Clean Slate: Handmade Vegan Skincare

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Battling her long-term skin issue, eczema, Katrina set out to not only solve the issue for herself, but also to provide other people with her vegan, handmade skin care products.  She started by experimenting with various ingredients until she found the perfect solution, which brought Clean Slate, formerly known as Peaches and Clean, to the market.

This rebranding was chosen to reduce the feminine vibe and cater to the male market as well. As she felt the previous packaging did not do justice to what was inside the beautiful bottles and jars, Katrina chose the name Clean Slate to replace Peaches and Clean.

Clean Slate was the answer to one of Katrina’s dreams: owning her own shop. “Clean Slate started when the MANY6160 project opened in October last year. I was offered a retail space, and thought why not?”

Unlike other skincare products, Katrina makes all of the products by hand and has no plans to change her manufacturing technique anytime in the future. To ensure the best quality products, she dedicates herself through research and makes no compromises in the ingredients she uses.

In addition to being its retailer, MANY6160 is Katrina’s second home and workspace, as she feels it important for her products to be made on site. Imagine your vegan beauty products hand-created in a spacious concrete room filled with shelves upon shelves of essential oils and raw ingredients, stainless steel benches, shop curing racks, and a stereo to accompany her work days. Minimal, sleek beauty – this is what Katrina’s workspace embodies.

Extending her product line, Katrina has recently finished a whipped Shea butter scrub, a dry face scrub as well as shampoo and conditioner that sound just perfect! And for the guys, Katrina has also been working on an exciting shaving cream and aftershave balm soon to be launched.

Clean Slate is completely on board with ethical manufacturing too, which is super beautiful:

“I am totally against animal testing and I don’t use ingredients that are tested on animals. My range is also vegan. I can achieve everything I need to without using animal products or ingredients tested on animals, so I don’t. There is a huge shift in this direction which is great to see.”

Visit Katrina and find Clean Slate at MANY6160, Fremantle from Wednesday to Sunday 10 to 5 p.m.

Find out more about Clean Slate’s products here http://www.cleanslateskincare.com/

Clean Clothes Campaign: A Fight For Ethical Clothing

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For many, the recent arrival of megabrands Topshop and Zara in Perth were long overdue. It isn’t difficult to see why international chain stores of this nature are insanely popular. In addition to the celebrity endorsements and the frequency with which each on-trend collection is released, the main appeal lies in the affordability. While shopping at these stores seems to be a win-win situation for the buyer (cool clothes for cheap prices!), the ugly truth is that with each purchase, we are endorsing and continuing the exploitation of overseas workers. The majority of these clothes are manufactured in Asia, where unsafe working conditions, insufficient wages and derelict living conditions are all issues faced by more than 15 million garment workers.

The current working environment of many garment factories is downright dangerous. It was only in April of last year that Rana Plaza, a Bangladesh building that contained five garment factories, collapsed. Rana Plaza manufactured clothing for global brands such as Benetton, Mango, Primark and Walmart. The collapse killed 1,138 workers and injured another 2000. Cramped, unsafe factories aren’t the only issue – workers are often faced with gruelling workdays and are forced to work ten to twelve hours, increasing to even eighteen as deadlines approach. This often involves working in close contact with harmful chemicals and machines. For example, sandblasting – a process that gives denim a ‘worn out’ look – can result in the lung disease silicosis. Furthermore, employees are often not even allowed to use the toilet or have access to clean drinking water.

Many employees depend on overtime pay to help their meagre wages, but in many factories, overtime pay is withheld by managers who set unrealistic daily targets. Add to this the fact that most workers are already paid less than the minimum wage, and it is not surprising to learn that their living conditions are as woeful as their working ones. For example, in Cambodia, more than 500,000 people are employed by the garment industry, and yet the minimum wage is just US$100. Thus, for many of these workers, food and adequate shelter are luxuries. When Steffi Eckelmann, a German photographer, interviewed a group of Cambodian garment workers, she learned that it was common for three to six women to share one room that was less than eight square metres. There was no ventilation or furniture; the women slept on the floor on plastic sheets.

This where the Clean Clothes Campaign steps in. The revolutionary campaign cites its mission as “improving working conditions and supporting the empowerment of workers in the global garment and sportswear industries”, and since its founding in 1989, its network has been expanding worldwide. Currently, the Clean Clothes Campaign consists of trade unions and NGOs distributed across 17 European countries: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

The Clean Clothes Campaign is founded upon a number of beliefs. Their first principle states that:

All workers – regardless of sex, age, country of origin, legal status, employment status or location, or any other basis – have a right to good and safe working conditions, where they can exercise their fundamental rights to associate freely and bargain collectively, and earn a living wage, which allows them to live in dignity.

Other founding principles include the right for workers to know of their rights and their entitlement to education and training; the right for the public to know how and where their garments are produced; the right for workers to lead their own organising and empowerment; and the need for garment companies and retailers to adopt a standard of labour practice as outlined by the Clean Clothes Campaign. The comprehensive list of the campaign’s beliefs is accessible on their website.

The aforementioned principles are a given in first-world countries, so it’s easy for us to forget that a significant portion of the world is nowhere near as fortunate. The Clean Clothes Campaign heavily relies on support from the public in order to execute its mission of improving the working conditions in the global garment industries. By logging onto their website, you can make a donation, sign their petitions and learn more about the cause. The campaign’s latest petition endeavours to increase the minimum wage of Cambodian garment workers from US $100 to $177, an essential step in the fight for a living wage.

Help fight the exploitation of garment workers by logging onto www.cleanclothes.orgAll images from Clean Clothes Campaign.

Australian Label Gorman, and the Mixing of Fashion and Sustainability in Exciting Ways

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Walking into a Gorman store has always, and will always, be a magical experience. With its eclectic prints, fresh colours, and clothing designs to make anyone’s heart swoon, there is a certain whimsical rush that comes with running one’s hands through the rich fibres used in every creation – from shoes and dresses, to jumpsuits and rain jackets and, more recently, a variety of home wares.

Starting in 1999 at local fashion boutique Fat52, Melbourne-girl Lisa Gorman launched her collection titled ‘Less Than 12 Degrees’, and in the following years, fashion label Gorman skyrocketed onto the Australian couture landscape.

Gorman Organic was then established in 2007, in response to a sudden rise in environmental awareness made possible by manufacturing innovations in fabric production. Gorman Organic stocks a wide range of sustainably-produced items without a decrease in quality or a change in the distinctive Gorman look. All garments in the Gorman Organic range are either certified organic- that is, the materials are organically farmed and produced without pesticides- or are sustainable -come from sustainable farming, non-chemical processing and closed loop production means. According to seasons, Gorman use a range of sustainable fibres such as organic cotton, recycled polyester, recycled cotton fibre and raw linen. Every month, Gorman stores collect any and all Gorman clothing that customers have chosen to drop back into stores due to wearing out, sort through the goods, and pass them onto charity Seconds to Give, where the clothing is given a new second-hand life. Gorman ensure longevity of their products and aim to create clothing and accessories that can survive wherever life may take you, for as long as possible. “When the design team sit down to create and technically develop a product, we are thinking of value. This, to us, means that if you happen to be very fond of it, you buy it, and you want to be sure that you’re going to wear it a lot. None of this one-season-and-it’s-over business.”

As well as their focus on using sustainable and ethically sourced materials, Gorman have extended their eco-awareness into all elements of their ethos. Gorman adopt a strict ethical Code of Conduct in relation to their production and manufacturing, and this involves no child labour, paid living wages, freedom of working hours, regular employment, and anti-discrimination practices. In their shops, all fit out materials are chosen from a sustainable and eco-friendly source. Recycled timber with non-toxic paint and oils are used, as well as locally sourced timber plinths and rinses. Shops also contain unbleached linen curtains, uncoated cobber and timber racking, and LED energy-efficient lighting. For every three customers that do not purchase their clothing with a Gorman bag, one tree is planted in a South American eco-reserve, through environmentally aware company Friends of the Earth. Furthermore, in 2010 Gorman reduced plastic packaging of bulk orders by 90% in just one year, involving the use of recycled boxes instead of plastic bags. Only 63% of their orders are sea-freighted- a vastly lower rate than most companies. Gorman work to combine deliveries together so that shipping and trucking are done less frequently.

Gorman have created the perfect contemporary collaboration of sustainable fashion and quality, unique design. It is no wonder they are slowly becoming one of the most-loved fashion brands within Australia and, more recently, across the globe. Their latest collection, Summer 2014, is a vibrant mix of sun and sea, and is bound to incite excitement for all things beached out and surfed up.   Check it out online!

Something Different: Etsy pop up market event in Leederville

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“Something Different” successfully brought Etsy to the offline world. This was an exciting event for adorable handcrafted goods lovers! The Leederville Arena hosted this three-days event featuring stalls from Etsy. As this offline Etsy festival supported local talented WA creatives, all products must be designed, crafted and manufactured in Western Australia.

Visiting this pop up event on the last day, the crowd was still eager to see the beautifully produced works of WA artisans and artists. Some of the stall-holders that manufactured handcrafted jewelleries included One Happy Leaf, Eden Dreams, and Slinky Lizard. Northbridge-based Ruck Rover General Store also participated in the event selling their new Christmas cards and other treats. Other WA’s gifted artisans who showcased their products also included Ilkay Dere from Art of Mud, who was selling handmade ceramic designs, Celia Bavcevich from Ce C’s Cakes offering their delicious brownie and cookie mix in a jar, and K Gets Organised showcasing her colorful stationery, planners, gifts, and cards!

This marketplace successfully connected brilliant artisans and artists with local art enthusiasts to experience their unique, high quality handcrafted goods. We definitely enjoyed a vibrant festive mood on a hot sunny day and are excited to see more upcoming WA talents showcased in our lovely city, Perth.

Little Bird Cafe and the Art of Healthy Food

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Located on Lake Street, The Little Bird Café adds a pop of colour, flavour and a cool buzz to Northbridge- a much needed addition to an otherwise café-lacking location. With its spacious sitting areas both inside and outside, eclectic décor, and a display counter filled with utterly enticing looking cakes, wraps and croissants- all freshly baked!- it is no wonder The Little Bird Café is fast becoming one of the most talked about cafes in Perth.

With a menu featuring dairy free, gluten free, vegetarian and vegan options, café-goers are given a plethora of delectable dishes to feast on, from Rosewater, Pistachio and Coconut Bircher Muesli to Pumpkin Fritters with Halloumi and Chilli Jam. What really makes The Little Bird Café stand out is their creative food presentation and the natural colours of fresh ingredients used to add a unique visual appeal to all of their dishes. They also serve many vegan and cruelty-free options, which is a big tick in our book! Their smoothies are a Perth-wide favourite, all made using organic ingredients and a selection of healthy additions such as dates, chia seeds, coconut yoghurt and organic raw protein powder.

Our go-to personal favourites are the Banana and Coconut Buckwheat Pancakes served with a delicious Cashew Cream and Maple Syrup, the Peanut Butter and Choc Organic Smoothie, and the Chai Latte with, hands down, the best foam in Perth!

Little Bird Café is located at 100 Lake Street, Northbridge. Find them on Facebook and give them a follow on Instagram @littlebirdcafe

The New Guard – Emma Dutton on Ethics and Sustainability in Fashion

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For Fashion and Textiles Merchandising student, Emma Dutton, fashion and eco-sustainability go hand-in-hand. Studying at the Kangan Institute Centre of Fashion in Richmond, Melbourne, she is focused on many facets of the fashion industry: from design formulation, to marketing, to learning about advances in technology within the industry.

After building upon her keen interest in fashion, Emma recognised the effects the fashion industry has on the environment, including but not limited to overproduction, over-consumption, exploitation of workers and the exhaustion of our natural resources due to the various production processes involved. “What most people don’t realise is how by spending money more carefully and by spending more money on one piece of clothing, you’re actually saving in the long run- not just money, but saving the planet and the wellbeing of factory workers. When you’re purchasing something, there’s so much more to what you’re buying than just a piece of clothing.” Emma also believes that buying items of clothing that last longer and learning how to repair garments are two significant actions people can take towards supporting eco-sustainability in the fashion industry.

California based clothing company, Patagonia, is one example of a clothing company taking a step in the right direction in terms of the recycle and re-use of clothing, whilst also improving the state of sustainable consumption and production. Patagonia donate 1% of their sales to environmental causes and invite customers to pledge to reduce what they buy, repair what they can, reuse and recycle. Another more locally-based company doing its part for both the environment and people in disadvantaged situations is ‘The Social Studio,’ a creative space in Melbourne that gives training and employment opportunities in fashion to young refugees. All of their clothing is ethically made using local, recycled material and is affordable, fun and fashionable.

As well as supporting ethical manufacturing and production, Emma recently adopted a vegan diet after being vegetarian for a number of years. In addition to the issue of ethical treatment of animals in the meat, egg and dairy industries, the livestock sector alone is responsible for 18% of Greenhouse gas emissions in the world- a figure that can be greatly reduced by simply cutting down on our consumption of meat. “If you are wanting to try and make changes but you’re finding it hard, find someone who will do it with you. My friend and I had both just moved to Melbourne from different states and we helped each other to find new vegan places to eat, we share recipes… just having someone there to support you can make it really fun and so much easier!”

Emma is still yet to decide what area of the fashion industry she wishes to specialise in and make a career out of, but she does know she is incredibly interested in the evolving technologies in fashion and how they can reduce the industry’s impact on our natural resources. She has gained ample experience through working at a number of fashion shows assisting stylists and sourcing garments and over her up and coming summer break she will take on an internship with a designer in Sydney where she will be helping stylists, taking garment measurements and doing various liaison duties.

“Winston Churchill once said ‘success is not final and failure is not fatal. It’s the courage to continue that counts’ and this resonates so much with me. If I did not live by this I don’t think I would be doing what I am doing right now, so far from home. But I know that it’s going to be worth it in the end and I hope that one day I can say I made a difference to the world.”

Check out the Social Studio at http://www.thesocialstudio.org/shop/