Mindfully Wed

September 22nd, 2017 | no comments

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Fashion Hound

Fashion Hound

Fashion Hound

Fashion Hound

Fashion Hound

Fashion Hound

Fashion Hound

Fashion Hound

Fashion Hound

It took me a long time to find my one true love and I’m so excited to marry Lee in December this year. He is kind, loyal, loving, generous and such great fun, for reals we wake up laughing and I still get butterflies when I see him, even though we live together!

I am so proud of the man he is and I love how we allow each other to be ourselves, chase our dreams independently whilst still being a really tight little unit.

Plus he has no idea really what the whole instagram fuss is all about, nor does he know how to use it which I kinda love, but its thanks to my online eco community that I have been able to uncover how to make our wedding more ethical and planet friendly.

I started doing my research 6 months ago and have been learning so much along the way, it’s pretty scary how wasteful and excessive weddings can be.

THE DRESS

This is the ultimate wear once item, so I wanted to find a way to make it more mindful…enter Lenka Couture – Australia’s first ethically accredited bridal couture designer. Lenka and I are designing my dress from scratch using exisiting designer dead stock, left over lace and ethically sourced fabrics to create my one of a kind eco dream dress. The dress I’m wearing in this shoot is also a Lenka. We are making my bridesmaid dresses using organic silk satin and the coolest element is that we are natural dying them with onion skins, you should see the color!

THE FLOWERS

I had no idea about this, but when I was on the shoot for this Mindfully Wed campaign I discovered that a lot of the wedding flowers and the ones we buy from markets or florists have been flown from overseas. How do they last? Sadly, with lots of chemicals and a big carbon footprint to get them here. So it blew my mind to discover the slow flower movement, bouquets that are foraged, locally grown and even reused. Vanessa from @dancing_blossom_studio is doing seriously cool things #GrownNotFlown

I’m really glad I discovered this concept in time to add it to our wedding values.

CONFETTI

My beautiful Mumma is the high priestess of preloved and DIY, she reduced me to happy tears when she told me she’d been collecting leaves all year from her garden and her travels. Then using a $2 butterfly shaped hole punch she found she is making me eco friendly confetti that breaks down back into the earth afterwards…genius right!

CARS

Man they can rip you off deluxe here, so we have asked a couple of our friends with nice cars to drive us and then we will also be using Uber X

MAKE UP & HAIR

Via the power of the hashtag I uncovered a great ethical Sydney based make up artist. Lovely @liv_lundelius is such a wealth of knowledge and all the products she uses are friendly on your skin, the planet and animals.

I have a lovely girl I work with doing my hair.

THE BOYS

Lee will be wearing amazing Spanish vintage boots, a beautiful embroided white shirt – both found at the Salvos and then my sweet stylist friend Donny Galella is helping me find the best options for the boys in terms of borrowing and ethical brands.

Lee is wearing all op shop and vintage in this shoot. I sourced his white embroided shirt and Ralph Lauren chinos from Salvos Stores both totalled $25. The boots Lee found for $30 in a vintage store when we were in NYC.

THE RINGS

We had such a divine experience sourcing my engagement ring. I’m a self confessed fussy libran so Lee knew that it would be best if we could design the ring together, this also allowed us to take the time and choose a merchant who had an ethical mindset. Affinity Diamonds were incredible, they searched for months to find me the perfect conflict free dream pear shaped black diamond and in a beautiful slice of serendipity it ended up coming from NYC which is my spiritual home. The stone was then sent to us and set right here and made by hand in their small local workshop. It was so wonderful to sit with their designer Colleen and sketch what was in my mind, she even suggested adding in Lee’s birth stone peridot, hidden under my diamond which we LOVED! My ring is everything I dreamt of and couldn’t recommend their service enough. We will also be getting our wedding rings done with Affinity.

RESOURCE TOOLS

Sandra Henri from Mindfully Wed was the brains trust behind this shoot to promote her event in Sydney Oct 7.

Everything you see here is ethical, mindful, sustainable and aimed at showing you that slowing down never has mean sacrificing style for your special day, in fact we think it makes it more beautiful!

Check out Sandra’s amazing checklist below, it great start to help you get in a ‘Saying Yes For Less’ mindset!

(Sandra also took these gorgeous photos…Talented much!)

Get curious:

Mindful wedding planning and a curious mind are great friends. Reducing a wedding’s footprint begins with a state of mind; a willingness to ask questions and the creativity and courage to go your own way. Here are a few questions to get you started on your journey of wedding rebelliousness 😉

  • Where was this made, and was it made fairly? Don’t be afraid to ask your dressmaker, jeweller or florist these questions. The reason for this is that wedding suppliers are generally small, service based businesses who aim to please. More than likely you’ll be welcomed with an open mind and “let’s find out” approach.
  • Does it have to be new? There are many ways in which you can integrate the old with the new. Sentimental family jewellery can be recreated into new bespoke pieces and vintage or dead stock fabrics to design new gowns. Borrow items where you can; people love to help and contribute to weddings!
  • How can we reduce waste? Explore re-gifting the flowers following the wedding day or use potted plants instead of florals, ask about nose-to-tail catering where no part is wasted, ask your venue if they recycle or compost, use e-invites, bamboo disposables, or give your bridal party the freedom to wear whatever they want and are likely to wear again.
  • How can we benefit our local community? Try to source local, organic and support the little guy. There are so many part-time wedding businesses that do a little happy dance every time they get a booking!
  • How far has this travelled? Give your florist the creativity to use what’s in season and grown in Australia, support a local dress-maker, or choose garden-to-plate catering. Alternatively, if purchasing from overseas, support a traditional artisan, helping to provide employment and preserve culture.
  • Do we really need this? Set free one layer of your wedding and donate the savings to a cause instead, or invest in relationship nurturing and coaching that will far outlast any material items on your wedding day.
    How can we carbon offset our wedding or honeymoon? Whilst you might like to get hands-on with tree planting or making a donation, you’ll be surprised that the easiest way to carbon offset your wedding is by increasing the plant-based servings in your wedding menu. You even might save a few dollars while you’re at it!

 

Mindfully Wed is Oct 7 in Sydney, for more info click here 

And here’s all the genius eco wedding peeps involved in our shoot, check them out on instagram, just don’t ask Lee to find them for you 😉 haha

@less_stuff_more_meaning
@MindfullyWed
@FreedomHubOrg
@FayeDelanty
@Lenka_Couture
@RUUSK
@SandraHenriPhotography
@DanTheManCooking
@RellandCo
@Dancing_Blossom_Studio
@Pop_Up_Gardens
@Liv_Lundelius
@BlownAwayHairSpa
@Planning_with_Purpose

 

 

Salvos Curated

September 14th, 2017 | no comments

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Part exhibition, Part DIY hub and all parts awesome pop up op shopping SALVOS CURATED was such a hit and I’m super proud to be one of the brains behind it.

Salvos Stores and I joined forces with eco fashion journalist Clare Press to create an eco chic extravaganza.

Spread over 3 days, guests op shopped til they dropped, found incredible high end designer bargains, picked up wonderful DIY and reviving tips with our cool customising gang and engaged in nourishing conversations on how to slow down and be more sustainable with style.

When you shop at a place like Salvos Stores, you not only empower people but you give the planet a hug too.

Fashion can absolutely be a force for good and remember individual impact has power.

Start simply, try op shopping and support a very worthy cause.

Sustainability is sexy and we were so thrilled to show our 500 plus guests that it never ever means sacrificing style.

National Op Shop Week

August 27th, 2017 | no comments
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Joyce is wearing one of my Australian Vogue editorial recreations. All from an Op Shop and no sewing required. Just snipping, some serious layering and a savvy mindset.

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Inspiration: Deconstructed suiting as seen in the August issue of Australian Vogue

 

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DETAILS: Joyce is wearing a white men’s shirt, a bustier that was a sheer bohemian blouse before I got the scissors to it. The bottom half has two layers…a oversized and outdated grey pinstripe skirt that I sliced right up the middle and wrap around Joyce. The houndstooth piece is actually a vest that I decided to have her wear as a skirt, secured in place at the side with brooch bling.

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Salvos Stores versus Dior…this look is inspired by the current season 2017 collection which is all about denim, black, lace and berets so thats the pieces I hunted for…so love what I came up with,

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DIOR-able! Its the 70th anniversary of the iconic French couture house this year and the National Gallery in Melbourne has an exhibition to celebrate. For this look I was inspired by Dior tailoring from the 50’s. Again no sewing was required, I simply fashioned an oversized mens tweed blazer into a bustier…wrapping the sleeves around the waist and securing in place with vintage brooches.

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Inspiration: The article in Vogue that sparked my imagination

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Teamed with classic black pieces which have modern accents to create a cool contrast. The accessories convey a nod to aesthetics of DIOR past Cats eyes, vintage chandelier earrings and prim and proper shaped pumps All from Salvos Stores

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Op Shopping is not just a game for the girls, there are so many goodies to be found for the boys Dom did the styling himself, was so great to see a guy interpret the trends with second hand!

 

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I like to think it’s every week, but no doubt about it, it’s super exciting that today kicks off the official start of National Op Shop Week.

When you shop sustainably at a thrift store not only do you save money and mother nature you support the vital work charities like the Salvation Army carry out.

Salvos Stores is the retail division of the army and every year these op shops around the country raise millions of dollars to empower people…people that may be homeless, dealing with addiction, depression, family issues or even a natural disaster.

All these clothes you see here I found at Salvos Stores a few short weeks ago and I love nothing more to show you just how stylish second hand can be.

My inspirations for all the ladies looks were current Australian Vogue editorials and the 70th Anniversary of DIOR.

High Fashion looks for (way more than) half the price!

To set you on your way here are 3 of my favorite op shopping tips

 

1. DO YOUR GOOGLES MATE

Spend time exploring the world wide web, look at street style, fashion publications, blogs, read magazines – Vogue has taught me a lot – explore fashion history, take an interest in style.

The more you know the better you can become at recreating all those expensive and divine designer looks.

For example, take a look at Chanel…what is this iconic French fashion house famous for?

Well my little thrift-anistas

Founder Coco Chanel made pearls, tweed jackets and quilted bags with chain straps famous. To this day, these elements are there in every collection creative director Karl Lagerfeld delivers.

So if you want a slice of the Chanel pie without the big spend then take some inspiration pictures with you and hunt for these items in your local op shop.

Start with a simple white tee and distressed denim, then add a chic black heel, black tweed blazer, a string of pearls and a replica quilted bag, et voila designer on a dime!

I can easily find this look for $50 in an op shop, sometimes even less.

2. GO BY FEEL

When op shopping I always aim to seek out superior fabrics, cuts and details. Most of us can tell when something seems a little bit special, keep an eye out for those pieces.

Natural fibres like silk, wool, leather and linen will always hold their shape and last season after season, so if you see these definitely take a closer look.

If you find a piece that’s synthetic, thats no problem just make sure it has nice structure and looks well made.

Choosing quality over quantity is the simplest way to look effortlessly more expensive without having to break the bank, so is my next tip…

3. KEEP IT SIMPLE

Treat op shopping like a normal shopping experience, don’t just buy a bunch of stuff because its cheap, be discerning. Think about what you really need and would honestly wear, what suits your lifestyle and your shape.

Hunt for classic pieces like a great blazer, cool distressed denim, a stripe tee, black skinnies, a pencil skirt or a trench coat.

These pieces are timeless and will work season after season, when you have a basic palate you can inject trends and your personalty from there by way of accessories and accents.

Oh and don’t forget to shop the whole store not just your section, I’m a huge fan of mens vintage tees and oversized crisp white collared shirts.

Borrowing from the boys is a great way to go.

Then you can add in color and print from there, think a leopard print scarf, a pop of red in a stiletto or statement bling.

4. CRAFT-ERNOON IT!

Diving into a little bit of DIY is a super easy way to emulate the trends for less

When you break down a lot of the runway and celebrity looks, they can be quite simple.

Gucci’s patchwork denim and embellished bags, big time florals at Balenciaga, fringing at Fendi, if you ask me why would you spend $1000 for the privilege when you can do it yourself?

Hit your local op shop, snap up a preloved denim jacket and then have a look at your local craft store for cool patches, then all you need is some craft glue and a few simple stitches to hold them in place.

Apply the same theory to a bag…

Find a piece that has a designer feel (and you’ll know because you’ve been applying tip #1) and add some patches on

Some of Gucci’s current bags have the word LOVED embellished on them, Lincraft and Spotlight has had these iron on letters for literally decades, so get amongst it.

A $50 spend or less for sure my lovelies.

I also just recreated the deconstructed suiting featured in the August edition of Australian Vogue, all from Salvos Stores finds. Check out the pics in this blog post.

Snipping an over sized skirt and outdated blouse, adding in a mens white shirt and even turning a houndstooth vest into another skirt to layer over the top

No sewing was required, it looked super high fashion yet was a total spend of $50.

5. HAVE A DRESSMAKER ON SPEED DIAL

Apart from altering your perception about op shops (they are totally filled with modern and on trend pieces) altering your clothes is a nifty little trick to look super chic on a budget.

I’ll give you an example of my own

I found an authentic DIOR homme mens suit jacket at a Sydney Salvos Store and the fabric and cut was so sublime. It fit me perfectly through the body, but it was a little big on the shoulders.

Rather than dismissing it, I had my trusty dressmaker slightly adjust it in this area and it then became a perfect fit

The blazer cost me $30, Jan’s dressmaking services cost me $15…so I scored a stunning designer piece for just under $50!

Tailoring to suit still ends up being way cheaper than the original price of the designer item.

Minimal spend, maximum bang for your buck…and by the way op shopping is one of the best things you can do for the planet.

So get amongst it this week and op shop til you drop!!

Green Gang

August 22nd, 2017 | no comments

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Faye De Lanty

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National Op Shop Week is upon us…hence my terrible delay in posting…I’ve been so flat out that now I have the (fashion) flu.

But as a soldier of style we press on.

So National Op Shop Week is kinda like the Oscars for us eco kids, it’s a chance to showcase why thrift shopping is such a wonderful thing to do for people and the planet, support the mission of charities like the Salvation Army and best of all blow your mind with how pretty preloved can be.

To celebrate, Salvos Stores and I have been so busy with events, workshops and photo shoots like these up and down the Aussie coast.

We want you to see that second hand never has to mean sacrificing style.

So I gathered together prominent bloggers, models and celebrities in the cities on our journey so far – Brisbane and Townsville – to show you

For the Brisbane #GreenGang I teamed up with

Super cool Katie from@stealthespotlight

Curvy goddess @clairseymour

Stunning Sonia from @sonish_space

Mega babe Marie from @thebrisbanegirl

I challenged the girls to style simple pieces like mens black blazers and denim jeans in their own unique way by customising

Then we added lashings of op shop bling

All the girls love to thrift and have a mindful approach to fashion which makes me like them even more

Definitely check out their instagram profiles to learn more about what they do

In Townsville I gathered together curvy model Michelle and petite model Kelsey from Sia Model Management and the lovely Heidi, who is the co host of breakfast radio on Star 1063

May I also say she has one of the best heads of hair I’ve ever seen…part Carrie Bradshaw part Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin!

I found brand new with tags Diane Von Furstenberg for Heidi, a vintage flying suit from the 70’s for me, Salvos Staff’er Beaux customised Michelle’s tee into a couture worthy offering with all those sexy slits and Kelsey rocked a blinged up romper

Absolutely everything you see in these photos is second hand from Salvos Stores and I hope proves the theory that thrift is definitely the new black

When you shop at a store like this you empower people, support the mission of a charity and tread a little lighter on our sweet mother earth

Get amongst it August 27-Sept 2 and Op Shop til you drop

One Sweater 5 Ways

July 3rd, 2017 | no comments

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The hurried up hare may have thought he was a sure thing to win the race, but turns out the slow and steady tortoise was the guy with the real tale to tell. Gather round gorgeous ones because children’s folklore has a surprisingly strong message for us style peeps too. Fast is never worth the furious pace in the end, nor is cutting corners over quality or producing quantity that’s beyond a joke. Putting the breaks on our fashion choices is not only a better choice for the environment but it will end up saving you money too.

To be sustainably stylish on a budget try being a thrift-anista. Op shopping, charity stores and thrift havens are great go-to’s for fantastic fashion at a fraction of the normal retail price and the take home is that by shopping here you help people less fortunate. Second hand online portals like Ebay, Amazon and Gumtree are another great way to shop consciously.

If you are happy to spend a little more, there are so many stunning new and consciously created labels to invest in.

Take Victoria and Woods for example, the quality of this ethically accredited Australian made label is exceptional. All the pieces are timeless, classic and super wearable. This is fashion design definitely worth the investment, Viktoria and Woods is built to last and to be loved season after season.

To show you, I played dress ups with one sweater from the current collection and styled it in 5 different ways. Most of the other pieces I teamed it with are also from the line but I mixed and matched it with some of my own wardrobe.

When you have great quality staples you really don’t need fast fashion fixes week in week out.

Pick a few signature pieces and really make them work for their money.

I hope these looks inspire you to live a little more simply, slowly and say yes to less

It actually ends up being so much more.

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  1. Try the sweater relaxed over a simple black dress or skirt, teamed with chic sneakers and a classic coat to ward off the cold.

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2. The corset belt continues to be a huge trend, give a sweater attitude by cinching it in & contrasting with a bold hue like mustard.

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3. A cool custom bomber and statement bling breaths new life into classic sweater vibes, heels or sneakers look just as sweet.

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4. Give it Paddington Preppy by adding a Peter Pan collar underneath your sweater, white is classic but don’t be scared to try print.

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5. Elevate a simple sweater by teaming with a skirt, belt and statement scarf or collar. I added a stunning vintage family heirloom.

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Celine Sunglasses and Lacoste sneakers throughout also sold at Viktoria and Woods

Thanks to David for the pics

The Bomb Dot Com

June 14th, 2017 | no comments

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Faye De Lanty

This modern day fashion muse began its life purely for function.

During the war most airplanes didn’t have an enclosed cockpit so pilots had to wear something that would keep them warm, the coat to do the job was originally known as a flight jacket.

Heavy bomb raids in Europe in WW11 took place from at least 25,000 feet where temperatures could drop to -50 degrees celsius so a thick warm ‘bomber’ as they became known was absolutely essential.

Thankfully they are used for loving not fighting these days and have morphed into a wardrobe must have.

I think it’s because of their practicality and design, they were made to be a working garment. A good bomber jacket is water resistant, super snuggly, extremely comfy and it has a cool attitude.

So it’s no surprise that they are a timeless staple for fashion brands, the style conscious and celebrities around the world.

I saw them everywhere at MBFWA this year so I wanted to challenge myself to be a soldier of fashion and potentially stop a preloved bomber marching off to the battle field that is landfill.

Enter Gumtree, an awesome preloved market place where you can find so many amazing and on trend items for less.

A simple search for ‘bomber jacket’ as well as ‘khaki bomber’ revealed quite a few options and all for $100 or under.

My heart skipped a beat though when I spied this NIKE Tokyo bomber, not only is it the iconic green nylon with orange lining, just as the soldiers had back in the day but it is sporting some very cool detailing. Embellishment, logos and personalisation is huge in fashion right now, so this item was a no brainer. Originally over $200, I scored it for $100.

My other tip for shopping on gumtree is to type in brands you love, that’s how I found this brand new with tags

PE Nation bomber jacket, with a bangin 80’s feel for half the price!

It’s never been worn and for sure one of the Australian brands to watch right now.

In terms of styling it, of course it’s great for casual vibes but I also really like teaming mine with the unexpected.

For the khaki bomber I mixed things up with my metallic boots and a corset.

With the PE Nation find I tried it with a maxi skirt and sneakers.

So i say bring on the bomber babe and why not wage a war on waste by shopping yours second hand.

#FashionHound

Shop Your Own Wardrobe

May 24th, 2017 | no comments
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I found everything for this look in my wardrobe. I saw this color palate on someone else and loved it, never thought to wear these items together but now its one of my favorite outfits!

 

‘ I bought a tonne of stuff online last night because it was cheap! Not sure if I’m even going to wear it but I’ve got to look hot for Greece!’

Two girls sitting beside me at training this morning confirmed it, we really think we have to buy new to be beautiful.

Not only can that be a waste of money for you, it’s really not ideal for reducing our waste and footprint on our beloved planet.

Reality is, fashion is one of the most polluting industries in the world, second only to oil. So here’s a thought, why not shop your own wardrobe before you head back to the high street!?

When you take the time, you’ll discover you actually have a serious amount of options sitting in your very own closet and it’s really no more effort than heading to the shops to spend on pieces you probably don’t need

Here are my top tips

1. GET ORGANISED

If you can’t see your clothes you don’t know what you have. I’m a big fan of color coding my clothes and also keeping my wardrobe seasonal, so in summer for example pack away your heavy coats. Go through your wardrobe and look at what you have and ask yourself these questions –

Does it fit properly? It is comfortable? Is it damaged? Is it too hard to clean or care for? Does it spark joy? Do I wear it?

If it’s too daunting to do this all at once, just set aside even half an hour once or twice a week and do it slowly.

As you go along, start putting together a donation pile to give what you don’t wear to charity or if it’s in really good nick why not try selling it on a platform like Gumtree or Etsy.

Once you’ve decluttered, get in the habit of ironing and organising so everything is available. This will make it so much easier and quicker to get dressed in the morning.

2. MAKE DO AND MEND

Take a leaf out of Grandma’s book and fix anything that’s damaged. Missing buttons, a broken zip, hems hanging down or small holes can be easily repaired either by you, a local dressmaker or even your dry cleaner can help you out and it will definitely be cheaper than buying a new item

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Another look I found by shopping my own wardrobe. It was a New York street style image that inspired me.

 

3. THE POWER OF PRETTY

When you head to the high street, one of the things you are probably sub-consciously attracted to is the fact that everything looks beautiful. Hangers are identical and symmetrical, clothes are in colors and stories, outfits and items are neatly organised, it’s all very pleasing to the eye. The power of pretty! There’s no reason you can’t do this for yourself though. Invest in orderly wooden hangers, I have white ones I picked up from Ikea, I color code my clothes so its lovely to look at and I fold all my tees and jeans so I can see them and they are easy and appealing to shop.

4. GET SOCIAL

Style platforms like Pinterest and Instagram are stocked with so many great closet storage ideas. They are also wonderful for outfit ideas. Pick an item you have like a trench coat for example, search it and I’m sure you will find so many new ways to wear it.

French Vogue

I love to create collages of my style icons and outfit inspirations. This helps me plan my looks. I use an app called Pics Art – you can do it all on your phone.

5. TAILOR MADE

I have my dressmaker on speed dial and she is so invaluable for sartorial nips and tucks. Take up sleeves that are too long, switch out old buttons to update a jacket, hitch up the hem, simple alterations can totally transform an item not only in appearance but how it fits on your body – this means you will wear it more. Tailoring is relatively inexpensive but can have a huge impact.

6. BLING IT ON

Time to detox your accessories! Clean anything thats tarnished, detangle necklaces, organised your brooches and earrings. Steal a few ice cube trays from the freezer for a sneaky way to reorganise smaller items. Suddenly you’ll have a whole new pile of accessories to pull from which is a great way to update your look.

7. PHONE A FRIEND

Ask a friend you trust to come over, browse your wardrobe and have them create a few looks for you. There is something to be said for the way we see ourselves versus the way others see us. You could find a totally new vibe and hey if it’s good enough for the girls in the Sex and The City movie, then we owe it to them to try!!

Faye De Lanty

My friend Amanda and I helped each other put these outfits together based on current trends we loved

8. TO DYE FOR

Do it yourself or see if your dry cleaner does. Dye a pair of faded jeans back to jet black, update dingy white tees and tans with completely new hues. I’ve recently discovered natural dyeing with plants and flowers, my dressmaker and I are actually dyeing my bridesmaid silk dresses with brown onion skins, you should see the color!

9. BIBLE STUDIES

I like to refer to British Vogue as my style ‘bible’…it has taught me so much about color, cut, fabric and fashion trends. It keeps me up to date with what’s hot but also inspires me to think about how I can recreate the looks with what I have. While there can certainly be some more avant garde ideas in Vogue, you will always find timeless items like denim, shirting, blazers, trench coats and pencil skirts amongst the pages. Seek ideas for the classics. Online sites like Who What Wear and searching celebrity and street style in google is another great way to source inspiration.

10. DOCUMENT IT

Make a note of what you wear so you can see what worked, what didn’t and uncover how you felt in it. Did you wear it well or did the outfit ‘wear you’ and saw you fidget!? For me I always gravitate towards my skinny jeans, bomber jackets, plain t-shirts, rock tees, black lace, heels and pencil skirts. I’m about to do a declutter because I know there are things that I’m not wearing anymore. It’s important to keep your fashion moving, don’t hoard, that ain’t the fast track to feeling fabulous.

So shop til you drop in your own wardrobe darling, I bet you’ll be surprised!

#FashionHound

The Greenest Tee on the Planet

April 27th, 2017 | no comments

Kusaga Athletic

It’s a big claim but let me tell you this humble item absolutely lives up to the title!

Not only is it the greenest but for reals it actually biodegrades back into the earth, so its completely zero waste too.

Oh and co founder Graham Ross actually created the fabric from scratch without any previous textile or fashion industry experience.

I was fortunate enough to meet him recently in Sydney at a Fashion Revolution pop up and we connected on so many levels, sustainable fashion kindred spirits I feel.

We both have a television background and a burning passion to make a difference to the planet but I am absolutely in awe of Grahams creative and ethical genius.

Check out my interview with him below

Faye: We had a great chat at the Fash Rev Pop up in Sydney and I was so taken with your passion for what you do, what was it that drew you to this new ethical purpose?

Graham: My passion came from an unlikely place. A couple of years ago I realised there was a pile of sports event finisher shirts filling up my wardrobe. I had tried wearing them but the fabric and cut of the shirts were really uncomfortable. This prompted me to do some research about the materials my shirts were made from. I was shocked. I had no idea how much impact the clothing industry had on the environment. I thought at the time, if this is the state of my wardrobe and there are 7 billion people on the planet…that’s a lot of wardrobes and a lot of impact. This coincided with a marathon I ran over the Great Wall of China. It was a life-changing experience. I was working in the television industry at the time and we’d just moved our family overseas for my wife’s career. I was looking for a new focus, something more meaningful, something that might leave some kind of legacy for future generations.

Faye: Give me the elevator pitch for Kusaga and where does the name comes from?

Graham: Kusaga Athletic creates future fabrics and sustainable lifestyle apparel for run, yoga, gym, outdoors. Our business model is based on the principles of the circular economy and our actions directly reduce the clothing industry’s impact on the planet. Most importantly, our garments give consumers the ability to play a part in mitigating climate change.

Choosing a name for any company is a hard decision, but with two co-founders, you can find yourself going round in circles. After going back and forth a few times, in desperation, we ended up searching for words in foreign languages. Kusaga means ‘recycle’ in Swahili. We liked it for its strength, plus it has a nice rhythm, and it’s not gender specific.

Faye: You are the creator of the greenest tee on the planet, um that’s pretty amazing, why is it so green?

Graham: That sounds really cool when someone else says it. After we were successful in making a 100% plant based fabric – ECOLITE, we wanted to make a product that would illustrate the environmental benefits of the material. The humble t-shirt seemed an obvious choice. There are around 2 billion t-shirts sold each year we discovered it can take 3000 litres of water to manufacture a single cotton t-shirt, which seems like a lot right? It’s actually a huge amount – the equivalent of 38 bathtubs full of water!

Our Greenest Tee uses less than 1% of the water needed to make a regular cotton t-shirt, and requires 80% less land to grow an equal tonne of fibre. Importantly for end of life, it’s also compostable. So less water, less land, and back to the earth.

Fashion Hound

Faye: What are your biggest priorities with the brand and what are you most proud of so far?

Graham: What I’m most proud of is that from a crazy idea by two blokes with no knowledge of the textile industry, we created a range of fabrics that directly helps people reduce their impact on the planet – without sacrificing performance or comfort. I believe it is up to businesses and producers to create products that are sensitive to finite natural resources, reduce the impact of climate change and at end of life can be reused, recycled or returned to earth.

The biggest priority for Kusaga Athletic is educating people about the benefits of making smarter, more informed choices with their clothing and in validating the plant-based fabrics we have created as viable, commercial alternatives to cotton and polyester. We are constantly researching, refining, and developing our fabrics and garments.

Faye: I have seen in my own work, that there can still be a stigma attached to ethical and eco fashion, that perhaps its just tree hugging hippies who don’t really have a handle on style, what do you say to that?

Graham: Designers like Stella McCartney have been creating ethical and sustainable luxury fashion for many years. Of course, many other designers have also created eco fashion products. I think there is a willingness and interest to work with sustainable materials but the speed of uptake for Eco-fashion will be driven by both designers and consumers. Education and acceptance is important for both groups. 

New textiles present new design opportunities and styles. The pioneers of these fabrics are the ones with a mindset that is about looking out, broader thinking that is more than the latest thing on the runway, which is how we got into the whole fast fashion mess in the first place, blindly following fashion trends without stopping to ask: Who makes my clothes? How are they made? What are they made from?

I believe consumers want to make informed choices, and more and more we will see those choices reflect their personal philosophy – whether that’s about the environment, social change or how they express themselves.

Faye: They say nothing worth having is easy, what have been some obstacles for you along the way?

Graham: What’s the other saying? If it was easy anyone could do it? For us, having limited knowledge of the  clothing industry meant that we were blissfully unaware of just how challenging it would be to take on an established industry. We had a ton to learn, but we learnt fast! There are lots of moving parts to clothing manufacture and we were producing our products in several different countries, so controlling our supply chain was at times a real challenge.

One upside for entrepreneurs coming into an industry on a steep learning curve is the lack of constraint. You don’t know the old processes or the usual way of thinking. That knowledge is a double-edged sword. I believe great change is created with fresh thinking and looking for new directions. It’s hard to be held back by the status quo when you don’t know what the status quo is. Often you hear ‘it can’t be done’ or ‘we don’t do it that way’. My response is always, ‘why not?’

The greatest obstacle we faced was during the production phase of our Kickstarter campaign for The Greenest T-shirt on the Planet. Our production partner had to close their business and we were left with rolls of fabric and hundreds of unfulfilled pledges. Often production schedules are booked out months in advance and we were pushing the delivery deadline already. We had to find a factory that could quickly create samples for approval and then move directly into a full production run – all in another country. We also had to tell our wonderful supporters that there would be a delay in delivery. Rather than make up excuses and blame others, we decided to let everyone know what had happened but also take the chance to be very open about the challenges we have had to overcome during the company’s lifetime. What we learnt was that our community didn’t mind that there was a delay in delivery, what they wanted to was to share in the journey and be part of the experience – upside and downside.

My love Lee and I rocking our Kusaga tees the day we picked up my engagement ring!

Faye: Aside from fashion, how has sustainability morphed into other aspects of your life and what are your tips for people who want to become greener?

Graham: Being one of the voices for a more sustainable planet has become a huge passion in my life. I imagined a scenario in the future where I’m sitting at a family gathering, with hopefully with some grandchildren, and realising I had done little, if anything, to leave the world in a better place. I didn’t want to be that person. The one who had a chance to do something about climate change, and didn’t act.

For me, in the beginning I had to be continually aware of my lifestyle, but after a time, like all habit changes, you don’t even notice how you behave. Simple things, like skipping the packaging when you buy things, carrying around a reusable water bottle or a keep-cup for your coffee is a new normal for us. At home, my daughter has a 100% plant-based diet, and gradually the rest of the family began to eat less meat and other animal protein, while discovering new foods and new ways to cook old staples. It’s been an amazing discovery we’ve shared as a family.

To read more head to the Kusaga athletic website

Make Fashion Great Again

April 21st, 2017 | no comments
Fashion Hound

Wearing the ‘Greenest Tshirt on the planet’ from Kusaga Athletic! Jeans by Outland denim, super ethical and all about helping women less fortunate.

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Striped trench coat by Lois Hazel, honest womens wear made in Melbourne. Tee by Citizen Wolf – these guys are all about small runs and bespoke tailoring. Jeans from Outland Denim

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Love this bag from The Hides, an Australian brand focused on sustainable manufacturing. The accessories are all a by product of the beef industry and come from reputable tanneries.

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Might Good Undies! Certified Fairtrade and Organic cotton goodness for your cheeky be-hind!

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A close up of this fantastic bag from The Hides

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Citizen Wolf stripe tee, I chose the mens for that comfy slouchy fit and did the same with oversized jeans from Outland denim. Belt by the Hides

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Dress by Saaki. In the ancient Indian language Sanksrit, SAAKI means a loved one. Saaki features carefully curated and one of a kind limited pieces.

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‘The idea that you can’t access responsible fashion is a mindset’. A valid and very true statement from Melinda Tually who heads up Fashion Revolution here in Australia and NZ. I touched on this in my last post It’s Easy Being Green and attending an eco fashion event and forum last night drove home the same message, there is so much we can do!

Try thrift shopping, vintage, swap, borrow and #buybetter ethical brands.

I was fortunate to play dress ups at the Fashion Revolution and Good On You Pop Up shop in Surry Hills recently so I wanted to show you some of the stunning pieces I found. Have a look under each photo for details.

Everything you see here has mother nature in mind yet style is still at the forefront.

Explore the brands for yourself and make fashion great again

#WhoMadeMyClothes

Thanks to Wes for taking the pics

The Hides

Citizen Wolf

Outland Denim

Lois Hazel

Kusaga Athletic

Saaki

Its Easy Being Green

April 14th, 2017 | no comments

Fashion Hound

Fashion Hound

The whole sustainable style thing can be a bit daunting at times. Perhaps you have questions like

Where do I start?

What can I really do?

Will I still look cool?

Well the good news is, if you ask me it’s easy being green and our individual impact can actually have a profound effect.

My top two tips are

  1. Ask questions!? Check out online app Good On You. This is a great platform which allows you to be more informed and find out whether the brands you love are doing loving things. Type in a label you shop with and uncover their ethics, production values and workers rights. From there you can make choices that feel good for you.
  2. Get thrifty with it! Op shopping is a great way to save money and support charities helping those less fortunate. I hope through my work you can see that second hand never means having to sacrifice style. It’s also a fantastic thing to do for mother nature, preventing textile waste from ending up in landfill.

I reached out on instagram and asked my followers how they get their #grexy on (Grexy = Green + Sexy)

Here are some of their responses

‘Faye you inspired me to really start opshopping when I saw all the awesome things you had found and up cycled. It has been a huge shift of belief for me to buy second hand (former snob here!) I have shifted so far that I have challenged myself to 12 months of only opshopping

 – @casual_chick_style

Don’t be a slave to trends, stick with your style and invest in outfits you’ll love and wear for years to come

-@thegreenhub_

It’s all about buying pieces that are stylish and not trend based. Also quality fabrics’

-@rocket_science

‘Think outside the norm. Don’t be afraid to modify clothes and put pieces together in ways that surprise you. The small outlay in cost gives freedom to risk and have fun’ 

@thehuntergatherers

‘Fall in love with your current wardrobe. We have an attention problem as consumers because we always want something new to add to it. I put this down to advertising. i laugh sometimes at how we shop because we discard what we already have to make way for the new but i think imagine if we treated our relationships like they were as disposable as our fashion’

 – @ecowarriorprincess

‘I love it when you find a one-of-a-kind treasure that seems to have been waiting there just for you. My favourite pieces are the unique pieces with unique personality that resonates with your own. it feels so lovely and just the opposite to choosing something off the rack from a row of a dozen items that are exactly the same. that feels a bit sterile somehow, like those pieces of clothing have never been on an adventure and have no stories to tell. i dream about my op shop finds and the stories they could tell about their if they could talk

 – @kirsty_sharneil

‘Purchase quality second hand garments and don’t worry if its too big for you, you can always have it taken in. Go for classics that are pertaining to your own style. For every item you purchase, take one out of your wardrobe to donate. Make sure its a good quality donation though’ 

 – @hana.nata

‘Definitely good quality second hand. I have my favourite source but I also track a few brands on eBay and buy second hand there. Regular pop ins are essential for finding great thrifted goodies’ 

 – @retiring_not_shy

Some great tips there from my eco tribe! PS I’m wearing a thrifted pure silk Fleur Wood jumpsuit I found for $15, the belt is thrifted too, it was 50c in Brooklyn. I found my authentic Manolos for $25 at the Salvation Army in NYC (They still had the $840 sticker on the sole!!!) and my biker jacket is vintage, 3 old ones upcycled into a new one! All second hand but totally on trend.

What are your tips for being green!?