All posts by Sanam Goodman

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!

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/

Revolutionary Resin at Pip and the Sea

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After hand-crafting a bracelet for her Mother containing photographs of her Grandchildren embedded in resin, Nicola Taylor struck a keen interest in creating eco-resin jewellery. What started as a small production of custom-made jewellery for her friends and family has now expanded onto popular online store Etsy where Nicola runs the store Pip and the Sea and sells a wide range of almost 120 different designs of earrings, rings, bangles, necklaces, pendants, and custom photo-embedded bracelets. Nicola has found Etsy to be a useful and informative setting to sell her craft in, as she is offered a great deal of educational tools that are designed for sellers who have limited marketing and sales knowledge, as well as the encouragement she receives from people that shop and browse on Etsy who value original and lovingly handmade items. Nicola has also created an Instagram account where she has an avid community of loyal and supportive followers from across the globe, and occasionally attends local markets where her work is put on display and sold to the community.

Nicola has always loved crafting and jewellery making and she worked with silver-smithing before she moved onto using resin. “Resin is my favourite medium as it is so versatile. It’s corny to say, but I feel as though I am only limited by my imagination when I am creating new designs with it.” She has found that designing and making jewellery is a hands-on experience giving her an outlet to be creative and express her own personal taste, as well as giving her the opportunity to develop her own techniques.

When Nicola first began working with resin, she felt uneasy about using materials made with non-renewable fossil fuels. After embarking on some research, she found a plant based resin made using the by-products of paper pulp and bio-fuel developed by Californian surfers wanting to build their surfboards from environmentally-sustainable materials. After doing a number of trials and experiments with the eco-resin, she found it was incredibly high quality and maintained its vibrant colours over time. Moreover, Nicola is always trying to find ways she can reduce, reuse and recycle in her workshop, and many of her earrings and rings are made with leftover waste resin from her past orders. “I am always thinking of other ways that I can improve my products, my customer service, and how I can reduce my footprint on the planet.”

For anyone wanting to get into eco-friendly jewellery, Nicola suggests spending an ample amount of time researching materials, trialling creations, and finding out what is appropriate for what you want to create. Using eco-friendly materials has the capability to make your product stand out from the rest, and can be used as a great selling point as it is something to be proud of!

“I think it’s important to spend time paying attention to the natural world and understanding how we depend upon it, how vulnerable it can be, and how we can best protect it.” says Nicola, and it is no surprise that she has such a passion for using eco-friendly materials in her unique range of jewellery, as she greatly enjoys getting in touch with nature: her family regularly embarks on weekend bushwalks, and keeps both a hive of bees and a worm farm to help with the pollination and growth of the herbs and vegetables in their back garden.

In the future, Nicola is hoping to develop new products and strive to create affordable pieces for everyday wear that are made with environmentally responsible materials. “I feel that creating eco-resin jewellery is an ever-evolving process and I feel excited to think about what discoveries or techniques I will be making or using in the future that I have yet to discover.”

Check out Nicola’s Etsy store at https://www.etsy.com/au/shop/PipandtheSea and give her a follow on Instagram @pipandthesea

 

Student fashion ambassador focused on raising animal welfare awareness, one paw at a time

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For 18 year old Communications and Law student Joshua Sanchez-Lawson, fashion means more than what it does for most people.

Being an active club secretary of the UWA People for Animal Welfare (UWA PAW) and a student ambassador for the much loved online store ASOS, he has an avid passion for fashion with a conscience, and is responsible for running a wide range of information sessions and events such as vegan BBQ’s, education seminars, and fundraising parties. Recently, he hosted the UWA PAW De-Stress event where local organisations and shelters were invited onto the UWA campus, allowing students to interact with rescue animals and find out about volunteering, fostering and donating. Furthermore, being a student ambassador for ASOS gives him insight into the Green Room Initiative adopted by ASOS- they aim to provide workers who grow and make consumer goods better working conditions and wages, and also stock a wide range of eco-conscious items.

‘Fashion is its best when it can inspire and excite us without unnecessary harm to people, animals, or the environment,’ says Josh, and through his collaborative involvement with UWA PAW and ASOS, he is focused on raising awareness for animal welfare across the UWA campus.

Josh views fashion as an ultimate form of self-expression, and believes getting involved in various university clubs is an incredibly rewarding and enjoyable experience for all people, offering many opportunities. ‘If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you. Take risks with fashion and express yourself. Respect diversity, and don’t be afraid to get involved with something you believe in!’

Josh hopes to eventually work in fashion media or creative direction, and his involvement with ASOS is most definitely paving the way.

Check out the UWA PAW Facebook page and give Josh a follow on Instagram @dirtysanchezlawson!

Living an ethically conscious life with Lisa Karaki

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For some, juggling full time university, a casual job, a modelling program and a health food blog is an arduous, time consuming and essentially impossible task. However, for 18 year old Lisa Karaki this is a mix of her much loved interests and passions in life, and she commits herself day in, day out to making the most out of the opportunities she is given- whether it be spending time at university, participating in modelling shows or posting about new recipes and healthy tips on her much loved Instagram and health blog. As well as studying early childhood education at university, she has committed herself as a primary school mentor and, more recently, became signed to a development program by Chadwick Models, one of Australia’s leading modelling agencies. She says she is focused on achieving a healthy balance in everything she does and thoroughly enjoys cooking and discovering new recipes, whilst also spending time exploring new places and keeping active on her regular bike rides.

After following a number of health blogs on Instagram she was inspired to start her own, and with a following of almost 50,000 people, it is no doubt that it has been an incredibly rewarding process for her. ‘I now have a much healthier perspective on ‘weight loss’ and ‘diets’ and have found something I am truly passionate about,’ she says, and it is clear when scrolling through the hundreds of vibrant pictures of the wide range of delicious, healthy and wholesome foods she creates (all vegan and cruelty free!) that she is well-informed about what it takes to maintain a healthy lifestyle in an enjoyable and feel-good way.

This keen interest in the nutritional and ethical values of food led her to making cruelty-free choices in as many parts of her life as possible: clothing, cosmetics and personal care to name a few. ‘I think the best advice would be to start small. Making every choice you can towards a more ethical world is more than enough, because really, every choice does count. Even just opting for the vegetarian meal when you go out for dinner is making a difference. Making the transition to a completely cruelty-free lifestyle takes time and effort, so it’s important to not be too harsh on yourself,’ says Lisa.

Over the recent years, there have been a growing number of nutritious and ethically conscious health food stores and cafes opening across Perth, some being Manna Wholefoods and The Raw Kitchen, specialising in providing wholesome meals and focusing on environmental sustainability. Lisa’s favourite Australian company, Pana Chocolate, hand make their cruelty free chocolate in Melbourne and use only organic, sustainably sourced ingredients. All of their packaging is 100% recyclable and waste free.

Lisa has also been kind enough to give one of her favourite breakfast recipes to us, a tasty Acai Bowl for a nourishing and energy packed start to the morning.

Acai Bowl Recipe (Serves 1)

Ingredients

  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 2 scoops acai powder
  • 1/2 cup coconut water
  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries or frozen blueberries
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds soaked in 4 tbsp water overnight (optional)

Blend all the ingredients in a high-powered blender until it reaches a soft serve consistency. Top with whatever you feel like (my favourites are banana, homemade granola, fresh berries, coconut and mango!)

 

Lisa runs the Instagram account @healthforhappy and blog www.healthforhappy.weebly.com