Wearing Laura Basci to Annual Academy Awards

Samata wore a Laura Basci couture dress, hand-beaded in Basci’s studio in Los Angeles to the Annual Academy Awards.

Laura Basci is a Swiss fashion designer based in LA who focuses on using sustainability in her work. It is the brand’s mission to combine luxury designs with environmental consciousness. Blush, hand-beaded dress with rose-gold metallic belt. This gown was beaded on swiss mesh with glass beads taking over 250 hours of work in the Los Angeles atelier. The dress was locally made in LA by Laura Basci, LA’s only couture house and it is such a beautiful piece.

Find out more about Laura Basci here.

We love Indian womenswear brand Kanelle

I’m always on the lookout for great brands championing slow fashion, taking many factors into account. I want every item I wear to come from a place of awareness, with less wastage, using organic agriculture that uses less water for irrigation (and is free of poisonous chemicals), fair conditions for workers, and a generally holistic approach to crafting clothes.

One of the tools I use to find clothing items that fit these characteristics is Ikkivi, a slow fashion shop that focuses on selling and promoting Indian brands that match at least two of their core values: the pieces have to be handcrafted, organic, fair, with minimal waste, local or traditional technique, and vegan. Kanelle is one of the brands on this marvellous platform, and it’s been a joy owning one of their pieces: the Asymmetric Lilac Dress. It’s a beautiful handwoven chanderi dress that I’m always proud to wear; it’s not only a gorgeous garment, but there’s a whole set of unique cultural values behind it. I love the care Kanelle puts behind its fashion, crafting clothes that speak volumes.

Out of the six Ikkivi core values, Kanelle fits into four: the pieces are handcrafted, traditionally made, with minimal waste and by workers who are paid and treated fairly. Every item is made by hand in the traditional Indian way, incorporating some modern tailoring elements for two reasons: first, to ease things up for tailors and workers; and, second, to provide a new twist to crafting clothes. The work is a combination of different techniques, combining what has worked with hundreds of years with cutting-edge technology; Kanelle uses block printing, 3D embroidery, and stitch detailing in materials such as linen cotton, chanderi, kota linen, khadi, and silk organza.

While it’s undoubtedly a slow fashion brand, Kanelle focuses its image on its style, which strives to find balance between keeping traditional Indian attire and opening up to modern trends, within the country and well beyond its borders. Designer Kanika Jain is India-born and England-trained, an exciting combination when it comes to creation; she has a background of marketing and fashion studies in London. The style and colours she’s looking to promote never shy away from showcasing her culture, with only a tinge of western sensibilities to connect with her modern outlook on how to dress. The result is breathtaking, with delicate and comfortable garments that expand on the Indian approach to femininity, with lovely overflowing pieces that feel a little like walking around in a cloud. Trendy, minimalistic, and comfortable are some of the words that best describe Kanelle.

Kanika stumbled into the gist of her collection in her New Delhi workshop: as she walked around and saw the beautiful and fashionable women working on her designs, splattering the entire area with colour, she realised she needed to carry that intimate feel to the outside world. Kanelle is a brand made by a woman and inspired by those women who go from style to style effortlessly, particularly the Indian ladies who make fashion look easy. In each item of Kanelle’s apparel, there is a sense of awe towards women with the ability to combine Indian traditional with a modern approach while also adding a few western elements here and there.

Keeping the precious secrets and practices of traditional creation is an essential part of sustainability, particularly when it pertains to fashion. The massification of clothes is only a few decades old, yet the need to clothe ourselves and look stylish while doing so has been going on for centuries. Every culture on Earth has included part of its soul into garments, and it’s our duty as a society to uphold the values and techniques that have worked for generations. The way each piece of cloth is created, treated, dyed and sewed must be preserved as not only a greener manner of living on this Earth but also as a respectful way to the creations of the cultures of the world.

I love the work of brands like Kanelle, those that strive to take the traditional out of corners and expand it to new horizons. Seeing fashion evolve to a different feel while retaining what makes it unique is always a joy to watch – and wear. Visit the official website here.

Sustainable time-keeping? We love VOTCH Watches!

Sustainable fashion doesn’t end at clothes any more than fast fashion does. Accessorising is important to any fashion lover, even those of us who strive to be conscious about what we wear. What’s interesting is that there are more and more new brands that follow the path to sustainable wearables. One industry that has been a little slower on the uptake is watch making, as so many brands still work with less-than-ideal materials for straps – which is how Votch was born.

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Votch is a brand of faux leather watches launched in London but produced in Shenzhen, China. The brand stems from a fully vegan perspective, looking to create fashionable accessories that don’t damage animals and, ultimately, the environment. While they’re always working towards finding new materials, the latest Votch collection uses a mix of TPE, cotton and polyester in its straps. The brand is also free of PFC, PVC, plasticisers, phthalate, bromine and heavy metals; they’re REACH and RoHS compliant, PETA approved as vegan, and including recycled and renewable materials.

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We are crazy about Bel Kazan

Meet our new eco-favourite for prints and effortless glamour, BEL KAZAN. A womenswearbrand based in LA’s Echo Park, Bel Kazan is a quick-to-love brand, trust us! Designed with modern women in mind: empowered, adventurous, independent spirits. Inspiration is taken from around the globe to create bold prints and effortless silhouettes that easily take wearers from day to night, and quickly become wardrobe staples.

 

Every BEL KAZAN garment is crafted in the brands’ own factory in Bali, respectfully using traditional techniques for an authentic aesthetic. Using time-honoured methods such as hand printing and batik, a wax stamping art form that dates back to the sixth century with its design process, fabric choices, and the art of creating each print by hand, the pieces stand out for their quality and silhouette – your perfect day to night wardrobe piece, an absolute must for any serious eco-fashion advocate. BEL KAZAN delivers some real sustainable gems with its offering, thoughtfully designed to have a minimal footprint, with a meticulous selection of fabrics, dyes, and other materials. We love how honest they are too, the brand is clear that they remain on a learning curve and so remain responsive enough to adjust their production model to be as kind as possible to the environment. I caught up with Belinda Kazanci, the wonder woman behind sustainable fashion’s emerging champion brand, read our interview below…

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Monkee Genes, A Q&A with the designer behind the phenom

Open your wardrobe and have a riffle around. It’s more thank likely that you will stumble upon a pair of jeans in less than 10 seconds.  With its durability and ease of wear, denim tends to be a staple in the wardrobe of most, and understandably so. If you are on the look-out for comfort wear or evening garments, denim – in all of its guises – is often the go-to.

Day to evening with Monkee Genes denim and Jumper from Beaumont Organic. Photo credit: Abdiwali Samatar

The impact of denim manufacturing on the environment is however, more than a little abysmal. Derived from cotton, denim is a labour-intensive and eco-abusive. At the start of their live, those jeans which finds themselves on the shelves retailing for as little as £4 (!) in a fast-fashion retailer may have passed through the hands of a Bangladesh garment workers earning as little as 23p an hour! As VICE explained, jeans are one of the few items we tend to keep for a long time, but their environmental toll is significant. We use huge amounts of water and chemicals to make them, though steps are now being taken to mitigate the impact. But with 2 billion jeans produced annually worldwide, it’s going to take a large-scale sustained effort to make a meaningful change. Read more…

Wearing Acurator, Sustainable RTW and Bespoke

Accurator are a growing brand, whose DNA is based upon simple eclecticism and subtlety with a more commercial feel. Working in small ateliers, the label creates garments for real fashion enthusiasts who want to stand out, from geometrical dresses to edgy jumpsuits. I had the chance to speak to one of the founders, Louise van Drumpt, about her brand which is the ultimate love child between a minimalist and a fashion-anthropology enthusiast.

PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF AND TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR BRAND?

Krea Group is a London based company that was officially founded in February 2018, and incorporates two women’s wear brands: Acurrator and Lou Black. The collections share the same USP: clean lines, lairs and asymmetries, geometry and origami inspired, age-less and season-less pieces that transformation from day to night, office to weekend getaways, and flats to heels. Our previous experience as fashion executives allowed us to have a reliable and transparent supply chain, working directly with manufacturers in Europe, and insuring we can deliver best quality products, at great price-points.

TELL US ABOUT THE VISION FOR YOUR BRAND?

If you look at the core of our production vision, it’s best described as Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Quality over Quantity. Timeless over Seasonally. The inspiration behind the designs is a strong woman, that loves to travel, to be active, and to use her femininity to feel empowered. There is something special in being able to see details, and appreciating small things that make your clothes as unique as you.

Our designs are just that – unique pieces, that might look the same on a rail, but have up-cycled pieces of fabrics, that were hand picked and given a new life cycled, and used an exquisite dress, or a skirt, that will be with it’s new owner for years to come.

HOW DO YOU APPROACH SUSTAINABILITY/TRANSPARENCY WITHIN YOUR BRAND?

We use mainly recycled and up-cylced fabrics in our designs. If we can’t use either of these we will choose an environmental friendly option like bamboo or organic cotton. We work very close together with a small factory of which we know each employee by name. The ladies sign off each design with their name so costumers know exactly who made their clothes.

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Armed Angels

Have you heard of Armed Angels? The Cologne-based fashion brand was founded by Anton Jurina and Martin Höfeler in 2007, and is slowly by steadily redefining what effortless sustainability is really all about. The brand, which I discovered with a simple google search and less than 5 minutes of research, creates a comprehensive and beautiful range of clothes for men and women, what it truly means to be organic is centered as Armed Angel’s core offering. Ethical fashion as a culture and business fairness as a mainstay are thrown in for good measure. Forget fast fashion, the future is about fair fashion and Armed Angels do it so well.

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