Wednesday, June 30, 2010

For many, nothing beats the feeling of wearing a brand new garment. Well how about this; make your own 'new'clothes? No chance, you might think, I wouldn’t have a clue where to start.

Reading Frankie Magazine on the train this morning, I read with interest a small article referring to a new London label DIYcouture. DIYcouture have introduced a new line of clothing with a difference, instead of selling garments off the rack, they sell books with simple patterns and designs for anyone to try at home. Imagine that, a feeling of wearing something new, but with the added bonus of knowing you made it with your own hands. Plus because you can choose your own fabric, why not buy second hand material, and make a completely sustainable fashion piece? Nice! Their website lists instructions for beginner sewers, some examples:

How to straightstitch
How to make a loop fastening
How to make a pleated skirt

As well as advice on choosing fabrics

Some photographs from DIY's collection

Make your own hoodie

Make your own kaftan

Check out more DIY fashion on DIYcouture's website

Wardrobe Refashion - Take The Pledge

I have taken the Wardrobe Refashion's lifetime pledge, would you like to do the same?

This might sounds difficult for one that cannot sew, but it does allow to buy second hand clothing.

You can take the pledge by signing up to Wardrobe Refashion's pledge for 2 months, 4 months, 6 months or for life. Wardrobe Refashion Pledge


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Introducing Ethikl Fair Trade, Organic, Ethical Shopping - An online marketplace for buying and selling all things natural, handmade, and organic.


Ethikl started only this year, after its founder Peita Gardiman found no shops selling truely ethical products. Considering Ethikl has only been in existence for six months, it is growing rapidly in popularity.

Some wise words from Peita:

"We live in a throwaway society where a dizzying array of products are available. We are constantly being told to buy, buy, buy! Yet every item we purchase requires both natural and human resources to manufacture, package and transport. We all love a bargain, but when you are paying only $5 for a t-shirt, maybe it's time to ask some questions."

"The Ethikl Marketplace is made up of small, independent artisans who produce high quality, ethical products that have a positive impact on people and the planet. We want to help you, the ethical consumer, find anything from fair-trade products, to organic food, handmade clothes, unique gifts and natural beauty products."

In a previous blog post I’d mentioned my visit to a non-profit street children's centre in Manila a few years ago, when I met some inspirational children making jewellery out of recycled magazines. Children involved in BT's programs have a chance to earn income and develop new skills by making these handicrafts. The work and working conditions are carefully monitored to ensure they are appropriate to the child’s age and development and that they will contribute to the advancement of the child’s skills. Here are some of those jewellery pieces:

In addition to jewellery pieces made from recycled magazines, there are colourful bags made from recycled materials made by a Filipino women’s co-op, many of which are family members involved with the non-profit organisation to help these children in need of special protection in The Philippines. I have some upcycled bags for sale on Ethikl to raise money for the cause. The bags below are made from:

Discarded juice cartons stitched together into tote shopper bags

Discarded telephone directories, carefully woven into basket bags

Chip packets woven together to make clutch, hand bags and purses

Not only are these bags and purses a sustainable product saving trash from landfill, but each bag sold raises money for the non-profit Filipino organisation.

The clutch bag below has recently sold, but there are more on their way, which will soon be listed on Ethikl.

Link to Recycled Fashion's Ethikl store can be found here Ethikl

Toddler Op Finds

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Slotting in with Sophies Flea Market Finds, I give thanks to my son for my find this week.

Anyone with children will appreciate, its really hard work op shopping with a toddler. So my trick is to find the first toy, book, whatever, give that to my son to look at whilst quickly browsing, perhaps find another toy, book, whatever and then buy it, or put it back on the self on exit. This works for, ooooo around 5 minutes, then he is bored and cries, and we have to leave. Fun.

Well this time, whilst at one of my favourite op shops AAPS in Cheltenham, my son grabbed one of those $2 plastic bags filled with toys and was delighted with the amount of toy cars in to play with (5 cars!). Amongst these cars was a little beauty; a vintage style pale blue ute toy, I love it, and whilst he does play with the ute at home, it sits really pretty on the mantlepiece above my fireplace:

How green are your jeans?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Eco Jeans

Eco jeans are hot topic at the moment, with Armani being the first to create an eco-friendly jean with many more to follow. Diesel have produced the Keever, made from cotton paper denim using the ancient Chinese technique of crafting paper, each pair is made from 65 per cent cotton, 35 per cent paper and organic indigo dye, retailing at a whopping $669.

Last year Alanis Morissette and Woody Harrelson launched the new eco-jean RecoJean. Reco Jeans made from 50% recycled denim fabric. Using materials that would normally end up in landfill, the eco-celebrity duo have created super-soft denim jeans made from the highest percentage of recycled denim fibers in the jean industry.

And they look pretty good too:

Re-work your old jeans

It's all very well buying new eco jeans, with those made from recycled fabrics, but I still say buy second hand, or re-work old jeans from your wardrobe.

According to recent fashion trends as seen on FashionPeach, you'd best not ditch your skinny leg jeans just yet, all you have to do is turn them up into a cuff and voila:

A new look for your old jeans without buying new. A pair of my favourite diesel jeans, bought 8 years ago, have a new lease of life:

Levis & Myoo Care To Air Challenge

Myoo have parterned with Levis to create the Care To Air Challenge , the world’s most innovative, covetable, and sustainable air-drying solution for clothing, with $10,000 in prize money from Levi Strauss & Co. the challenge sponsor - to be distributed among the finalists.

Who are Myoo?

Myoo Create is a community for environmental and social innovation – where people who share a passion for inspiring and co-creating a better world can come together and apply their talents to challenges that matter.


Your favourite pair of jeans consumes energy throughout its life cycle, giving this fashion staple a carbon footprint. Nearly 80% of that is due to the energy intensive method we choose for drying.

Entries so far include

Self drying fabric - using ultra quick drying material
Tornado - ceiling hung collapsible drying rack
Dry House - packages the outdoor air drying experience by adapting to the user’s culture and environment
Solar clothes dryer - Clothes dryer which uses the sun's energy to heat/expand air
The Air Closet - A ventilated closet that attaches to the condenser fan of a central A/C unit.

Do you have a better idea? If so, submit your entry Care To Air Design Challenge

Buy My Wardobe

Thursday, June 24, 2010

If it's recycled Chanel or Gucci clothes and accessories you're after, you'd better Buy My Wardobe... no, not mine, but a team of 'carefully selected uber-fashionistas gathering for one day events to sell the contents of their fabulous designer wardrobes to discerning members of the public'.

When you think of recycling, you may not immediately think of glamorous designer fashion, but with the launch of Buy My Wardrobe Events this is set to change.

Buy My Wardrobe is an event held in London, with a 'VIP Champagne preview hour' where VIP ticket holders can be the first to delve through the treasures on offer. Wardrobe sellers are called wardrobe mistresses, and have included the likes of highly regarded UK fashion experts such as Gucci group executive Mimma Viglezio, Ex-Elle publishing director Elaine Foran and TV personality Giselle Morley.

Buy My Wardobe's last event was held @ Supper Club, Notting Hill on 8th May. The next event will be September TBC. Stay tuned for updates at BuyMyWardrobe Or sign up to their Newsletter

Knitting is not just for Grannies

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Browsing through second hand magazines in my local Melbourne Bayside op shop this morning, and what do I find? These little beauties - vintage baby and toddler knit patterns circa 1940's.

Should I be taking these knitting patterns to Grandma? Not so, because knitting just got so cool that everyone is at it. So cool in fact, there are a team of Grafitti Knitters that are interwining their woll all over London and beyond:

Knit The City are a crack team of woolly warriors turning the city Knitwise since February 2009. Knit the City are part of an ongoing campaign to guerrilla knit the city of London, and beyond that, the world.

Tate Modern, London

Iconic London Telephone Box

More photos on Knit The City's Flickr

The following Canadian Living article by Tara Nolan talks of eco-friendly knitting:

Incorporate eco-friendly materials into your projects
With a heightened awareness of the environment, more and more companies are coming out with eco-friendly practices when it comes to creating their materials. "I am working with yarns now that use non-toxic dyes in recyclable water," says popular British pattern and yarn designer, Debbie Bliss, who just launched Debbie Bliss Knitting Magazine.

And according to Campbell, people are now steering clear of acrylics and choosing more sustainable fibres. Her store stocks materials made from seaweed, bamboo and corn. "It's not just wool and cotton anymore," she says.

If you're looking for eco-friendly knitting materials, try:

• Moda Dea Bamboo Wool Yarn
• Hand Maiden Silk and Sea Cell Yarn
No Sheep for You: Knit Happy with Cotton, Silk, Linen, Hemp, Bamboo & Other Delights by Amy Singer

And lastly, what do you knit for someone that has everything? Perhaps a knitted cotton APPLE COSY such as this one for sale on Etsy?!:

Now I've seen it all!

Upcycled Magazine Bead Necklaces from Uganda

Monday, June 21, 2010

In my hands I have the most amazing upcycled beaded necklaces made by a group of 30 women in Kampala, Uganda called the Kind Mothers’ AfriBeads program.

What is Upcycling?

Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value.

Upcycling Logo

This group of women are working to protect vulnerable children, children that are either orphans or have parents who cannot afford to send their children to school. Many millions of people live in extreme poverty in Africa, struggling to survive and look after their children.

AfriBeads are creating hope for Ugandan women and children by providing a market for the beautiful jewellery they make. With economic self sufficiency they can take control of their own lives.

Kampala, Uganda

These recycled magazine necklaces have been made by strips of magazines cut into trianlges, which are then rolled, glued and varnished. The detail and time that goes into making these necklaces is incredible. You would not know the beads were made from paper. Here you see the end result in close up:

Beads for Sale

I am particularly passionate about such initiatives which is why I aim to raise awareness through my blog. Not only are these necklaces a unique and beautiful fashion item, but they are environmentally sustainable, fair traded, and raise money for families deprived of monetary stability.

Below are just a a few examples of necklaces currently for sale:





Please do Email Me if you are interested in buying these beautiful necklaces.

Thanks for reading this.

Blue Caravan

A new ethical shopping website has recently launched called Blue Caravan.

Bluecaravan is a venue for buyers and sellers of all things independently designed and ethically made.

It’s about lovely, interesting and edgy products - beautifully finished, made with heart, and bought directly from the designer/maker.

Recycled Poster Bowl (small) AU$22 made by Fair Trade artisans in Vietnam

Adapted from a traditional basket-coiling technique, this bowl is made using rejected posters and magazines from a printing company. Artisans form the paper into flat strips, dip them in a non-toxic glue mixture and hang them to dry. After this they re-wet the strips and coil them into a bowl form. The strips are held together with the glue, forming a sturdy bowl. Each bowl is completely unique, depending on the materials available.

Baby Granny Smith Shoes AU$34 3-6 months

These little cuties are made from Kunin eco-fi felt, a high quality fiber made from 100% certified recycled plastic bottles. Soft soled.

Read Recycled Fashion's first e-interview with Blue Caravan's Byron-Bay based founder Jen Djula:

Q: What is your website all about?

A: Bluecaravan is an online [ethical] Design Market. We support independent designers, artists and artisans, we love sweat-free and fairtrade certification - and we love the world of handmade!

Q: Where does the name Blue Caravan come from?

A: Caravan' is inspired by imagery of the Old Silk Road. A caravan of merchants traveling along the ancient trade route laden with their treasures. It takes the whole concept of 'direct trade' back to basics. 'Blue' is the colour of inspiration...

Q: What inspired you to start your website?

A: I think it's one of the greatest mysteries that we have been able to collectively block out the reality of what happens in sweat-shops across the world. Of course anyone who gives it a moments thought does care where their products come from - but sweat-shop and child labour has slowly crept up on us, to the point that it's barely questioned or opposed en masse. I want to make a contribution to the wider creation of an alternative ethical choice. I am fascinated by the greater workings of the world, and am interested in how design informs the way we live.

Q:What are the favourite product sold on your site?

A: love them all!

Q:What do you see as the future of Blue Caravan?

A:Bluecaravan is growing quickly, which of course is most exciting! The response has been overwhelmingly positive, and I hope for Bluecaravan to become a reference point for good ethical design. There are in fact many thousands of ethical designers out there, and by bringing them together I hope to inspire interesting people to choose an alternative way to shop.

V Neck T Shirt A$80 100 % certified organic cotton

Blue Caravan lists products in Australian Dollars, but international shipping is available. For more beautiful ethical handmade and upcycled goodies, check out Blue Caravan's website right now!

The Vegemite Outfit

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Yesterday marked a momentous occasion when around 2,500 people made the pledge of commitment on Saturday 19th June to become Australian citizens at the infamous MCG Cricket Ground. And of those 2,500 people was I. With a tear in my eye, I took the pledge and sang the national anthem with new citizens from 90 different countries of origin. So finally after 5 years of living in this fine country, I am now officially an Australian Citizen.

To mark this special occasion, and fitting with the football world cup, I chose to wear a Green and Gold recycled fashion outfit:

  • Vintage Suede Jacket, $3 thrifted from a Cairns Op Shop whilst backpacking in 1997
  • Green Top by Cue $5 Op Shop (cant remember which)
  • Roxy Cord Pants/Trousers $20, bought new with tags (RRP $169!) from Brotherhood of St Laurence Op Shop, Melbourne CBD
  • Vintage boots £35 TopShop London
  • Scarf 50c from All Souls Op Shop, Sandringham
Also on topic with all things Australian, here is my flea market find this week, slotting in with Sophie's Her Library Adventures.

A retro Vegemite cook book no less. The recipes I must share with WotsForTea. Ahhh Vegemite, the uniquely Australian and fair dinkum Aussie icon with 90 percent of Aussies having a jar in their pantry. I scored this book for $1 from the Three Legged Chair Op Shop in Mornington.

"The Three Legged Chair Op-Shop has been running since 2003, with all profits supporting Mornington based charity New Peninsula Community Caring Inc. - a not for profit organisation committed to helping people in need with; counselling, food relief, advocacy and mentoring as well as overcoming debt and addiction."

18 Progress St, Mornington Victoria 3931 Australia
Telephone: (03) 5973 5522 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (03) 5973 5522 end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Perhaps the vegemite song should be part of the citizenship ceremony?!

We're happy little Vegemites
As bright as bright can be.
We all enjoy our Vegemite
For breakfast, lunch, and tea.
Our mummies say we're growing stronger
Every single week,
Because we love our Vegemite
We all adore our Vegemite
It puts a rose in every cheek.

I am a conditioned marmite lover, but have been partial to the odd vegemite scroll from Bakers Delight. Now that I have taken the pledge, I have two jars in my pantry, side by side:

Tea drinking, wet weathered, green countrysided England is my history, but the land of sweeping plains and jewel sea, this sunburnt country of Australia is my future.

Words taken from the iconic poem My Country by Dorothea Mackellar.

Geelong Frankly My Dear Vintage Fair

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Photograph by AussieGall.

According to The Age today, the outer Victorian suburbian city of Geelong is booming:

"The second-tier city, just 75 kilometres south-west of Melbourne, has been earmarked as a future regional growth centre, intended to take up some of the overflow from Melbourne's population boom that has put severe strain on urban infrastructure."

So what can this easten gateway city to the Great Ocean Road, offer the second hand shopper?

Firstly there are four charity op shops for thrift lovers to explore:

Salvation Army - Geelong, 128 Ryrie Street,Geelong, VIC
Red Cross - Geelong, 64 Bellerine St, Geelong VIC
Lifeline Op Shop "Just for You", 13 James Street, Geelong CBD
Geelong Hospital Auxilary, 171 Malop Street, Geelong

But what's in town for vintage clothing lovers? This:

FRANKLY MY DEAR VINTAGE FAIR @ the 'NASH' National Hotel, 191 Moorabool St, Geelong, 3219 held on the 1st Saturday of Every Month. The next fair is Saturday 3rd July from 11-5pm.

To find out how to become a Stall Holder or any info about the Vintage Fair, email:

Facebook page: FrankyMyDear

Japanese inspired Recycled Fashion outfit

Friday, June 18, 2010

Every time I visit one of my favourite fashion websites, JapaneseStreets, I am inspired.

JapaneseStreets is an online magazine focussed on Japanese street fashion, runway fashion and street culture, started by photo-journalist Kjeld Duits.

Everything that is popular on the streets of Tokyo and beyond, you will find at JapaneseStreets. With more than 20,000 photos archived in traditional, modern (Cosplay, Lolita, Kogal, Ganguro), and international influenced oufits, you will be sure to find some real fashion treats.

"Japanese Streets - Japanese Street Fashion, street culture & catwalk fashion. Real people. Real Clothes. Real Cool!"

A photograph posted on 9th June, Ririka at Shinsaibashi, Osaka that I just love:

There is nothing extraordinary about Ririka's outfit, skull print T shirts have been around for well over a year, but for me, there is something about it that works, and her studded shoes are just fabulous!

So, what did I do today? I went for a shop at Savers to prove that if you see a fashion outfit you like, you can replicate it by buying second hand. I didn't find a pair of similar studded shoes so used a pair of boots I bought from eBay instead (it is Melbourne winter afterall) Here goes:

Skull print T Shirt: $3 Savers
Mini skirt: $6 Savers
Leggings: Target bought 3 years ago
Hat: $4 Salvos
Boots: $30 eBay bought last year

I may not be able to carry it off like Ririka does, but I gave it a go...