Upcycled Spring Racing Outfit by Jess Colman

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Melbourne Fashion Institute design student Jess Colman, debuted her unique upcycled Spring Racing outfit to the public at the Melbourne Cup yesterday.

Spring racing carnival outfits are a bit of a big deal, with many folk opting to buy fancy frocks and matching headwear pieces to wear specifically for the occasion.  Jess Colman challenged the common notion of buying a new dress for the races, and instead put together an outfit using clothes already in circulation.

Jess pieced together an outfit for her friend Victoria Jancke, using items purchased at Savers recycle superstore, reworking them into something far more unique than your every day off-the-rack frock.

:: L - Jess Colman  R - Victoria Jancke ::

Victoria entered this year's Fashions on the Field wearing Jess's reworked design, and featured in the Herald Sun's best dressed photo gallery as an outfit that stood out from the crowd.

Let's hope Jess Colman's design inspires others to refashion outfits to wear to the races in years to come!

See also: Vinnies Spring Racing Carnival Headwear Challenge


Vinnies Spring Racing Carnival Headwear Challenge

Monday, October 26, 2015

Do you know how long it has been since I've created anything? A very long time. I enjoy crafting, I enjoy sewing, but lately my passion for writing has superseded any time for hands-on craft.

Maybe the craft bug will return, but with 24 hours in a day and two kids to look after, the time that I do have, is used to play with words rather than materials. It's all good folks, I'm in a happy place.

Sometimes though, a craft challenge comes along, one that's right up my alley, and I have to take that challenge because if I don't, I'll regret it.
Vinnies contacted me a month ago, and asked if I'd be interested in making a headwear piece, inspired by Melbourne's Spring Racing Carnival. Vinnies, being a chain of stores that sell recycled goods for charity, stipulated that the piece would be recycled. I took on the challenge. Vinnies posted a few bits my way; feathers, netting, hair slides etc.

:: Vinnies Spring Racing Carnival Headwear Challenge materials ::

Long time Recycled Fashion readers will know that two of my favourite materials to work with are thrifted men's neckties and zippers, so I popped to my nearest op shop to pick up said bits and pieces.
Here is my final piece.

I don't have a step-by-step tutorial, but you can see how I've made a similar necktie headwear piece here.

Cinti over at My Poppet made an amazing DIY Spring Racing Carnival Headpiece too, you can see it here.

Do you enjoy going to the races?  I've lived in Melbourne for 10 years, and have never been.  I don't really like the idea of horse racing, but I do enjoy Myer's Fashions on the Field!


Recycled Fashion in Singapore

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Friends, family and social media followers, will know that my family and I recently took a trip to Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. This was my family's third time visiting The Lion City, although the first time travelling with two small kids in tow. Every time we visit Singapore, we see the city in a different light. On this occasion, child-friendly topped the things-to-do list.

Singapore offers a lot for families; plentiful food varieties (useful for fussy kids), ample air conditioned spaces to escape the heat, low cost taxis and public transport, museums, playgrounds, and lots and lots of activities to keep busy.

Singapore is advanced in so many ways, demonstrated by the country's infrastructure, architecture and high standard of living. Away from the hustle and bustle of Singapore's central district however, you can find interesting pockets of cultural history.

:: China Town, Singapore ::

I booked accommodation for the first week of my family's stay at the Kam Leng Hotel, Little India; a cool spot that has been restored from its former tired state, into to a quirky budget hotel filled with vintage charm.

:: Kam Leng Hotel, Singapore ::

In my first week, I caught up with Agy of Green Issues by Agy. It is great to meet likeminded friends in 'real life', after our blogs bought us together. Agy took our family to Haji Lane in the Kampong Glam neighbourhood of Singapore. Haji Lane offers a refreshing change from shopping malls found elsewhere in the city. Here you'll admire street art, and meander down a narrow street filled with fashion boutiques, handmade wears and quaint cafes.

:: Haji Lane ::

After some tourist time in Singapore, and a trip across the sea to the Riau Islands province in Indonesia, my family and I found ourselves back in Little India, only this time staying at the uber cool Wanderlust Hotel; accommodation designed for the adventurous traveller. No room at the 4 story Wanderlust Hotel is the same; you can stay in a capsule room rendered and decorated in one single colour, a mono space clad in contrasting white, or a whimsical loft room with five varying themes. With two young boys, I booked us into the red space themed room. You can imagine their excitement.

:: Wanderlust Hotel Singapore ::

Some of you may remember Singaporean blogger Mongs of My Thrifty Closest. Unfortunately  Mongs doesn't blog anymore, but we both stay in touch, and she kindly took me on a thrift shopping expedition around Singapore.

Thrift shops here are not in their abundance as they are in Australia, the UK or the US, although there are similarities with the few thrift stores that do exist in Singapore.

:: What I found on my visit: shoes, a dress, a toddler plate and beads ::

For anyone visiting Singapore, here are the addresses of the thrift stores you can visit. Do take note that most Singaporean thrift shops are not open every day:

MINDS Shop@Margaret
800 Margaret Drive,
Singapore 149310
Tel: 6473 1148 ext 304
Operating Hours: Monday to Wednesday, 10.00am - 3.00pm

Tanglin Mega Family Store
356 Tanglin Road
Singapore 247674
Tel: 67182513
Operating Hours: Monday - Saturday, 10am - 6pm

New2u thrift shop
96 Waterloo Street
Singapore 187967
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday, 10.30am to 2.30pm

Red Cross House,
15 Penang Lane,
Singapore 238486 (nearest MRT Dhoby Ghaut)
Operating Hours: 11am to 4pm every Wednesday.

If you visit Singapore, have fun, it's a great country with so much to do.


Eco friendly products by Cariloha

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Are you looking for a versatile range of bamboo textile wears that does not cost the earth?  US based Cariloha sell an extensive range of products, in fact Cariloha is one of the world’s only retail labels that dedicates an entire range of clothing and bedding made out of bamboo textile. 

:: Find out about Cariloha’s bamboo processes here ::

Generally, eco-friendly products can be thought of as an expensive choice to the alternative, but that isn’t the case for Cariloha’s bamboo range.  Prices are reasonable, at around US$34 for a full priced tee, baseball caps for $32, or scarves for $36. You can also buy gift cards for your eco-minded friends to shop for Cariloha’s chic bamboo wears.

Other products sold within the range such as home décor, baby goods, and accessories are made with bamboo blends. American based Cariloha, born out of a love for the Caribbean and Hawaii, sell a delightful selection of bamboo and bamboo blend wears inspired by island life.
Best selling items from the Cariloha’s women’s range include light weight scarves, summer dresses, bags, pants, sportswear and accessories.

:: Geo Bamboo Infinity Scarf - Caribbean Coral ::
Cariloha menswear incorporates plain as well as logo embellished tees, polo’s, shorts, underwear and more.

:: Bamboo Comfort Crew Tee - Space Panda - Rockwood Red ::

Cariloha’s range can now be found in an impressive 50 stand-alone stores in 14 countries, otherwise you can order online. Cariloha’s online products are shipped from Utah to anywhere in the world (my online order arrived on my Australian doorstep within a week).

Browse Cariloha’s range here: www.cariloha.com, and you can follow the brand via the usual social media haunts; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Disclaimer: I received no payment for this blog post, but I did receive some gorgeous Cariloha bamboo wears in the mail including this beautiful nautical scarf, with pastel stripes and bamboo handbag.


The Cause in Melbourne

Saturday, September 12, 2015

A few weeks ago, I received an invitation to attend the unveiling of a unique fashion space in the heart of Melbourne; The Cause.

The Cause’s brings fashion manufacturing back to Melbourne, allowing emerging local designers to utilise the hub’s 14 industrial sewing machines, pattern drafting tables and cutting zones.

:: The Cause unveiling in Melbourne :: 

Local brands already associated with The Cause follow ethical and sustainable practices. Dead stock fabric is sourced for fashion designers to create amazing designs from material otherwise destined for landfill. 

Two experienced designers Dale and Sharmaine Cornell of New Model Beauty Queen are the instigators of The Cause.

:: Dale and Sharmaine Cornell of New Model Beauty Queen and The Cause ::

New Model Beauty Queen, accredited by Ethical Clothing Australia (ECA)  has been in existence for a decade. Previously operating out of a smaller retail space in Sydney Road, Brunwick, the brand now offers smaller-scale manufacturing and screen printing services out of a studio in Saxon Street, Brunswick in addition to The Cause.

:: Coco and Max ::

The unveiling fashion event based at The Cause in Little Collins Street, introduced collections from New Model Beauty Queen, Designed in Brunswick, hid, Jenny Robinson Creative Design, Coco and Max and Straker. A fun catwalk runway showcased the collections of the aforementioned brands, featuring models of all sizes and shapes parading to the live sounds of local band, Dear Plastic.

:: The Cause ::

The avant-garde collections seen at The Cause are bold, vibrant, colourful and available to buy! Designs can be purchased at The Cause, 306 Little Collins Street in Melbourne, open from 10am - 6pm Monday - Saturday, closed Sunday.

:: Jenny Robinson Creative Design ::

Check out Melbourne’s growing fashion renaissance for yourself and discover some of the amazing work happening right in the heart of our fine city.

:: hid ::

Website: thecausemelb.com.au
Facebook: facebook.com/thecausemelbourne


Fashion an Education with Le Dessein

Monday, August 24, 2015

The following Guest Post is written by Megan, from LA-based, socially minded upscale fashion brand called Le Dessein.  Le Dessein's motto is "fashion is an opportunity".

“Women hold up half the sky”


In recent years, much attention has been given to the plight of oppression of women and girls around the world, due in part to the Half the Sky movement inspired by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn's best-selling book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. One incredibly important way to help bring women and girls out of oppression is through education; out of the world’s approximately 170 million children that lack access to education, 70% are girls.

The fact that any children are not receiving a proper education is, of course, worrisome. In the case of young girls, however, the issue tends to be more pressing. Girls are often denied access to education because of traditional beliefs in certain societies that prescribe a higher importance to girls learning how to run a household rather than learning how to read, write, and acquire basic mathematical skills. Women make up about two-thirds of the world’s illiterate population, reflecting the fact that well over half of the girls in some developing nations are not able to receive the education they deserve.

You might be wondering: what can we do to help amend the situation? Many girls in these nations are unable to attend school because they lack the resources necessary to cover the costs of tuition and school supplies that are essential to getting a full education. So what is this post about girls’ education doing on a blog about sustainable fashion? That’s where fashion brand Le Dessein comes in. In an effort to change the lives of girls around the world (and the communities and countries they live in), Le Dessein is committed to donating 25% of their profits to pay for the yearly tuition rates of young girls in countries where access to education may be difficult or not prioritized.

Le Dessein began this venture by working with girls in Liberia, where 77% of the poorest girls aged 7 to 16 have never been to school. This work was done in conjunction with the More Than Me Foundation, a foundation committed to helping young girls who live in some of the poorest slums in Liberia get an education and keep them off the streets. Le Dessein’s starting goal is to be able to help 10,000 girls get the education they deserve, and they are looking to expand their reach to Haiti in the upcoming year to further this work.

Le Dessein specializes in upscale women’s wear. Their high-end dresses, sweaters, and tops bring classic, season-less looks that attest to their desire to bring luxury wear into the socially responsible fashion world. This year, they also expanded to include a bracelet line. Each bracelet is comprised of a unique kind of gemstone that boasts some kind of inspirational or healing element. What really sets Le Dessein apart, though, are the designs embroidered onto each item of clothing from their line. In an effort to boost the self-confidence and creativity of the girls being supported in Liberia, an activity of taking photographs of friends and family was undertaken by the girls. They then used these photos to create drawings that became the basis for the embroidered images on Le Dessein’s clothing line. Through an education and creative activities such as this, Le Dessein’s ultimate goal is to empower and encourage these young women to lead the lives that they wish to lead rather than being forced to accept the path that might be traditionally placed on them. With an education, a greater breadth of opportunities is given to these girls, opportunities that might never have been possible without proper schooling.

None of this would have possible without the creative mind of founder Eric Coly. Eric is no stranger to the effects that empowerment and education can have on women; he comes from a long line of matriarchal influence. His grandmother attended college in the early 1920s in Senegal, an incredible accomplishment for a woman in Africa in that time. Her youngest daughter, Eric’s mother, also went on to attend college, this time in France. His two sisters both have received post-doctorate degrees in their turn. After taking a career in banking that fulfilled what he believed to be path worthy of his family and education, Eric realized that he needed something more in his career, something that could fill the creative space that was lacking in the world of finance. To pay homage to these extremely influential women in his life and to find a career that would work as an outlet for his creativity, Eric turned to the socially responsible fashion world, still a relatively obscure corner of the fashion industry at the time.

He wanted to create a label that could show how stylish and luxurious ethical fashion could be, rather than the “hippy” and casual styles that ethical and sustainable brands tended to lean towards. His hope is that through Le Dessein, not only will he be able to bring luxury clothing with a conscious to the world, but he will also be able to help young girls in need of an education see that with their artwork being worn by people around the globe (and with the knowledge that school affords them), they can break out of the roles that the patriarchal societies they live in so often tend to burden them with.

Care about these girls. Care about the world. Shop at Le Dessein (www.ledessein.com) to fashion an education for young girls in need.

Facts from the UNESCO Girls’ Education Fact Sheet

You can find Le Dessein on the following social media channels:

Twitter: @Le_Dessein
Instagram: instagram.com/ledessein 
Facebook: facebook.com/ledessein

Clothes Swapping at Copenhagen Fashion Week - GUEST POST

Friday, August 14, 2015

The following guest post is written by Sherylyn Oben

When you think of Fashion Week, it usually conjures up images of the newest designer fashion, impeccably-dressed style stars and chic models sashaying on the catwalks. Recently concluded Copenhagen Fashion Week had all that, and more.

:: Photo Credits: Sherylyn Oben / SurveyBee ::

Since it was fashion week for a city that prides itself for being the greenest in the world, this year’s event also highlighted Danish fashion industry’s initiatives to promote sustainable consumption and environmental responsibility.

In what almost appears like the antithesis of mainstream fashion, the event’s three-day run was capped off last Saturday with the first Fashion Exchange, a huge clothing swap market held in the city hall square. Armed with big paper bags and a good eye for spotting steals, hundreds of Copenhagen locals flocked to the venue to exchange their unwanted clothing for a free new wardrobe.

“I think it is a brilliant idea. We get to give our old cherished clothes new homes, we get to bring home “new” clothes from the swap for no cost at all, all while doing our planet good,” said one of the participants. “I think it’s high time that the fashion industry promote sustainability. Copenhagen is a very good example and I hope other cities also follow suit.”

All excess clothings and other remainders were donated to Asylum Centre Sandholm via Danish Red Cross.

Sherylyn Oben is a photographer and content creator for online survey aggregator SurveyBee

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