Category Archives: Interviews

An Interview with The Owner of Chew No Moo

Veganism is really taking over the busy streets of Perth and we couldn’t be happier. Recently, our team sat down with the lovely Charlotte, who is the owner of Chew No Moo.

Tell us about yourself:  My name is Charlotte and I am the owner of Chew No Moo. Before Chew No Moo was the main event, I worked in the mines as a cleaner and then at Swan taxis until April 2018. I started working on Chew No Moo in May of last year alongside work until April 2018, when I decided it was time to Make Chew No Moo my main focus!

 

How to did you come about with these great pizza recipes? I am actually self-taught! I have always loved making food, so I started making pizzas out of the love of it. Being a vegan, I found that the options were limited so I took my passion to the next step! After registering the business in 2017, Chew No Moo stocked it’s first pizzas in IGA Baldivis!

 

What are some of your menu items? We currently produce 5 pizzas, it used to be 12, but now we have cut it down to our 5 most popular ones. We also sell garlic bread and gluten free pizzas.

 

In your words, can you please describe the importance of veganism? People aren’t above animals in anyway, we live alongside them. The history doesn’t matter, what matters is the present, it is not fair to think we have some sort of right over other life! I have been vegan for 2.5 years now and vegetarian for 2 years before that.

 

Where can we find your pizzas?  We are stocked in 24 different stores including:

O’Connor Fresh- Kalgoorlie

Kinross IGA

Harvest Health

Candlewood IGA

Doubleview IGA

Brighton Road IGA

Herdsman Fresh

The Good Grocer Leederville

2nd Ave IGA

Fresh Provisions Mt Lawley

Taylor Road IGA

Jacks Wholefoods Claremont

Helena Valley IGA

Rossmoyne IGA

East Victoria Park IGA

Boat Shed Market Cottesloe

Farmer Jacks Subiaco

Rockingham IGA

Baldivis IGA

Farmer Jacks Halls Head

 

What does your average week look like, do you have any help? We sometimes produce up to 400 pizzas in a week, and sometimes up to 80 per day! My FIFO partner helps me on his weeks off by picking up stock for me and often making pizzas with me until the wee hours of the morning. He’s helped at my markets too and orders me packaging etc while he’s up at site.

 

What is next for Chew No Moo? We have just started delivering on UberEats! Also, we recently just sent samples to Adelaide and hopefully we will be stocked in Adelaide by the end of year. We are also looking to expand to Queensland in the future. Other things in the works include the possibility to produce other menu items.  Stay tuned!

Photography credits: Lepak Media 

Luxury Vegan Sneakers: An Interview with VFL’s Designer, Kelly

Tell us a bit about yourself and your brand: After being a vegetarian and then vegan for approximately five years, I struggled to find any local products that were fashionable.  That’s when I took matters into my own hands and thought – I could make my own!

When did you launch VFL? I started the company in early 2017 and we launched in October 2017.

What was the reason behind you creating VFL? During my vegetarian days I was completely unaware of animal cruelty and I hate to admit this now but I would only buy designer items of leather/silk/cashmere etc thinking that they were the best natural products you can buy. Let’s just say when I transitioned  to being a vegan I got a very rude awakening, especially in my closet. I felt so awful and ignorant and couldn’t believe how unaware I was. I kept the products for quite a while afterwards as they were all so expensive, but I did end up selling what I could for very cheap. I couldn’t bear to even keep them in my closet anymore and it’s a bit hypocritical for a vegan to carry an LV bag and wear Louboutin’s. So I let go of my ego and fell in love with real cruelty-free materials and products. I swapped all my expensive perfumes and cosmetics for home-made or cruelty-free brands and have even started to make my own shampoo now. When you become vegan it’s more than just a diet, it’s about taking a look at all aspects of your life and making changes to better the planet where you can. I originally created the brand as a high end fashion line to hold status, but were importantly – also comfortable.

What are some of the materials you are using for your shoes: The current line is made of high quality micro-fibre which mimics and breathes like real leather.

What’s next for VFL? ? As I personally evolve, the business is definitely evolving with me. The new line I am working on is bespoke handmade shoes in Australia that will be plastic free and hopefully we can experiment with pineapple leather (pinatex), linens and cotton canvases, corks, recycled tyres ​and native materials. I am really excited for the future and can’t wait to show you what I create.

 

How can we purchase your gorgeous shoes? You can purchase the shoes online through https://vflvegansforlife.com/ and we are working on getting a store in Bondi this year. I am happy to give Vashti readers a discount code for 20% off with the promotion code: vashti.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Ambassador for Change

If you’d asked a young Zuhal Kuvan-Mills- living on her family’s hazelnut farm in rural Turkey- where she envisioned herself being in 2018, would making waves as a rising fashion designer be her first guess?

“No, not at all!” laughs the talent behind local label Green Embassy. Casually dressed for our chat at the Vashti offices, the bubbly artist is proudly sporting a newly-thrifted red cardi- a far cry from her own ethereal, luxurious creations.

“I think I look a bit different to most designers, in my old jeans, old shirt and RSPCA (Op Shop) jacket!” She jokes.

With this patent down-to-earth attitude, Kuvan-Mills recounts the unconventional journey that led her into the world of fashion.

“I actually started as a veterinarian surgeon in Istanbul… then did further studies in conservation biology, then did a postgrad in education.

“I was purely academic, just teaching… this was until about 2004,” she recalls. “I decided it was time for a break.”

Unable to shake the pull of the crafts she had first learnt from her mother and grandmother, she decided to pursue her long-lost love of tailoring and textile making.

Cue the birth of Green Embassy.

“I was creative, had always done things like sewing,” the designer remembers. “Living in the Swan Valley with a few animals, I focused on textile arts for a few years.

“One day, I wanted to photograph my work, but instead of on the wall I displayed it on a woman’s body and someone thought it was couture! So the idea started there.” She laughs.

Green Embassy is Australia’s first internationally recognised organically certified fashion label, striving to uphold the rigorous Global Organic Textile Standards. Kuvan-Mills’ nature-inspired designs are driven by fair trade practices, zero-wastage production and organic, chemical-free textile creation. She even makes her own textiles where possible, with the help of 50 obliging alpacas.

“I process straight from the backs of my animals all the way to the runway,” she gestures. “I wash, I clean, I cart, I felt, I spin, I knit, everything!”

When asked why being environmentally-conscious in her designs was so important to her, she confesses. “I hated fashion. Absolutely hated fashion… I like the creative side of it, the art… [but] because of what’s going on with fast fashion- I was sick of it. After oil and gas it is the second biggest polluter.

“But I realised that if I am a teacher I can only teach 30, 40, 50 people (about conservation) in one go. If I am an artist, well, then I can exhibit- I wait for my exhibition time, only for just as many people see my work. And then I thought, what about fashion? Fashion can be the medium.”

Making it’s big runway debut in 2014, Green Embassy’s collections have made a big impact on the international stages of Paris, London and Beijing. Kuvan-Mill’s signature aesthetic of floating silks, structured organic cotton creations and felted motifs of roots and branches all come back to her initial vision.

“Art. Conservation. Sustainability.” That’s how Kuvan-Mills surmises Green Embassy.

The designer says she wants people to feel pride wearing her designs. “They are wearing an art piece, something to take pride in and keep for next generations of their family.

“Every piece I create is unique, I can never make the same one again because of the textiles. Each piece, even the same size can be different. It’s the total opposite of fast fashion.”

Kuvan-Mills’ 2016 collection, Silent Rainforest, was a dark horse highlight to the 2016 Vancouver Fashion Week. Featuring rich orchid-inspired tones, the designer says the collection was influenced by the desire to bring awareness to conservation efforts for Balinese rainforests.

“I used to teach about [rainforests] when I was in the UK. I was in Bali a few years back and noticed the amount of destruction that was going on there because of tourism, constant cutting and clearing,” she says. “I called it Silent Rainforest as a kind of tribute to [Rachel Carson’s seminal conservationist text] ‘Silent Spring’, but the way it’s going with the land clearing it really will be a silent rainforest.”

Since its success, she has debuted her 2017 Empty Oceans collection, featuring recycled plastics. “I found cut offs from the fishing industry, fishing nets in skips outside the factory. I just made this little simple top while I was having my coffee in the kitchen,” she laughs, “and then Pamela Anderson chose it to wear in a magazine interview!

“It was amazing to feel that kind of support coming from across the world.”

Her latest line is inspired by IUCN’s Red List of endangered animals. “I’m focusing on two species right now, the ones we are losing right in front of our noses: Carnaby’s Cockatoo… and another one in the tropics, the Cassowary,” she says. “I’ve been collecting feathers from parks and land and the rivers. I also work with merino wool and silk, which I try to find in op-shops.”

Kuvan-Mills is humble about Green Embassy’s success and is now focused on using her growing platform to further the eco-fashion movement in Australia.

“This little fibre, which all started with my alpacas, turned into this textile, which turned into Green Embassy, and Green Embassy was only a springboard, a catalyst.” She says.

“The label grew outside of Australia and gained success, and I focused on outside, but I was always waiting for a change back home.

“When I started, support for this was nothing…but now I’m starting to see a massive, supportive, and vocal community which is working without needing anyone.

“It’s here already, it just seems like people are waiting for something to happen.”

The designer hopes that her newest venture, Eco Fashion Week Australia, could be just that something.

“We started [the festival] last year and I was speechless. I ended up leaving many designs at home, as our schedule, our venues had all been organized for just a few things, and it suddenly got huge!” She gushes.

The festival is Australia’s first national-scale celebration exclusively for environmentally-positive fashion. This year’s event, hosted in Port Douglas and Fremantle, boasts 44 local and international eco-conscious designers, with nightly runway shows, clothes swaps and seminars.

“We have some big names coming in, but I’ll keep that as a surprise!” Teases Kuvan-Mills.

“Now it’s an international event, with good support outside of Australia, it’s finally giving opportunities for local young people, young designers…four, five years or so ago, when I started in Perth, I was told there was no such thing as what I wanted to do. Eco-fashion was just a hobby, it’s a bit of art, and that was the attitude.

“Now there’s a global movement that’s educating people to make the right decisions, especially now fashion can be more or less the same price as a cup of coffee.

“I think we are starting to connect more with what we are wearing. Showing love and value toward our clothing, you are kind of building a relationship. Being sustainable is just changing minds so people will start valuing locally produced, handmade and sustainable materials, so they start buying and supporting the local economy.”

Eco Fashion Week Australia is on from 15-21 November in Fremantle.

 

Written By: Kate Nightingale

Images: Green Embassy

Learn more about Green Embassy here.

Designer Feature: Geachi

 sally__DSC617234

Telstra Perth Fashion Festival’s WA Born was swarming with Western Australia’s most talented designers this September, showcasing their designs on a global stage. Jessica and Sally Geach were among them, showing off the latest from their label Geachi.

Birthed during the sisters’ studies in Fashion Design at Polytechnic-West TAFE, Geachi prides itself in bringing avant-garde pieces to your everyday wardrobe and specializes in evening wear. The label’s sleek yet fun garments compliment all body types, which is exactly what Geachi is about: exposing women’s “hidden sexiness, femininity, and confidence”. The sisters affirm us “everybody should feel glamorous, sexy and a million dollars when wearing Geachi”.

Head designer Sally gives us a glimpse into the inner workings of Geachi, from what prompted its launch to what inspires its designs.

“From a young age I was always creating things,” she says. “I began sewing when Jessica would come home from her fashion design course and while she sewed for class I would sew my own little creations. It all stemmed from there, it was something I was good and at really enjoyed!

“Once I learnt how to sew I think I started to take notice of fashion. Seeing Haute Couture collections blew my mind as I realized art and creativity could be transformed into amazing garments. Both Jessica and I have always loved styling and creating outfits, so once we realized we both had a passion for it we knew we would join forces one day.”

After studying fashion, Jessica continued her studies by completing a Commerce degree in Business Marketing and Public Relations. The team wants to combine their understanding of the creative and business sides of the fashion industry to conquer the world with their designs.

“We aim to be one of the top online fashion destinations for women’s fashion,” Sally says. “We have a year full of exciting events and photo shoots, each week something new and exciting happens for us so who knows where it will lead.”

As for what inspires their creations, Sally assures us it is “everything”. “We love looking at different cultures and traditions, seeing how different people create things and use art in there own way. We love colour and texture. [Also] travelling, seeing new fabrics and prints. Making an inspiration board of a theme we want to go with for the season that we can continually feed off and design from.”

While Candice Swanepoel and her embodiment of all things glamorous and feminine make her an ideal model for Geachi gowns, the designers say they want to appeal to every woman. “We aim to embrace all parts of being a woman and celebrating the female form. We want to bring glamour and femininity to our designs so any woman can feel absolutely amazing wearing our clothes; whether she is an everyday working girl or a well-known celebrity.”

The Perth-based duo say there is great support for local WA Designers. “Whenever we tell people what we do we get such a great response. There are lots of events and opportunities for local talent to get great exposure and positive push to do really well.

“An event like WA Born are great for meeting new people in the Perth Fashion scene and allows us to tell more people about what we do at Geachi.”

The Geach sisters hope to be involved in more events like WA Born in the future, so keep an eye out for more of their awesome designs!

Photography by DanBrady.co

HMUA by Amy Brady

Styled by Sally Geach

By Joanna Delalande 

WA Designer Runway 2: Megan Salmon

Bridget Dress
Bridget Dress

It was the bright, fabulous 80s styling in the pages of Mode magazine that first drew Megan Salmon to the world of fashion. The art career she had been pursuing till then does not go unnoticed in her collections, each piece a unique exploration of how colour, shape, and textiles can come together to compliment and celebrate female individuality and beauty.

Megan’s label started in 2000, and has since explored ideas surrounding our perception of beauty and the part clothing can come to play in that. “How [clothes] can transform one’s confidence and alter perceptions of beauty and identity.” She tries to develop clothing that delivers functionality, but also creates shapes that compliment all women.

Inspired mainly by art and textile, the designer calls to women appreciate art and culture with her collection. “Cate Blanchett would be perfect for my label,” Megan says. “She epitomizes the beauty of women who are talented and intelligent.” Her work links the worlds of art and fashion through the manipulation of vibrant and unique textiles, and the creation of sculpture-like forms.

This year Megan completed a fall winter 15 collection and a spring summer 15/16 collection. The twenty-page catalogue spreads feature an impressive range of fabrics and colour combinations, true to the designer’s form.

Of the latter assortment of designs Megan says her favourite is the Bridget dress, inspired by 1960s Brigitte Bardot. “I love old pictures of 60s starlets like Bardot where they look sweet and sexy all at once, yet with a girlish demeanor,” she explains. “This dress is timeless and contemporary all at once.”

As a Perth-based designer, Megan admits working in WA does have its challenges; not only is she isolated from the stylists of the major magazines, she finds herself having to freight her collections to the East Coast, which she explains is expensive and time consuming. For this reason, she encourages aspiring fashion designers to strive for representation in retail on the East Coast. “Get agents who know the retail over there and can sell you into much bigger markets than here in Perth,” she says. “More sales gives you much more control in every area.”

But Megan says working in the remote state of WA can also be advantageous. “We are unique here in that we carve out our own style without being held up to fashion trends. It’s great for creativity.”

Megan’s plans for the near future include continuing to broaden her label’s market, with the aim of addressing international sales. We are eager to see her inimitable designs travel the rest of the world!

By Joanna Delalande

WA Designer Runway 2: Jessica Bratich

angbackpack1

Jessica Bratich launched her handbag label in late 2011 and has since taken the runway at the New York Fashion Palette, Perth Fashion Festival, International Fashion Week and Townsville Festival. Her bags have been seen on television presenters Erin Molan and Lisa Fernandez, actress Courtney Eaton, and “The Face of Australia” winner Olivia Donaldson. Her designs were recently featured at the Telstra Perth Fashion Festival’s WA Designer Runway 2.

And X-Factor judge and former Spice Girl Mel B was reportedly spotted carrying two Jessica Bratich clutches during her time in Perth. Not that the designer is willing to stop here. “I would like to see my designs on someone like Blake Lively,” she says.

Jessica was not always interested in being part of the fashion industry. “I probably started later than most,” she confesses as she talks about her communications and marketing studies at university and her simultaneous interest in competitive karate. She had been working part time in retail for several years when her interest began to grow, and when she retired from karate she decided to pursue a career in fashion.

Jessica’s collection ranges beyond bags and clutches, to headscarves, hats and caps, and jewelry. She aims for diversity in her designs to create products to suit varying occasions, “from day to day to red carpet events”. Her products are built for practicality and functionality as well as serving an aesthetic purpose. Her favourite from her collection: the Angeline Backpack, a small, snakeskin backpack available in black and cream, which she describes as “young and fun and right on trend now”.

The Perth-based designer says her inspiration can come from “anything and everything, but mostly from people and the comments they make about what they want in a bag”. Her awareness and understanding of what goes on in the fashion world shows in her collection, which is on par with all the latest trends and movements.

While she has found getting national exposure and breaking through to the East Coast difficult, she finds the relationship she has with other Perth designers invaluable to her creative process. She also appreciates the “local support I receive from people here who want me to succeed”.

Perth’s isolation from the rest of the fashion world in no way seemed to stop Jessica from making a name for herself, however, and the dream does not stop here. In the future, she aims to expand to the East Coast and even Overseas, while continuing to introduce new ranges of products. She might see more celebrities wearing her clutches yet, perhaps even Blake Lively.

By Joanna Delalande