Zilpah Tart: Ethical Fashion from Canberra

Sunday, May 21, 2017

What do you get when you combine local travel photography with fashion?  Zilpah Tart.  This beautiful range of ethically made Australian fashion is a label by Canberra based designer Yumi Morrissey.

Now I don't know about you, but when I'm shopping for fashion that is not secondhand, I'm on the hunt for originality.  I want quality garments and preferably too nothing 'on-trend'.  Ethically made fashion is obviously high up on my list, and if it's Australian made, even better because there is nothing better than supporting local talent.

When I received an invitation to a fashion event featuring all Australian labels, I scoured the list of brands who would be present on the day and was instantly drawn to Zilpah Tart.  Gorgeous dresses, amazing prints, Australian made .. I had to know more.

T-shirt Dress in Winter Trees Print
Zilpah Tart is an interesting name!  Zilpah was the name of Yumi's late Grandmother "The original Zilpah Tart", Yumi says. After Zilpah passed, the family was sorting through her belongings when Yumi found a 1940’s brooch of a penny farthing. This formed the basis for the logo of her fashion label, and provides a personal memory and tribute of the late Zilpah Tart.

Yumi completed a Bachelor of Design (Fashion Design) at the Canberra Institute of Technology in 2007 and a decade on, she is working on her fashion label full time.

Yumi's designs are her own, made in her home studio. "All pieces are made in Canberra Australia, in fact about 90% is made by me. Though I am at my absolute limit and will look to increase the amount that I outsource. My outsourced production is also done in Canberra, through Cardif Collective which is also a stockist of mine." says Yumi.

Yumi - Founder and Designer of Zilpah Tart
"I think there's a few things that I pride myself and my label on in terms of ethical and sustainable practices, aside from just the obvious manufacturing side of things." explains Yumi.

Yumi designs her own fabrics using photographs taken around Canberra to create beautiful, bright, unique prints, which add an exciting element to her range. Yumi explains that she wants to create a personal connection for her customers. There is an emotional value to the collection for those who choose to wear Zilpah Tart who have a connection to Canberra / Australia.

"I have sold the parliament print dresses (my very first fabric print) to Australian Diplomats posted all over the world, and many of the women I have spoken to have told me that one of the reasons they wanted the dress to wear overseas, was not only to use the Parliament house symbol to represent the Australian Government, but also to use as a talking point when forming new professional relationships." Yumi says.

Take a look at the original photographs taken by Yumi around Canberra and how they are represented in the Zilpah Tart range:

This fabric design of this frock (the Perimeter Dress) uses Yumi's original photo taken of the National Film and Sound Archive, Canberra.

Red Leaves Print – Original photo taken at Diddams Close Park, Lake Ginninderra, Canberra

Lucent Blue Print – Original photo taken of the ‘Torsional Wave’ at Questacon, Canberra,
at night time.

Yellow Leaves Print – Original photo taken at the Old English Gardens, Yarralumla, Canberra

Balloons Print – Original photo taken at Lake Burley Griffin, during the
Canberra Balloon Spectacular

Stunning,  I'm sure you will agree. 

The "T-Shirt Dress" I am wearing here is of the Yellow Leaves Print collection, and although will be discontinued to make way for her new range, this particular dress design is a best seller due to its versatility.

T-shirt Dress in Yellow Leaves Print
"The same dress is suitable with a blazer for work, with sandals on the weekend, with heels and jewellery for a wedding or cocktail party etc, so the one dress can suit so many different occasions, preventing the need to go out and buy a new outfit for each new event that only gets worn once. They are also long lasting and not trend based which means they don't need to be replaced and added to landfill at the end of the season." says Yumi

Each of the Zilpah Tart collections speak volumes in terms of originality. Yumi has the ability to tell a visual story with her collections, which speak volumes to those with an appreciation for art, fashion, travel, Canberra or Australia (home for some) or a combination of all of the above.

"The world is so full of faceless, nameless, impersonal products, that people are beginning to seek out products with more meaning, with a connection to the maker or designer." says Yumi, and I couldn't agree more.

Zilpah Tart designs are a breath of fresh air to any fashion lover, and the fact that Yumi's collections are made locally is even more reason to enjoy wearing her designs.

Loop scarf in Balloon Spectacular print
What can we expect from Zilpah Tart in the near future?  Yumi will be travelling to Melbourne very soon, and therefore a Melbourne range will be coming soon!  How exciting.  Watch this space.

Where to find Zilpah Tart:

Instagram: www.instagram.com/zilpahtart

Shared with Visible Monday over on Not Dead Yet Style & All Mum Said


Night Life Exhibition showcasing 1920s and 30s fashion at Rippon Lea

Monday, May 8, 2017

It’s all sequins, beads and sparkles within the magnificent heritage-listed historic house at Melbourne’s Rippon Lea Estate this winter, as The National Trust of Australia (Victoria) has opened Night Life; a fashion exhibition showcasing the glamour of the 1920s and 30s.

Night Life displays over 50 delicate pieces of evening wear, from a time when local and contemporary fashion labels used silks, velvets, sequins and intricate beading.

Over the years, this ornate costume collection of 1920s and 30s fashion, has been acquired by The National Trust Australia (Victoria) via public donation. These luxurious pieces have now come together in a remarkable public display thanks to the National Trust’s curator Elizabeth Anya-Petrivna.  Elizabeth conducted research into the grand parties once held during the 1920’s and 30’s at the 19th century Rippon Lea Estate, and believes that showcasing the exhibition in such a historic and magnificent building only adds to the visitor experience, and that it does.

Image credit Suzie Potter
On first entrance, walking through a beaded curtain, one can enjoy a sweet little dress up moment by choosing a sequinned gown to frock up in, while imagining a time when our great grandmothers and grandfathers were dancing the night away.

Image credit: Suzie Potter
Night Life continues thereafter, transporting visitors back to the shimmering night life of the ‘well-to-do’ in Victoria, all those years ago.

The exhibition journeys through Rippon Lea Estate’s historic house, where each room displays a handful of rare fashion pieces from capes to frocks, shoes to beaded bags, top hats to suits.

Image credit: Suzie Potter
It is difficult to pick a favourite piece from this exquisite collection; filled with delightful fabrics and glittery materials. I’d have to say my top pick would be this stunning cotton / tin shawl c1922, made in Egypt.  Can you see the little camels hidden within the pattern? Stunning.

Cotton / tin shawl c1922. Made in Egypt.
Can you spot the camels?
What I hadn’t released until this point, was how much the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb in 1922 sparked a global trend for ‘Tutmania', which hugely influenced fashion and popular culture around this time.  Fashion labels would incorporate Egyptian motifs into clothing pieces, and metals were (pardon the pun) heavily used.  I thank Annabel of Clothe for telling me this!

An interesting surprise in this fashion display, is the addition of a contemporary take on 1920s and 1930s fashion, curated by Melbourne’s creatives Domenic Coloca, Olivia Tran, Stuart Walford and Jessica Hood. “Styling the Times” sees 14 looks mixing The National Trust’s own archive of vintage pieces with current Australian fashion.  This display combines women’s evening wear and menswear, which portrays an androgynous eye-opening collection. (I liked this a lot).

Image c/o @stuart_walford IG
Over the course of the exhibition’s three month duration, there will be a series of events taking place at Rippon Lea including themed soirees, fashion high teas and daytime activities such as design workshops and curator talks.

Pay a visit to Night Life at Rippon Lea House and Gardens and be taken back to a terrifically vibrant time in Victoria’s fashion history.  You will be in awe of the workmanship involved in 1920s and 30s dressmaking.

Open: Daily 10am to 4pm from 5 May until 30 July.

Tickets: Adult $20, Concession $18, Child $10, Family $50 (2 adults and 2 children)
Discounts available for National Trust members

Visit ripponleaestate.com.au for more information on upcoming events and to book tickets.

Where: Rippon Lea House and Gardens, 92 Hotham Street, Elsternwick, VIC.

2 x Double Passes for Night Life at Rippon Lea to Giveaway

Attention good people of Melbourne.  Thanks to the National Trust Australia (Victoria), we have 2 x double passes to Night Life at Rippon Lea to giveaway.

To enter, simply like our Facebook post related to this article, and tag who you'd like to take with you!

The competition will end Friday 26 May AEST, and the winner contacted via Facebook.


DIY Projects around the Home for Beginners

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The following is a Guest Post by Sarah of The DIY Hammer:

The first time I was introduced to DIY projects, everything seemed tricky and complex. However, 10 years later, I believe in myself so much, that there is nothing I can’t put my mind to and fail.  So what led to my change in fortunes? When you start your first DIY project, chances of properly succeeding are minimal. However, with perseverance, dedication, and patience, you slowly learn how to better your every project. Below are some of the small first time projects you could start with.

1. Wire Heart Ring

Sometimes, when you want to impress a person with a gift, uniqueness and creativity can go a long way. It’s not hard to leave an impression with something new and exciting. A simple wire heart ring can do the trick. Very easy and fun to make, you only need pliers, wire clippers and 2-3 inches of gauge wire.

Proceed to cut the gauge wire into two pieces; one with a length of about 1 inch and the other 1.5-2 inches. Wrap the shorter wire around the pliers to make a heart bump, and a V-bend at the bottom. Then, using your longer piece, wrap it around a cylindrical object to get that ring shape and bend the tips outwards at about the same width as your wire heart. Place the heart at the top and bead the tips outward for a firm grip on the heart wire. Trim off any excess wire, and your wire heart ring is ready to be worn.

2. Make a Bike Rack Using Wooden Pallets

I really love my bike! It is super convenient and doubles up as my gym. However, finding the right place to store my bike in the house was really difficult. It takes up a lot of space and is always in my way when maneuvering around. My wooden pallets DIY project was just an absolute lifesaver!

You need two wooden pallets; one with slots wider than the other. Arrange them so that the pallet with wider slots serves as the base and the other to stand upright and against the wall. Place the base pallet with the board facing up so that the wheels do not roll out of place. Incline the pallet with narrower slots at an angle as it lines on the wall. And your bike rack is ready for use.

3. Firefly Jars Night Lamp

Firefly jars night lamps glow in different colors creating awesome lights that will leave you mesmerized. Making firefly jars is simple, easy, and fun. If you are planning to hold a party at night, then these jars will offer you the perfect party decor. However, in this case, proper planning is highly advisable. Glow sticks last between four to twelve hours. Hence, proper timing is also crucial to ensure they last the entire night.

Medium size glass jars, glow sticks, and glitter are all you need. Thoroughly clean the glass jar making sure no visible specks are left behind. Empty the glow stick into the jar. Then add glitter in small portions. Close the jar tightly and shake to make sure the glitter spreads evenly in the jar. Your firefly jar night lamp is now ready to shine in that dark corner of your house.

Being able to create something unique on your own is a feeling you can never trade. Especially when people really love it! It gives you the push to even do greater things that once seemed far and out of reach. They say that a journey of a thousand miles starts with one step. Have you made your first DIY step yet?

Bio: Sarah is the editor of thediyhammer.com.  Inspired to be creative from an early age, she is always coming up with her own DIY projects, big or small, and draws inspiration from other imaginative minds. She is always encouraging others to be more innovative, especially when it comes to home improvement.


Coco and Clare: Bears and Beasties, Softies and Sweeties made from Recycled Clothing

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Clare Maxted, from Norfolk, England, makes, in her words handmade, one of a kind "Bears and Beasties, Softies and Sweeties" under her brand name Coco and Clare.

Smokey Hare

Clare's whimsical toys are a little bit different to other hand-made softies, because each unique critter, is made from recycled garments, deconstructed and remodelled into collectable animals.

This is a new venture for Clare, who works three days a week as a High School Art Technician. She started Coco and Clare just six months ago, putting her university taught fashion skills to use, by unravelling clothes to make toys and animals.  All patterns are crafted by Clare, and her designs are completely her own.

Everything Clare makes, is done on this wonderful old singer.  "It is a fantastic machine and suits me perfectly.  It was my mum's machine when she was young and she has passed it to me now." Clare says.

"I source my coats, throws, hats and scarves from charity shops and eBay. I look for good quality, dense and faux fur to cut up" says Clare.

Head over to Coco and Clare on etsy, or check out Clare's work on Instagram to follow her softies' little stories.


Junkies Magazine Issue 8

Monday, February 27, 2017

I have some exciting news.

The latest Junkies Magazine Australia is out now, and three of my articles are in it.

Junkies Magazine is an eco-design, lifestyle, and fashion magazine focused on sustainability.

Get your paws on a copy, you won't regret it > junkies.com.au


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.


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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