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 ::

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 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.


June in July Recycled Bag Designs

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

This lovely shoulder bag has travelled more than a few mighty miles to reach me in Australia with a delightful story attached. Claire Patterson makes bags, totes and accessories from recycled leather, selling via her business name June in July, formally Curl Girl Designs. Completely out of the blue, Claire offered to send me one of her beautiful bags because she loves this blog.

Claire didn't ask me to review her brand in return, but seriously, how could I not? Not only is her gesture both kind and sincere, but her bags are pretty darn creative. Claire uses a mix of colourful fabrics with the leather she chooses to work, adding a contemporary edge to her style. Also worth mentioning, Claire's prices are very reasonable too.

I'm always intrigued to learn more about the person/people behind handmade recycled products; their story, their working background, that sort of thing, so I have 'interviewed' Claire to share her 'June in July' story with Recycled Fashion readers:

:: Claire Patterson, June in July ::

Q: Tell us about you and your working life prior to 'June in July'

I was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio and am still happy to call it home. I live with my super supportive and wonderful husband and my two year old munchkin, June. I am a lawyer by trade, but am currently trying to make a go of this handmade business.

Q: How long have you been sewing for?
I was raised around sewing. My grandmother taught home economics in the 1960s and my mom always made outfits and other crafts for my sister and I growing up. I starting sewing for myself in high school when I wanted to make a purse and things just blossomed from there. I started working with leather about seven years ago and it was really a game changer.

:: June in July Designs ::

Q: Why did you decide to start 'June in July'?

I started just making purses and bags for myself, mostly because I couldn't find exactly what I wanted at the store. I never dreamed that people would want to buy them or that this would be my business. It's really inspiring that people love my bags as much as I do and want to support my creativity.

:: June in July Designs ::

Q: Where do you source your leather?

All of my leather is repurposed from vintage coats, pants and skirts. I buy most of it from second hand and consignment shops. Occasionally I do special orders where I transform sentimental leather pieces that are no longer used into bags so they can have a new life.

:: June in July Designs ::

Q: Is working with recycled material particularly important to you? If so, why?

There is incredible detail in so many of these pieces that are cast aside and forgotten about. It honestly feels like we are doing the original leather crafters a disservice by not continuing to use these items that they have worked so hard to create. I love being able to give the leather a new purpose while at the same time saving us from waste.

:: June in July Designs ::

Q: Aside from Etsy, do you sell your bags anywhere else?

I currently do most of my business on Etsy and sell in a few local shops and craft markets. My goal is to have an independent store on my personal website and hope to have that up and running in 2015.

Q: What would you say is your greatest challenge working on your business?

I have two major challenges. The first is my want-to-be-perfectionist personality. Working with recycled materials, it is difficult to have the exact size, shape or color available to perfectly fulfill my design vision. I spend a lot of time reworking ideas to make the most of the materials I have. My second major challenge is time. I have a two year old who is adorable, but also very very busy. As I'm sure any mother knows, there is a constant struggle of how to use my free time most effectively and efficiently. It is a struggle for me to make sewing and my business a priority.

Once again Claire, thank you for my gorgeous bag. Keep up your great work and long may your recycled leather bag business flourish!

You can follow Claire's adventures on Instagram, and shop her beautiful recycled creations on Etsy and her blog.


Op Shop Fail

Thursday, October 9, 2014

I spent a nice morning op shopping with baby Recycled today, in search of a few mundane containers for the kitchen, nothing worth writing about, until ... da-da-duuuuuuhhh, these things caught my eye:

:: Op Shop Fail ::

Is it a wedge? Is it a heel? Who would design such hideous things?

In other news, Mr Recycled spotted a couple of pint glasses on the side of the road that made their way back to our house. Cheers to a bit of curbside hard rubbish style.

:: Cheers to Hard Rubbish ::

Speaking of pints, Mr Recycled and I graced Melbourne's Princess Theatre on Saturday night for the official opening of Once the Musical, a story based in modern day Dublin, complete with a bar on the stage and Guinness too!  Once the Musical is such a beautiful show, you can read more about it here.  I donned my new-to-me frock purchased from the second Thrifty Fashionista Market held at Westfield Southland last weekend, although I completely forgot to take a photograph of it.  I did however, take a photograph of the Princess Theatre's stunning ceiling though!  Aren't theatre's grand?

 :: Princess Theatre, Melbourne ::

Lastly, I'll take this opportunity to mention my upcoming workshop that will take place at the next Nanna Cool Market in Frankston.  Will you join me in making pretty flower brooches out of fabric scraps? More details here.


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