Sustainable Gift Ideas for January

Friday, January 6, 2017

Feeling the pinch this January?  Your bank balance gone all topsy-turvy post-Christmas celebrations and gifting? Always a bit of a problem when it's your favourite aunt’s birthday or a dear friend’s anniversary right at the start of the year!  Stuck for gift ideas?  Here are few sustainable gift ideas to pull you through the first month of the year.

1) Bracelets from The Base Project

Founded by twins Chris and Doug Akin, The Base Project, is an endeavour that supports artisans across the globe, producing locally-sourced, eco-fashion  accessories at affordable prices.

The Base Project Bracelets and Cuffs

The Kavango bracelet above has a story to tell. Designed by Namibian artists, The Base Project bracelet collection is inspired by the country’s animals, landscape and rich Namibian history.  Bangles and cuffs are designed to highlight tribal designs. These bracelets are often made with old pipes and other reusable materials.

The Base Project bracelets not only generate income for artisans, but funds a child’s education in his or her community. You can buy The Base Project bracelets here

2) Drop Earrings Not Bombs

Beautiful earrings, handcrafted by Syrian refugees in Istanbul, Turkey.  Each pair of earrings is unique in terms of creativity and design. They also depict a story told through the eyes of a person who has been through more than anyone should experience. The project is an attempt to create artistic expression through personal experiences.

Drop Earrings Not Bombs
100% of the proceeds from the Drop Earrings Not Bombs project goes back into Small Projects Istanbul, where refugees are provided with access to supplemental education, as well as programs that assist students and families from Syria, succeed in Turkey and beyond, paving the way for better futures.  Support Syrian refugees and gift a beautiful pair of earrings by choosing your style here.

3) Candy Heart brooches from For The Love Of Vintage

Taking inspiration from love heart sweets, For The Love Of Vintage makes the sweetest little kitschy-chic jewellery and accessories using sustainably sourced wood.

For The Love Of Vintage 
Candy heart brooch messages range from pop culture phrases, to cute little words that resonate with many.  For The Love Of Vintage is a Mornington Peninsula (Victoria) based small business.  The cherry wood used to make For The Love Of Vintage accessories comes from sustainably managed forests in the USA, and is part of a forestry initiative growing 2.29 trees for every one harvested.

Buy your brooch here but also keep an eye on Facebook for updates.

4) Cantabulous Creations

Gorgeous, recycled aluminium can tabs, handcrafted accessories by Brazilian artisians in a fair trade working environment.  Cantabulos Creations, is an Australian small business, supporting the Escama Studio, a social enterprise in Brazil.
Cantabulous Creations Mini Clutch

Cantabulous Creations has a fantastic range of bags, clutches, belts, jewellery, guitar straps and other accessories too. Each design is unique and a sign of creativity. What’s more, each accessory bears a tag with the artisan’s signature, so you know exactly who made your bag.

Shop the Cantabulous Creations range here

So you see, buying gifts for your loved ones in January need not cost you the earth, in more ways than one! Do you have any more suggestions for sustainable gifts? Feel free to leave your suggestion in the comments below.

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Preloved Christmas Jumpers to Spread Yuletide Cheer!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

There’s more to Christmas than turkey and trees. To add more fun to yuletide, festive folk all over the world don their favourite retro Christmas jumpers. You know the ones; cosy but often ugly!

Obviously in the Northern Hemisphere there's a good reason to sport a bad jumper, but here in the Southern Hemisphere, in the midst of Summer, there's another alternative to the Ugly Sweater... more on that later.

Here's a few fun (and surprisingly, not always that ugly) Christmas jumpers we've sourced on etsy, to get you into the festive spirit:

1) The White Vintage 80s Mohair



The first one to top our list is actually not very ugly at all. This feminine looking pink snowflake design adds to the ‘white Christmassy’ feeling. The fact that it's knitted mohair makes it even so more appealing.

2. Snowflakes and Pastels



Classic 80s again, this one with its pink, blue and white snowflakes set the festive spirit. Throw over the top of a pair of leggins, and wear as a short dress if you dare!

3. The Christmas Motif Cardigan 



Stockings, tree, and festive colours of red, green, and white.. this is your typical ‘Ugly Christmas Cardi’. Flashback time with this one for sure.

4. The Snowman 



No snow to make a snowman? Just pull-on this sweater with bearded snowman motif instead. Don't you just love those drawstrings complete with puffy white balls? Hello Frosty!

5. The Big Red 


The big bright red number. Snowflakes and stars and big-ass stocking; just perfect for Yuletide. Joyeux Noël!

6. Christmas Down Under 

As mentioned previously, sweaters and Christmas don't mix well in Australian summertime, so the clever folk at Cancer Council have come up with the perfect solution to festive celebrations in the sun.  Behold the Ugly Christmas Rashie, available in kid and adult size. Practical, festive and hilarious!


Do you don an old faithful Christmas jumper for the festive season? What do you think about the Australian beach version of the Ugly Sweater?

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Revoir: Second Hand Designer Fashion

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

In today’s world of fast fashion and throwaway styling, the allure of designs and clothing that stand the test of time is simultaneously getting stronger. Not only do designer pieces usually stand the test of time style-wise, but who can forget the study that came out earlier this year claiming that Chanel handbags have increased in value by more than 70 percent in the past five years? That makes them a better investment than both the stock market and the housing market! Who'd have thought? Although this research should probably be taken with a grain of salt, it does still give you something to think about – namely that when it comes to fashion, second hand is most certainly not second best.


Fashion-savvy shoppers have known for years that buying second hand, high-end designer goods is a smart way to not only own the item of your dreams, but to own it at a fraction of its original cost. In Europe, shopping pre-loved designer is commonplace, but it’s a concept that has been slow to start here in Australia. Ex-pat Parisian Claire Grego was used to buying hard to find designer pieces through second hand channels, and it was the inability to do the same once she arrived in Sydney that lead her to launch Revoir, an online marketplace for second hand designer goods specifically catering to the Australian market.


Hailing from France, and a true Parisian, Claire has always been a keen follower of fashion, with a strong sense of personal style and a firm belief in investing in quality over ‘disposable’ fashion. Claire runs Revoir with the core beliefs that style and quality are timeless; that Australians deserve a premium shopping experience for premium goods, even when second hand; and that reuse is key to a sustainable future and to preserving the quality of eternally stylish pieces.

“Spending most of my life in Paris, shopping pre-loved designer goods is something that is second nature – but I found that this was not the case in Australia. I wanted to create a marketplace where women could sell the items they no longer wear or use, and where lovers of designer can source difficult to find pieces, as well as great-priced designer style,” Claire says. Revoir joins a booming industry – one of the fastest growing segments in retail, and one that looks set to reach $25 billion by 2025.

 Claire Grego - Revoir

For many of us, classic designer fashion can be daunting – and expensive – which is why pre-loved high end can be such a great way to shop. Sites such as Revoir, which specialize in pieces from the most coveted international fashion houses, work closely with authentication specialists to ensure that not only are the goods in good condition, but that they’re also legitimate.

Purely by nature of where the vast majority of designer goods reside – ie Europe - some of the best high-end second hand shopping for those of us in the southern hemisphere is done online. Revoir.com.au is Australia’s very own second-hand designer marketplace, but the likes of Vestiaire Collective has a large selection of pre-owned high-end goods, and the size of its online shopping community means that thousands of new listings are posted each week. Regardless of where you choose to shop for your pre-loved fashion and designer goods, be vigilant when it comes to authenticity. If you’re paying for designer, make sure you’re getting designer – and any pre-loved store worth its Chanel should be providing you with an authentication guarantee.

If second hand designer labels is your fashion preference, head over to Revoir to see what's for sale here, or follow all the latest news on Facebook.

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Viktor&Rolf: Fashion Artists Exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria

Friday, October 21, 2016

Viktor&Rolf: Fashion Artists is the National Gallery of Victoria's (NGV) newest acquisition, opening to the public today; Friday 21 October, 2016.

:: Viktor & Rolf ::

The designs exhibited are that of the Dutch luxury fashion duo who are synonymous for their avant-garde approach to wearable art.  Viktor&Rolf: Fashion Artists is a collaboration with international guest curator Thierry-Maxime Loriot, who also curated the phenomenal exhibition The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier, and therefore this world premiere fashion exhibition was always destined to be a good egg.

Viktor&Rolf: Fashion Artists the exhibition is indeed an eye opener, and seeing it with your own eyes is such a beautiful surprise.

The exhibition displays the duo's 25 year career in fashion haute couture, ready-to-wear and perfume collections. Viktor & Rolf, who befriended at school during the 80s, sure do push the boundaries when it comes to experimental runway shows.

A stand-out comment by Rolf Snoeren, one half of Viktor & Rolf during the media preview opening, and I quote:

"Couture is like a laboratory, it's where we experiment", he said.
 
Their 1999 Russian Doll runway show in which model Maggie Rizer was progressively dressed by the designers in nine different layers and 2003’s One Woman Show fashion collection inspired by actress and muse Tilda Swinton, in which the actress herself appeared amidst a runway of models made up in her likeness are just some of the most talked about Viktor & Rolf collections.

:: Russian Doll Runway Show Collection ::
One of my personal favourites seen in the Viktor & Rolf exhibition, would have to be the Red Carpet Dressing collection; whereby the fashion duo prepared a series of haute couture outfits that explore society's obsession with celebrity 'red carpet' looks.  Viktor & Rolf's collection is, literally, red carpet, made into twenty-two looks, made from heavy-duty nylon carpet by Dutch carpet manufacturer Desso.

:: Red Carpet Dressing by Viktor & Rolf ::

Viktor & Rolf's most recent collection is one that will appeal to Recycled Fashion readers most.  Vagabonds is the autumn–winter 2016–17 haute couture collection.  Using recycling as a form of expression; the entire collection uses garments and fabrics from previous haute couture and ready- to-wear collections to create highly unorthodox haute couture as a ‘new beginning’.

:: The Vagabonds Collection - using recycling as a form of expression ::
Throughout the exhibition's fashion galleries are 21 handmade porcelain dolls (with human hair I might add), each wearing tiny yet intricately crafted miniaturised version of a key collection work.  Children who walk through the exhibition are immediately drawn to these tiny dolls, who look so lifelike it's almost a little scary.


With every new exhibition brings a new gallery space designed for kids, and this time is no different.  Atelier: Viktor&Rolf for Kids is a free exhibit, where young visitors can craft their very own fashion creations using crepe paper and raffia, afterwhich they can stage their own fashion shoot in three  black and white themed photo booths.



Accompanying the children’s exhibition sees the duos’ couture wedding dress designed for Her Royal Highness Princess Mabel van Oranje-Nassau for her wedding to Prince Friso of the Netherlands. 

Viktor&Rolf: Fashion Artists is a must see.  On display at NGV International, 180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne from 21 October 2016 until 26 February 2017.  Buy your tickets in advance here

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Why Buy Fashion When You Can Rent; with GlamCorner

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Fashion is as fickle as it is fun, and while it is great to throw together an outfit that is second-hand, sometimes it's tricky when there is a momentous occasion to style for.

As you know, I always prefer recycled fashion over new, however, with a milestone birthday looming, I chose an alternative way to dress up for my celebratory night; 'renting out' a jacket and bag from Australia's leading designer dress hire company GlamCorner.


You'll be forgiven for not knowing such an initiative exists, but it does; you can rent fashion for a fraction of its retail value.  Your hired piece is delivered to your door, and once you are done with your wear, simply return in the pre-paid envelope provided.

The great thing about GlamCorner, is the variety of fashion you can choose from.  As you would shop for fashion online, you do the same on GlamCorner's website, only you aren't buying to keep, you are hiring for a one-off wear.

Frocks are the majority of choices on GlamCorner, from ballgowns to party frocks, race wear to maternity.  That said, the occasion I turned to GlamCorner was more casual than dressy, so I scoured through some of the other options; and chose a jacket and bag to hire.

I picked this stunning concerto beaded jacket by Thurley:


$159 rental / $719 retail

And this Lana Deco Metal Cage Pod by Olga Berg:


$29 rental /  $99 retail

With these two delivered a few days prior to my celebration, I pieced together the rest of my outfit, which happens to be all with Australian label Gorman clothing; a collaborative gift from my friends.

Here's how it all came together:

As for the moon boot, well that's another story

The outfit came together perfectly, as did the night.  I couldn't have asked for a better way to see in my 40th .. except maybe without the moon boot.

The next day, with a store foot and a sore head, back went the rentals to GlamCorner in the pre-paid envelope; no need to dry clean or wash, that's taken care of when hired clothes are returned to GlamCorner HQ.   Easy peasy.

Do you have a special occasion coming up?  If you do, and you can't find anything to buy, consider browsing sites like GlamCorner instead.  Designer labels might be unreachable to many, but when you rent instead of buy, the costs are considerably less.  Plus, instead of wearing an expensive garment once and leaving it at the back of your wardrobe, you return it, and someone else gets to style that great piece of clothing again.  Hiring clothes; the alternative way to recycle fashion.

For more info, head to GlamCorner online, and follow all the latest news on Facebook.

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Cantabulous Creations: Fair Trade Accessories Made From Collected Can Tabs

Monday, September 5, 2016

Sydney based Ingrid Bass, a former teacher and Principal of a musical theatre academy for children, has taken a side step in her career to launch a sustainable fashion brand. Cantabulous Creations supports a Brazilian fair trade social enterprise that produces gorgeous accessories using recycled materials; drink can tabs to be exact.

Masha Bag

Signature pieces supporting ESCAMA Studio

Cantabulous Creations links with ESCAMA Studio, a fair-trade initiative based in California and Brazil. ESCAMA Studio works with around 60 artisans in underprivileged communities who crochet post-consumer aluminium drink can tabs into fashion statement pieces; belts, bags, guitar straps, jewellery and more.

Mack Rounded Buckle Belt

The word ESCAMA means 'fish scales' in Portuguese, and when you see what is produced by the initiative, you will see why. Crocheted cab tabs resemble the metallic scales of a fish.

Cantabulous Creations is Australia's representation of the fair trade initiative. Ingrid Bass started Cantabulous Creations after her sister-in-law gave her a can tab bag. She loved the bag so much, and so did random strangers she met, that she decided to launch her own small business to support the cause.

Recycled bags, belts and jewellery with a back story

With the launch of Cantabulous Creations, Ingrid hopes to show the people of Australia that it is possible to own beautiful accessories that have a back story. Why? Because the ESCAMA Studio recognises the efforts of each of the artists who create them.

Francisca Bag

"Cantabulous bags are unique because they are hand-made by Fair-trade artisans in Brazil, created from recycled can-tabs which are crocheted together. Each bag is really a piece of art which comes with a tag bearing the artisan’s signature. Furthermore, purchasers can access information on the artisan and even can communicate with artisan if they like via email. How cool is that?" says Ingrid, the brains behind Cantabulous Creations to Australia.

Take a look at the 'who made this' page on the ESCAMA website, and you will see exactly who made your product, and a little history behind their involvement with the enterprise.

Cantabulous Creations favourites
 
Ingrid explains that although it is very early to say which Cantabulous Creations product is the most popular, the 'Leda Clutch' won the 2010 Independent Designer Award and happened to be the first piece that first sold out in the range here in Australia.  Belts and jewellery are popular, too.

That said, it is the 'Greta Bag' that made Ingrid fall in love with ESCAMA products. "I am in love with the Greta bag because it is so comfortable and light to carry and moulds to my body. I also think the design and how the can-tabs fan out like fish scales is really amazing." says Ingrid.

Greta Bag

Send your thanks and collect recycled tabs

When you receive your order, you can even send a little thank you note to the artisans; your message will be translated into Portuguese before being sent on.

You will also receive a Reply Paid envelope so you can collect can tabs from drinks. Once you've collected a decent number, simply post back in the mail so they can be sent to Brazil to make more Cantabulous Creations. Let the re-cycle live on.

Pieces start from $25 for earrings or a bracelet and $30 for a credit card case up to a couple of hundred for large bags.

Sign up to Cantabulous Creations e-newsletter online, and you are in for a chance to win a Mini Clutch (Black). Simply complete the online contact form and enter the word 'Clutch' in the comments.  Sign up by 29 October 2016 to be in for a chance of winning.
Mini Clutch in Black

Lastly, since the Paralympics in Brazil goes from September 7-18, all orders will receive 10% off during this time.

Head to Cantabulous Creations online and treat yourself or your loved ones to a statement piece that gives back to the world, one can tab at a time.

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Vinnies Denim Shop Displays 2016

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

To celebrate National Op Shop Week, Vinnies Victoria set a 'Denim Month' challenge. Recognising all types of donated denim fashion, Vinnies Victoria asked shoppers to share their favourite denim look on social media (for a chance to win a $50 Vinnies Gift Card), and also challenged Vinnies Stores to present their best denim displays.

The top 10 Vinnies Denim Shop Displays 2016 are now in and ready for a vote:






What a great effort! I can only imagine the fun the staff at each Vinnies store had putting together these amazing displays.

Which one is your favourite? You can place your vote by 'liking' your favourite on Vinnies Victoria's Facebook Page.

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