Archive for September, 2011

Dalaleo: The stylish connections of recycling

It was destiny that made Luisa Leonardi Scomazzoni start her company Dalaleo. She was on holiday in Salvador de Bahia in Brazil, she bought a bag because she liked it, discovered the story behind it and gave a twist to her life.

Throughout the streets of this beautiful country – Luisa tells – I continuously saw men with big sacks collecting used cans rummaging through the rubbish. I found out they were collecting the cans for aluminium recycling as a form of income for the poorest families. Because of the creation of these products the pullrings are now taken off and sold separately to the workers of the product you are looking at now. They start the procedure by selecting, hammering, washing, polishing and drying the pullrings then their skilful hands start to work with crochet needle and thread. All this happens in the poorest areas of Salvador de Bahia… the fantastic thing from my point of view is that these people have given life to a product which is useless and insignificant to us. They have collected the raw material and this is the result. This is the story…the story I wanted to know, the story behind this bag that I saw one day and bought because I liked the look of it. Tell this story to the person who buys this product…because then.. they may ..like it even more as I did.

On top of this Dalaleo accessories have got pretty designs, brilliant look, high quality finishes and manufacture (as seen in Milan at White and in Paris at Premiere Class). A wise use of threads and lace work and peculiar shapes and forms give to these line all the value it deserves, reaching one of the highest point in connecting fashion and sustainability.

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A Bosalino is Essent’ial

It is always a good thing when big brands do steps towards sustainability. This is why we praise the collaboration between Borsalino and Essent’ial a brand famous for the innovative use of paper, cellulose fibre, cardboard and other materials to create home, office and fashion accessories.

The “Origami” collection, the innovative hats in cellulose fibre, are available in black and white, machine-washable at 30°. They can be created and modelled as you prefer following few easy steps.

From recycled materials to Smateria

Sometimes beautiful projects and products are the result of an intuition, a coincidence and a chance. This is probably the case of Smateria. When Elisa and Jennifer, both from Italy, met in Cambodia they had no business plan nor product development schedule, just good will and a vision: helping local women earning their living through their work.

Smateria was in Paris at Ethical Fashion Show to present their new collection of fashion accessories made with fishing nets, mosquitoes nets, recycled motorbike seats and crocheted plastic bags. A wide range of bags for men and women, beautiful and strong travel accessories including the best seller weekender bag.

Everything started in 2005 from few unique pieces created by Elisa with recycled materials and Jennifer asking if she thought about selling all those beautiful things. From the obvious answer “no” to the creation of Smateria, the step was quick. It was not easy to crate from scratch a recycled material supply chain. Work organization and exports knowledge needed to be built in order to cope with large orders that immediately arrived.

Now more then 50 people are regularly involved in production and exports, products are sold worldwide and – yesterday news – they just opened a daycare center for employee’s kids in their premises.This shows how good products and good will can really make the difference and give a chance for a better life to artisans and their families.

Sustainable Udine

Going around Italy it is always a nice surprise to discover places, cities, shops and ateliers where sustainability and slow fashion are strongly considered or even a driving force in product production and buying choices.

The eastern region of Italy, Friuli, is well known for its wines, hard working people and a nice combination of seaside, hills and mountains in less then 200 Km. Udine, in the center of it, is a small city of less then 100.000 inhabitants with a lively university and a good soccer team.

During a nice walk in historical city center, here is what we found:

RECICLarté is a small but interesting shop where every piece is realized from recycled materials exclusively from Italian brands and designers. Among others Mnmur, garbageLAB, Chimajarno, Hibu di Alessandro Acerra, giovanni scafuro. Mostly a selection of accessories for this nice and innovative shop.

In her weaving atelier Arteviva, Liviana Di Giusto and her collaborators, produce hand made fashion and home accessories of exquisite taste and wise manufacture. They have their own creations but work also on custom made products to meet each and everyone’s taste all with beautiful italian yarns.

Cumini is a well known high hand lifestyle multi-brand series of stores in Udine and its surroundings. In Cumini Emporio, their shop dedicated to design among beautiful pieces from Artemide to Normann Copenhagen, from Brionvega to Marimekko there are some amazing baskets and fruit bowls from the dutch Fair Trade Original designed by Piet Hein Heek, oversize recycled tyre baskets by Tadé Pays de Levant, fascinating toys in reclaimed wood by Mook.

a me mi, a very new shop for mums and kids, is indeed a nice surprise for this city. Very interesting ideas in both accessories and clothing all from young artists and artisans many with an important sustainable component. Alienina contemporary fashion accessories from recycled common materials, Les Libellules presents a nice and elegant kids clothes collection in high quality and organic textiles, “Les Monstris” by Ninon and Italian born Berlin based softies maker, vicolopagliacorta with their fashion and home accessories made with “Lego”, Apple computer parts and other unusual materials.

Last but not least is Kobo Shop, famous in town for its fabulous imported books, music, gadgets and accessories. It’s all thanks to Steve, owner, DJ, people enthusiast and friend, if Kobo was and remains a pole of attraction for all design, fashion, textile, music and art addicted in the region. The selection of book on Sustainable Fashion and Textile is so interesting that before the summer 15 copies of Sass Brown’s Eco-Fashion – english version – were sold. Such an important sign considering the absence of fashion or design schools in town except for the Sello art school!

 

Here is how to find them:

In Milan White becomes Green

White fashion show in since ever the most innovative event during Milan Fashion Week.

Already in 2007 thanks to From Somewhere designers Orsola de Castro and Filippo Ricci, White started a small section dedicated to Sustainable fashion called SloWhite, but lasted just one season. Later in february 2009 Ethical Fashion Show attempted a “number zero” in collaboration with White, with more or less the same result. Press coverage was interesting but the little business generated convinced both parts not to repeat the event.

In all these years C-L-A-S-S, with their peculiar concept of sustainability, continued to curate a small section as part of the main event, involving diverse and often interesting brands.

Now a new section has been created. White Green will present 17 brands (@ the 11 sept 2011), most usually part of Selection by C.L.A.S.S. and few new entries. Interesting how some sustainable brands like km/a and Caira Design decided not to be included in this section.

km/a undercover

The New Face of the Paris Fashion Shows without SoEthic!

Only a week after the official closure of Paris Fashion Shows, the british based online magazine Fashion United publishes what they consider “a clarification of the Paris offerings is required” now that all the shows held at Porte de Versailles are under the owner WSN Développement. Two major revolutions; the first concerns the dates of the shows that will move to January and June/July, coinciding with both Florence and Berlin Shows; the second is that the Eco-Ethical section named SoEthic, part of Prêt-à-porter Paris, will disappear.

Far from being a sudden cold shower, most of the specialist exhibitors in the sustainable markets will welcome the idea of being “in the spotlight” and being 100% involved in fashion.  In this regard, a fair number of leaders in the sector, such as Clémentine Nguyen, founder of the brand Sobosibio, refuse to be confined to the “eco-fanatic” label. If Clémentine was not tempted to take a stand on the Ethical Fashion Show (Messe Frankfurt), held from 1 to 4 September at the Carrousel du Louvre, it is because the show is no longer “professional enough or to do with fashion”.

On one side the “ghettoization” risk is high for sustainable fashion brands if consigned in small and wrongly timed shows, on the other it is not totally clear why to make coincide the Paris shows with the Berlin and Florence once. Many are the buyers and brands that would participate in all these shows each season. It is not necessarily a positive sign a monopolization of the market.

To read the full article check Fashion United page.

Ethical Fashion in Paris

Paris, as in each season, confirms to be innovative and avantgarde and so sustainable fashion gains each season more and more a prominent position.

This year Ethical Fashion Show moved to renown Carrousel du Louvre and from this time onwards will be seasonal and not annual. More the 100 brands and designers from all over the exhibited in a nice and cosy atmosphere, from kids fashion to accessories, from bijoux to women ware. Beside the “usual suspects” who exhibit since years, like Jux, Trading For Development, Deux filles en fil, some new entries stood out for innovative design and materials.

Kondakis, young designer based in Kenya presenting a range of clothes realized with parachute fabric or non mulberry silk dyed with vegetable colours with a complementary collection of fashion jewellery in “dead wood” (not cut but picked in the forest).

Kondakis silk dresses

Kondakis wood bangles

Doreen Mashika, a fashion accessories brand from Zanzibar where the use of traditional african wax textiles merges with an innovative and modern design.

Doreen Mashika - Clutch bags

Smateria, if up-cycling is at its heights this Cambodian brand deserves a special place in it. The use of fishing and mosquitoes nets, crocheted plastic bags and recycled motorbike seats to make bags and travel accessories gives to their collection a peculiar and charming look.

Smateria - Recycled motorbike seats begs

Smateria - Fishing net bags

In Port de Versailles, the official location of Paris pret a porter fairs, the section named So Ethic gathered more then 50 brands including Green Orange Collective where 22 Dutch designers presented their consciously produced creative fashion (among them Elementum by Daniela Pais , and Rianne De Witte), and a few interesting designers part of Now Showcase, a US based collective, extremely appealing the shoe designer Olsen Haus and the New York produced collections of Kelly Lane.

Also the new trends pavilions of Who’s Next and Premiere Class were constellated of sustainable fashion brands, from the amazing Misericordia, to the very italian ones as Heidi Ritsch, Reale slow fashion and Dalaleo.

Dalaleo - Recycled can pullrings

The growing presence of sustainable fashion brands in traditional fairs in an undoubtedly a positive sign so we ask to ourselves when will the Italian market start joining this wave with a successful fair dedicated to ethical fashion?

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