Sunday, 30 June 2013

Starwax the Fabulous: Retro, greener cleaning products

A little while back I visited the Salon du Vintage in the Marais. The vintage clothing on offer was all rather over-priced, but there was a little stand at the entrance showing off 'Starwax the Fabulous' cleaning products, which was so beautifully presented that I couldn't resist having a little look, and soon enough I was having a chat with the brand representative, searching my memory for cleaning product vocabulary.

You may be wondering how I can shoehorn cleaning products into an ethical fashion blog. I posed myself the same question. To justify myself, the retro packaging really appeals to me (retro > Duck, Dettol and Jif), and there is a hidden greener side: the brand focuses on old fashioned 'store cupboard' cleaning products like they used in the good old days. Think white vinegar, bicarbonate of soda and citric acid, all of which are surprisingly effective replacements for the usual chemical-tastic products that damage both your lungs and the rivers.

I haven't actually tested any of these products, but a quick search for 'cleaning with bicarbonate of soda' returns lots of positive reviews on Google, so I'd be more than willing to give them a try. You may wonder, 'what is the point in paying extra for something in a pretty bottle?' I suppose it's a matter of convenience/habit (or simply, pretty bottles), but the brand also puts a lot of work into giving out advice - including recipes for all sorts of cleaning dilemmas - although it's all in French at the moment.

You can find the products in certain hardware shops in France, but it could be one to look out for in a few years time in other countries.

Would you be willing to give traditional cleaning products a try? Do you already use them?

Sadie xxx

Friday, 28 June 2013

Crowd-voted designs by Front Row Society

Front Row Society is a Berlin-based fashion brand which employs a system of 'crowd-voting' to decide which designs they are going to put in to production. Artists submit textile designs based around a brief, and the general public cast their votes for their favourites. In theory, this is a handy way to match supply with demand: only the most popular designs go in to production, which helps to reduce overall waste. An interesting concept, especially as it doubles up as a way for artists to showcase their work.

I've been aware of the company for a few months, but it was put back on my radar after reading a recent post on Dresses on a Clothesline which features a Front Row Society scarf (worn in 7 different ways!). This prompted a visit to the site, where to my delight, I noticed that they also sell some rather incredible leggings in a dazzling array of eye-catching colours and patterns. Even better: many of these are now on sale (can't quite work out if this goes against the point of crowd-voting or not, but it's nice that they are a bit more accessible price-wise).

Also. This rucksack. Need I say any more?
...apart from maybe that it is in the sale too?!

Sadie xxx

Saturday, 1 June 2013

'Fashion Victims' by Yolanda Dominguez

Since re-labelling my blog as an 'ethical fashion blog', I have mostly concentrated on the 'solutions' (great ethical brands) rather than the problems in the fast fashion industry, which I think are better explained by journalists and many campaigning organisations. Recently, the deeply disturbing Bangladesh factory collapse has brought the issues back into the public eye, but I can't help but wonder how long it will be before they are forgotten again.

I spotted a link on Twitter to a project by artist Yolanda Dominguez, called Fashion Victims. Whilst the project ignores a lot of issues, the visual statement it makes is interesting. Production in Bangladesh can seem so far away that it doesn't even enter your consciousness when shopping on the highstreet. But bringing the issue to a familiar context makes it seem more 'real'. It's also a great way to get conversations going and push consumers to examine their decisions.

Here is a video of 'Fashion Victims'.

I must admit that I did hesitate before posting this, concerned that making it 'art' sort of trivialises the factory collapse. What do you think? Is it a useful contribution?

Sadie xxx