events for Brighton Fashion Week last week (all of which was ethical and sustainable), but as well as doing reviews of the events last week, we are delighted to let you know there is another eco fashion event happening this weekend – the EcoFabulous Walk in Wardrobe Clothes Swap on Saturday 24th October, hosted by image and style consultant, Jo Goode…

Jo is a champion of Slow Fashion, and these Walk in Wardrobe Clothes Swap events, which are also held elsewhere in the UK are about recycling and reusing our clothes. Different from swishing in that there is no ‘like for like’, tokens or assessment of what you bring, WIW accept all the unwanted (though they do encourage good quality donations!) and the ticket price allows for unlimited clothes, shoes and accessories to be taken home.

It’s a great way to get a new-to-you wardrobe for AW15, or just fill those wardrobe gaps, and each ticket holder will be entered into a draw to win a free Colour Analysis Consultation (worth £80) with Jo, who will also be on hand to advise on the best colours and styles for you, promoting a ‘Buy less, choose well’ ethos (like Vivienne Westwood).

The event is being held at The Purple Playhouse Theatre, Montefiore Road, Hove BN3 6EP, and you get your tickets here at the Walk In Wardrobe Eventbrite page...

Because reuse is the way forward!

***REVIEW*** Brighton Fashion Week 2015 – part 1…

Talk about sustainability, and haute couture fashion is often not the first thing that springs to mind, but with a commitment to all things ethical and sustainable, the Brighton Fashion Week 2015, which was held on 15-17 October certainly put this straight. All this week we will be looking at the activities and shows – starting with our Photo Special of the Showreel Design Competition, sponsored by Bolli Darling.

Located in All Saints Church, Hove, the last of the catwalk shows was actually a design competition, where designers, artists and creatives created one outfit from a ‘Beauty from Waste’ brief for a showcase of fashion, art and performance. It was rather spectacular too… starting with an incredible construction from competition sponsor and costumer extraordinaire, Bolli Darling…

Bolli Darling BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospot

And so, here are a few of the entries.

Elpida Hadiz-Vasilva – Gunna – chicken skin and recycled cotton combine to explore the notions of beauty and elegance… This dress was as delicate as paper – and was modelled beautifully.

Elpida Hadiz-Vasileva BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotElpida Hadiz-Vasileva 2 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotElpida Hadiz-Vasileva 3 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotGenieve Couture – Rags to Riches  – a dress created from 58 recycled garments, showing how post-consumer waste could be reimagined… A stunning, flowing dress that felt almost mermaid like, with a huge trailing tail of material. This was one dress where the origins of the material could be seen clearly.

Genieve Couture BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotGenieve Couture 2 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotGenieve Couture 3 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotAnne Sophie Cochevelou – Glorious Junk – tribal inspired costume made from waste… This was a performance – with each model adorned in jewel like creations of material, plastic and metal. The opulence was incredible in these stunning pieces.

Anne Sophie Cochevelou BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotAnne Sophie Cochevelou 2 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotAnne Sophie Cochevelou 3 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotAfton Ayache – Les couleurs d’Afrique Recycler – inspired by a heartfelt story of selflessness and appreciation for what we have, waste was used to create these African prints… Beautiful prints, with structure and flow.

Afton Ayache BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotAfton Ayache 2 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotHayley Trezise – Raggedy – Rebirth- A design which explores confidence and the process of being reincarnated or born again… Another performance piece, with a cloaked ‘crawler’ adding pieces to the long tail of the dress, which itself was highly textured.

Hayley Trezise Raggedy BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotHayley Trezise Raggedy 2 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotHayley Trezise Raggedy 3 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospotKumiko Tani – Evening Coffee – couture dresses created from upcycled materials that explores our desire to dress up… A dress that was clearly constructed from waste, but that was well conceived in design.

Kumiko Tani 2 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospot Kumiko Tani BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospot

Freya Von Bulow – Flow of Nature – a technical gown designed to raise awareness of production and efficient recycling techniques… This dress was very structured and featured interesting pieces, like the clothes pegs in the neck section.

Freya Von Bulow 2 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospot

Juliette Simon – American Dream – a journey through the dark side of the American Dream… Very American Beauty, this dress told a clear story of waste and consumerism.

Juliette Simon 2 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospot Juliette Simon BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospot

We were blown away by the creative theatre of each of the costumes, but after lots of deliberation, the judges awarded Afton Ayache the £1000 prize, courtesy of Veolia.

Afton Ayache 3 BFW copyright Claire Potter 2015 the ecospot

A fantastic competition, showing the wealth of talent out there – and we will be staying with Brighton Fashion Week 2015 for the rest of the week, with the Zeitgeist and Sustain shows, plus a look at the debates…

(all images copyright Claire Potter)

Reclaimed ocean plastic is the material of the moment…

So – for two of our posts this week we have looked at the Project Ocean exhibition currently at Selfridges – and we thought we would continue with this theme with a look at two of the recent releases by big brands that highlight the ocean plastic plight.

Adidas x Parley recycled ocean waste sneaker

First up is the recent concept shoe by Adidas and British designer Alexander Taylor – the Adidas x Parley, revealed at an event for the Parley for the Oceans initiative, which encourages creatives to repurpose ocean waste for awareness design.

The shoe, which is hoped to go into production in 2016 uses fibres created from nets recovered from illegal poaching vessels by marine conservation organisation Sea Shepherd. As well as the material, the design of the shoe also references the waves of the nets in its patternation.

Adidas x Parley recycled ocean waste sneaker

What is key is that Taylor and Adidas were able to create the concept shoe using the same machinery and methods that a ‘regular’ shoe is manufactured. Many of the arguments around using recycled yarns and materials centre around the misconception that there has to be massive manufacturing alterations to create form ‘waste’, so this move from Adidas shows this does not need to be the case.

Whilst Adidas are keen to promote this as a ‘concept’ shoe, we hope that this does not remain on the concept shelf and actually goes into production. Sceptics could argue that this, excuse the pun, is but a drop in the ocean when it comes to both reclaiming ocean plastic and creating new design from a waste material. Plus, given the size of Adidas it could be seen as a little bit greenwashy, but hey – shouldn’t this be the exact behaviour we should be encouraging big brands to undertake? Isn’t this better than the alternative of creating from virgin materials?

The Adidas x Parley concept is certainly a step in the right direction, but there are already brands who are creating fashion to purchase, using yarns made from plastic waste.

Pharrell Williams for G-Star RAW AW 2015

G-Star RAW has recently revealed it’s third collaborative collection with Pharrell Williams which uses ocean plastic fibres mixed with other materials. The RAW for the Oceans collection features the tag line ‘turning the tide on plastic ocean pollution’ and features jumpers, t-shirts, jackets and jeans.

Pharrell Williams for G-Star RAW AW 2015

It is reported that 700,000 PET bottles have been removed from the ocean to go into the production of the RAW for the oceans collections so far, which is not a considerable amount of plastic recovered. Again, a tiny fraction, but as the old saying goes – better out than in.

Pharrell Williams for G-Star RAW AW 2015

But the most interesting element for us is the psychology that goes with these collections – by creating something from a waste material, there is a point you have to cross in customers’ minds – where does ‘rubbish’ end and ‘luxury’ begin? Big brands certainly have the scale and opportunity to create a real attitude change, and it is interesting to understand whether people purchase these goods because they are fashionable and ‘on trend’, or whether they purchase them because they are made from an ‘ethical’ material. Where does the buy in happen? Also, what happens to these garments when they reach the end of their life – have they been designed for circularity?

Something, we no doubt will explore…

(images via Dezeen)

Monday musings – ethical consumption, or just consumption?

Our daily work and studio research is based in many different areas of design, but ultimately, we try and ensure that our work is interesting and ethical. They are the two mainstays of everything we do. Many other adjectives get put in there for each project, but these are the two that stay and without compromise. But, regardless of how we are working, we are very aware that we are still consumers – we are designing things to be made, used, inhabited, enjoyed. We are creators of stuff.

ethical consumer 1Now, we are pretty proud of the fact that we design and make things and places in the best possible way we can, using responsible materials, recycled materials and ensuring that things can have another life through reuse and disassembly, but it is still stuff.

Which really makes us think.

ethical consumer 5

In our personal lives, we very much live what we preach. Avid collectors of secondhand books, regular trawlers of antique shops and boot fairs and massive fans of charity shops, my own Twitter feed is rammed most weekends with the photos of secondhand stuff I have found and purchased. I love telling people how little a t-shirt cost from an Oxfam, or that my new (old) laptop bag came from Emmaus. I have pride in being a user of secondhand things.

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But, as I realised the other day during another clearout of stuff – I am still a massive consumer. Sure, a consumer of hopefully ‘ethical’ things, but a consumer none the less. My house and the studio is full of things that perhaps I do not need, so does the fact that we got it secondhand make it ok to own too much stuff?

Where does the over consumer start and the ethical over consumer end?

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This was also something that struck us whilst at the recent Brighton Peace and Environment Centre Carbon Conversation event in Brighton with Cat Fletcher of Freegle. In an ideal world, the good quality, well made goods that are traditionally higher in initial cost would be used, then filter down through services such as Freegle and the charity shops. And this is sometimes the case – I have found the most incredible stuff that would have cost a pretty penny new, in secondhand stores that still had many more years use ahead. If we were able to utilise this kind of quality goods at a price that suited more consumers, then perhaps we would not have to turn to the low cost, low quality high street stalwarts of fashion.

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But, this is still consuming. Unless we are truly only buying what we need, then we are part of that all consuming cycle – whether we are buying new, or buying second hand.

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So is this a problem? Perhaps. But if more people bought secondhand, then not only would charities benefit, but we would literally be keeping things in the loop. We would be ethical consumers.Equally, when you don’t need something any more – donate it so someone else can benefit. This is the basis of the circular economy, and the more we can keep travelling around the cycle before it is ‘reclaimed’ for fibres or materials, the better…

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And so I am making myself a deal. I know that I am an over consumer, despite it being second hand, but I own stuff that I will not use anymore, which is surely worse. Someone could, and should be wearing those clothes and reading those books – and with a bit more space from the things I don’t need, I can refill the shelves with second hand treasures that I will…

(images by claire potter – all bought second hand…)

SPOTTED – What Daisy Did – responsible leather bags…

It is very stereotypical, but yes, but the females of the studio do have a bit of a thing for bags. Mostly old leather bags that look like they have stepped straight out of an Indiana Jones prop box, or satchels that keep everything organised and in their place. A personal favourite is my old Finnair pilot’s bag in brown leatherette that fits under a standard aeroplane seat that I found in a charity shop for a marvellous £3. But unless you happen upon these types of bags tucked in the corner of antique shops, good old charity shops or at a jumble sale, lovely responsible leather bags can be hard to find. Step in What Daisy Did…

What Daisy Did 1Founded by Daisy and Ozric, What Daisy Did works with craftspeople in India to create ranges of bags that are either constructed from the scraps of leather that would otherwise be wasted, or responsibly sourced and tanned goat leather.What Daisy Did 2

The bags are beautiful too – with their scrap based Carnival Collection being brightly coloured and varied and their Forest Collection being right in the Indiana Jones style – multi pocketed and brown leathered…What Daisy Did 4

And it is these beautiful, goat leather bags that have really got our eyes watering here in the studio. Tanned naturally by the sun, the bags have a hugely lessened impact than other leather bags which are mostly tanned using extremely harsh chemicals which are very damaging to the local environment, polluting waterways and poisoning those using them. This is good leather. Plus, the bags are also very reasonable too, even though the craftspeople are paid fairly with a living wage and work in good conditions. What Daisy Did 3

We think they are great. Just give us a fedora and a whip and we’ll be away…

(images via What Daisy Did)