5 Free Online Courses to Learn About Sustainability in Fashion and Beyond

Millions of people around the world are stuck inside their houses, and boredom has been taking hold of many people over the past weeks. For those of us fortunate enough to stay at home, the days might feel a little endless, with not much to do. As we wait for the outside to become safer again, this is a great time to turn our attention to learning things. Thinking of the people who can’t go out and don’t have a lot to do right now, we’ve curated a list of great (and free!) online courses related to environmentalism and sustainable design.

Isolation can be difficult. The considerable decrease in social interaction and outdoor activities can make anyone anxious and feeling on edge. Keeping one’s mind occupied is a great way to pass the time during these strange days. We can’t think of a better way to exercise the brain than learning about the driving force behind Red Carpet Green Dress: sustainability. The courses below revolve around creating a more conscious future for our planet and viewing different perspectives on sustainable practices. We hope you enjoy them!

1. UCLA – Sustainable Living
Designed, developed, and facilitated by UCLA students, the Sustainable Living course online is a sub-division of the Education for Sustainable Living Program (ESLP). The series compiles talks from speakers from the university and several other institutions to talk about the layers of sustainability. Here, you’ll hear about the practices of conscious living from experts, activists, professors, community activists, reps from environmental NGOs, and even government officials. The topics are as varied as green businesses, environmental justice, food systems, organic gardens, transportations, and the green economy in general, and it serves as a great introduction to this vast world. Read more…

An Op-Ed on the intersection of Culture and Sustainability in Japan, In Praise Of Shadows

An Op-Ed on the intersection of Culture and Sustainability in Japan 

A multicultural phenomenon, the global fashion industry provides sustenance to designers from a plethora of cultural backgrounds. Exploring the lessons, traditional practises and cultural philosophies which might benefit the ethical fashion sector, I focused on two countries close to my heart; Ghana, the birthplace of my parents, and Japan, an intriguing country I studied in school (picking up an AS in Japanese). In doing so I wonder if the space where culture and fashion intersect provides progressive ground in the sustainable fashion conversation.

Japan’s Praise of Shadows

Globally fashion designers rely on culture beyond aesthetic inspiration, and now Japanese brands – from small independents to high street behemoths – are applying sustainable practises, directly influenced by ancestral tradition to innovate, tackle waste and deliver one-of-kind sustainable products. Three years after Dame Vivienne Westwood told the London crowd at her SS114 show to “Buy less, choose well, make it last…” – Japanese textile expert, designer and shop owner Reiko Sudo believes the remark, which “indicates that today’s fashion has lost relevance in new lifestyles, and that the value of treating clothes with care has been lost” tells a story of discernment and durability, and well-captures a growing zeitgeist in one of Japan’s subcultures. Fast-fashion is increasingly being challenged by more-value driven lifestyles, where culture exerts increasing influence; during the Edo period (1603-1868), a cherish, mend-and-darn philosophy was prevalent and now this Japanese spirit of “Mottainai” – which means not letting things that have value go to waste – is re-emerging. 

Read more…

An Op-Ed on the intersection of Culture and Sustainability in Japan and Ghana Part 1

An Op-Ed on the intersection of Culture and Sustainability in Japan and Ghana by Samata

A multicultural phenomenon, the global fashion industry provides sustenance to designers from a plethora of cultural backgrounds. Exploring the lessons, traditional practises and cultural philosophies which might benefit the ethical fashion sector, I focused on two countries close to my heart; Ghana, the birthplace of my parents, and Japan, an intriguing country I studied in school (picking up an AS in Japanese to boot during my A-Levels). In doing so I wonder if the space where culture and fashion intersect provides progressive ground in the sustainable fashion conversation. Starting in Ghana, where clothing matters, and both expensive Western and traditional items are an important symbol of education and wealth.

Ghana’s Visual Eco Dialogue

Fashion’s spotlight is on the culture-rich continent Africa – the sub-saharan market alone is worth $31 billion according to Euromonitor whilst Ghana, one of its 55 countries and known cultural gateway to West Africa, boasts an apparel and footwear market worth $167 million. Underneath the vibrant noise of the popular cotton wax prints, sustainability has always been an ongoing cultural conversation, and according to Kofi Laing, Joy 99.7fm radio host and Multi Tv’s fashion presenter, the Adinkra symbols – dating back to royal attire circa 1817 – prove it. “Adinkra is a sacred cloth using adinkra symbols, which are proverbs of advice relating to the proper conduct of the individual in society. Rooted in tradition and an inherent respect for the earth, Adinkra are used to express traditional Ghanaian proverbs, even commemorating anniversaries and elections.” A visual tool, the designs and patterns are a communicative statement printed on furniture, sculptures and clothing which both a literal meaning and philosophical message. Not your average statement tee, embroidered with traditional symbols this clothing often channels a message of sustainability. Read more…

New revampled website live

New and improved SamataHome! We have a bunch of great articles coming, covering topics from eco travel across to the best eco toys for babies. Things we love to write about so of course…sustainable fashion is the main theme. Have a wander around! The site has been updated to make it easier to find content, view videos and to see what the latest is. Enjoy!

Behind the scenes for Environmental Media Awards

I recently attended the Environmental Media Awards, and loved wearing British brand accessories by Toolally alongside my special find from Sue Ryder.

Some of my most favourite pieces have come from independent retailers, luxury (quality-focused) brands, independent designers or one-off vintage markets, and charity shops. I picked up the clutch below up from Sue Ryder Charity (they support people with complex needs and life-threatening illnesses). Personally, I would rather find something original, often vintage, and pre-loved which is great quality , especially when the race to the bottom and design obsolescence has meant that today’s clothing barely compares in quality to what was made 10, 20, 30 years ago. What about you? Read more…

Behind The Scenes at an exciting photoshoot…

Stay tuned for this August!

Makeup – Aleroh Beauty | Styling – Samata | Photographer – Jonathan Pattinson

OSCARS 2017

On my way Oscars Sunday. I wore a piece I designed to the Oscars in a marigold colour because I wanted to channel some celebration. Being the lightest hue of the spectrum, the colour psychology of yellow is uplifting and illuminating, offering hope, happiness, cheerfulness and fun. My jewellery is from @AweInspired and has a powerful story of survival (see earlier post). The hair clips in my braids are a tribute to African braid art – these beautiful braids by @BraidsByRubee took 10 hours and I wanted to showcase them properly so more to come. Pop over to @RedCarpetGreenDress and thank you for supporting us all! More to come – still in it. Makeup by @MakeUpByKai. _______________________________________________________ #RCGD #RCGD2017 #Oscars2017 #Oscars #Fashion

A post shared by Life & Style of SAMATA (@iam_samata) on

Oscars Sunday. My jewellery is @AweInspired_. I was thrilled to be wearing a Signature Diamond Medallion from AWE Alive We’re Empowered (@aweinspired_) a new fine jewelry company on a mission to honor, unite, and celebrate all survivors, regardless of affliction. AWE jewelry is made of solid sterling silver or 14k yellow gold: designed to endure like the survivors it honors. The AWE Medallion’s four droplets represent the ingredients of survival (blood, sweat, tears of sorrow, and tears of joy) and 20% of each AWE sale benefits four charity partners that directly serve those in need of assistance on their road to survival. Check out our girls on @RedCarpetGreenDress. Another year, more lessons and more blessings. _______________________________________________________ #RCGD #RCGD2017 #Oscars2017 #Oscars #Fashion

A post shared by Life & Style of SAMATA (@iam_samata) on