Saturday, June 30, 2012

Where Is Your Organic Clothing Made?

English: Three female workers in Sri Lanka app...
Three female workers in Sri Lanka apparel industry (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
By Adrian Desbarats

Many times I have been asked where my organic and eco friendly clothing is made.

When my answer includes places like China, Bangladesh and, India, the response I often get is negative and I can certainly understand.

Most people involved in the environmental movement prefer to "buy local" either to reduce the impacts resulting from transport or avoid supporting countries with less then ideal human rights records.

However, it is my opinion that this view, although based on a desire to create positive change, is not the path we should choose and following are my reasons:

Firstly, the apparel industry is buyer driven with demand for cheap, throw away fashion being the core of that demand. To meet this consumer demand, big corporations went overseas where labour laws are slack and wages are cheap.

Through this long association, the apparel industry is now fully entrenched in countries like China, India, Bangladesh, etc with close to 70% of all apparel imports valued at over 30 billion, coming into the US from the third world.

By demanding cheap, throw away fashions, we created this situation of exploitation in the third world. So, by turning our back on this industry through "buy local" are we not choosing to abandon already impoverished individuals who now rely on the apparel industry as a sole source of income?

Instead of abandoning these third world workers, we must support them. We must use our buying power to say no to child labor, no to wage exploitation, no to unsafe working conditions and yes to environmental sustainability.

By choosing to buy organic, fair trade clothing, we give these workers the environment they need to pull themselves out of the endless cycle of abject poverty, we give them and their children hope for the future.

This is why I support and fully endorse working actively with companies and individuals in the third world who are trying to clean up the apparel industry through adoption of organic and fair trade practices.

But what about the environmental cost of shipping these products overseas? There have been many LCA (life cycle analysis) done regarding the environmental impact of clothing manufacture and the reality is that less then 3% of the energy consumption of a typical piece of clothing can be attributed to transport.

So, have our efforts made a difference? Absolutely. A prime example would be Sri Lanka which is very much leading the way in the process of adopting organic, fair trade manufacturing. Over 300,000 persons work in the Sri Lankan apparel industry, 90 per cent of whom are women. Every small gain made in countries like Sri Lanka have a huge impact on these individuals.

So the question should not be - where is it made? The question should be - is it organic and fair trade?

Adrian Desbarats, the author, has a passionate desire for balance between nature and human needs. A biologist, he started to provide Earth friendly, stylish fashions at affordable prices. Want to learn more about Fashion & Earth? Want to make a commitment to leading a more sustainable life style? Choose organic clothing and you'll make a positive difference in your life and our planet! Visit Fashion and Earth at

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Saturday, June 23, 2012

'Love Story' Movie - Fashion Style

Cover of "Love Story"
Cover of Love Story
By Sisi S Tsoi

This must surely be one of my most favourite movie fashion inspirations. It certainly had tons of style in every shot of Ali MacGraw, without being unduly influenced by fashion. When the weather is cold outside and with a roaring fire indoors, I always think of this movie.

The 1970 classic 'Love Story' movie, inspires the kind of perfect love one can only dream about. With the radiance of American Ivy League as a backdrop, the classic white stone-washed buildings and bright sun against knee-deep snow, it all seems to reflect Ali's beauty.

Her enviable wardrobe provided inspiration for fashion designers in future years. Her clothing evokes the classic 'preppy' style and today is accessible to everyone. Playing a poor scholarship student, Jenny Cavaleri, Ali became a style icon that made that American style, famous and trendy. Classic designers like Michael Kors and Calvin Klein certainly took lots of inspiration from the movie for their subsequent collections.

Ali constantly wore amazing coats with classic masculine lines, like the fantastic camel-coloured cashmere coat, that wrapped around her sporty figure so well. There was also the deep blue, pea coat with the shiny buttons, teamed with lovely turtlenecks peeping from beneath.

The masterful colour arrangements of her outfits contributed a lot to the success of this unforgettable style. The beige with black and red check skirt, worn as she moved in and out of the school building, flowed alongside her fast wit and humorous banter with Ryan O'Neal.

I think the constant appearance of short skirts was intentional, since the movie was made in the 1970s, therefore just at the end of the 60s 'mini mania'. It certainly fitted her independent free spirit and brilliant, sparkling personality.

For her wedding, she wore the same check mini skirt, intimating so much personal casual chic. It tells me that clothes don't have to be serious, but love is. Her fantastic accessory collection is also a reminder for us that it is so important not to forget matching hats, or even what a whimsical fur hat will do for an outfit.

I can see them both in his convertible, top down, driving towards her new in-laws' vast estate. She is wearing her classic camel coat and black tights, ready to grace the old dark, wood-panelled rooms of the huge mansion.

As she reveals her beautiful, lipstick-red silk dress, it makes me want to go out and get a dress just like it and grow my hair to have a side parting. Although maybe we cannot star in a film, at least we can all style ourselves classic and pretty.

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Saturday, June 16, 2012

VIDEO TRIBUTE: My Top Six 1960s Fashion Icons

Hi all,

Here is a personal tribute to 6 of the coolest icons from the 1960s by kirkirluv. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

VIDEO: Swinging London: 60s Fashion

Hi all,

Here's a fantastic little video brought to you by pckg21c.

And here's the blurb by the author: This is 60's Fashion scene. Mary Quant and mini skirts and PVC coats. Other many styles of Fashion. Made from original old TV film.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Origins of a Fashion Classic: Jeans

Levi Strauss, blue jeans
Levi Strauss, blue jeans (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
By Harvey McEwan

History of Jeans

Jeans originated in the USA in the late 19th century. Originally, they were worn as work trousers by miners, factory workers and soldiers. They were particularly common as work clothing during World War II. At this time men's zippers were placed at the front of the garment, while women's ran along the right side.

Later on, in the 1930s they became popular among the cowboy population. Jeans were a popular souvenir for anyone visiting the West's dude ranches. Hippies continued the denim trend in the 1960s. Jeans were very hard to find in non-Western countries so they were a common postal item.
During the 1970s the garment became more widespread as they begun to be produced in southern sweatshops. With cheaper production came cheaper prices.

By the 1980s jeans had become a fashion staple. Designers started to experiment with different styles and fabric variations. Sales continued to rise and rise. The garment is to this day a popular casual clothing choice, and is worn by kids, women and men alike.

Origins of the Name

Even the story of how jeans got their name is an interesting one. At one point they were known as waist overalls! Jean was a material made in Europe. It was named after sailors in Genoa, Italy who reportedly wore clothes made out of the fabric.

Now we more commonly refer to the material itself as denim. The history of this term can be traced back to France. Serge was a kind of material originating in the town of Nimes. "Serge de Nimes" is the French way of saying serge from Nimes. De Nimes would explain the coining of the term denim we use until this day.


Back in the day jeans had a nasty way of disintegrating in the pocket area. In the late 19th century a tailor called Jacob Davis came up with the genius idea of using metal rivets to keep the pockets intact, and safeguard them from ripping.

Keen on applying for a patent, but lacking the funds for it, he turned to Levi Strauss with a proposition. Strauss accepted and so production of the new riveted trousers began.

Celebrities and Jeans

Jeans became a fashionable item and a symbol of youth rebellion in the 1950s after James Dean was seen wearing them in the movie Rebel Without a Cause. This association led the garment to be banned in certain public buildings like schools, theatres and restaurants. At this time the fashion item was sometimes referred to as "jean pants".

In the 1970s mens skinny jeans became popular among the punk community. Bands like The Sex Pistols became ambassadors of the trend.

The 1980s saw the introduction of acid washed jeans. Many people's idol of the time, Madonna was a keen advocate of the trend, and was snapped wearing jeans many times.

The rise of hip hop in the 1990s came hand in hand with the growing popularity of wide leg or baggy jeans. Artists like Tupac were rarely seen sporting anything other than their beloved denim trousers.

In this day and age jeans are worn by many celebrities from the Duchess of Cambridge to Kylie Minogue. They are an undying trend.

Harvey McEwan writes to offer information and advice on a variety of areas, from the history of mens skinny jeans to technology to holiday destinations. View Harvey's other articles to find out more.

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