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Interviews

  • 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.

    https://www.facebook.com/ethicalfashionNY?fref=photo

    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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  • 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.

  • 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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  • Guest Blogger: Greta Eagan of Fashion Me Green

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    My blog is:

    Called Fashion Me Green (www.fashionmegreen.com)

    Sustainable fashion is important to me because:

    Combining sustainability (ethics, the environment and social impact) with fashion made it possible for me to have a career in fashion that appeased both my creativity and my morals.

    My personal style is:

    sporty chic with minimalist/ menswear inspired touches, and a splash of glamour when appropriate

    Some of my favourite sustainable brands are:

    SVILU, Daniel Silverstein, Thu Thu, Chinti & Parker, Suzanne Rae, and The Sway

    My advice for buying ethical and sustainable products:

    Start by supporting one eco initiative (example: organic, local, linked to a cause, etc) instead of trying to satisfy every possible way of going green in one product all at once.

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    In the future I would like to:

    Keep spreading the word and methodology of Wear No Evil (my book) and host a TV show to bring greater awareness to sustainable fashion and how we can seamlessly incorporate it into our stylish lives.

    Platforms like Fashion ComPassion are important because:

    They provide a resource for consumers to shop and learn about fashion with ethics. They become trusted sources that vet the options out there and curate the best ones into a single online location.

    My top 3 Fashion ComPassion picks:

    1) KRZE Studio Naomi Black Bucket Bucket
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    2) Angela & Roi Caramel Sunday Tote
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    3) Kyu Melange Blue Makeda
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  • Brand Interview - Cassandra Postema of Emi & Eve

    1. What is Emi & Eve?

    Emi &Eve are passionate about using ethical, and artisanal sources, providing income to those that need it most. So doing, we address the issue of exploded remnants of war (ERW) in various countries recovering from war, while at the same time providing a sustainable income to people rebuilding their lives post conflict.

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

    I find that by working with certain social parameters, the most beautiful and unexpected designs are born. Its just so much more interesting and rewarding to work with generations old artisanal craftmanship, while at the same time giving back to the community.

    3. What was the inspiration behind the collection?

    We upcycle the remains of explosives that have had such devastating effects, so to emphasise the transformation we use positive imagery such as a pair of holding hands, heart shapes and also natural and organic shapes.

    Recycled bullets from Cambodia, melted then reshaped into beautiful pieces for the bags. Recycled bullets from Cambodia, melted then reshaped into beautiful pieces for the bags.
    Beautiful Friendship Clutch made with the recycled bullets Beautiful Friendship Clutch made with the recycled bullets

    4. Tell us about the positive impact Emi & Eve has made on the people and the environment.

    Since launching the first collection a year ago, we have been able to supply a power generator for more efficient production. The craftsman we work with, Chantha, has been able to upgrade his workshop as well and employ several apprentices.

    Dorcas in China making an Emi and Eve bag. Dorcas in China making an Emi and Eve bag.

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

    While we work at the grassroots level bridging the gap between design and social impact, it is essential for ethical brands to have those marketing partnerships to champion our products. We also need to be discerning where we place our collections and Fashion Compassion are doing a great job in presenting them beautifully.

    Buy Emi & Eve products here

  • Guest Blogger: Christine De Leon of Very Nice Threads

    Christine De Leon, founder of www.verynicethreads.com Christine De Leon, founder of www.verynicethreads.com

    My blog is:

    I was in need of a creative outlet and Very Nice Threads began in 2008 as a street style blog. If an individual caught my eye by the way they were expressing themselves through dress, I would ask to take their photograph. I'd ask them about the clothes they wore and invariably the most interesting looks came from a combination of vintage, charity shops and high street brands. The blog evolved over time as a place to look for alternatives to high street fashion. I write about independent designers who have sustainable or ethical credentials and I also write about social and environmental issues in the fashion industry as they relate to fair labour practices and carbon footprint.

    Sustainable fashion is important to me because:

    Clothes use up a lot of valuable resources - many of which aren't renewable. The industry operates in a way that puts pressure on these resources and contributes to their increased scarcity. Fashion is an accessible way to talk about transparency, clean supply chains and creative alternatives to the supply and demand model of doing business. Fashion has the potential to show the other industries how to do business in a way promotes mindful consumerism, that takes less out of the environment and contributes more to the communities they operate in.

    My personal style is:

    A culmination of all the places I've lived: Toronto, New York, San Francisco and London. I look for natural fabrics, a good fit, a classic line and a quirky, individualistic twist. I've recently decided to stop wearing so much black and to pluck up the courage to wear bold patterns.

    Some of my favourite sustainable brands are:

    Michelle Lowe-Holder for accessories, TAMMAM for special occasions, THTC and Monkee Genes for street wear and People Tree for the office.

    My advice for buying ethical and sustainable products:

    Do your research.

    In the future I would like to:

    Think globally, act locally. I'm running as a Green Party candidate in the upcoming local elections and regardless of the outcome, I want to continue to take what I've learned over the years through the blog to campaign for wider environmental issues and social justice.

    Platforms like Fashion ComPassion are important because:

    It disrupts the unskilled, cookie-cutter, fast fashion conveyor belt of consumption by promoting the work of skilled artisans and encourages us to buy a special something that we value and will be for keeps, not just a throw-away item.

    Christine's top 3 Fashion ComPassion items:

    1) Cambodia Srey Tote by Catrinka Project

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    2) Bhadra Clutch by 1701

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    3) Elliana Clutch by Habi

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  • Brand Interview - Paola Masperi from Mayamiko

    1. What is Mayamiko?

    Mayamiko Designed is a fashion label that fuses together contemporary design with traditional African fabrics to create fashion forward ethical clothing and accessories.

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

    Mayamiko was established to help people in Malawi by supporting their creative talents and turning them into sustainable activities. ‘Mayamiko’ helps nurture and encourage communities that are facing economic and social hardship by providing opportunities to use their skills through training and education.

    Sophia Mayamiko artisan Sophia Mayamiko artisan

    3. What was the inspiration behind the collection?

    Mayamiko Designed took their inspiration for the collection from Malawi- its landscape, its people, its traditional fabrics and techniques, and blended this with cutting edge design from the UK to create a truly unique high fashion label.

    Ida Clutch Ida Clutch

    4. Tell us about the positive impact Mayamiko has made on the people and the environment.

    In 2008 I started Mayamiko and established the Malawi Cotton Project to provide skills training, education, nutrition, sanitation and to promote fairer trade practices. Our workshops in Malawi employ women affected by HIV. The education and training given to them is called TEVETA, and leads to recognized qualification. The trainees are taught to manufacture simple necessities, which satisfy the local market demands.

    Paola with the Trainees Paola with the Trainees

    We also established the Fashion Lab which teaches theses women how to manufacture simple everyday necessities which we export using ethical trade. Mothers that have infants and children to take care of, are able to leave them at our nursery or pre-school where they are looked after, engaged in educational activities and fed healthy and nutritious food.

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

    Although rapidly expanding, the ethical fashion sector is still small and relatively immature. It is hugely important to have platforms like Fashion Compassion who feature fabulous ethical brands and offer consumers a truly credible alternative to regular designer and high street fashion.

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