Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Sustainable Clothing

First of all, Happy Birthday to my mum! Well, yesterday. But still.

We all know the three R's: recycle, reuse and reduce. Today I want to feature three amazing designers who really epitomize these three tenents through their sustainable business practices.
I am very excited to feature (once again) Alabama Chanin, whom I am SO enamoured with.

You can read about her story on her blog or her website, but the gist of it, as I understand it, is she started a company called Project Alabama in 2000, which began locally and sustainably, but grew and decided to begin outsourcing and kind of sold out - moved its HQs to NY in 2006 and so forth, and Natalie, very corageously, broke ties and went her own way, creating Alabama Chanin, and continuing to operate out of Alabama and employ local "stitchers" to create her garments.

Out-sourcing is problematic in many ways, not only ethically (at times) but also economically, and I am very grateful to Natalie for following her heart and demonstrating that it is possible to be successful and resist unsustainable business practices simultaneously.

Alabama Chanin uses organic cotton jersey, recycled T-shirts and a lot of love and a healthy does of good ol' Southern sensibilities in creating their gorgeous reverse applique clothing.

Read about it all, find recipes, patterns, tips and techiniques in the Alabama Stitch Book, available here. SUCH a gorgeous book.

Oooo! Oooo! Exciting news! Alalbama Chanin is coming out with ANOTHER book: Alabama Studio Style. Read about it here.

I'd like to introduce you to another "T-shirt artisan" who also recycles blah old T-shirts into fresher and hipper clothing. Meet Mari Santos. Now look at the cute tops and dresses she makes out of ugly oversized T's. Is jersey the new cashmere? I think so!

Hooray for recycling and reusing! Now let's see some reducing. Mark Lui very cleverly designs clothes whose pattern pieces fit together in such a way as to reduce the waste material to only 15%. Besides, LOOK at his clothes, people. Sculptural, stark, beautiful.

Speaking of sculptural, beautiful asymettric tops by Rick Owens that I found on Luisa Viaroma.

And I would be remiss if I did not let you in on the secret of Faith Shoes. But before you get too excited, note that while international shipping IS available, all purchases must be paid for with a UK based card. Good thing I've got relatives down in Devon! You know who you are! Call me!

One last thing. I just have to share the story of this amazing pony named Molly.

As I have quickly found out there are blogs about EVERYTHING. Why not horse blogs? Such as the one that featured Molly's story, Hoofcare. Molly was abandoned by her owners when Katrina hit, had her leg mauled by a pit bull, got a huge infection, and was turned down by the LSU vets as they were overwhelmed with abandoned animals. However, this very smart southern pony took care of herself, to the extent that she proved to the vets that she really wanted to live, so they finally gave in, amputated her leg, made her a prosthetic, and this pony not only survived but now works with all kinds of people who need a little boost of hope and some inspiration.

Awww! What a SWEET pony! Read the whole story here.

Anyhoo, in the end I think this blog post is a testament to Southern grit, glory, tenacity and beauty. Some great things have come out of the South, including but not limited to Molly and Alabama Chanin. For instance, Faulkner. But we'll leave that to another post...

No comments: