Thursday, December 1, 2016

Review: Frontline Fashion

Redress HK continues to do amazing things! It's so easy to be supportive of my friend Christina Dean and her organization. In addition to raising awareness for the textile waste issue by organizing pop ups and being a sponsor and organizer of the Eco Chic Design Award, they're also doing outreach in schools to teach our younger generation about being conscientious consumers. Just today, I received their newsletter in my email with an offer to send out educator packs to use in the classroom. You can click on this link to register for yours.

Founder and CEO Christina Dean

I'm so excited that Redress has connected with my school and are energizing our students to think more creatively about their design process with those sustainable design techniques in mind. Just today, I was a guest speaker in our school's Fashion Design class to share my own knowledge and passion about sustainable fashion, vintage and secondhand.

Recently, I had the privilege of previewing Redress's latest project, a documentary called Frontline Fashion, which documents the weeks leading up to the Eco Chic Design Award 2016 Grand Final.  The full documentary is now available on iTunes.

Here's a teaser. . .

It is so exciting to watch some behind-the-scenes action of the journey the designers embark on to get their designs ready for the runway. Not only do we get to see the work that goes into putting on a runway show -- first with the designers finishing their pieces -- but also the input from the stylist who really decides how a piece will be worn and in what order the garments should appear when presented. The stylist really translates the designer's vision into wearable runway fashion.

In addition to going behind-the-scenes of the ECDA fashion show, the documentary also takes us into the factory of one of the biggest shirt manufacturers in the world based in China to show us (and the finalists) how they're incorporating sustainability into their business practices and design process.

All in all, it's a very inspiring film and I strongly recommend it. If you're interested in hosting a screening in your community, click here to get in touch with Redress.

***In Redress's November newsletter, it also states that there is a book project in the works. Click here to pre-order your copy of Dress (with) Sense from Amazon.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

What's your letter?

The title of this post comes from a funny story about my youngest a few years back. In a nutshell, she was meeting our family friend and her namesake Cally for the first time since she was a baby.

Upon hearing that she had the same name as Big Cally, she immediately asked, well, what is her letter? When she heard it was C, she was incensed! What?!? she said a bit put off, but that's MY letter! Kids say the funniest things.

Anyway, stories aside, I thought that title worked for a post where I was wearing my Nn t-shirt. I'm not one for graphic tees, but I love this one from American Apparel. Not just because it has my letter, but more so because it has my letterS.  You see, my last name starts with an N as well. My name alliterates. Perfect for an English teacher, don't you think?

The whole outfit has special meaning, too. The blazer is part of a capsule collection that a designer friend of mine did in collaboration (Tangram x GOD) with Goods of Desire, a Hong Kong based shop. The blue of the blazer drew me in right away, and I love to support my friends.

Earrings, purse and neck scarf were all thrifted vintage finds from my summer travels. I'm really loving the neck scarf again this season. I love that I have a whole new use for all my vintage scarves, especially the smaller ones. I've worn them this way more than on my head lately.

This cuff, my second from The Mauve Hour, is a lovely upcycled vintage piece. I really love what designer Paige is doing with her brand. She's recently branched out to include upcycled vintage pieces on chokers. Her jewellery is so edgy, I love it. Ruggedly elegant is her motto. Watch for more on the blog about her soon.

And finally, these jeans are a sweet gift from former student and friend, Tora. For her final school project, she embarked on a journey to design a mini collection using sustainable design techniques. She upcycled some of her own clothing (and her mum's) and created four amazing pieces. One of the pieces she created was a super cool pair of distressed graphic jeans. I absolutely loved them, and having recently tried to DIY some of my own, I knew I wanted her to fix them for me.

Boy, did she ever. I cannot wait to wear these again.
Read her blog and follow her Instagram. Good things are going to be coming from her.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

These boots were made for walkin'

After my brief taste of real Fall weather in Kobe, Japan last weekend, I decided it was time to take stock of some of my cooler weather essentials.

Namely, my boots. You can't beat a good pair of ankle booties. I wear these all the time and I get compliments on them, too.  I bought them a few years ago on Shoemint, which was a website you subscribed to for good deals on shoes. They had their own brand as well as other recognized shoe brands. I was disappointed to hear that they'd closed especially because my boots are showing signs of wear and they're now irreplaceable.

I love the heel height, just perfect for everyday wear, and the fact that the zippers are on the outside. I can't tell you how many pairs of tights I ruined with my previous pair with zippers on the inner side. The leather is worn in, just how I like it.

So what do I do to keep them around longer? Well, for starters, I make sure not to wear them when it's heaving down with rain (unless I'm caught off guard). Hong Kong rain comes down in torrents and the water can really ruin a decent pair of shoes.

The other thing I do (and I need to do this for this year) is spray a leather protector over them. The leather protector helps to keep the shoes weather resistant. Likewise, a leather conditioner is important, too. This will keep your leather from drying out. These are steps that can be easily forgotten, but are crucial to maintaining your shoes.

Finally, take them to a cobbler to have the soles replaced as they wear down. Depending on how often you wear your boots, you will find that the sole wears through faster than the leather upper does. It helps to have a shoe repairman close by so that you'll be more likely to take this step. A new sole breathes new life into a well loved pair of shoes or boots.

A few weeks ago, King Ranch Saddle Shop sent over this graphic with some key boot care tips of their own. I'll definitely be incorporating some of their tips into to my maintenance, too. I hope you'll put some of these tips into your routine.

And here’s some good news, King Ranch is offering a promo code for my readers to purchase some of their boot care products as well as their leather goods! So people, if you've been on the hunt for some cowboy boots, be sure to check out King Ranch’s selection of trendsetting cowgirl boots and classic cowboy boots!

Use this when you checkout:  KRbootcare2016

Friday, November 18, 2016

Links a la Mode, November 17th

How is it already the weekend? I suppose time moves more quickly when you're out of your normal routine. I'm in Kobe through Sunday chaperoning some of my dancers at a dance festival. I'm absolutely loving the fall weather.

There are some great posts on this week's IFB Links a La Mode blogger round up on how to take summer trends and keep them going for Fall. There are some excellent posts with style tips and then several which will get you thinking. Have a read!

Links à la Mode, November 17th
SPONSOR: Amazon's Shopbop, Ganni, Flight 001 Accessories, Gift Guide, P.E NATION, JADE Swim, Marion Parke, Bell Sleeve Tops, Camera Bags, Shearling Boots, Men's Aer

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Insert Brand Here

Why do you buy your clothes? Is it because of the style? Do you care about designer? Or brand?

Or do you care more about where they're made? Maybe you're conscious about how they were made or even who made your clothes. Perhaps you just like a good bargain. Or perhaps you prefer high end pieces. Whatever the reason may be, you should, at the very least, have given it some thought.

I'm not here to judge, but I do know what my reasons are. Those reasons pretty well make up my motto, actually.

When I buy clothes, I try to make choices that have a minimal impact on our environment. That means I pretty much wear secondhand or vintage exclusively.  An exception to this is when I wear pieces in support of local or independent designers. No fast fashion for me. It's thoughtfully designed, thoughtfully sourced, thoughtfully produced.

My friends over at Print House made me this t-shirt after a conversation I had with them related to this topic.  You see, I'm not really a 'name brand' kind of person. I sometimes giggle when I see people who wear a plain t-shirt, sweater, or whatever which has the brand name or logo plastered across the front. It's usually nothing special, it just showcases the name of the brand and probably costs more because of it.

I had to laugh at myself when they gave it to me because their brand is on the back, but I wear it proudly. The choker comes from Raven+Rose, a Hong Kong based lingerie brand (her new collection was just released).  Skirt and bomber jacket are vintage and my Cambridge Satchel and sandals are both secondhand.

So there you have it. My statement t-shirt and the statement behind it.

By the way, this look was totally inspired by B Jones Style, have you checked her out yet? GO! I promise you'll love her YouTube channel.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Links a la Mode, November 10th

My post about Swagalls was picked up for Independent Fashion Bloggers weekly round up. Unfortunately, they didn't reach their goal so the project will not be funded. I hope they'll take time to regroup and get out there with new energy and vision for their company. I hope to bring you an update soon.

"Gain insight on the future of fashion from interviews with the up and coming and learn about how designers are transforming fashion in a very positive way."
Links à la Mode, November 10th
SPONSOR: Shopbop, meli melo, Canada Goose Jackets, Schutz Booties, Sugarfina, The Archive, Perfect Moment, Turtleneck Sweaters, Sweatshirts/Hoodies, Combat Boots, Men's Cambridge Satchel

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Good things: Rug Lane Vintage and Secondhand Clothing Markets

I think it's time to focus on something good this week.

Coming up this weekend is something brand new for Hong Kong. When I found out about the Rug Lane Vintage and Secondhand Clothing Markets, I was giddy with excitement.  I knew I had to reach out and learn more about who was bringing us this idea.  Thank you to Billie-Grace, the founder of Rug Lane, for sharing your responses.

What is Rug Lane? Tell us a little about yourself.
Rug Lane is a concept destination. Just like laneways are popularly used to house coffee shops, clothing stores, music venues and bars, Rug Lane is a place to go to get your fix of music, fashion and lifestyle. We aim to provide our readers with new music, interesting articles on lifestyle and fashion and discussions on what it’s like living in a home away from home.

The idea started when moving overseas and I realised that it’s hard to stay connected to things you love in a new city when you are unfamiliar with where to find those things. I no longer listened to the radio to get my fix of new music, I couldn’t pop down to the local farmers markets to sponsor different local clothing designers and I couldn’t find a goddamn coffee under $50hkd! I wanted somewhere for people to go to check out new music because they are too busy to search themselves, read stories about those funny moments when you move to a new city and learn from inspiring people - so I created a platform to share that.

Rug Lane isn’t just an online destination though. We don’t have a fixed address which gives us the freedom to pop up wherever we like globally. We apply that laneway concept and put on intimate events in spaces encompassing the things we love - whether that be a gig, a vintage clothing market, an art event or just a really good party.

What are your thoughts about the vintage scene in Hong Kong?

I’ve always loved vintage and secondhand shopping and every time I travel I try and find the local op-shop and vintage stores. As a Gweilo coming to Hong Kong though it's quite hard to find a lot of stuff in the beginning. Finding the local stationary shop is just as hard as finding a vintage shop. Thing’s aren’t on the ground level because rental space is at a premium so you really have to go searching for it. The consignment-esk stores are around but they are mainly selling last year's Michael Kors bag rather than a vintage Chanel or an old pair of Levis. I have found some shops but mainly through social media more than wandering the street. I think there is still a long way to go for Hong Kong to ever have a vintage and secondhand clothing culture like they do in the UK, Europe or America but at Rug Lane, we are hoping to start getting people more familiar with the idea of selling old clothes and swapping vintage pieces.

What is your vision for Rug Lane Vintage and Secondhand Market -- will this become a regular event?
The idea behind the vintage and secondhand markets pop up started in Australia when myself and a bunch of friends were trying to sell some of our clothes before moving overseas. They were all going to London and I was coming to Hong Kong and we had way too much stuff to fit in our 30kg luggage limits so we decided to run a couple of events to sell some of our beloved clothes. It's hard to part with piece you love but moving overseas is actually a really cleansing experience because you realise what in your life you can and can't live without and there were so many clothes we all realised we just didn't need but were too nice to throw away.

I really believe in second hand clothing and the concepts of rewear, reuse and recycled. Hong Kong is a metropolis of waste and certainly not the most resourceful city. It’s over-consuming and plastic driven! We also live in teeny tiny apartments where our wardrobes or clothing racks are not built for 100’s and 1000’s of clothes. People cannot physically hold onto so much stuff and throwing them away just means they add to the already full landfills so we wanted to provide a space for people to be able to pass on pieces they don’t wear anymore or pieces they bought and never took the tags off rather than throwing away. We are also providing a service to the sellers to donate any clothes they don’t sell by the end of the day and don’t want to take home to a charity who will come and collect the old clothes. This way we know they go somewhere with a good cause rather than the landfills.

We definitely plan on running more of these events in line with the seasons as we think that’s a good time when people are swapping their wardrobes over, to have a good cleansing of old clothes and sell at the event. It also works for the buyers in need of some new season pieces to come pick up some unique secondhand pieces rather than heading to a big chain and buying the “dress of the season” that every second person is wearing around. Anyone can buy or sell, we just have limited spaces for sellers due to space restrictions but hoping to expand to larger venues over time depending on how they go.  

What can we expect to see at the market on the day?
On November 12 there will be around 20 sellers at Ethos Gallery selling everything from women’s clothing, shoes and accessories to men's and children's wear. We even have a local designer who makes jewellery out of old recycled leather. The event will run from 1:30-6:30 on a Saturday afternoon, so an easy time for people to come down, shop, have a drink, stay for a chat and chill out. We are trying to be as resourceful as we can and not providing plastic shopping bags to customers so bring along your own reusable bag on the day. All details are on our website and the Facebook event page

Local brand The Mauve Hour will be selling as well!

Location: Ethos Gallery, 97 Hill Road Sai Wan (closest exit A1 HKU Station)
Time: 1:30 to 6:30 pm
Tickets: $35 early bird/$50 at the door (includes a free beer)

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