Dining & Wine
GUCCI Chimes For Change
On March 26th 2013, I received an email from GUCCI informing me that they had started a new initiative called Chime For Change. Anyone that knows me, knows that I love GUCCI. Since I started this website in 2007, I have featured GUCCI's contributions to the greater good, starting with my first profile of François-Henri Pinault, CEO of Kering (formerly Pinault-Printemps-Redoute, a.k.a. PPR). Kering is a French conglomerate that controls GUCCI Group, along with a slew of other luxury brands. François-Henri also happens to be Salma Hayek Pinault's hubby. She has taken the lead in increasing visibility of numerous initiatives for the Global Good, including Chime For Change. Chime For Change is an initiative that supports girls' and women's empowerment. With Mother's Day being celebrated this month, it made me think of what all that mothers around the world do for the well-being of their families, their communities and their world. That is why I wanted to share GUCCI's initiative with my readers.
"CHIME FOR CHANGE, FOUNDED BY GUCCI, IS A NEW GLOBAL CAMPAIGN TO RAISE FUNDS AND AWARENESS FOR GIRLS' AND WOMEN'S EMPOWERMENT.
CHIME FOR CHANGE serves to convene, unite and strengthen the voices speaking out for girls and women around the world. We focus on three key areas: Education, Health and Justice.
CHIME FOR CHANGE is powered by Catapult, the first crowd-funding site where people can make real change happen for girls and women. Through Catapult, nonprofit organizations post their projects and people can find and fund the issues that speak to them the most.
As founder of CHIME FOR CHANGE, Gucci is proud to join the wave of momentum calling for change for girls and women. Gucci recognizes the opportunity for a global brand to facilitate a coalition of individuals and organizations to amplify these stories and effect real change.
Gucci has a long history of engagement with girls' and women's issues, including a seven-year relationship with UNICEF, which has included support for girls' education. Gucci also actively supports the Kering Corporate Foundation, which focuses on ending violence against women, where Creative Director Frida Giannini serves as a member of the board of directors."
Salma called on her friends and women activists from around the world, such Jada Pinkett Smith, Hafsat Abiola and Beyoncé. I welcome you to learn more about this initiative by visiting www.ChimeForChange.org.
On June 1st, Chime For Change is hosting a fundraising concert in London. The list of performers include Beyoncé, Ellie Goulding, Florence and the Machine and more.... If you happen to be in London, England and would like to attend, please visit www.ChimeForChange.org/concert.
Article by Birungi Ives
Photo courtesy of Essence.com
Icon. A word that carries such weight and such power. What does it take to become an icon or be considered an icon? Is it the look, the clothes, or personality? Or maybe it is something deeper, transcendent possibly. Few women can claim to be true icons, but many do. Without a doubt though, Donyale Luna was an icon.
Born as Peggy Ann Freeman in Detroit, the young aspiring model was discovered by photographer David McCabe. The 6’2 beauty, soon after, moved to New York City only to take the fashion capital by storm. In the beginning of her career she was signed to an exclusive contract with legendary photographer Richard Avedon. She graced the pages of Harper’s Bazaar, Time, and even British Vogue. She was the cover of British Vogue in the March 1966 issue. And Time magazine in a 1966 article described her as one of the most promising models due to her unique beauty and personality. The article was entitled “The Luna Year.”
Photo courtesy of tumblr.com
Luna wasn’t just a model. She was an actress too. She served as inspiration for many Andy Warhol films in the late 60’s and early 70’s. She even had roles in a handful of Italian films, including “Satyricon” directed by Federico Fellini.
But it all wasn’t glitz and glamour in the life of Donyale Luna. Her father was shot dead by her mother in an act of self-defense and the model also struggled with drug addiction and alcohol. In an interview with the UK’s Telegraph, her former mentor and discoverer, David McCabe, recalls the rocky path Luna was taking.
“That was the time she started to do things she shouldn't have. It was all very free-spirited. Everyone was doing stuff, LSD and more harmful things. Luna was hanging out with some of New York's most creative people. But paradoxically they were also among the most destructive in the influence that their drug-taking would ultimately have on the naive young model who, when she first arrived in the city, neither drank nor smoked, and would lecture her fellow models on how 'disgraceful it was to smoke pot'.”
Despite her troubles, Luna’s beauty always shined brightly and people could not help but admire, envy, and be in awe. In the same Telegraph article, Pat Cleveland spoke of the devastatingly beautiful fashion icon.
“She had no tits, but lots of presence. We'd walk down the street and men's mouths would drop open in awe. When we walked into restaurants people would stop eating and stand up and applaud. She was like a mirage, or some kind of fantasy.'
It’s even reported that Jackie Kennedy approached Luna in a nightclub and complimented her on her beauty.
But all beautiful things must come to an end and the fast paced world of fashion eventually caught up with Luna. She died overdosing on heroin. She was only 32 years old and left behind an 18th month old baby named Dream.
Luna’s legacy did not end with overdosing. Despite having racial identity issues that plagued her throughout life and not even considering herself a part of the civil rights movement, Donyale Luna paved the way for many black models. She truly is one of the first to help open doors for blacks in fashion. Many look to Iman, Beverly Johnson, and Pat Cleveland but if you go a little further back you can look for and see Donyale Luna. May her legacy live on in fashion history and let us not forget about some of the forgotten black faces of fashion. Rest in peace Donyale Luna, THE ICON.
Photo courtesy of arogundade.com
Photo courtesy of tumblr
photo courtesy of cocothemonkey.com
Article by Jared Johnson
FASHION FACE-OFF: ELECTION 2012
It’s been almost a month since the Presidential Election, but political pundits and commentators are still trying to pinpoint how President Barack Obama won, and how Mitt Romney lost. Changes in the country’s demographics, the Women Vote, and Super PACs might have all been factors in the election. But the one factor that determines the winner each and every election is style. The Democratic Party’s ability to out-style and out-dress the Republicans was the winning strategy that was a sure bet.
Since I am from the south, we are going to start with the ladies. In round one we will square off Michelle Obama against Ann Romney.
It is no secret that Michelle Obama has been a fashion darling since she has emerged on the scene. She has been on countless magazine covers, including Vogue. People are always obsessed with what she will wear. Ann Romney has taste in her own right, but the American people aka the glitterati did not give one hoot about what Ann Romney wore. That was strike number one!
The people need a first lady that makes another country’s first lady eat her heart out. Ann Romney, during the campaign, did not give us one single wow moment; and quite frankly, who wants a boring First Lady. Just take a look at the pic below of Michelle Obama and Ann Romney both rocking red. Who wore it best? That question is rhetorical. Clearly Michelle takes the fashion cake hands down! I am not even going to comment on Ann’s horrid choice of shoe to pair with her dress. Just a pure shame; I know Coco Chanel is rolling in her grave.
Some feminist may argue that we should be more interested in what these two intelligent women have to say instead of what they are wearing. I agree, but being the first lady is not the same as being the President and we (men and women) just want a beautiful fashionable woman to look at, and to make us jealous of her impeccable wardrobe. Round one goes to Michelle Obama without a question. Let’s move on to the Vice Presidential candidates, Paul Ryan and Joe Biden.
Round two will definitely be a tough one. When you think of Vice-President Joe Biden, and politician Paul Ryan, fashion is the last thing that comes to mind. But for argument sake we are going to see who has more sartorial skills. Both are bottom of the barrel in my book, but the sooner we discuss these two, the sooner we can get to the main event of Barack and Mitt Romney.
Paul Ryan had two problems throughout the campaign. He tried to rock the open collar look WWWWAAAAYYYYY too many times and somehow could never find an outfit that quite fit. There is nothing wrong with going for a casual look. I love casual chic looks. If you are running for Vice-President of your college fraternity, casual is the way to go. If you are running for Vice-President of the United States, I am going to need for you to put a tie around that neck more times than not. Also, fashion 101 dictates that in order to have a successful look, the clothes need to fit. Did Paul Ryan skip that lesson? Obviously he missed more than a class or two of fashion 101. Take a look at the evidence.
Ryan either needs to get smaller pants, or get a butt implant. I just can’t with the saggy suit pants and open collar. I am so distraught that I can’t even talk about Joe Biden. Biden wins this round by default. Paul Ryan’s utter disrespect for the basics of fashion is too much for me to handle, and clearly the American people agreed!
The main event is here my fashion comrades. In this showdown we have President Barack Obama against Mitt Romney. Let’s start with Romney. The man can definitely wear a suit. The suits always were a good fit, and his tie and suit combinations were appropriate for a man running for office. Side note: Paul Ryan please take notes! Romney 90% of the time definitely dressed for the role he was running for. The only time he did casual was when he was pandering to a certain crowd or whenever he was in an informal setting. The only negative thing I could say about Romney’s style choices was that he was predictable. It was always a dark suit and red or blue tie. Oh, and let’s not forget the oh so tired American Flag pin. We get the point, Romney loves America. I would hope so if you want to be POTUS.
However, Barack Obama was a bit predictable too. He definitely gave us dark suit and red or blue tie combos as well. But Obama gets the edge with his off the campaign moments that were captured on film. I lived for the moment he wore the leather bomber jacket. He was channeling a brown James Dean.
And lastly Barack Obama’s essence of cool makes him look better in a suit. Ok I am going to go there. Barack Obama is sexier in a suit than Mitt Romney. Just like the First Lady argument, no one wants a President who isn’t sexy. It’s all about the sexy. If there is any question or confusion look at Obama and tell me this man doesn’t make you want to be COOL!
If you have been keeping up, all rounds in this fashion face off went to the Democratic Party. The Electoral College didn’t make any decision on election night. The fashion part of our brains made the decision on Election Day. Americans, we are known to be all about image and that same rule applies to politics. I just hope the Republicans can rethink, reassess, and re-approach their fashion game four years from now. Until then, let’s just thank the Democrats for giving us an election and wardrobe choices to remember.
Article by Jared Johnson
AFRICAN ICONS FASHION SHOW
In your life, there will always be a few times when you have to drop everything for one life changing event and handle your business. A death, childbirth, and surgery all qualify, but in my case, New York Fashion Week was my stop, drop, and roll moment!
An invitation and ticket was emailed Friday, roundtrip plane tickets booked by Sunday, and outfits organized by Tuesday. With my checklist complete, I was ready to cover Fashion Week and attend the Arise Magazine Presents African Icons Show.
The featured designers this year were Tiffany Amber, Tsemaye Binitie, Maki Oh, Gavin Rajah, and the king of menswear, Ozwald Boateng.
All the collections were great. And my top favorites from the show were Tsemaye Binitie and Ozwald Boateng.
Tsemaye Binitie has a way of combining sexy, edgy, and traditional. These three things may not sound like they go together but Binitie used this holy trinity to make her collection stand out. From a fab trench to a completely black sheer evening gown! The collection was not only imaginative, but most importantly, it was wearable. For any modern woman, this collection would fit perfectly in your wardrobe. Also, the designer had a couple of leather (or leather looking) pieces that were simply divine! In my opinion these are the money makers. The leather jacket paired with the matching leather blazer is the perfect look for a modern woman in the workplace. Just be sure to add some stilettos to elevate the look! But the two pieces work just as well as separates for a more casual feel. But when is leather ever casual? Leather is always a statement. But finally Binitie brought me to my knees, not an easy feet mind you, when she closed her collection with a form fitting, red evening gown. The beauty of the dress was in its simplicity. So many designers try to stand out that they forget the basics. Not Binitie, the show stopping red number was amazing. It was the perfect fit, perfect color, and the perfect length.
I thought I lost my mind looking at all the collections but Ozwald Boateng brought my mind back only to take it again! His collection of menswear was très magnifique! Not only did the brotha take menswear from boring to show stopping, he understands what looks good on a man. Black man, Cuban man, white man, EVERYMAN. There were suits, there were separates, pants, shorts, hats, coats, colors, prints…etc.! Everything a man in fashion would love. But just like Binitie, Boateng’s collection was not only fashion forward for men but it was wearable. It took all the self-control I had not to run up on that runway and take every piece for myself. Simply fabulous is the only phrase I can use to describe Boateng’s fashion show. Speechless…the pictures speak for themselves and that is only a taste of what the master of menswear was serving us in the Fashion Week tents! He turned it out! Vive le roi, Ozwald Boateng!
Arise Magazine knocked the African Icons show out of the park and I was impressed with the featured designers and the best they had to offer not only in African style but in style period. The collections went beyond borders, and had something for each person from every walk of life. I look forward to keeping my editorial eye on these designers and so should you! Maybe next year, I will catch you at the tents.
"Fashion Week isn’t just about the models and designers; it is also about us, the regular people who love fashion." -Jared Johnson
Article by Jared Johnson
Talking about mega brands and labels can be exciting and fun. But it is always a great time when I can spotlight and talk with a young designer on the rise. Solome Katongole is the designer of the moment in my eyes, and a stunning young lady we should all keep our eyes on.
I took the time to catch up with Solome Katongole, before she boarded a flight bound for Africa, to talk fashion and about her line, the two things she is passionate about.
Katongole’s line is called Solome and she is passionate about the brand and the woman she wants to dress. “My mission is to create garments for a culture conscious woman, a fashion forward woman, and someone who likes exclusive pieces.”
Solome is definitely a unique brand and the opposite of generic. The designer has a magical way of combining high fashion designs, with traditional African prints. “I tend to do a lot of blocking, and I try to mix prints and silks or taffeta. My collections are bold, loud, and full of drama,” Katongole says fiercely. She is inspired by the styles of the 1950’s, nature, and her Ugandan culture. Street style, and the clothes of the places she travels to influence her aesthetic also.
The young designer began her training in London with Yemi Osunkoya, the creative force behind Kosibah. He is one of her favorite designers. “If you don’t have a curve, he will make a curve,” Katongole says of her mentor and his design style. She also likes the collections of Elie Saab. “The fabrics he uses are so rich; I am in love with him.”
Katongole is a much needed breath of fresh air to the fresh young designers out there. I look forward to seeing her when she returns stateside from Africa. And she has one piece of advice when it comes to fashion, “Wear what looks good on your body. Know your body type and wear things that flatter your body.”
Katongole is a hard worker, and believes in following her dreams. She moved to LA after returning from her London internship with the Kosibah Label to pursue her dream of becoming a professional designer, and became a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. “Work hard, definitely don’t give up! There might be road blocks, but keep the faith and keep believing! It will happen,” she advises to anyone who has a dream. Solome Katongole might have accomplished a lot of her dreams but has one more on her list. She would love to have Zoe Saldana in her clothes. “I just like her! She is effortless, she doesn’t seem like she tries so hard. She is so lean and long, and would look fantastic in the prints. She has the legs.” Given Katongole’s track record so far, that red carpet dream isn’t far off.
Always the girl on the go, and dressed in sweatpants and a tank top, Katongole prepared for her flight to Africa, but left me with one major statement that defines her and her collection, “I tend not to follow the trends. I make the trends.” (Double Snaps to that!)
Article by Jared Johnson
Soma Intimates’s Bra Donations to Help Victims of Domestic Violence through The National Network to End Domestic Violence
Soma Intimates is a reliable, well-known company known for producing exquisite lingerie, loungewear, and beauty products. This past month they announced that they w are partnering with The National Network to End Domestic Violence.
Their first initiative is to have nationwide “Giving is Beautiful” bra donation campaign. Taking place until February 26, 2012, Soma Intimates boutiques will accept new and gently used bras to be donated for domestic violence survivors in need. There are 182 Soma Intimates boutique stores and thus these bras will be donated to the stores’ local communities.
Soma Intimates’ Brand President stated, “A bra is one of the least donated, but most in-demand items for women in need. When we learned that there are thousands of women going without an item that most of us consider part of our daily routine, we knew we had to do something. At Soma, we believe that no woman should have to make the decision between putting food on the table and buying a bra. The simple act of donating a bra helps these women to focus on rebuilding and recovering from the hardships of domestic violence. Over 4 million women need the assistance of a shelter annually and many come with only the clothes on their backs.”
Bras are essential for women, especially in places such as domestic violence shelter. And because people do not realize the need for intimate items, such as bras, it is not an item that is often donated. Bras are meant to help women feel comfortable and sexy in their own bodies and often help them with their self-confidence.
Soma Intimates first had a similar bra donation drive in July 2010 and with their four biannual bra donation initiatives they have been able to collect 145,000 bras to donate to women in need.
Sue Else, President, NNEDV is especially excited about this bra donation initiative and exclaimed, "Together we can make a difference in women's lives, help close the gap on the lack of bras available in shelters and raise awareness to work toward ending domestic violence."
You can help by donating a bra today at your local Soma Intimates store or by mailing your bra donation. Click here to learn more.
Article by Alexis Myers
It's February, and that means one thing and one thing only. It is time for NYC Fashion Week,
for the Fall/Winter 2012 collections. While everyone will be descending on the big apple,
I am buying a first class ticket to Nigeria. Yes, you read correctly, Nigeria has the hottest
(literally) and most ethical fashion line this catwalk season!
Caterina Bortolussi is an Italian designer and creator of Kinabuti, a line of clothing that
stimulates social empowerment and economic stimulation to Nigerian communities. The Nigerian
culture, people, and region directly influence Bortolussi's designs. And she is determined to
use fashion as the catalyst for change in the area. Models for the line are handpicked straight
from Nigeria, a far cry from less glamorous gigs that some of the Nigerian women were used to.
Bortolussi wanted to give the women an opportunity that they deserved, other than hiring professional
Bortolussi is also attached to the non-profit Kinabuti Lab, which gives Nigerian youth vocational education and training.
She plans to mentor local tailors in skills like draping, dressmaking, and fabric development.
Caterina Bortolussi says, "Kinabuti is more than just a label. It is about celebrating, inspiring and empowering women
through very personal and innovative designs that enhance their natural beauty and make them feel good with themselves.
It is also about using fashion as a vehicle to promote creativity amongst the young generation and provide them with
the tools needed to develop their own potential.” (Source: www.stylehousefiles.com)
Kinabuti has caught the attention of many fashion blogs, CNN, and Swedish filmmaker Marcus Werner Hed, who directed
a documentary about Kinabuti called "In our Ghetto." Now, Kinabuti and Caterina can add Global Echo Online Forum,
and Jared Johnson to that list!
Be sure to check out this link to see the first year anniversary party of the ethical fashion line, and to see
interviews giving a deeper look into the Nigerian label. Click here .
Also be sure to "Like" Kinabuti on Facebook. Spread the word to all who love fashion.
Fashion that makes a difference, fashion that empowers, and fashion that inspires...now that is a reason to shop for.
Bring the fashion world to its knees Caterina and Kinabuti! Global Echo Online Forum supports you!
Article by Jared Johnson
Photos Courtesy of FabMagazineonline.com and mytrendybuzz.com
The Holidays are here and if you are anything like me, you are more concerned with what you will be wearing, instead of what you should be serving. Fashion is important in every situation, and on every holiday, but it is time to change our priorities.
Farm Sanctuary’s Adopt-A-Turkey Project is in full swing and is asking for your help to save a turkey, versus eating a turkey. More than 46 million turkeys are slaughtered for the upcoming holiday, and Farm Sanctuary wants to lower that number. For just $30, you can do your part by becoming the proud parent of poultry. You will receive an adoption certificate, a color photo, and a bio about your little one.
The Adopt-A-Turkey Project means serious business. For the second year in a row, they have enlisted the help of Ellen DeGeneres to be their spokesperson for the yearly campaign.
To adopt a turkey, click here. There are a variety of birds to choose from, so choose wisely.
But building a better Holiday meal doesn't just begin and end with our feathered friends. Better beverage choices can be made as well. Y&B Wines makes a selection of wines that are made from organic grapes, plus, the cartons are made from environmentally friendly Tetra Pak packaging!
So instead of adopting a new outfit, adopt a better meal that is not only good for your stomach but good for your soul.
Article by Jared Johnson
Photo Courtesy of Farm Sanctuary
Nike is to the common man the way Louboutin is to the fashion lover. Classic, timeless, ever-evolving, and cutting edge are all adjectives that describe the iconic brand. Well, I am taking it upon myself to add eco-friendly and environmentally conscious to that list.
The shoemaker is introducing a line of shoes for the holiday season created with vacuum packing technology. Now, I am sure that many people don’t understand the significance of this, so I am going to break it down for you (You’re Welcome).
Vacuum packing manufacturing helps the shoemaker use less resources to create the shoes. But not only does it help reduce resource consumption, it lowers the chemicals needed to make the shoes and chemical waste.
Fellas don’t worry about the look of the shoes either. The vacuum technology creates a shoe without visible seams or stitching. They’re water resistant and durable, so you can definitely wear them out in the streets, on the courts, or pair them with a pair of cute khakis, with an oxford and blazer for this Fall/Winter season.
Can someone please tell Santa I want a pair in every color for Christmas, thanks! It will only set him back about a $100 or so.
To see the shoes for yourself check out this link. They are so hot! Your feet and the Earth will thank you.
Article by Jared Johnson
Photo Courtesy of Nike
H&M is one of the number one spots for affordable fashion, and it is the #1 purchaser of organic cotton! In a report released on Tuesday by Textile Exchange, the apparel company took top spot for cotton purchases in 2010, beating out companies like Nike, and the uber retail machine, Walmart.
Companies like H&M are setting trends, and not just on the runway. With companies and retailers doubling their need for organic cotton, the Textile Exchange estimates a $6.9 billion worth for the organic cotton industry in 2011, and a possible $9.3 billion worth in 2012.
The recession had many companies worried about their bottom line and their commitment to sustainability initiatives and eco-friendly production. But corporations stood strong and not only helped themselves but the organic fiber production industry. Textile Exchange discovered global retail sales of organic cotton apparel, home, and personal care products increased 20 percent to just over $5.16 billion from 2009-2010, an increase from $4.3 billion in 2009. The rate was comparable to the 15 percent growth rate in organic fiber production, with the bulk of the market growth centered on companies in the United States and Europe.
Below is the top ten listing of companies that purchase organic cotton. I am sure some of your favorite fashion retailers are on the list! Be sure to keep supporting stores that are doing the right thing…and make sure to check out the ones you are unfamiliar with. It seems the term “moral fiber” has a totally new definition.
7. Anvil Knitwear
10. Otto Group
Article by Jared Johnson
Photo Courtesy of H&M
As the seasons change, we begin to put up the t-shirts and shorts, and begin to pull out the cardigans and jeans. Everyone in America doesn’t have that luxury, but thanks to Volcom, that luxury is becoming a reality.
Volcom has partnered with the National Coalition for the Homeless, to style the less fortunate! The company’s third annual “Give Jeans a Chance” campaign hopes to collect and donate 50,000 pairs of jeans and outerwear to homeless shelters worldwide. According to the fashion brand, “Give Jeans a chance” is a part of Volcom’s Give Back Series, where they aim to raise both awareness and funds or products for people-based causes in select communities.
In order to make this project successful, Volcom is counting on donations from the community. Any and every one can help. If you or someone you know, has outgrown their denim or jackets, just drop them off at your local Volcom store. There’s even a prize for the person who organizes their own jean drive for “Give Jeans a Chance.” You could win a $1,500 donation to a school or nonprofit of your choice, $500 in Volcom apparel and a commercial spot on Fuel TV. Donating and doing charity work already has the reward of feeling good, but Volcom wants to sweeten the pot.
Hell, who wouldn’t want to take part in this amazing charity, and have the chance to get something out of it for themselves…talk about a win win situation.
For more information check out this link.
No Guilt Neckwear
My good friend Ecoya Green asked me what she should buy for a new romantic interest in her life. I went through a whole list of suggestions, but kept coming back to the men’s wardrobe staple, the tie! You can wear a tie in pretty much any situation, and plus, what guy doesn’t look good in a tie or bowtie? I know I do, but I look good in anything I wear or not wearing for that matter.
Brave Gentleman now makes tie shopping eco-friendly and fashionable. Their ties are one hundred percent vegan! Each neck accessory is made from a combination of organic cotton and recycled hemp, and then reinforced with interfacing derived from recycled plastic bottles. No other company is doing that, and Brave Gentleman is the 1st! The ties are also made in NYC, so you can feel good about spending your money on an American made product!
The ties have one set price…brace yourself. The cost is $100.00 per tie. But everyone knows that the more you support eco-friendly fashion and products, the cheaper they become. So let’s get behind the innovative and green fashion brand and BUY BUY BUY! To see the collection visit http://www.bravegentleman.com/.
So Ladies, and Ecoya, buy your man a tie and do some good for the planet. There’s no better accessory than a well-dressed gentleman.
Written by Jared Johnson
Photo Courtesy of www.bravegentleman.com
Slaves for Fashion
Say it isn’t so my fellow Zara lovers! The affordable-fashion mega retailer has allegedly been accused of having slave-labor conditions in more than thirty of its plants in Brazil!
According to Forbes, investigative reporters for A Liga visited a factory where Bolivian immigrant workers were caught working in slave-like conditions. The workers average about $569 dollars a month, work no less than twelve hour shifts, and the factory visited had an expired fire extinguisher. These things and more have landed the company in hot water with Brazil’s labor ministry, and an investigation has begun.
I plan on following this situation, but I am beginning to think that all my affordable fashion from Zara comes at a higher price. I like to spend with a purpose, and until the findings of the investigation are released, I am going to be careful about shopping at Zara and so should you.
Written by Jared Johnson
Photo Courtesy of Business Week
Running Sustainability: Adidas 5 year Plan to GO GREEN!
Stella McCartney is one of my favorite ECO Designers. She has expressed her commitment to the environment for years. Her numerous collections reflect that commitment. One of the Companies that she has been collaborating with has stepped up their game. Adidas states, "As part of our Sustainability efforts, the Adidas Group has introduced its Environmental Strategy 2015- a five year plan to re-engineer the company's approach to environmental management by focusing on significant improvements along the entire value chain". Over 5 years, the Environmental Strategy 2015 plans to extend its reach to cover all brands; functions and regions, as well as their Global Supply Chain. You GO Adidas! RUN DMC would be proud!!! To learn more about Adidas plans click HERE.
Photo Courtesy of StellaMcCartney.com
Melissa's Shoes Are GREEN and So Much More....
"The most amazing thing about this partnership was to be able to create modern products, with very high quality, for affordable prices" - VIVIENNE WESTWOOD.
Vivienne Westwood is an amazing designer. Her ability to marry British Punk with Euro Chic creates a cult status combination. I wore a Vivienne Westwood Red Label suit for my magazine shoot last year. Currently, she has another nuptial bond with Brazilian company, Melissa Shoes. Since 2008, she has been working with Melissa to create beautiful lines of shoes at prices within reach. Unfortunately, the collaboration is stated to end in 2012.
Melissa Shoes ranks high with me, not because of who she decides to go to bed with, but because of what she does the morning after. "Besides producing recyclable shoes using less energy as possible, Melissa invests more and more in projects pro-sustainability." This is not a recent commitment to the environment. In Fall of 2008, Melissa Shoes collaborated with Campana Brothers on a Sustainablity Art Project. "Together with Brazilian designers Fernando and Humberto Campana, partners of the brand for some years now, Melissa created a strategy of artistic intervention with guerilla actions, which is being held in Sao Paulo and in Rio de Janeiro since the beginning of September. Over 75 punch bags (see picture) have been placed in strategic points to generate changes in the landscape and interaction with the public, while messages on sustainability, combined with images of the Corallo chair, from the Campanas, have been projected on walls of both cities. The action’s goal is to awaken public consciousness to the preservation of the environment. The project will culminate in a party in Galeria Melissa, in Sao Paulo, on the 8th of October, for the launching of the new Melissa + Campana Brothers line, composed by a shoe and a bag inspired in the contours of the famous chair and fabricated with almost 30% of recycled PVC. Part of the sales profits will be donated to the Brazilian NGO Visão Mundial, from Recife, in the northeast of Brazil, which is supported by the Campanas."
To learn more about Melissa Shoes, their sustainability efforts and designer/artist collaborations, click here!
Reference: Melissa.com.br/en and Melissaaustralia.com.au
Caipora BeJewels the World with Sustainable Style
"You can be assured in Caipora’s firm belief in following a lifestyle that cultivates a fair, and ethical conscious “mind, body, and soul”, whilst paying strict attention to the best style, quality and aesthetics in all our jewellery. Caipora constantly strives to improve itself and its relationship with the environment."
H&M Greening Up for SPRING!
Photos courtesy of H&M. Learn more about H&M's Sustainable Style at http://www.hm.com/us/sustainablestyle#/sustainablestyle/ . See H&M Conscious Collection at http://www.hmconsciouscollection.com/press-pictures/ .
Shoot For Green
Ok People!! I don’t know if you know, but if you don’t know, now you are in the know! I have been working on the development of a television show. Details on the hush hush!! But let me tell you a little somethin’ about my love for NYC and the crazy things that can go down there! Well not too long ago, I was in NYC with my business partner filming footage for a video reel that I plan to distribute to pertinent parties. Well while filming, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jahayra Harrell. A wonder woman to say the least! Ms. Harrell and her husband Donwan Harrell, Founder and Creative Director of PRPS Jeans and all related clothing lines, www.prpsgoods.com , have creative control over a Denim Empire! Jahayra balances trend shopping for PRPS Jeans, which involves traveling to points abroad such as Tokyo, London and more…, with being a mother of three boys. How she does it, Lord knows. But I must say that she does it beautifully. Girl looked stunning for the interview. Wardrobe in tow, her preparation involved very little. And only a little did she need...STUNNING!
She went on to explain about her business and how it incorporates a number of different clothing lines. However, she continued to elaborate about the strong celebrity following for PRPS jeans. She dropped names such as Gerard Butler, Katie Holmes, David Beckham,Jane Birkin (Hello Ladies…Namesake for THE Hermes “Birkin” Bag, is all I need to say), Brad Pitt, Halle Berry and the list goes on!! Not only that…knowing me, as if we were on the red carpet, I had to ask who she was wearing. And let me tell you…her outfit was on point!! She had on a black cropped PRPS leather jacket, a funky top that balances the very current military/camo influences with lacy femininity, PRPS distress micro denim shorts over equally distressed black leggings and a pair of linen slouch boots by Isabel Marant, for which there is a waiting list, in camo with edgy embellishments wrapped and dangling at the angle! It was HOT!! To say the least. She then went on to describe her shoe blog at http://shoegangsta.typepad.com/shoegangsta/! With the many that follow her around the world, with her blogs that detail all of her adventures, Jahayra shares her love for shoes for the world. And that is another parallel that we share! I LUV SHOES!! Not Love, but LUV SHOES!! And so does she!
But where does the whole eco-friendly angle come in? Well I went to Mount Holyoke College with Jahayra. She was a freshman, when I was a senior. And a mutual very close friend, Madelyn Baez, connected us long after graduation! And with Facebook, the reunion was made!! Got to love FACEBOOK! Well I had originally asked Jahayra if she would be interested in doing an eco-friendly Organic line. She spoke with her husband about it and came back to me with an answer……Not right now! But why, I asked? Well truthfully going GREEN is expensive for the consumer and the manufacturer in many ways. And she went on to explain the financial crunch that the fashion industry is in due to the economy. All people can think about in the industry is paying back the banks. But she was very excited about the possibilities. And you never know!! Using African Cotton for their denim is a great start! But right now it is about keeping your head above water and moving forward. Now we can all relate to that!! However, with the large celebrity pull that PRPS jeans have, doesn’t it make sense to go GREEN and use that influence towards change. I say yes!!!!
Gotta Love Gucci
WAIT…..Stop the Presses!! What’s this I hear….GUCCI …UNICEF…BAG! Please…Lord knows I don’t need another reason to buy a GUCCI bag, especially in this season's coveted gray shade. But now I have a good one, a reason that helps our global community. Now, I could put myself out there and proclaim that I am GUCCIs' number one fan, but now I LOVE GUCCI even more. If that is even possible!!
My love affair deepened in 2008, when I wrote an article about Francois- Henri Pinault, the CEO of PPR (the French Conglomerate that controls GUCCI Group) and his work towards helping the environment. You can find the article in the PROFILES Archives (Winter 2008),
However my heart leaped out of my chest when I read that GUCCI has just released a special edition bag where proceeds from the sales go to UNICEF. UNICEF supports children and orphans affected by HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. “Creative Director Frida Giannini has dedicated a special edition of the Sukey Bag to UNICEF. From April 15th 2010 through to February 28th 2011, Gucci will donate 25% of the retail price from the exclusive ‘Gucci for UNICEF’ Sukey bag to support UNICEF’s ‘Schools for Africa’ programs in Malawi and Mozambique, where nearly one million children have been orphaned by the HIV/AIDS pandemic.”
So if you are in the market for a new GUCCI bag for the season, think bigger and make a purchase that contributes to our global welfare as well as your wardrobe!
Big up to H&M
Now just before my trip to the UK in April/May 2010. I thought I would hit the mall to pick up a few tid bits. Considering the dollar to the pound exchange rate, shopping in England was going to be extremely limited. So I popped into the Cambridgeside Galleria to do some quick shopping for things like tank tops and such, nothing much, just the basics. I wanted inexpensive, quality and a bit of edge. So I headed straight to H&M. I found just what I needed. Easy peasy lemon squeezey! However, in my browse, I happened upon H&M’s new Garden Collection. Beautiful, but not what I was looking for!
Well later on that week, I took my son to Groton Library. First thing I did was grab some magazines to flip through, while he is on the computer. As I flipped through, I came across this article clip on H&M’s Garden Collection. I learned that this collection has pieces made out of Recycled Polyester (partially from recycled bottles), Organic Cotton and Linen. At this point, I determined that H&M deserved a BIGUP from me!! SO here you go…BIGUP to H&M for taking beautiful eco strides in fashion!!
Reference: Garden Collection at H&M, Lucky Magazine, April 2010, pg.74
Life is Full of Surprises
I actually learned about this fashion company, Bodkin, through another eco-blog, Ecochicinternational.com. While reviewing their newsletter, I glanced quickly at the pictures. Read a bit. Then I came across this excerpt on Bodkin. I saw the picture they used and was unimpressed. I tell you that I look at and read about many eco friendly designers and fashion houses. Honestly, I am usually bored. The same old stuff is what I commonly find. I see minimalism that would bore you to tears and wrinkled organic cotton and linen that scream for an iron. But even with the sad picture that was used, I went to Bodkin’s website anyway and browsed their Spring/Summer 2010 collection. You never know!! Well what I found was worth writing about, while giving empty nods and guilt filled smiles to my sons’ request to view his recent drawings of the Dr. Who tardis. (No one said maintaining a mother/career balance is easy and if they did, I did not get the memo.) Well I must say that I was impressed. I saw some real EDGE!! There were Great Modern cuts balanced with real soft feminine textures. I LOVED IT! So read on to learn more about a company that managed to impress a mother rocked by the currents of everyday life in a sea full of unexpected surprises!!
“Bodkin seeks to bring to clothing the mission of architectural modernism: Good, smart design. With comfort at its core, Bodkin creates urban essentials with modern silhouettes and wry details that lend its simple shapes a subtle specialness. Bodkin favors a relaxed, understated, day-to-night sense of chic that reflects the personality of creative Brooklyn.
Each season, Bodkin takes as its point of departure the finest and most innovative sustainability-oriented fabrics in the world, from the best new technologies (such as post-consumer recycled polyester) to handloomed weaves from collectives in India, domestic organic cotton dyed by hand, and decades-old salvaged textiles. All pieces are made in the United States. The line was the inaugural recipient of the Ecco Domani Sustainable Design Award in 2009.
Bodkin was founded in 2008 by Eviana Hartman, who had been writing a column about ecological topics for The Washington Post and seeking to merge her dual interests in a tangible way. Prior to this, she spent seven years in fashion magazines, as fashion writer at Vogue and Teen Vogue and as fashion features editor at NYLON. She collaborates with designer Wendy Mullin on writing the Sew U series of books, and has written about music, style, architecture, and design for such publications as Dwell, I.D., Purple Fashion, VMan, Domino, and Wired. She credits her interest in sustainable design to being the daughter of an architect, and to studying under pioneering "green architect" William McDonough, author of Cradle to Cradle. She also plays drums in the band Open Ocean.
In 2009, she was joined by Claire Lampert, who comes to Bodkin as design director with a graduate degree from F.I.T. and experience working for fashion houses both large (Phillips-Van Heusen, Urban Outfitters) and directional (Slow and Steady Wins The Race, Mirror/Dash). She is also the daughter of an architect, and is herself a painter.
Bodkin seeks to encourage transparency and a conscious and curious approach to creating. Sustainability is also a design question. It's a process, not an absolute; it's a dialogue, and your thoughts and feedback are encouraged.
A bodkin is a dagger, hairpin, or sharp, slender instrument used for making holes in cloth.”
Photo Courtesy of www.lutzandpatmos.com
As I was flipping through Vogue’s October 2009 issue, I gravitated towards the Style Ethics page, as usual. On this page, I find Charlize Theron modeling a beautiful knit cardigan and top. As I read further, I discover that these pieces were manufactured by a Uruguayan Knitting Collective. On top of that, I also learn that it took 35 hours to produce the cardigan and nine hours to produce the top. Amazed by the beauty and integrity of the work, I investigate further about the company responsible.
The company is named Lutz and Patmos, www.lutzandpatmos.com . It was founded by Tina Lutz and Marcia Patmos. Born in Germany, Tina Lutz earned her degree in Fashion Design and Pattern Making from ESMOD in Paris, France. Tina has been living in New York since 1992. Born in the United States, Marcia Patmos earned her degree in Apparel Design from the Rhode Island School of Design. Together, Marcia and Tina create gorgeous knitted apparel with the ethically minded mission to make this world a better place in which to live by contributing to our global welfare with the eco-friendly manufacturing of their pieces by design collectives in Uruguay and Bolivia. Not only are they contributing to the much needed economic vitalization within these communities, they also donate a portion of the proceeds of one selected style each year to a plethora of charities that include Al Gore’s The Climate Project, Free Arts, CARE, Operation Smile and Architecture For Humanity!
It is no surprise to me that Charlize Theron is showing her support by modeling these beautiful pieces, considering her personal commitment to positive global change with her charitable organization, Charlize Theron; Africa Outreach Project, www.charlizeafricaoutreach.com . Charlize Theron’s, Africa Outreach Project, in partnership with the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), is committed to supporting the welfare of impoverished children and their families in South Africa, especially those suffering from AIDS.
I have and will continue to profile companies, organizations, and individuals committed to positive GLOBAL change. I salute all those committed to the improving the welfare of ALL! I must also express my thanks to Vogue for profiling Lutz and Patmos and its commitment to global change through the STYLE ETHICS page. The more we are made aware of those committed to global change, the more we are able to support those efforts. The number one way is through the power of the consumer. Based on the simple economic model of Supply and Demand, it is my commitment through raising Awareness, to increase Demand of Eco-friendly and Ethically minded products and services, leading to the increase of Supply, which in turn increases Competition and ends in the Affordable Accessibility to the Eco-Friendly lifestyle for ALL! That is my mission.
Puridee, a luxe organic bridal gown company, is “formed from passion and purpose, a fusion of creativity, sustainability and compassion wrapped in a gown for an extraordinary day”. The moment I visited the site, I could sense the passion of the owner, Lindee. These beautiful silk gowns, designed with elements of nature in mind, are made by the hands of village artisan in Southeast Asia and South America. The silk used is harvested in such a way that the moth is able to complete its full cycle of life, which is not the case with conventional silk. Seven percent of all sales are donated to the Central City Community Outreach. CCCO is a grass roots organization that serves the Los Angeles, CA area by supporting children in the Skid Row area suffering with homelessness and volatile living conditions. Grounded in three principals of Art, Sustainability and Philanthropy, Puridee represent the foundation of my own belief that with the balance of Giving and Receiving that only beauty remains!
For more information please visit, www.puridee.com!
Photo courtesy of www.puridee.com
This social enterprise is the result of Chicago native, Kate Robertson's time spent working in Peru as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Falling in love with the artisans and their amazing skills, Kate decided to start Mayu in hopes of continuing to support the Artisans as her time with the Peace Corps ended. Through Mayu, the Artisans have been given the opportunity to earn fair wages and become more independent while doing what they both enjoy and excel in - knitting.
Stella McCartney Ltd.
429 W 14th St New York, NY 1001
Stella McCartney launched her eponymous label in 2001 as a joint venture with Gucci Group. The brand’s luxury ready-to-wear, shoes, bags, fragrances, eyewear, accessories, organic skin care range and performance range with Adidas are available through its acclaimed flagship stores and around 600 luxury stores in key cities worldwide.
Photo Courtesy of Style.com
EDUN, Marching to the Beat of its own African Drum
Started by Ali Hewson and her husband Bono, Edun is an eco fashion advocate for the emerging economies of Africa. Being of direct Ugandan descent, I am so proud of a fashion organization that puts the diverse people, cultures and economies of Africa at the forefront of their mission for change. Edun uses organic cotton sewn and grown by the hands of people trying day by day to change our global community for the better. With the new Spring 2009 collection here, you can see a strong African influence from many of the numerous countries that collaborate with Edun.