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  • Brand Spotlight: Wool and the Gang

    screen-shot-2016-12-02-at-11-56-38We all have a favourite woollen sweater or coat that we can rely on to keep us warm during the cold winter months, but how many of us know about wool and the sustainability of its production? According to Campaign for Wool, this natural textile is a protein fibre formed in the skin of sheep and boasts some amazing qualities like acting as a natural insulator, and being incredibly resilient and trans-seasonal.

    This week, Fashion Compassion would like to spotlight a Brand that is pushing forward not just an ethical message, but also a global sense of community and sustainable practise for wool-producers and consumers. Known as Wool and the Gang, the company was founded on the basis of offering fashion lovers with unique woollen pieces, that respect the welfare of animals, while also creating a community of enthusiastic knitters that can participate in the creation of wonderful woollen items. Offering a variety of knitted products, as well as knitting patterns for the more ambitious, the company has been a great success, and has recently partnered up with London Department Store &OtherStories to release a beautiful, pearl studded Winter Collection. As sustainable fashion gains more grounding, we hope to see even more brands like Wool and the Gang, paving the way for positive change in an industry that impacts so many.

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  • The Future of Textiles: The Rise of Hybrid Fabrics

    screen-shot-2016-10-17-at-11-48-40Mahatma Gandhi once said that 'There is no beauty in the finest cloth if it is makes hunger and unhappiness'. This profound statement is more relevant today than it has ever been, as fabric becomes a powerful metaphor for the principle of sustainability and for advocating global unity. The anatomy of the textile industry is indeed evolving, as innovation is now synonymous to the practise of sustainability. Traditional fabrics like cotton, linen and silk are now accompanied by contemporary hybrid fibres that reflect the technological and socially conscious world that globalisation has ignited. With the rise of textile innovation, Fashion Compassion would like to spotlight two unique companies who are redefining the landscape of textile production by merging innovation with environmental and social objectives.

    Foremost is the Italian Startup Orange Fibre, which attributes its patented fabric to the geography of Sicily, where citris fruit is grown and consumed on a vast scale. It is the waste from this citris industry that provides degradable fibres, which are then transformed through nanotechnology techniques to create a vitamin C rich fabric known as Orange Fibre. This unique innovation is attributed to two Italian entrepreneurs Adriana Santanocito and Enrica Arena,  who together have scaled the idea and begun production of the fabric. Accordingly, the entrepreneurs hope to introduce a sustainable paradigm to the Italian Fashion Industry, and  to reincarnate a shrinking fruit industry which has left many Sicilian youth unemployed and local talents under leveraged. The company therefore addresses sustainability on multiple levels, by utilising fruit by-product and offering new jobs to local economies. Who could imagine a textile to be sustainable, nourishing and economically empowering?

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    The second innovator is American-based Bionic Yarn who has created a solution to combating the worlds excessive consumption of plastic products. Their mission 'To achieve sustainability without sacrificing quality' and to generate positive impact for the triple bottom line. The emergence of this company is timely, as plastic is known to be a non-biodegradable material and yet the world consumes it within almost every industry and demographic. The production of Bionic Yarn is therefore a welcomed step towards transforming this harmful waste into textile material that can be used in a diverse range of outlets- fashion being one of them.

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    In fact exciting collaborations have already manifested using this hybrid fibre, with the launch of a collection by rapper Pharrell Williams for G Star in 2015. This campaign was used to spread awareness of the extensive ocean pollution caused by plastic consumption and how companies like Bionic Yarn can offer sustainable solutions to vast environmental problems that now seem to transcend borders, cultures and geography.

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  • GUEST BLOGGER: City Girl At Heart

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    What is your blog about?

    My blog is essentially a lifestyle blog. I write about anything that takes my fancy. Music features heavily and I have a weekly feature where I showcase an ethical issue or brand called Ethical Tuesday.

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    Why is sustainable fashion important to you?

    I was appalled by the Rana Plaza disaster in 2013 and it made me completely rethink how and why I spend my money. The more I researched, the more I realised how much the environment and peoples live are connected to our buying decisions. I am now on a mission to make as many other people as possible aware too!

    Do you have a personal style?

    As I now buy less but better I'm trying to create the perfect capsule wardrobe where everything goes with everything. Classic pieces with the odd piece of crazy colour thrown in!

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    Can you give our readers any advice for buying ethically and sustainably?

    I love charity shops and clothes continuing to have a life. Clothes swap parties are a great idea too. There are some really lovely ethical fashion brands around now. Most of them are expensive but have brilliant sales so keep an eye out for them by signing up to their mailing lists. Beamont Organic and Noa Noa are two of my favourites.

    Why are platforms like Fashion ComPassion and your own blog important?

    To give ethical designers and brands a platform to showcase their work, tell their stories, touch people's hearts and minds and ultimately change the world!

    What are your top 3 Fashion ComPassion favourite items?

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    The Angela & Roi Square Tote

    Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 16.55.07 Edge of Ember Chamelli Gold Wrap Bangle

    Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 16.57.01 The Spotted Quoll Storm Voile Scarf

  • Guest Blogger: Carmen Artigas

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    My blog is:

    I was a late bloomer to blogging, but my commitment to sustainable fashion started 15 yrs ago. I mostly post on Facebook on Ethical Fashion NY.

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    www.carmenartigas.com

    http://about.me/carmenartigas

    Sustainable fashion is important to me because:

    Sustainable fashion entails responsible decisions and design has to be emotionally durable. I believe designers should always consider the human and environmental cost of developing their products and have a clear understanding of the life cycle and end of life of products.

    Maintaining a short supply chain and sourcing locally is a great alternative. Also avoiding last minute design changes that represent overtime behind the sewing machine and can affect the workers well being. In essence it's creating a garment with good karma.

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    My personal style is:

    Tribal and sometimes “Time traveler”. I strive to wear something old and something handmade… especially vintage kimonos and pieces by talented local designers that are usually my friends'!

    I used to be a shoe museum curator so I love crafted textiles from every culture. I also have many friends that work in museums and they give me access to their archives, that’s where I get inspiration!

    Some of my favourite sustainable brands are:

    My advice for buying ethical and sustainable products:

    Fall in love with the pieces you buy. I usually buy things that will be in my closet for at least a decade. Quality goes a long way and I actually enjoy mending clothes. It's old fashioned, but I've developed real appreciation for tailoring and quality textiles.

    Also consider supporting brands that collaborate with artisans. Crafts and artisans are endangered, since younger generations are not learning the skill and the market doesn't always provide fair trade. We need to protect culture diversity and the craft language.

    Platforms like Fashion ComPassion are important because:

    Fashion ComPassion provides a feeling of connectedness and empowerment and supports guilt-free shopping.

    My top 3 Fashion ComPassion picks:

    Threads of Gujrat Purneshwar Wallet

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    Abury Red & Brown Berber Bag

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    Mayamiko Ida Clutch in Vase Print

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  • The List: Fashion ComPassion Holiday Must-Haves!

    Holiday season is in full swing! These accessories will complete your look, make great gifts, and all have the satisfaction of fulfilling a philanthropic endeavor!

    1) Sujuu Sunset Mountain Silk Scarf

    Originating in Kyrgyzstan, Sujuu scarves are hand woven and hand dyed from 100% natural materials. They are made by local artisans who proliferate traditional crafting techniques and maintain a fair trade system to manage the cost of the products. This scarf is made from silk and felt, derived from merino wool, which has an incredibly soft hand-feel and will you warm through the season!

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    2) Amalena Chain of Love Bracelet 

    Specializing in handcrafted pieces from Colombia, Amalena is the first brand to use 18-karat Eco-Gold, made from sustainable extraction techniques. Each gold heart is linked to next to represent the unbreakable bond of love and is tied together with a natural silk cord to make an adjustable bracelet.

    dec2 3) Palestyle Big O Bag

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    Palestyle was established in Dubai but it’s products are made in Lebanon from genuine leather and carry their statement emblem of Arabic calligraphy. This bag is big enough to carry you from day to night and is complete with a magnetic closure that translates to “magic of your eyes”. The anaconda orange flap over the caviar skin creates a beautiful contrast that matches any outfit!

    4) Edge of Ember Alysse Gold Ring

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    This engraved ring is made with 18-karat gold plated brass and is handcrafted in Bali, Indonesia. Edge of Ember supports local artisans in Cambodia and Indonesia and ensures that all workers receive fair wages and their products are ethically traded. Their ambition is to address issues of human trafficking through charity.

    5) The Root Collective Grey Infinity Scarf

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    The Root Collective works with artisans in Kenya, Peru and Guatemala to create minimalist pieces that are driven by a need for social change. The scarves are handmade in Guatemala using 100% cotton and address the huge issue of gang violence by creating a fair wage environment for their workers. Implementing the traditional method used for the back strap looms of Mayan women in the rural highlands, each scarf takes 15 hours to weave!

    6) Senhoa Angelina Earrings

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    Individually handcrafted by vulnerable women in Cambodia, Senhoa jewelry is an emblem of the company’s policies of fair wages, education and healthcare. These earrings are made from 24-karat gold plated seed beads, Swarovski stone elements, and 14-karat gold fill ear wires. All profit made from them goes directly into sustaining the program in Cambodia.

    7) Mayamiko Ida Clutch in Geo Print

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    Made in Malawi from a fusion of traditional techniques and modern design, Mayamiko produces luxury ethical goods. This clutch is made from 100% cotton and has a discrete magnetic closure. The bold print will add a pop of color to any look and keep you on trend through the winter!

    8) Sweet Cavanagh Brave Heart

    dec8 This necklace, a combination of semi-precious stones and crystal beads, is made in London by the founder of Sweet Cavanagh, Florence. The gold filled wire, turquoise and amethyst crystals, and wire wrapped beads come together in these two chains to create a statement piece with various tones. The artisans that create this jewelry are empowered by their craft in their road to recovery from eating disorders and addictions.

    9) Sahel Design Tassel Tote Collection Beige With Red

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    A combined effort of Fashion ComPassion and Sahel Design, this tassel uses traditional methods of weaving Fulani horse reins and it put together by a family in Burkina Faso that has been practicing this method for years. The leather and cotton lining make this both sturdy and functional.

    10) The Spotted Quoll Yellow Moon Voile Scarf

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    Handmade in Tasmania using eco-friendly techniques and natural materials, these scarves preserve wilderness and promote sustainable production. The print is created using water-based pigment and placed on natural voile cotton to create this long scarf that can be worn in a variety of ways! The “yellow moon” design is a mix of mustard and greys and is inspired from a full moon seen through a thicket of trees.

  • Brand Interview: Sweet Cavanagh

    1. What is Sweet Cavanagh?

    Sweet Cavanagh is a unique jewelry brand where all the designer-makers are women in recovery from eating disorders and addictions. Our workshop is not only a place of creativity and design, but also of personal growth where the most brilliant life changes are made. Each designer cultivates her own style, which often develops as her confidence and self-esteem grows.

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    2. Why did you decide to launch a socially responsible label?

    The first reason for starting this company was to create a place where women could come and get free support whilst fighting to find recovery. I recognized a gap in the services offered by the NHS and realized that there is next to no free care for people suffering with eating disorders. In my own personal experience I found jewelry making to be very therapeutic, so I realized that if we could combine both the recovery aspect and the design aspect, we could potentially make a social enterprise. It was only when my partner Maxine came on board that we were able to fully realize our potential. As a licensed therapist Maxine has added a whole new dimension to the workshop and we now offer one on one and group therapy in addition to the jewelry-making workshop.

    
3. What was the inspiration behind the collection?

    Our collection is inspired by the courage and strength demonstrated by each of our craftswomen day in and out. Each of these women has overcome tremendous hurdles to be where they are today. The bright colors and bold designs reflect their creativity and unique personalities, which they are finally getting to experience as they embrace recovery. Each designer has her own sense of style, making our collection eclectic and oh so special. Each piece is one of a kind, as are each of our craftswomen.

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    4. Tell us about the positive impact Sweet Cavanagh has had on the people and the environment.

    Research has proven that jewelry making can augment one’s well being by increasing one’s self esteem and reducing stress and anxiety, all of which reduce one’s risk of relapse.  Coming to our workshop also helps women to build a sober support network; thus, combating the isolation that is often faced by those suffering from addictions and/or eating disorders. Our program gives women a place to go and introduces them to women who understand their history. This gives them accountability and enhances their feelings of connectedness, thus reducing loneliness. The support groups and individual counseling that we offer further enhance these assets. In the past year, Sweet Cavanagh has helped over twenty women transition back into full time work and/or education.

    Sweet Cavanagh also gives women an opportunity to become self-employed as jewelry designers and creators by paying each woman a living wage for each piece of theirs that sells. This is especially important, as many women have been in treatment and out of work for quite some time. Additionally, individuals are given the opportunity to learn about the business side of the enterprise, which allows them to develop skills in marketing, advertising, and data entry, all of which will enhance their feelings of confidence as well as their CV! This sense of purpose is something that many could not have imagined when they were in the depths of their illness.

    While Sweet Cavanagh strives to have a high social impact, we do try to have a small carbon footprint. We strive to source our materials locally and LOVE to support other social enterprises when selecting beads. Many of our pieces are made from recycled and vintage beads. Re-working old jewelry and giving it new life is a special process. Similar to our treatment of disorders, we try to see the positive in everything and be grateful for what we have in our lives.

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    5. Why is a platform like Fashion ComPassion important for the growth of sustainable fashion businesses?

    In a world where people are focused on getting more for less, platforms like Fashion Compassion are essential for sustainable fashion businesses. As with many ethical brands, our budget is limited and we depend on every sale; thus, having the support of a larger company is imperative. Additionally, our craftswomen are made to feel all the more special as they see their pieces on a bonafide website, alongside other beautiful products. The pride they feel when a piece is sold is also something that can't be monetized. We feel honored to be grouped in the same category as the other brands on the Fashion Compassion page. It is wonderful to be appreciated as an ethical fashion brand whose pieces make a difference in the world.

  • Get Behind the Label: Senhoa Solidarity Clear De Art Earrings

    GET BEHIND THE LABEL: SENHOA SOLIDARITY CLEAR DE ART EARRINGS

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    Fashion ComPassion is featuring the Senhoa Solidarity Clear De Art earrings this month for it’s unique design and smart ethics.

     

    Every piece of Senhora jewelry is handcrafted by vulnerable women in Cambodia using traditional artisanal techniques. The women are then provided with fair wages, health services and education. Senhoa’s goal is to create opportunities for artisans like these and raise awareness about exploitation.

     

    The Solidarity Clear De Art earrings are made from platinum seed beads and Swarovski crystal elements. Using traditional methods of weaving, these earrings are both intricate and simple, to be dressed up or down!

  • Feature Story: Recycling Fashion

    Spotlight on Closet Sharing: Recycling Fashion is the New, Sustainable Way to Shop

     

    The holidays are all about spending – spending things like time and money in the spirit of giving and loving. In our efforts, we end up becoming hyper-consumptive and are swayed by commercials and trends all convincing us that we need to be shopping in order to show our loved ones just how much we care. Shopping, however, is not the problem – consumerism is.

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                Luckily, there is always a sustainable solution out there. Online platforms such as Bib + Tuck and Swapdom offer the option of sharing your closet and recycling fashion. Functioning without actual monetary exchange, these sites are based wholly on the exchange of goods. When you sell something, you can purchase something else using the value of the item you have sold without dealing with the messy back and forth of money shifting. The hosts of the exchange handle all shipping, merchandising, and operations that make this process as smooth as possible.

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    Sari Azout and Sari Bibliowicz, founders of Bib + Tuck, Vogue.

                At Bib + Tuck, you can “bib”, or sell, your last season Chanel booties and “tuck”, or buy, someone else’s brand new Missoni sweater. The two founders of the company, Sari and Sari, met in preschool and twenty years later, were still sharing closets. Living in New York, they realized that it was more sensible to exchange clothes than buy new ones and thus, the concept was born.

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                Swapdom works in a very similar way. You can offer items of your own, and request items from another. You are not confined to buying or selling items in pairs, but rather you can interact across the network. Your swap must be approved by both parties and you only have to pay shipping for the item you receive, not the item you have sold. There is no bargaining involved and your personal valuation is the only one that matters. Additionally, Swapdom is a B2B (Business to Business) company that regards the individuals participating in the trade as the business involved, rather than have themselves as a third-party supplier. With their seamless transactions and smart business solutions, Swapdom has developed into a hub climate for online shoppers.

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    Taken from the Swapdom website.

                This season, think about cleaning out your closet instead of adding to the clutter. Save some money and promote sustainability – remember, fashion is recyclable too!

  • Get Behind The Label: Ethel IPad Sleeve In Wave Chitenje Print

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    Fashion ComPassion is featuring the Ethel iPad Sleeve in the Wave Chitenje print this month with its perfect marriage of fashion, function and philanthropy!

    Mayamiko is a UK-based charity that works throughout Africa to support creativity in local communities by sponsoring their training. The “Mayamikans” are trainees that are taught sewing, knitting, tailoring and basic financial and business planning skills. They are then linked to ethical fashion designers in the UK and are able to sell their products and all profits are put back into their communities.

    The Ethel iPad Sleeve is made from quilted cotton that has been ethically, locally sourced. It comes complete with a zip closure ensuring that your iPad locked in and fully protected. Not to mention its on-trend print and perfect size!

    Miyamiko is a Chewa word meaning “praise” – help bring praise to the Mayamikans, buy a sleeve, support the power of the artist.

  • Guest Blogger: Chere Di Boscio

     

    In conversation with Chere Di Boscio, Editor in Chief of Eluxe Magazine.
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    My blog is: I don’t like to call it a blog, because it’s not. It’s a magazine—in print and online-- with detailed, well-researched articles on environmental and health issues, as well as gorgeous pictures, reviews and information on sustainable luxury fashion, travel, beauty and homes.

    Sustainable fashion is important to me because: The planet is important to me.

    My personal style is: Rich hippy, urban bohemian, with a bit of rock chick thrown in. I love the looks of early Jane Birkin, Anita Pallenberg, and Jerry Hall: light, flowing maxi dresses in silk with mutton sleeves are my faves, but I also love tall boots with jeans and a loose blouse, worn with an oversized floppy hat, for example.

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    Some of my favourite sustainable brands are: The Reformation, who do the most amazing 70s style maxi dresses, Meng Kimonos, with their sumptuous silks and stunning Asian designs, and Taiana Giefer’s scarves. I also love cashmere or alpaca wraps, and Abraxas Rex jewellery, made from found meteorites!

    My advice for buying ethical and sustainable products: Buyer beware! There’s a lot of greenwashing out there. When I first launched Eluxe, I was under the impression that brands like Vivienne Westwood and Stella McCartney were really eco-friendly, but they’re actually not. I also thought that vegan leather was more eco-friendly, but was surprised to find that a lot of it is made from super toxic materials like PVC.

    Platforms like Fashion ComPassion are important because: They are so rare! Consumers who want to buy eco-friendly fashion need to trawl through the thousands of offerings of mainstream websites like Net-a-Porter to find just a few items, but the likes of Fashion ComPassion make finding sustainable goods that much easier by putting them all in one place.

    My top 3 Fashion ComPassion picks:

    1) Palestyle makes the most glamorous clutches

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    2) Abury’s Berber bags are my go-to accessory for boho chic looks.

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    3) Angela & Roi make great bags for girls like me, living in Paris.

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