Friday, 28 August 2009

Clothes Rails and Beer Gardens.

At a loss for something to do this bank holiday weekend? What about spending Saturday afternoon re-newing your wardrobe? What about spending Saturday afternoon in a lovely beer garden? Why not do both? Mrs. Bear is hosting her regular last Saturday of the month swap shops at The Britannia Pub in London's East End.

Simply gather together your unwanted clothes, shoes and accessories - good condition - take them along to The Britannia to exchange with someone else. Everything is graded so the better the quality of your things the better you swap. It's a great alternative to throw-away fashion.

Afterwards, you can sit back in the beer garden for a pint with the locals. Not many shops offer that level of service.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

A Fine Collection

Image by permission of FIN. All images copyright of FIN.

New York. London. Paris. Milan. Copenhagen. If Denmark isn't on your fashion radar then it's time it was. Copenhagen Fashion Week was earlier this month showing collections from established Danish labels Marlene Birger, Rutzco and Bruns Bazaar, as well as those from new designers. This was the first time FIN, a Norwegian label, showed in Copenhagen.

FIN (Norwegian for Fine) create elegant, stylish clothes with a modern edge. Their collection for SS10 includes the key looks for the season: soft silhouettes, relaxed tailoring, draping and muted colours. The essential items are there: a feminine jumpsuit, loose oversized cardi, cotton parka, draped skirts and dresses. A desirable collection of wearable pieces.

Image by permission of FIN. All images copyright of FIN.

FIN is where design and awareness are combined into fashion.
FIN design with a wonderful eye for detail and interpretation of trends.
FIN create with luxurious sustainable textiles such as organic cotton, organic bamboo, hand spun wild silk, organic alpaca and milk fabric. Milk fabric? Yes, that's what I thought. It's the new sustainable FIN fabric for SS10. Produced from surplus milk proteins to create a fabric with a super soft, luxurious texture.
FIN produce with a fair trade principle ensuring that all who work with them are concerned about wages, working hours and human rights.
FIN is about fashion. They want customers to appreciate the clothes for the design then to discover the ethics as an added value.

It's an inspiring value. One that I hope all fashion labels will work towards.

If like me you can't wait until Spring 2010 for FIN's new collection then check out the AW09 collection:

Image by permission of FIN. All images copyright of FIN.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Statement Handbags with a Conscience

I came across this stylish handbag and just had to share it with you. Hand-crafted in Colombia using a combination of natural fibres, including sisal and iraka palm combined with cowhide leather, to create a unique and modern accessory. I love the mix of textures and unexpected use of colours - adds a quirky fashion touch.

Copyright Artisan LIfe Limited

Check out the colourful cuffs too. Produced from iraka palm fibre, naturally dyed to create vivid colour combinations. Pile them high to make a fashion statement with a conscience.

To view a full range of products take a look at Artisan Life's website.

Copyright Artisan LIfe Limited

Artisan Life Limited was established to promote, develop and support Colombian artisans and their crafts. Colombia has a history of handmade crafts and cultural traditions. This cultural heritage continues to provide an important source of income to a female dominated workforce who have limited options for productive employment. Artisan Life focus upon improving the artisans' quality of life, using natural and sustainable materials and preserving the cultural heritage of Colombian crafts.

Admirable values. Fabulous, unique products. Who can resist?

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Inspired by Prints Charming

Prints Charming arrived at Liberty's on Saturday. Not wanting to miss my chance of going to the ball, I visited the store yesterday. I was welcomed by a complete wall swatched in Liberty's Betsy fabric. Captivated already, I made my way to the fourth floor for a glimpse of Prints Charming.

The exhibition is an eclectic mix of objects created using Liberty fabrics. A wacky and wonderful collection of bicycles, books, wellington boots, rag-dolls, luggage tags, tea pots and a quirky play house. Specially commissioned pieces have been designed exclusively for the exhibition. My favourites were by Squint, who have created a collection of one-off items. Lamps, mirrors, chairs and side tables are wrapped in a patchwork of assorted prints and vintage fabrics to produce beautiful, eccentric pieces. I was charmed and inspired.

I can't wait to create my own Prints Charming pieces. It's time for a visit to my local junk shop in search of objects waiting to be transformed with the fabrics that I've accumulated over the years. Why not do the same? Or, check out Squint's website.

Finally, for more inspiration, Liberty have produced awe-inspiring window displays to celebrate the exhibition:

Monday, 10 August 2009

Standing Out In The Crowd - Brick Lane

The crowds, the sunshine, my camera and I descended upon Brick Lane on Sunday morning. Always a fascinating place for people watching, rummaging and eating.

Here are just a few of the things that caught my eye as I stuffed my face with a Japanese steamed sesame snack, a Greek spinach and cheese pie, a Swedish Planka, a glass of French rose, a fresh fruit smoothie and half a bottle of New Zealand red. I also managed to purchase a fabulous vintage print skirt - the fabric is possibly highly flammable but I can get over that for the sake of the print - and a pair of 1950's bark cloth curtains. What better way to spend a Sunday?

(All images by Re-Design for Life)

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Embracing Ethical Fashion at Pure London.

Earlier this week I visited Pure London, the bi-annual fashion exhibition at London's Olympia. In February 2009, Pure London launched an area dedicated to ethical fashion to increase the awareness of ethical brands. At August's event, the ethical brands were intermixed with the other exhibitors to display how ethical fashion can sit seamlessly alongside 'non-ethical' fashion.

Katie Weightman founder and designer of Miksani told me she had benefited from not being in a separate area. A journalist from a weekly fashion magazine told Katie that her Editor didn't think ethical fashion was 'glamorous' enough for their readers. Upon seeing the Miksani collection the journalist took some images to show to her Editor. Hopefully the Editor's view of ethical fashion will be changed and Miksani will receive some well deserved publicity.

Unfortunately, the Editor's comment sums up many people's perceptions of Ethical Fashion. It's not glamorous. It's not directional. It's not 'fashionable'. The days of itchy fabrics, crude embroidery and unflattering designs are a thing of the past. Don't believe me? Take a look at some my favourite brands at Ethical Pure:

Miksani SS10 at Pure. Image from

Miksani: Katie Weightman launched her new label Miksani at Pure. Katie uses organic silks, cottons and banana fibre to create a feminine, wearable collection. The use of whisper light fabrics and muted colours ensure a modern look.

Definitely one to watch.

Lalesso SS10 collection. Images courtesy of Lalesso.

Lalesso: You may recognise this name from a previous post. I really like what Lalesso are doing - their ethics and their designs so I think they are worthy of another mention.

Inspired by the silhouettes of the 1950's, Lalesso's new collection has a touch of feminine sophistication - with a flirtatious feel! Lalesso have maintained their signature energy and playful attitude with the use of vibrant colours and traditional 'lesso' prints. Perfect for holiday and daywear.

Lalesso SS10 collection. Images courtesy of Lalesso.

This tiered dress would also look fabulous with black opaque tights, killer heels and a black tux jacket to infuse some sunshine into a winter wardrobe.

Reem Alasadi SS/AW09

Reem: Reem Alasadi is a true innovator. Her eclectic collection of high-end ethical fashion is testement to her design skills. All materials are organic, each piece is hand-crafted and cleverly constructed to produce breath-taking garments.

Reem's small stand was a hive of activity with gasps of delight from buyers as they held her dyed and beaded chamoix leather jacket. Another seemed intent on leaving the exhibition wearing Reem's sequin embellished parka.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Prada-esque Prints at Portobello

So back to Friday. Portobello Market beckoned. I needed a fix. My vintage addiction was beginning to once again overwhelm me.

Lindsey Stopp's stall at Portobello.

I do enjoy my visits to Portobello. I can't deny it's character has changed considerably over the years with expensive designer boutiques and well known high-street brands opening alongside the traditional shops and market stalls. Still, it's hard to beat for a Friday morning wander. Especially at the vintage stalls, which continue to flourish beneath the Westway. The mood is laid back and friendly. And, there's always a chance of finding yourself rummaging along side a famous designer or stylist.

So what's this got to do with Prada? Well I'm just loving the prints and colours that Prada have used in their Resort 2010 collection. So imagine my excitment when I found this Prada-esque print dress on Lindsey Stopp's stall. Such a fabulous print, vibrant colour combination, key directional trend and only £20!!

This more than fulfilled my fix for the morning.

Prada Resort 2010.