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Fight Back and Join The Fashion Revolution

Have you ever wondered who was behind that gorgeous cocktail dress collecting dust in your wardrobe, or the comfy sweaters piled up in your cupboard? How about that pair of shoes you just can’t live without? Most people don’t. We buy, we throw away, then we buy again, never considering who’s actually making these clothes for us, and what their lives are like. How long have they been slaving away creating clothing they will never be able to wear themselves? Are they only being paid pennies for their work, or worse – nothing at all?

Image: Trusted Clothes 

During Fashion Revolution Week (April 23 through 29 this year), we are reminded of just how important what we choose to put on our bodies are. Our choices aren’t only affecting our personal image, but the lives of individuals with their own families, friends and dreams. It may have been five years ago, but the Rana Plaza collapse is still very relevant today. On the 24th of April 2013, a garment-factory in Bangladesh collapsed, killing 1 138 people and injuring more than 2 500 others. The devastating collapse is the deadliest sweatshop accident in history, and many are left wondering why these things still happen today in our ‘modern’ world.

Image: Muniz Uz Zaman / AFP / Getty Images

The fear of this occurring again was the motivation behind the Fashion Revolution, a global movement with the goal of uniting everyone in a fight for an ethical and sustainable future for fashion, and those influenced by it. Although the fashion industry is an amazing outlet for creativity, its practices are far from humane, and this year long movement brings to light the problems still prevalent within the industry. Rather than hitting hard with facts and making consumers and producers feel guilt, the Fashion Revolution instead drive people to realise that they can create change. #whomademyclothes was the campaign of April, encouraging brands to change the way their clothing is sourced and produced. Most well-known brands still source from sweatshops and profit from cheap labour, but the Fashion Revolution is pushing for a change towards clothing that is made in a safe, clean and fair way. During Fashion Revolution Week, brands were asked to step up and claim #imadeyourclothes, for the first time openly stating where their clothes are produced.

Image: Atelier Tammam 

But how can we contribute to change? It’s easy to become overwhelmed with the facts and feel helpless in an issue affecting so many. However, we as consumers wield more power than we are aware of. Just being conscious of the things we choose to buy, whether they are produced through exploitation or ethical means, could save a life. Even though we may feel small, when we demand the brands we love to take action, they will listen. Nowadays with the use of social media, a tweet or Instagram post holds equal power, if not more, than an email or letter. It’s such a simple, yet effective way to connect with where we shop from, and with enough traction, our voices will be heard.

So, what are you waiting for? Join the Fashion Revolution now, and create a better future for fashion, and for the world.

 

Written by: Tiffany Ko

Find out more about Fashion Revolution here.

The Year of the Mushroom

Although not an official Chinese Zodiac symbol, it certainly seemed that 2017 was the year of the mushroom. Dominating the health and wellness industry, we saw trends from superfood mushroom coffee to psychoactive mushroom therapy. Now, thanks to companies like Mycoworks, not only can mushrooms be used as one of our fastest growing plant proteins, but can actually be farmed and harvested for sustainable, bio- degradable textiles. Could these little fun-guys be the key to the next boom in sustainable fashion?

Image Credit: Pinterest

The bio-materials company, Mycoworks, was founded in 2013 by three founding members: Phillip Ross, Sophia Wang and Eddie Pavlu. The San Fransisco based start-up have come a long way from experimenting with building materials made from mycelium. Finding the building market difficult to crack; through the destruction of mycelium brick dreams, mushroom leather was born.

Image Credit: Pinterest

Harnessing the power of one of the most abundant resources on Earth, Mycoworks have developed a technology that allows them to cultivate a leather-like textile from a type of fungi called Ganoderma Lucidum (Reishi mushroom). It acts like an animal hide because it too, is organic. It is tough and durable, water resistant, breathable and out-performs synthetic leather, lamb and sheep skin. It is naturally anti-biotic, so this wondrous material is actually beneficial for our skin.

Image Credit: Pinterest

The mushrooms are cultivated using recycled agricultural waste such as saw dust and corn cobs. Within just two months, a full cow hide-sized mushroom hide is grown. The best part? not only is mushroom leather organic, fast-growing, processed without toxic chemicals, carbon neutral and utilising waste from the agricultural industry, Mycoworks have pledged to lower the cost of the product to $5 per square metre by 2020. This will allow them to compete with all other leather on the market. Thanks to the commercial production of edible mushrooms, the same process can be used to grow mushroom leather. It is low-tech compared to the production of animal leather and not a single animal is slaughtered in the process.

According to a 2016 Mycoworks presentation, livestock alone consumes 50% of the USA’s water supply and around 10,000 pounds of feed. It is responsible for producing 18% of green house gases annually and covers around 30% of the Earth’s surface. A single cow hide takes approximately 3 years to reach its full size. 70% of this is then discarded with the remaining 30% being sent to tanneries overseas, commonly in third-world countries.

Bangladesh and India are among those exploited for their cheap labour. Tanneries use toxic chemicals in the process; the run-off waste often being found in the streets, leaching into local water supplies, thus debunking the myth of any ‘ethical’ leather process.

Not only can this vegan material be produced ethically and sustainably; different textures, finishes and thicknesses can be engineered into the hide itself. Not in our wildest dreams could we have imagined doing this with animal hides!

Image Credit: Google

Although originally popular among alternative indie labels, we can expect to see more of this abundant textile on the runway in the coming years. As the eco-fashion movement continues to spread like wildfire, we are seeing an increasingly large number of iconic fashion houses going fur-free, with the likes of Gucci and Prada to name a few. Having some of the loudest and most powerful voices for change, designers are finally starting to accept their social responsibilities.

While activists continue their mission to educate the masses, the demand for a more ethical and cruelty free product soars. Fur is now seen by the majority as an insulting symbol of gluttony in the world of fashion. Next up: leather.

Image Credit: Google

A wise man once said, “be the change you want to see in the world.” Right on, Ghandi. Systems cannot exist without belief; they are intangible constructs, influenced by the mainstream. One can find great liberation in the fact that we, the people, have more control over what the fashion industries produce – more than we realise.

Image Credit: Google

So how can we find more designers utilising mushroom leather? Ask, and you shall receive; when the demand for mushroom leather snowballs, as will the supply. Just as we are encouraged to write to our local politicians regarding our concerns, we should be doing the same with our designers. Write to brands and designers expressing your disenchantment with animal products, stop buying fur, leather or any other unsustainable textile. Start the trend and spread the word! Support brands that are already harnessing this cutting edge technology.

Sweatshops: The Changes Being Made

Sweatshops are a concept well known to the world of fast-fashion; clothes that are affordable, and the wages of those who made them, even more so. The reality of bargain prices trace back to countries such as Bangladesh and Cambodia, where manual workers are employed at minimum wage inside a factory or workshop for long hours and under poor conditions.

After the collapse of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh, a building which housed clothing factories among other shops, the transparency of fashion companies’ supply chains are being called into question as change is slowly taking shape around the operation of sweatshops. A pop-up sweatshop by the Clean Clothing Campaign in Amsterdam challenged consumers to sit behind a sewing machine and make as many garments as they possibly could in an hour, encouraging onlookers to question their fashion retailers about their manufacturing conditions.

Photo: Anko Stoffels

Closer to home, the Australian government is making moves toward a Modern Slavery Act, an act that Britain introduced in 2015. Such an act would might force companies to prove that they are not exploiting foreign workers. Companies with an annual turnover of $50 million would be reporting on their suppliers’ use of overseas labour. The result of the act is not to dole out fines, but to keep transparency between companies, consumers and shareholders.

 

Perhaps the example needed in this industry to help curb this problem is Nike. The early 1990s saw the brand exposed and shamed relentlessly for its employment of workers in Indonesia and Vietnam for less than minimum wage. The company was protested and criticized until 1998 when then-CEO Phil Knight announced a raise of the minimum age of its workers and increased monitoring in all factories producing Nike’s goods. In the year following, Nike began creating the Fair Labour Association to enforce codes of conduct including a set 60-hour work week and a minimum age to be employed. The company became the first to publish a complete list of all factories they dealt with in 2005 and continues to take corporate social responsibility in auditing data and upholding their commitments to its workers and consumers.

Photo: Getty

Consumers have a right to know how their goods are being made. Shopping ethically is made easier with Ethical Clothing Accreditation. Ethical Clothing Australia is a program designed to verify that all workers are receiving their legal entitlements. Upon accreditation, retailers appeal to a growing market of consumers and ensure transparency between themselves and consumers.

The change that must occur to better conditions in sweatshops and eradicate slave labour must first come from the consumer. Think about how your money is being spent and whose pocket it’s going into. Brands and retailers must be responsible for their actions. So must we.

 

Written by: Celina Foong

Feature Image: Kay Nietfeld / Picture-alliance

Coffee + Sugar NO CREAM.

Vegan Bath Treats! 

When I began working for Vashti I knew there would be perks but Luxe Bath & Body stole my heart when they mailed me some of their most popular scrubs to test. After about 5 days of obsessively checking my mailbox I reached in and pulled forth my prize- a delicate flat, black package that made me double check to see if it was clothing. On my elevator ride home I ripped open the dark wrapping and pulled forth two flat envelopes.Image Credit: Luxe Bath & Body Instagram

I’ll begin with the sugar scrub. It’s 2018 so if you haven’t used a sugar scrub yet then you haven’t been living- seriously go find one! Luxe Bath & Body has made their scrub out of raw, natural sugar and the smell brings back childhood memories of my mom baking chocolate-chip cookies. I suppose, biscuits for everyone else- the scrub smells like chocolate-chip… biscuits?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image Credit: BBC

As seemed appropriate I waited until my morning shower to sample the coffee scrub. I admit there was something that felt so very right about finishing my morning cup-of-joe and proceeding to the shower to douse myself in coffee grounds. If you’ve ever had a morning of blankly staring into the dark abyss that is your coffee mug and mentally listing everything you have to do for your day, week, life- STOP and go treat yourself to an organic coffee scrub. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image Credit: Repaved

Both of these scrubs were lovely to use, if you prefer a smooth hydrated feeling I would suggest the raw sugar scrub. It has organic coconut oil, olive oil, vanilla, and vitamin E and leaves your skin feeling very hydrated with zero  residue. The organic coffee scrub was equally scrubtastic if not more so- it’s perfect if you want exfoliation, antioxidants, anti- inflammatory benefits as well as an extra boost waking up! Image Credit: Luxe Bath & Body Etsy

Written by: Abby Caroline Teeter

The Evolution of Indian Fashion

The Designers at the Forefront of Indian Fashion

The elixir of fashion is an interesting concoction of different ideas, philosophies and endless research that results in a breathtaking creation by a designer. Every designer has got a different story to put forth through their designs and bring a difference in the world of fashion. The B behind the Bollywood Boom Fashion industry of India are designers, Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Anamika Khanna, Hemant and Nandita’s.

Sabyasachi Mukherjee crafted an unparalleled world of grandeur in the Indian fashion industry with his perpetual creativity and an exceptional aesthetic sense. Eponymously named, the label ‘Sabyasachi’ is a pure reflection of the richness of Indian heritage, grandness, culture and crafts. His collections have also displayed glimpses of his admiration for Frida Kahlo, antique textiles, gypsy fantasies and Bohemian flair. Redefining fashion with his flamboyant designs and meticulously crafted embroidery, while revitalising the forgotten weaves with a modernistic approach. His couture shows are an affair of extravagance and innovation. Sabyasachi is every celebrity and every bride’s favourite one-stop destination for creations ranging from the ethereal iconic pieces to simple black outfits.

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Sabyasachi Mukherjee luxury bridal collection 2016 Image Credit: Pintrest
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The iconic Frida Image credit: Pintrest

Designer Anamika Khanna sets the mood of the Egyptian aura with her collections. The reiteration of dhoti pants has besotted every ‘it girl’ to have it as their wardrobe staple. The designer’s famous black and white rendition manifests in a beautiful chiaroscuro effect and her take on long fluid like capes, unique sari draping techniques, slouched outfits have made a phenomenal mark on the fashion scene. Khanna’s designs have a classic and edgy appeal. The subtlety of the embroidery and her love for monochromes and pastels reflects an essence of pure romance.

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Anamika Khanna Brings the blue to FW 2016 Image credit: Pintrest
Sonam Kapoor at the Cannes Film Festival wearing Anamika Khanna's couture
Sonam Kapoor at the Cannes Film Festival wearing Anamika Khanna’s couture Image credit: Amazon India

Designer duo Hemant and Nandita have brought a significant dimension to fun, free spirited and relaxed clothing. Their colour play sensibilities are marked by an essence of whimsical, charming and quirky impressions, which make their designs stand out from others. The depiction of their design philosophy in terms of Bohemian, folk and retro genre exudes their interest in rural and mod culture of fashion. The duo’s vivacious creations ranging from maxis to minis are pretty much every young girl’s desire to have hanging in their wardrobe.

 Amazon India Fashion Week AW 15, SS16
Hemant & Nandita’s collections at Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week SS15 Image credit: Amazon India

Written by Sameena Baig

Le Vietnam: Banh Mi is not Just About the Meat

Image from Zomato
Image from Zomato

With the rise in popularity of vegan and vegetarian lifestyles in today’s society, the demands for restaurants and cafes to accommodate for these diets have skyrocketed. In Perth City, there seems to be little or a complete lack of vegan and vegetarian options in popular cafes. However Lee, the owner and creator of the café Le Vietnam, knows the importance of providing a vegan and vegetarian option for his customers.

Le Vietnam is a recently established contemporary café that is positioned on the side of Barrack St, and now also on William St, in the heart of Perth City. This eclectic French and Vietnamese inspired café, is host to a dynamic and stimulating range of menu options, from small snacks, to main meals, salads, and various styles of coffee, with the main feature being the delectable Banh Mi.

Le Vietnam’s signature dish is a French inspired Vietnamese baguette characterised by overflowing vibrant ingredients, the Banh Mi specific pâté and mayo, and an ingenious title that is almost as punchy as the meal. Lee’s mouth-watering recipe, cultivated from his travels to Paris to work with French Master Chefs, includes original, vegan and vegetarian friendly options.

“We always cater to vegetarians and vegans, and people who don’t eat pork and meat, so we have a whole wide variety of different fillings… we cater to every tongue possible,” Lee says.

The availability of the vegetarian Banh Mi and the ability to design your own salads, lends to the strong support from the vegan and vegetarian community in Perth City.

From the customer service, to café design, to the quality of food and pricing, Le Vietnam is a cultural hub for French and Vietnamese inspired street food that has earned its reputation as being a food hot spot in WA. By accommodating for vegan and vegetarian dietary lifestyles, Lee has gained a following from the community, which continues to grow with his flourishing business.

By Rachelle Erzay