Mothers Day Gift Suggestions from Thread Harvest

Friday, May 1, 2015

An Australian ethical fashion retailer Thread Harvest launched last year, offering a sustainable selection of wares to the online consumer.

Imagine a collection of labels that offer a refreshing change to the mass produced, with most of the products for sale upcycled and/or made with fair trade and ethical practices; that is what Thread Harvest is all about.

Each product for sale through Thread Harvest comes with a compelling social or environmental story behind its creation, helping to educate the consumer in the background processes and the people involved in making their product of choice.

With Mothers Day just around the corner, now might be an opportunity to try out Thread Harvest, should you wish you choose an ethical product for your own Mum (discount code below). To save your some time, here is a profile of 10 items found on Thread Harvest, that would make great gifts this Mothers Day:

1. Kelapa Shoes by Indosole Soles

The Kelapa is a feminine take on the classic beach shoe, made with no animal material, and no fuel powered machinery, custom dyed, organic canvas uppers and soles made from repurposed tyres

Buy for $65 HERE Also available in coral.

2. Small handbag by What Daisy Did Made  
Each unique bag is made using recycled and factory offcut leather that may have otherwise been thrown away.  Made in a combination of colours, each bag reduces waste and helps create work in the developing world (produced in Rajastan, India)

Buy for $59 HERE. Larger bags and purses also available HERE.

3. Neary Pacaya T-shirt by Raven and Lily 

Ivory and black t-shirt, hand-screen printed on eco-friendly materials such as remnant jersey and naturally dyed, hand-loomed cotton.  Made in Phnom Penh, by a creative collaboration of women.  Many of artisans involved are HIV+ or have escaped the sex-trafficking industry.

Buy for $45 HERE.  Also available in slate.

4. Arrow Bangle by Article 22 

Make bracelets, not war!  These bangles are made by artisans in Laos, from Vietnam War era bombs, plane parts, and other aluminium scraps.  Hand poured and cast in wood and ash molds.

Buy for $45 HERE.  More jewellery designs available HERE.

5. Mulholland Sweater by Threads 4 Thought 

Made from sustainable materials (100% organic cotton), produced in factories that respect their employees and treat them humanely and fairly.

Buy for $65 HERE.  More designs available HERE

6. Whitney Necklace by Starfish Project

A beautiful turquoise and beige howlite, black ore and gunmetal chain necklace hand-crafted by women who have been rescued out of exploitation and abuse in 3 workshops around Asia.

Buy for $32 HERE.  Also available in yellow stone.  More designs HERE.

7. Dainty Pendant Necklace by The Giving Keys

Helping the homeless back on their feet using repurposed keys.  Each key is engraved by an individual transitioning out of homelessness, that is meaningfully employed by The Giving Keys.

Buy for $45 HERE.  Also available in gold brass.  More designs HERE.

8. Peacock Bucket Tote by Joyn 

A beautiful bag that is hand woven, with a peacock print that is hand print-blocked.  Made in Rajpur, India by artisans suffering from hardship and unemployment.

Buy for $39 HERE.  More bag designs available HERE.

9. Wilbur Fleece Pullover by ALAS Fair Trade Organic Sleepwear

Just in time for winter, this soft pullover is perfect for chilly nights.  Ethically made to GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) in certified organic cotton, in Jaipur and Tirrupur, India.

Buy for $79 HERE.  Matching pants HERE.  More sleepwear designs HERE.

10. Soap and Journals by Raven and Lily

Hand made soaps made by artisans in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains in Northern India, using spring water, local herbs, rich spices, and soothing essential oils.  Journals are made with recycled cotton turned into paper.

The artisan women working with Raven and Lily find new meaning through their work, once marginalised because of their gender and poverty, now finding passion and a new hope for their future.

Buy soaps for $8 and journals for $14 HERE.

Recycled Fashion Discount Code

The lovely folk at Thread Harvest have been kind enough to provide Recycled Fashion readers with a discount code to use, 10% off all purchases before Mother's Day; type in RFmothersday10 at checkout.  All purchases before Mother's Day will also receive a free upcycled fair trade card from Ravel and Lilly.

I am sure you will agree that buying products from Thread Harvest not only has that feel-good factor, but will genuinely do good within global communities, too. 

You can also find Thread Harvest on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Suitcase Rummage

Friday, April 24, 2015

Imagine a market, where all stallholders must sell their vintage and handmade wares out of suitcases. Sounds good, yes? Rummaging at its best!

The Suitcase Rummage markets have been running for a number of years now, originating in Brisbane and now held regularly in Brissie, Lismore, Canberra, Melbourne, with Freemantle on the horizon, too.

The next Melbourne Suitcase Rummage will be held at Fed Square on 14 June 2015, more here. For other city dates, head to and follow all the latest rummage news on Facebook.


The Eratz Fantasia Project at Yarra Ranges Museum

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Yarra Ranges Regional Museum in Lilydale presents an exciting exhibition this Autumn, for those with an interest in sustainable art, childhood memories, re-purposing and upcycling.

Artist Rachael Hallinan, a Melbourne-based painter, photographer and installation artist, presents The Ersatz Fantasia Project; a fun, interactive large-scale art installation using recycled plastic toys otherwise destined for landfill. This huge eco-project takes on a fantasy forest, reflecting the environmental impacts of our consumer driven society.

:: The Ersatz Fantasia Project at Yarra Ranges Museum. ::
Image c/o Facebook

The exhibition, funded through a Yarra Ranges Council community grant, opened on Saturday 28 March and will run until Sunday 24 May, 2015.

 :: The Ersatz Fantasia Project at Yarra Ranges Museum. ::
Image c/o Facebook

The Ersatz Fantasia Project stretches over two floors; The Box Gallery is the main exhibition room which focuses on a tree, completely covered by a rainbow of toys and discarded plastics. Visitors are then invited into The Chambers; upstairs in the gallery, to view 'The Majestic Plastic Bag'; a mockumentary narrated by Jeremy Irons, tracking the 'migration' of a plastic bag from the grocery store to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the Pacific Ocean.

It is also in The Chambers that visitors can create their own waste-art from discarded materials, plus there are three events taking place over the course of the project, with one workshop (make an upcycled paper bowl) presented by yours truly on Wednesday 13 May - book here.

:: Make an Upcycled Paper Bowl with me at the Yarra Ranges Museum ::

Other events include "School Holiday Workshop: Bits and Bugs" on Thursday 09 April, 2015 at 10:30am and "Repurposing toys to create household item" on Saturday 02 May, 2015 at 11:00am, taught by the artist herself; Rachael Hallinan.  Book your spot here.

For more information on The Eratz Fantasia Project by Rachael Hallinan, click here.


Space Invader Tee Refashion

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

I almost missed this Space Invader Tee, hidden amongst the children's clothes in a local Op Shop. Wouldn't you know it, Space Invader Tee is an adult size, and cost me a big fat 50c.

:: Space Invader Tee ::

I didn't bother trying on Spade Invader Tee, I rarely do for that price, because if it didn't fit, I could always make a grocery bag out of it.

Anyway, the Space Invader Tee did indeed fit, although I felt lacked interest, so after a quick scissor snip, I now have a Space Invader Vest, with a side tie for added interest.

:: Sleeves and neckline removed ::

:: slit for side tie ::

In another news, it has been announced that Recycled Fashion has reached the 'Top 100 Green Initiatives 2015' list prepared by Green Match, making it to number 5 of the 'Top 20 Green Projects'. What a nice surprise!


Pea Green Sea: Repurposed Sari Silk Infinity Scarves

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Australian based designer Susan, under her business name Pea Green Sea, re-purposes sari silk into beautiful infinity scarves and sells them via her online store.

Susan is not new to upcycling, often refashioning shirts and dresses into clothes for her children, but it is sari silk that has taken centre stage with her sewing machine, after her infinity scarves grew in popularity with family and friends, and soon the Etsy community.

:: Infinity silk sari scarf in teal, black, blue/green, gold - "Aegean" ::

Susan sent me one of her designs last week.  We exchanged emails to establish my preferred colour, and my stunning scarf arrived in the mail within days; perfection.

Whether complimenting a sleek little black dress number or dressing up a casual t-shirt and jeans get-up, Susan's infinity scarves add a little bit of elegance to any outfit.

:: Infinity silk sari scarf in blue, grey and silver - "Azure" ::

All Pea Green Sea scarves remain the same price; a very reasonable $29 AUD (approx $23 USD), however, Susan is generously giving ALL Recycled Fashion readers a further 15% off all purchases from now until 31 May 2015. Type in RECYCLED15 at checkout.

:: Infinity silk sari scarf in crimson, maroon,burgundy, black -"Amaranth" ::

You might be interested in having a look through Susan's Pea Green Sea collection on Etsy and snap up a little sustainable luxury for your own wardrobe.  Be quick though, Susan finds it a little hard to keep up with the demand of her designs! (I am not surprised).

Further reading - if you would like to learn more about the creative work and ideas behind Pea Green Sea, do check out Susan's interview on A little bit of Jess blog here.

You can find Pea Green Sea here:

Instagram: @pea_green_sea


Minted: Online Art Marketplace

Monday, March 2, 2015

I'm always on the look out for art pieces around the home, and have been quite lucky with a few of my thrifty finds, but I have to say that I find it quite hard to find an ideal piece for a certain room or an area of the house when I have something specific in mind.

I love finding unique pieces of art in galleries, but going home with an original piece can be a costly affair, which is when online sites such as Minted can help. Founded in 2007, US based Minted is a design marketplace that connects worldwide designers and artists with art-loving consumers on a large web scale.

:: Minted: Online Art Marketplace::

Minted offers all types of products including customised graphics, fabrics and home decor, but what really caught my eye is Minted's collection of limited edition art pieces, each with a link to the artist's bio, found via a unique URL to locate the artist's entire collection sold on the site. Artists can submit their work to a worldwide audience, gain 'fans' for each piece via the Minted community, as well as enter design competitions and have the opportunity to reach the 'Editor's Choice' hall of fame. Once an art print is sold on the site, the artist will receive a commission.

For the art-loving consumer such as I, there is a wonderful collection of art prints to buy, from a selection of photography, sketches, paintings, mixed media work, graphics and more, which are then printed to the required size, and framed if reqired. I have my eye on these:

:: Field of Waves by Paper Sheep ::

:: Float by Betty Hatchett ::

:: Twinkling light by Lesley Ferraris Photography ::

Minted can be found on the usual social media channels; Facebook and Twitter.  Minted's art collection can be found here.


How to Integrate Indigenous Cultures into Modern Fashion

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The following guest post, How to Integrate Indigenous Cultures into Modern Fashion is written by Danica, Founder of ethical fashion brand Wild Tussah.

 :: Wild Tussah ::
How to Integrate Indigenous Cultures into Modern Fashion
When it comes to sustainable and ethical fashion, conscious consumers all around the world can't seem to get enough of new, innovative ways to ensure that the clothes and accessories they spend good money on don't contribute to the exploitation of sweatshop workers - or to the destruction of the environment.

Apart from the financial support and fair treatment that modern companies are expected to offer their workers, it is also vital to help them conserve their cultural identity and their traditions, and to show respect towards their way of life.

This is why the integration of authentic ethnic elements into modern sustainable fashion is so important; it doesn't just offer a valuable source of income to people who so desperately need one, it also celebrates and appreciates indigenous cultures and their traditional handicrafts for the art form they actually are.

:: Wild Tussah Weavers ::

I know from first-hand experience that there are a few ways you must work with and integrate cultures into your design so that you end up with happy artisans and happy consumers. My 10 months of living in Vietnam, working directly with the ethnic communities and designing a sustainable handbag line, Wild Tussah, has taught me this.

:: Wild Tussah Cham Weaving Workshop ::

If you are interested in making your own clothes and accessories by working with local artisans, or would like to learn about the process behind ethical designing that happens on location, this is where you will find the inside scoop!

Choosing an ethnic culture
There are a few things to consider before attempting to create modern fashion with ethnic elements. Some questions you need to ask are:
• What specific skills do you need to source?
• What artisanal products would you like to bring to an international market?
• Will the artisans you work with be able to keep up with capacity needs?
• Will you be able to do their skills justice, to pay them a fair wage and still end up with a profitable product?
• Are these artisans comfortable working with foreigners?

:: Mrs Diem using a Loom ::

While your initial love for a culture or location might drive you to design, you have to think on a practical level before starting if you are going to create successfully.

Sourcing the artisans and their skills
The process of finding and selecting the best group of people to partner with involves a lot of research, so let's face it; having a reliable assistant on board who speaks the national language is a must! I really couldn’t have created a handbag line at the speed that I did without my Admin Assistant, Khuê.

From my experience, most local information online is not in English, and depending on the country, most people do not speak English. I found that having Khuê there to translate was invaluable and enabled me to build a relationship with my suppliers.

The initial research process will go something like this if you are on location:

1. Find information on the ethnic group, their skills and traditions.
2. Locate their local shop where they trade or where the closest artisan village is that you can visit.
3. Call beforehand to schedule a meeting time and let them know why you are coming.
4. Speak to the person you’ll be working with once you get there either directly or through a translator about partnership opportunities.
5. Organize time to spend with the artisans and learn about their making process and local traditions.

Delving into the artisan’s culture is extremely important, so allowing yourself time to research and visit their village is crucial. You’ll be able to understand how people live in these communities, and check out the artisans' working conditions. Make sure you take notes on any aspect you think you could help improve in the future should the partnership be successful. Seeing with your own eyes how your products are actually going to be made will help you pay your workers fairly.

:: Wild Tussah visits Cham Kindergarten ::

If you aren’t able to be in the country where your artisans live, you can find other alternatives to sourcing handicrafts. There are online businesses that do the hard work for you; they source the handicrafts themselves and act as a liaison between you and the artisan.

Culture preservation
The next part to this process is to work on the design specifications and create something that will preserve your artisans’ traditions. Culture clash is a major faux pas, so keep in mind the way their handicrafts traditionally look, the tools they use and the way they work. All are building blocks to creating the culture you have come to love and want to preserve. You might think that an old loom, for example, needs to be replaced with a new one, but that isn’t the case if they traditionally use these old looms. What part of the culture are you preserving; the skill; the process of creating; the actual handicraft product; or all of the above?

:: Loom Weights ::

Giving credit
After creating, you can now show your design to the world, and... give credit to your artisans! Giving them a voice; it brings more meaning and depth to your product. They are the reason you started in the first place, so share with the rest of us those who inspired you. When the person wearing your clothing or accessories understands that it took the maker months to complete, they can see more beauty in the piece and the value of it.

I find this part to be the most enjoyable because I get to share amazing stories from real people, and prove that my design has purpose and it is changing lives.

My question to you is, what part of the creation process do you think is the most important when you are integrating indigenous cultures into modern fashion? And which do you think is or would be the hardest?

For more information about women’s empowerment, sustainable fashion, culture preservation, weaving, eco-tourism and anything Vietnam-related, check out Wild Tussah’s blog. To see our handbags, which incorporate Lu and Cham weaves, visit our online shop.

:: Wild Tussah Handbags ::

About Danica
:: Danica Ratte - Wild Tussah ::

Danica Ratte is a travel addict who grew up and went to university in the US; moved to Australia for 3.5 years; and now resides in Vietnam, living out her dreams of designing consciously. She was inspired to start her sustainable handbag line after a life changing 5-week trip through South East Asia. Danica was blown away by local ethnic weavers’ skills and their excitement to teach others about it. After she found out that these weave cultures were endangered of going extinct, she decided she had to work with the artisans directly to help preserve their traditions. Now she asks this question every day: “Do you know where your bags come from?”

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