Fashion with a Soul

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Dubbed “the cool conscience of the fashion industry” by Vanity Fair and a poster girl for ethical rights, fashion designer Stella McCartney is a 41-year-old eco-minded mother of two who is out to save the planet one ethical decision at a time.

This lifelong advocate of animal rights (who only wears cruelty free clothing) is successfully changing the views of the fashion industry by creating clothing and accessories that are both ethical and elegant.

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Campaigning tirelessly against the use of fur in the industry, McCartney’s eco-chic fashion proves that you don’t have to use fur to make it big in the industry. With profits of up to $2.9m made last year, McCartney’s eco-friendly clothing and accessories, which don’t eschew style of luxury, has put many designers to shame with their use of real fur in many of their designs this season.

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While many luxury brands virtually pay no regard to their ethical and environmental responsibilities, McCartney works her fashion magic by creating beautiful pieces with the basic principles of cruelty free and sustainability and uses earth-friendly decisions where ever possible. McCartney estimates that up to 30 percent of each collection contains some sort of sustainable element, including a leather-like plant derivative in her shoes and boots.

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Further cementing her eco credentials, McCartney also:
* Is the first designer to team up with the Natural Resources Defense Council on its Clean by Design initiative to reduce the industry’s environmental footprint;
* Has announced a new program for aspiring designers, the Stella McCartney Scholarship, which funds local and international master’s of fashion students for a one-year placement at her fashion house. Students who win the scholarship must eschew fur, leather, or products that harm animals within their designs; and
*Has announced her newly launched eco-friendly range of fashion-forward frames (due to hit Sunglass Hut stores soon). By using raw materials stemming from natural origins, these frames help reduce the use of petroleum which takes millions of years to regenerate after consumption.

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This ethics-driven approach also reflects other areas in her lifestyle. Her stores use biodegradable bags and recycled-paper products whenever possible, and the bespoke herringbone floors in some of her stores are also made from sustainable oak. For a big environmental impact, McCartney has also changed her power source, both at home and work, to Ecotricity, which invests in wind power.

And to top that, not only does she buy organic where ever possible, McCartney has her very own line of skin-care called Care which contains no endangered plants, genetically modified ingredients, petrochemicals, paraben preservatives, or synthetic fragrances — and it mandates 100 percent certified organic active ingredients.

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Doing things her own stylish way, McCartney proves that ‘environmentally sound’ can also be uber chic!

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Curves Ahead

Fashion’s new love affair of fuller figured models is starting to take the world by storm!  With a Vogue Italia and French Elle cover and a 10 spread editorial for Vogue Australia’s 2011 September issue under her belt, Australian bombshell Robyn Lawley has become the country’s most in demand size 16 fashion model, thanks to the industry’s new found love for curves.

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With her 186cm statuesque frame and incredible bone structure, Robyn’s career has skyrocketed and has become one of an elite new group of plus-sized  international supermodels, including American model star, Crystal Renn, who are changing the  industries perception of plus-sized bodies.

 

New York-based, Robyn has signed with a Milan agency alongside supermodels Raquel Zimmermann and Natalia Vodianova and since has been the face of the One Stop Plus show, that was broadcast in Times Square, New York and has featured in campaigns for Calvin Klein and global retail chain H & M.

Perth modelling agencies and specialist size 10 plus agency, Bella Model Management, have propelled the careers of a number of multi-faceted models, including 23-year-old Sophie Sheppard, who was  also featured in a six-page Vogue Curvy fashion shoot in the July 2011 issue of Vogue Italia.

Coined “The Now Shape” by Vogue Italia, the latest trend in models is all about generous breasts and hips, big hair and come-hither eyes.  This influential magazine has now created a new section called Vogue Curvy, which features full-figures models on the cover and offersfashion advice to plus-sized readers through a website at http://www.vogue.it/en/vogue-curvy.

This special issue has increased Vogue Italia circulation figures by 20 per cent and has even caught the attention of fashion designer and Louis Vuitton creative director Marc Jacobs, who attended a shoot and demanded to meet the models.  For it’s June 2011 cover, it buckled the super-skinny trend and featured three scantily clad, curvaceous models as part of a campaign against anorexia.  The spread featured the plus size models gathered around a table laden with food and drink with the headline “Belle Verve”, or true beauties.  The black-and-white photo is reminiscent of Italy’s dolce vita style of the 1960s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out background footage of the making of Belle Verve at http://www.vogue.it/en/vogue-curvy/seen-in-vogue/2011/06/belle-vere.

Vogue Italia editor Franca Sozzani said: “Curvy women are beautiful and in fact sexier and more captivating … women want to see that people are not obsessed with being thin and that there are people who are capable of accepting the beauty of their bodies for what they naturally are.”

Following in Vogue Italia footsteps is Vogue Australia, who has given curves a stamp of approval with the magazine also prominently featuring a plus-size model for the first time and V Magazines’ January 2011 issue which gave us “Curves Ahead”, a photo spread featuring five plus-size models with styling by Nicola Formichetti and Photographer Solve Sundsbo.

 

 

 

 

 

So, whether you’re a size 14 regular or 24 petite, looks like the fashion world is finally making room for you gals and your magnificent curves.  Long gone are the days since the wafer-thin look of Kate Moss in the ‘90s. Now with Adele , Jessica Simpson and the TV series Mad Men, people will feel that it is OK to be their size and not have to be told to be skinny.  Plus-size models will eventually lead to designers using them on the runways and with the likes of Sophie Sheppard, Crystal Reen and Robyn Lawley this has already begun.

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Beauty without Cruelty

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Unfortunately, while the nineties saw real fur creep off the catwalks in shame, thanks to the “I’d rather go naked than wear fur” supermodel campaign, fur has yet again crawled it’s way back into the collections of Italian and French designers who have unapologetically used and worked with every conceivable animal from sable to mink, chinchilla and fox.

Although the lux look sets fashionista’s hearts aflutter, people who wear fur are either ignorant or arrogant about animal suffering. It doesn’t hurt to find a more animal-friendly option which is what I have always promoted.

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Feel good with the best faux fur pieces for Autumn

As we might secretly yearn for the old-fashioned allure and glamour of the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s, the rights and wrongs of wearing animal furs and feathers has become a minefield of complicated and moral and ethical dilemmas.

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Faux Fur Taupe Grey ‘Marianne Vest’, Rachel Zoe

So what about the purchase of feathers you ask?  Perhaps the most pragmatic way to approach this is to first find out whether the feathers were sourced in an eco-friendly gathering way (some farms sell feathers that have been molted and naturally shed by birds as part of their growing cycle). If you are unsure, simply ask your supplier directly. If you are going to purchase a product, you are entitled to know exactly where it has been sourced.

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Other feather suppliers specialise in collecting vintage feathers and selling them in bulk. Many people see vintage as an ethical choice: a guilt-free, pro-animal rights, pro-environmental way of wearing fur or feathers. It has been emphasised by eco-columnists and fashion environmentalists, the need to recycle everything from fur and feathers to ensure that no further animals have to die today to satisfy our desire for a lux look.

Another option is to research whether the product has the “humane seal of approval” developed by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) in conjunction with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). The seal of approval promotes what it sees as the humane treatment of farm animals. It has begun a labeling program for meat, poultry, dairy and egg producers who meet its criteria for raising farm animals under humane conditions.

However, only your own conscience can dictate your actions. A good motto to live by is “beauty without cruelty”.

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Eco is the New Black

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Thanks to a gorgeous friend of mine Julia, I have leant about the importance of eco-friendly fashion and that you don’t have to sacrifice style or pay an arm and a leg to wear it.

What is eco-friendly fashion you ask?  Eco friendly, ethical or green fashion is part of the ever-growing design philosophy and trend of sustainable design.  Fashion designers are now re-introducing eco-conscious methods through the use of environmentally friendly materials and socially responsible methods of production.

This new holistic movement, aimed to raise human consciousness and eco-conscious clothing, has designers incorporating sustainable practices into modern fashion to minimise harm in the growth, manufacturing, and shipping of products.

But let’s face it, caring about the planet involves more than just offering one organic shirt in your line.  Adopting a sustainable business model means that you need to think about everything from where you source your materials to the kind of energy your building runs on.

Celebrities, models, and designers have recently drawn much-needed attention to this socially conscious and environmentally friendly trend. However, according to the May 2007 Vogue, eco-friendly clothing appears not to be a short-term trend, but rather one which will be around for multiple seasons to come.

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British it-girl Lily Cole has recently produced a range of eco-friendly clothing with hand-made knitwear made out of wool from rescue sheep.  The 22-year-old ambassador for the Environmental Justice Foundation has acknowledged that her The North Circular line’s garments may appear expensive, however insists that the costs are in place to ensure workers are not exploited during production.

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Stella McCartney has also proven that you can develop high-end, cutting-edge fashion with the launch of her line of everyday lingerie back in August last year.  The mid-priced collection features lingerie made from organic cotton and recycled metals in youthful colours of electric blue, blush pink and python.

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Both lines have been created for the rapidly growing number of consumers who are becoming aware of the importance of preserving the environment (be it about ethics and fair wages, recycling or purchasing organic materials) and appreciate good design, fashion and creativity with a fun and fresh positive spin.

We are not saying that you can’t buy new clothes, rather that buying sustainably designed clothes is certainly the way to go. The aim is to create social change and to respect the environment.

I think the message to take away here is that we can buy less and pay more to ensure that the product you are purchasing is a positive process.

Eco-Friendly Oscars

Naomie Harris in Vivienne Westwood  created using recycled zippers, organic materials and even old chocolate wrappers

Naomie Harris in Vivienne Westwood created using recycled zippers, organic materials and even old chocolate wrappers

Anne Hathaway in custom vegan Giuseppe Zanotti heels

Anne Hathaway in custom vegan Giuseppe Zanotti heels

Helen Hunt in H&M navy blue strapless eco-friendly gown

Helen Hunt in H&M navy blue strapless eco-friendly gown

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The Most Representative Garmet – The Savvy Leather Jacket

It’s no secret that the savvy leather jacket has become the most versatile staple in anyone’s wardrobe.  A garment that is now considered “a classic” was once introduced as a trend, but because of its versatility and broad appeal, the leather jacket has worked its way into every wardrobe and always remains popular.  Traditional, general simple styling means that a true classic can be worn year after year and never date.

 A snug-fitted leather jacket is the perfect collaboration to that classic feminine flirty piece, a tunic, skinny jeans or zipped over a flimsy dress with black opaque tights for a tough/tender look.  Fun, yet functional, the end result is a collection that will eventually be a staple in your wardrobe.

 

Just remember though, the best way to wear this garment is of course how you take this piece and make it your own.  There is a jacket for everyone!

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Colour Analysis Report

Colour consultants work with clients in improving a vast array of areas where colour is of vital importance. They normally work with clients to improve their appearance, their home lives, and even their place of business. Colour consultants work to enhance moods, set tones, and accent natural beauty in a number of ways.

As a wardrobe consultant myself, colour consultancy is of particular relevance when I am working individually with clients (usually women) who want to enhance their natural looks with appropriate colours. I help clients to pick out clothing, makeup and accessories that best accent their natural hair, eye and skin colour.
My main focus is that on determining the perfect tonal/colour palette for my clients and passing this information onto them as shown in the attached Colour Analysis Reports provided to a striking warm autumn colour palette client, Mary-Lois Wilson and a soft summer colour palette, Jessica MacDonald.

 

 

Special thanks to the lovely Ms Wilson and Mrs MacDonald for sharing these reports with everyone.

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Fashion History

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