TireFlops: a Fashionable and Sustainable Footwear Solution

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

There are many companies contributing to a greener world, and one such innovative organisation that got in touch via email recently, is GomaVial based in Spain.

These guys recently launched a campaign on Kickstarter; the popular American-based crowdfunding website. The project aims to get the necessary funding to launch a recycled footwear range: TireFlops; high tech sandals with upcycled tyre (or tire for our US and Canadian readers) outsoles.

TireFlops are the result of one year of research and development by GomaVial’s team; mainly chemists and engineers. The company has developed and patented a new technology to treat used tyres by deconstruction. Through deconstruction, the tyre tread can be obtained in full, retaining its physical, chemical and mechanical properties. And since no melting is involved, environmentally unfriendly and energy costly processes such as grinding or incinerating can be avoided.

TireFlops have three elements:

* A vulcanised rubber strap, higher in elasticity than the traditional PVC ones, which means extra grip and comfort.

* Specially formulated EVA to reduce sliding when in contact with water, balanced to allow comfortable walking.

* The tyre tread outsole; the key element in the design, encompasses maximum durability and grip on dry or wet surfaces.

GomaVial was founded in 2010 by three young engineers and entrepreneurs, and from the very beginning, has developed innovative and high tech products and materials, by upcycling car tyres, for a greener and more sustainable world. The company has received many awards for their contribution to technology and sustainability.

With just a few weeks to go, GomaVial's TireFlops project needs your support!  Head over to Kickstarter to pledge, here.

*Disclaimer* This blog post is by no means sponsored or paid, I simply wanted to spread the word on what will be a great upcycling initiative; fashioning old tyres into footwear.

I Didn't Throw It Away

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Singaporean based blogger, eco-crafter and workshop facilitator Agy, of Green Issues by Agy asked if I'd like to take part in a fun blog train, exploring items that have been in my possession for over 20 years, which for whatever reason, I have not thrown away.

After looking around the house yesterday, I wondered what I could talk about.  Most of my belongings are close to, or over 20 years old, because the majority of which have been sourced second hand; that being said it doesn't necessarily mean said items have been in my own possession for 20 years.

It goes without saying that bits and pieces one tends to keep for a period of time, hold some sort of sentimental value, and with that, fond memories.

Quasimodo the Rabbit. 

Some children get attached to a teddy as a comfort toy, others prefer a security blanket, and many do not get attached to a single thing. As a child, I grew to love to a soft toy rabbit, with a front zip all the way up its belly; supposedly for pyjama storage. The rabbit, propped wearily against my boots above, I (or maybe my Mum) affectionately named rabbit 'Quasimodo', because of its hunched back.

Tatty, loved and pink, wearing a t-shirt designed for a Garfield soft toy (that you might also remember, if you were a child of the 80's), Quasimodo fails to have fluff on one ear. My Mum tells me I would stroke the fur of my rabbit's ears to get to sleep, so much so, that hardly any fluff remains. 

I can't remember when I decided I didn't need my rabbit anymore, but I still have it.. of course, stored in the top of my wardrobe. You may wonder how it remained so pink in colour - it didn't, my Mum dyed it, regularly. 

Queen Coronation Tea Cup

I do love a vintage tea cup, of which I have a collection.  This tea cup, part of my collection, is a little bit special; given to my Mum as at a street party to celebrate the Queen Elizabeth's 11 coronation, where all children were given one as souvenir. 

Admittedly, I not much of a Royal fan, but this mug represents where I come from, and I can't forget that.  I have called Australia home for ten years now, and while Melbourne holds my soul, Britain still has my heart. They say you can take the girl out of London, but you can't take London out of the girl .. and the tea cup, well it reminds me to remember that.

Grandma's Leaf Brooch

This brooch is one of a few pieces that has been passed down by my late Grandmother.  I hold in my possession, a few jewellery pieces and accessories from both Grandmothers, and wear different pieces on different occasions.  I like to ponder where my Grandmothers' would have bought or when they were given their jewellery to wear.  Neither were particularly wealthy, but both enjoyed a sparkle or two.

Silver Watch

Another gift from my Mum; a mechanical Swiss silver watch she found in a British charity shop.  I'm not much of a watch wearer, but when I do wear choose to wear one, this is the only piece I will wear.

Ankle Boots

I have a slight confession; these beloved boots have not actually been in my possession for 20 years, but they are original vintage beauties, made in Brazil in the 1960s.

I found these boots at Paddington Market in Sydney, 13 years ago, and wore them out in Sydney's clubs that night, without a flinch.  These days, my boots sit pretty in my wardrobe; my feet couldn't handle their 9cm height anymore - that said, I'd never get rid of them. Ever.

That was fun! a trip down memory lane, and a personal thought for my attachment with old stuff.

Yesterday saw Jill from Creating my way to Success sharing her 20 year old possessions, and next up Sharon from A Vintage Crafty Adventure, shares her vintage belongings.  Thank you for organising, Agy.

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!


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