Fabric Scrap Brooch Workshop

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

It has been many months since I've pulled out my craft supplies, or even stitched a thread. I shall not tell stories of woe as to why my craft remains non existent, other than to highlight my oh-so-busy life with children, and the spare time that I do have tends to be focused on writing; a growing passion and possible future career.

Having said that, I have missed teaching recycled craft workshops, so when Nanna Cool Markets asked if I'd like to present a class at their last event, I jumped at the idea.

Putting together bits and pieces of scrap fabric, scissors, brooch pins, my glue gun, needles and thread, I whisked a basket filled with otherwise useless material to a Nanna Cool Market's craft room, ready to teach a lovely group of ladies ways to turn little pieces of odds and ends into rosette flowers in my Fabric Scrap Rosette Brooch Class.

Using a twisting technique, pins, and a needle and thread, fabric can be hand-sewn into an attractive brooch to add to your lapel, brighten up a handbag, or attach a hair pin to wear in your hair.

Each completed brooch finished on the day represented a completely unique and individual style to each participant.

Here is one workshop participant, Ingrid, modelling her completed brooch on her gorgeous refashioned op shop dress:

I really enjoyed teaching recycled craft again, and hope to repeat another class with Nanna Cool Market, offering a different recycled activity next time.


Children’s Recycled Fashion – Swap.com

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Buying clothes for young children can be a real nightmare, particularly when spending good money on little people's new clothes ends in holey knees and stains after a few months of general wear and tear, as well as growth spurts that make an entire wardrobe of clothes redundant in a such a short space of time. Hand-me-downs are a great way of saving money, and there is also the option of buying second hand clothes online.

Swap.com is a new service available to parents in the United States that appears to be making things a lot easier for those with small children. The service allows parents to ship their old and unused children’s clothes to a central warehouse. Pre-loved clothes are photographed and added to an online store, where thousands of parents shop each day.  It is possible to either sell children's items to free up some cash, or swap them with other parents who are also selling their own kids pre-loved clothes.

A service such as Swap.com can make a huge difference to a tight budget, allowing you to trade unwanted items for new-to-you brands at a significantly lower cost than their recommended retail value.

Unlike similar sites, each item sold on Swap.com is shipped to a warehouse, screened and evaluated on its quality.  In addition, because all items are stored at a central depot based in the US, all orders are sent out on the day of order, and usually arrive between 2 - 3 days.

Swap.com might not be for everyone, but it certainly sounds like it could be a site to offer an alternative to giving away quality children's clothes, or selling them for a fraction of their value at a garage sale.

Not based in the US myself, it would be interesting to hear from parents that are, and whether you have tried Swap.com.  If you have bought or sold on Swap.com, please do share your experience via a comment below, I'd love to hear your thoughts.


Recent Thrifty Purchases

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Last weekend, the littlest member of our family turned 1. I still can't quite fathom how quickly that last year seemed to go; it sounds so cliche but it really seems like only yesterday he entered the big wide world.

My Mum is with me, visiting from the UK and together we went in search of serving plates for the little one's birthday celebrations.  Neither of us saw the point in buying new when there are plenty of lovely serving platters, bowls and plates that can be found in Op Shops secondhand.

We spent all of $23 and took home; a glass leaf serving plate, three glass bowls (two matching), a huge ceramic serving plate and a set of 6 fabulous pineapple dessert bowls.

:: Glass pineapple dessert bowl set for $5 ::

The weekend prior to the little fella's first birthday also happened to another family celebration, giving me good reason to wear my new-to-me fancy heels purchased from Salvos earlier in the month.

:: Heels from Salvos ::

With my shoes, I wore a dress my Dad picked out for me (go Dad!) all the way from Sunny Spain.

What thrifty purchases have you come home with lately?


tonlé Ethical Fashion GIVEAWAY

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

It has been a while since I've published an ethical fashion outfit post here on the blog, with this particular ensemble worn on an unexpectedly hot Melbourne spring day last week.

Dress: tonlé
Sunglasses: Zeal Optics from Vision Direct

The beautiful white t-shirt dress seen here is from tonlé, repurposed Hmong textile sandals from Siamese Dream Design, recycled leather bag made by Claire of June in July, and sunglasses are from Vision Direct, made by Zeal Optics, a environmentally responsible sunglasses company that follows a zero-waste principle.

Speaking of zero-waste, my tonlé t-shirt dress made from recycled jersey remnants comes with a much bigger story.  tonlé is a socially responsible clothing brand, working with local people in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

tonlé’s unwavering commitment to the environment means their entire clothing collection is predominantly made using large manufacturers excess fabric cast offs, with their own production created with 0% waste.

 :: Tonlé Mekong Collection, 2014 c/o https://www.facebook.com/tonledesign ::

90% of the fabrics used in tonlé designs would have been destined for landfill, the remaining 10% supports locally sourced suppliers that supply clay, belt buckles carved from re-claimed scrap wood, and fabrics woven from remnant threads.

Every part of tonlé's design and production process strives to be ethically transparent, and there is also a connection between the people who make tonlé textiles and those who wear them. When you receive a tonlé design, attached you will find a label to tell you who made your garment and the conditions in which it was produced.

On tonlé's website and you can read about every one of the Phnom Penh based team here, from design to production to sales.

:: part of the tonlé team ::
As well as being an ethically sound fashion company choosing to screen print using natural dye's, hand weave, and package garments using recycled materials, tonlé's design's are casual and attractive, suitable for most body shapes and sizes.

** tonlé Ethical Fashion GIVEAWAY **

Thanks to tonlé, we have a very special giveaway of a basic t-shirt - lichen to give to one Recycled Fashion reader.  Enter via Rafflecopter below, a winner will be selected two weeks from now.

I would also encourage you to following tonlé's journey further. You can support tonlé via their kickstarter campaign here, like on Facebook, and shop tonlé's beautiful collection here, safe in the knowledge that you can see exactly where your good money has being spent.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

An interview with Debra Rapoport star of Advanced Style: The Documentary

Monday, October 27, 2014

Seven beautiful and stylish New York women aged between 62 and 95 feature in a movie version of Ari Seth Cohen's unique street fashion photography blog that holds the same title as the film; Advanced Style.

:: Debra Rapoport. Photograph by Ari Seth Cohen ::

Debra Rapoport, one of the stars featured in Advanced Style: The Documentary very kindly agreed to be interviewed on Recycled Fashion after a succession of email discussions back and forth between in NYC and Melbourne.

What links Debra Rapoport to the readers of Recycled Fashion is her appreciation and use of recycled and found materials in her fashion outfits and her work. Debra can be seen wearing the most incredible hats and cuffs made using paper towel cardboard rolls, embellished with all sorts of textiles and materials in a number of colour combinations, that would otherwise end up in landfill.

:: Debra Rapoport wearing self made hat and cuffs. Photograph by Ari Seth Cohen ::

An interview with Debra Rapoport star of Advanced Style: The Documentary

How and when did you meet Ari Seth Cohen?

Debra: "I met Ari October 2009. He was managing the book store in the New Museum in NYC. I had just taken my raincoat off and he came up to me and asked if he could take my picture as he explained the blog about older stylish women. I had bright pink hair. He then realized that he didn't have his camera that day but used a friend's iPhone and did some quickies. I pulled out my card and said "come over ...I will dress up/undress and make you lunch". Five days later I hadn't heard from him so I called him. He came for lunch and photographed everything in my apartment...me cooking, changing outfits and artwork. It was the first time he encountered one of his women in their home. Prior to this, it was just street shots."

 :: Debra Rapoport.  Photograph by Ari Seth Cohen ::

How long did the filming take for Advanced Style?

"Lina Plioplyte and Ari Seth Cohen shot over a period of 4 years. At first Lina was shooting videos and put them up on Advanced Style You-tube. Then, with such interest they realized they had an idea that could become a feature film! So they began to shoot more and then started editing. With so many hours of footage, it was a challenge to edit it down and have it work as a feature film."

How has your life changed since your appearance in Advanced Style?  

"I get stopped very often and people ask if they can take my picture or if they can be photographed with me. Especially, since the film is out people of all ages recognize me on the street and stop me. It is such fun. It is a chance to talk about the "Movement", why we dress, about vitality and staying involved with our passion and giving permission for everyone to SELF-express."

:: Debra Rapoport.  Photograph by Ari Seth Cohen ::

"Many opportunities have come my way. A K-Mart ad ("Money Can't Buy Style"), speaking engagements with Ari and some of the other women, more teaching, a TED talk soon from Amsterdam with Ari and Joyce. I continue to have MORE fun!!"

Do you keep in touch with the other ladies featured in Advanced Style?

"OH YES...we sometimes do speaking engagements together. Sometimes we get together at Lynn Dell's store, Off Broadway, as it's a great venue to gather. My partner and I love to throw soirees. We meet so many young people through Ari and Lina. We want to keep the soirees mixed ages and energies and share the good experiences."

How would you describe your style?

"I say it is eclectic and creative. I like to mix a variety of things but work with layering, color and texture. I consider my body an armature upon which to build a layered sculpture. I call it the A/B/Cs....Assembling/Building/Constructing."

 :: Debra Rapoport, Photograph by Francesco Bilotto ::

Why is the use of recycled materials in your wearable art important to you?

"Materials have always spoken to me. With so much waste in our culture everyday items jump out at me and ask for a second life. It is something I have done for 50 years. It is in my nature. It is exciting to me to translate materials into something completely not recognizable. It is too easy to take expected materials and work with it in the traditional way."

Where do you source your recycled materials?

"I find things around the house, in the recycle bin or even on the street. If it is something I really like people will notice this, save some and send them to me. This happens with clothing too. What fun...I great great things in the mail all the time!"

Can you show us some of your pieces and explain the materials used to make them? 
:: Debra Rapoport in London before the premiere of Advanced Style the Movie 
Photograph by Ari Seth Cohen 
Hat and cuffs made from Paper Towel Cardboard :: 

 :: Debra's Cuffs made from Paper Towel Cardboard 
Photograph by Winnie AU::

I noticed you sell some of your recycled designs online, is selling your work a new venture?

"Yes selling on line is a new venture. I have sold in galleries over the years. I started by saying "I do ME-COMMERCE not E-COMMERCE" but then Ari convinced me to do E-Commerce and have a site. I need a young friend to work on it with me as I can't do it myself."

Do you have any future exciting projects on the horizon?

"Well yes, I was just informed that some of my art work will be in an exhibit called "Gifts from America" for the 250th Anniversary Exhibit at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg Russia. This is very exciting. Also I was recently asked to do a walk on speaking part with an avant-garde dance company, Edward Morgan Dance, NYC. They saw me one day and felt like my energy was right for them. My partner who is a song writer played and sang in the performance as well. This company wants to continue to collaborate with us! Who would ever think at almost 70!"

:: ARTSWESTCHESTER HAT EXHIBIT "H Attitude" Curated by Judith Schwartz ::
:: Photo by Ari Seth Cohen ::

You can find Debra Rapoport on Facebook, Viva Le Hat, and Advanced Style. You might also still catch Debra on the big screen at a few selected movie theatres still showing Advanced Style: The Documentary, otherwise get hold of a copy on DVD here. You must see it!

Thank you so much for sharing your story with us Debra.. so much achievement already, yet more exciting time ahead!


Express Yourself: Romance Was Born for Kids at NGV

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

With high fashion couture still fresh in the memory having seen The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier
exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) a day prior, The Cultured Baby (as he is affectionately named) and I took another trip to Melbourne's public art museum, this time for the opening of a second magnificent exhibition; Express Yourself: Romance Was Born for Kids.

 :: Image c/o Romance was Born on Facebook ::
Commissioned by Sydney-based fashion designers Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales, the talented duo behind Romance Was Born were invited create an exhibition specifically for children to enjoy.

Synonymous for their flamboyant designs, often psychedelic in nature, Plunkett and Sales have delightfully lived up to their reputation. Express Yourself: Romance Was Born for Kids is a mind blowing exhibition, awash with dazzling colour, sparkle and neon, Australiana related art, magical creativity and interactive fun.

The first room on the right, Rainbowland, presents a gallery space divided into colour segments, with each division containing a collection of memorable items using NGV artworks as well as vintage pieces you may remember from your own childhood such as Strawberry Shortcake, Care Bears, My Little Pony, Ninja Turtles alongside Milo tins and Vegemite jars. Plunkett and Sales used items from their own childhood collection and shopped on eBay for vintage pieces (fun!) to add to the installation.

 :: Rainbowland at Express Yourself ::

The exhibition centre, named Bush Magic, features a neon coloured Billabong projected onto the floor with little fish and frogs for tiny hands and feet to chase.

 :: Bush Magic - a big hit for The Cultured Baby ::

Plunkett and Sales invited various artists to collaborate with Express Yourself, and Del Kathryn Barton happened to be one such artist that prepared quite possibly the prized piece of the exhibition. Taking influence from the Australian bush, Del Kathryn Barton's stunning 2m kangaroo and joey painting named 'We will ride 2014' is positioned in the middle wall of the gallery space

:: 'We will ride 2014' by Del Kathryn Barton ::

The Make and Do room invites children to embellish their own Romance Was Born designed beard or necklace, using self adhesive gems, pom poms and googly eyes. I have to say, the adults were all over this just as much as the kids!

:: Beards and Necklaces ::

:: Romance was Born Embellished Necklace Selfie ::

Lastly, the Tomb Room sees a Mummy wearing sunnies and wrapped in neon bandages, surrounded by pieces from her own fictional wardrobe - real designs from Romance Was Born's newest and past collections.

:: The 'Tomb Room' Mummy ::

:: Romance was Born designed gown with vintage button embellishments ::

Express Yourself: Romance Was Born for Kids at NGV is as fun for the grown-ups as it is for the kids; satisfying the fashion savvy, art lover and Peter Pan in all of us.

Running until 22 March 2015, open 10am-5pm, 7 days a week. The Express Yourself: Romance Was Born for Kids at NGV exhibition is FREE to enter.  Even if you don't have children, you really need to go and see this exhibition.  Really. You must.


The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier opens in Melbourne

Monday, October 20, 2014

Two wonderful exhibitions mixing art with fashion opened at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) Melbourne last Friday; The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From Sidewalk to Catwalk, and Express Yourself: Romance Was Born for Kids. (The RWB exhibition will feature in my next blog post)


Baby and I went to the media preview of The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From Sidewalk to Catwalk last Thursday.  Surrounded by 300 or so media folk were treated to a 'conversation' with arguably the most famed modern day French Couturier of our time, as Jean Paul Gaultier and the Curators of his world-class exhibition graced Melbourne for the opening weekend.

:: Wearing this dress ::

Melbourne and the NGV is somewhat privileged to host such an exquisite exhibition, which started life in Montreal, moved to New York and onto London before opening in Victoria's capital city last week.
:: Installation Image c/o National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) ::

Over his 40 year career Jean Paul Gaultier has worked with, and grown fond, of many Australian stars, frequently noting his appreciation for Baz Luhrmann's style and aesthetic, and regularly acknowledging his unlikely friendship with super-star pop princess Kylie Minogue. Last week however, focused on his working partnership with Australian supermodel Andreja Pejic (former androgynous model Andrej Pejic), jetting to Melbourne to surprise the designer on the eve of the opening, appearing as a women for the first time since undergoing gender transition surgery.

Jean Paul Gaultier with his Australian muses, Andreja Pejić & Alexandra Agoston

It would be no surprise to hear The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From Sidewalk to Catwalk is an outstanding exhibition.

Most others I spoke to last Thursday proved to be as overwhelmed as I, and we agreed the exhibition is almost impossible to take in on first visit. The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier features some 140 pieces of intricate garments spanning Gaultier's 40 year career. Each piece is displayed in thematic sections which make up the designer's major influences: The Odyssey, The Boudoir, Punk Cancan, Skin Deep, Metropolis, Urban Jungle and Muses.

:: Installation Image c/o National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) ::

One of the exciting features of the exhibition, which is also a little peculiar to the eye when first entering the The Odyssey is a selection of 32 animated mannequins dressed in Gaultier's designs, which appear to talk, sing and look around the room as if they were alive as their real life equivalents. Using high-definition audio-visual projections, a pre-recorded Jean Paul Gaultier talks from a stationary mannequin, alongside Ève Salvail and Smashing Pumpkins/Hole bass player Melissa Auf der Maur.

Each room is filled with mesmerizing pieces taken from various stages of Gaultier's career; from movie star designed gowns to movie set costumes, a moving catwalk, provocative pieces, and a fine selection of corsets and cone bra's, although this merely scratches the surface of the highly acclaimed exhibition, which is why The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier must be seen more than once.

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From Sidewalk to Catwalk, will run from 17 Oct 2014 to 8 Feb 2015. Tickets start from $22 - adult price.

There are additional programs and events running alongside The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier such as the return of NGV's Friday Nights with parties held under the Grand Hall's kaleidoscopic glass ceiling, accompanied by a stellar line-up of live music from musicians and DJs as well as pop-up fashion talks, bar and dining choices. More here.

For further JPG related event details head to NGV's website here.

I know this is a phrase you hear all the time, but The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier a celebrated exhibition that should not be missed before the exquisite collection heads to Paris next year.


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