Category Archives: Featured

Ellavanna Couture by Daniella Gitto

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In preparation for our Foxfeet Summer Runway, we’ll be doing a short piece on each of our featured designers! Buy tickets at http://bit.ly/1ESYgPY 

Designer: Daniella Giovanna Gitto

Brand: Ellavanna

Age: 20

At just 20, Daniella Gitto’s brand Ellavanna belies a mature soul. Classical, romantic touches are drawn from history and her memories:

“Looking at one item and being able to remember something that may not necessarily be connected to it. I could be looking at a mirror which has an ornate gold frame around it, for me it reminds me of the ornate patterns you would see sewn into the rich materials the monarch and nobility would wear in the 15th and 16th century. Just this alone is enough of a concept for me to create a whole collection around.”

Throughout her graduate collection (left), tradition merges with modernity – a high neck is paired with a short dress, a long skirt flares out dramatically one side but is cut out on the other. Complex black-on-gold brocade melts into a sleek black, sexy with a swath of delicacy: look, don’t touch.

Ellavanna is a portmanteau of her first and second name, as Gitto thought using her whole name would be far too long.  Her clothes are designed to empower in the truest sense of the word – by giving the wearer a sense of importance and gravitas through the quality, artistry and timeless statement of Ellavanna. It’s no surprise then that Daniella’s style icon is Audrey Hepburn, the epitome of the quiet and powerful feminine polarity, who was in complete comfort with a standout style.

For Ellvanna, each piece is meticulously handcrafted and tailored to the individual, which, in addition to the historical (and often fantastical) elements, harks back to the dressmakers of the early and mid-1900s. With this combination of detail, care and design, Daniella Gitto and Ellavanna are a welcome addition to the Foxfeet Summer Runway.

Follow the lovely Daniella:
Instagram: @ellavanna

Be Naturally You – Samantha Sargent

We talked to the visionary behind Benaturallyou, Samantha Sargent. Benaturallyou promotes a range of delicious, eco-friendly and vegan products, as well as Sam’s own line, Be Genki! She’s a master of holistic living and a true entrepreneur.

Q: How did your passion for beauty and health develop?

A: I’ve always been interested in health and beauty, and am very grateful for my parents. My mum taught me about healthy eating from a young age, and later on encouraged me to get into yoga practice. Whereas my dad encouraged me to enjoy sports, to be outdoors in the sunshine and fresh air, and to jump head first in to life. When I left school I enrolled in Makeup Artistry College, and it grew from there. I then went on to study Holistic Nutrition, Physical Education (Fitness) and Aromatherapy, as well as jumping at every opportunity to experience disciplines such as Vipassana meditation, Access Consciousness, Aura-Soma Colour Care and numerous other practices. I was and still am hungry for constant self-development and educating myself moreso. I love deep diving in to life and living. And whilst I love learning about a variety of industries and topics, it just so happens that health and beauty are that which I am mostly drawn to. I guess it’s because I am ultimately learning for my own benefit and improvement, and then love implementing it in to my business. This week I am finally heading up north to become a Certified Facilitator of Access Consciousness, after using the tools and techniques in my private life for the past 7 years. It’s been an ever-growing and ever-evolving love for health and beauty.

Q: And this culminated in Benaturallyou?

A: Yes, absolutely. BeNaturallyou.com has two sides to it. One is the online shop that contains a collection of brands that tick all the natural, organic, eco, vegan, ethical boxes, while also being far superior in terms of their performance and quality. We go beyond what is considered and accepted as natural and organic. The other side to the website is the information and inspiration aspect. I have been extremely fortunate not only to have the ability to be in a constant state of learning and growing but also to travel the world many times over and learn from industry experts, so I love sharing what I have learnt, whether that be via making available the best-of-the-best products that we sell, or via the health and beauty tips, vegan recipes, nutrition notes and interviews with people who inspire the socks off me.

Q: What’s your morning routine?

A: Roll over and snuggle with my adorable husband. He then makes me a drink with cold drip organic coffee and fresh homemade hemp milk (I know… I’m so spoilt, aren’t I!!). We then go for a walk and swim at the beach together. Head home and do a 10 – 20 minute blast on the VersaClimber. A cardio machine that is like climbing a vertical wall. Intense to say the least! Shower. Make breakfast. Have a quick visit to the veggie and herb patch in the garden to say hello to the plants (and check to see that the bandicoot hasn’t dug any holes), and feed the garden worms our scraps from brekky. Then it’s back to the house to get started with work.

Q: With such a busy schedule, how do you stay motivated?

A: It’s as simple as I absolutely love what I do. Wholeheartedly. Not a day has gone by where I don’t count my lucky stars for being able to do what I love, with the most beautiful supportive family and staff I could ever wish for.

Q: What are your favourite beauty ingredients?

A: I love 100% pure plant oils. Nature is perfect as it is. I don’t believe there is any need to mess with it.

Q: If you could only use one beauty product for the rest of your life, what would it be?

A: That’s way too difficult to choose. But… if I had to choose just one, it would have to be our Be Genki Body Oils. I have a bit of a “thing” for skin, and love the feel of soft smooth skin, and the Be genki Body Oils are the key to delivering this. People always comment on how soft and smooth my skin looks and feels, and it’s all because of these Body Oils. With 100% organic ingredients of sunflower, hemp, avocado, rosehip and a blend of organic essential oils, it’s like applying the most luxurious face oil to your body. My point-of-view is that skin care doesn’t finish at the neck. The entire body deserves to be nurtured.

Q: Who’s the greatest influence on you in your life?

A: As I mentioned before I have been extremely fortunate to travel the world, and have numerous people who have been kind and gracious to share their wisdom with me, those who I am eternally grateful for, and who I adore. But the single common thread with all these people is that they encourage me to trust, honour and respect what is true for me, so that it is me who influences everything within my life. I believe that we all have choice irrespective of how it may seem at the time, and that we are all responsible for everything that we create in our life. Nothing happens to us. We create everything – the good, the bad, and the ugly. This is fundamental to setting ourselves free, and to understanding that no-one can affect you or influence you, but you.

Q: Could you tell us about the Vipassana 10-day meditation retreat you went on?

A: That’s a long story. The short version is that the 10-day retreats are amazing, and that it was one of the best things that I did, so much so that I went back again and again. Today’s life is filled so much with busy-ness, that very rarely do we take the time to stop and “be”. To be present. To be mindful. To practice equanimity. To take the time to spend hours just observing and being with nature. To disconnect from the online digital world. To disconnect from our thoughts. To disconnect from everything but the action of breathing in, and breathing out. This is what Vipassana offers, and so much more.

Q: Finally, favourite smoothie?

A: Homemade hemp milk + Peruvian maca + raw cacao + Udo’s 3.6.9 Oil Blend + mucuna + passionflower + chaga + reishi + moringa + gubinge + berries (all organic or wildcrafted).

Check out Sam’s online store, inspirations and Be Genki at http://benaturallyou.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.

Asuar – “As You Are” by Lauren Atkinson

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Asuar is a Perth-based fashion label created by the talented Lauren Atkinson. The designer uses hand crafted patterns and exquisite materials to bring unique creative designs, inspired from art, architecture, and travel. Her travel to Vietnam has birth the latest Spring/Summer 14/15 collection. Read our interview below to know more about Asuar and the designer behind it.

What inspired you to create Asuar in the first place?

I have been interested in art and textiles for as long as I remember and my mind is always going crazy with new ideas that can be translated into printed cloth or garments. I completed a BA in Contemporary Arts with a double major in Visual Art and Contemporary fashion and then I went onto work as a freelance textiles designer and for a textiles wholesaler, which developed my knowledge about the fashion industry, and gradually the business developed quite organically.

What differentiates Asuar from other fashion labels?

Asuar is a boutique label that prides itself on creating unique, quality pieces for the relaxed Australian lifestyle. All processes are completed in house, from the artworks for print, to the final sampling. This allows us to constantly respond to the creative process, which, I feel generates more of a sense of authenticity.

Can you tell us a bit of the process of creating your designs?

The creative process varies, however it is a culmination of capturing natural beauty through selecting exquisite materials, manipulating fabric and introducing interesting images derived from travel, culture and experiences. The recent Spring Summer collection was influenced by my travels throughout Vietnam and the visual relationships I built with the local street and village cultures.

What 3 words describe Asuar?

I guess carefree, textural and comfortable springs to mind.

Who do you see wearing your designs?

I see both younger and older women who are really cool and down to earth! The pieces can be worn either individually or electively. I think it is really exciting to see the outcome of when people mix pieces from different sources, old, new and reinvented.

What challenges have you faced as an emerging designer?

It has all been a huge learning curve really from sourcing, sampling, marketing, sales, PR and production. There is a lot to manage but it has been a great experience. I guess the biggest challenge is ensuring that the sales and delivery dates align with other prominent Australian designers, which is just a matter of being really prepared and ordering supplies in advance, as unexpected delays are quite common.

Can you share with us your experience in showcasing your designs in Telstra Perth Fashion Festival 2014? How did you feel about it?

Yes, Asuar showed in the WA Designer category and it was a really nice experience where we had a great support from the community. It is such an awesome event for both emerging and established designers and I feel so privileged to be able to be part of it.

What have been the highlights of the journey in creating Asuar?

Nothing tops the feeling after shooting a campaign. So much goes into the sampling and organizing the components of a shoot but the highlight, for me is collaborating with other creative individuals that understand your vision and then producing images to reflect the story and the brand.

Can you describe your daily style?

I guess my style is quite relaxed and eclectic. I don’t live by rules where you must match this with that. I tend to mix interesting statement pieces with basics and vintage items. I am very drawn to fabrics with a beautiful hand feel or colour and I definitely buy quality over quantity these days.