Ask yourself who made my clothes for Fashion Revolution week

sustainable fashion who made my clothes

“Fashion Revolution Week is our #whomademyclothes campaign in April, which happens at the time of the Rana Plaza factory collapse, where 1,138 people were killed and many more injured on 24th April 2013. We use this week to encourage millions of people to ask brands ‘Who made my clothes’ and demand greater transparency in the fashion supply chain,” so reads one of the paragraphs on the official Fashion Revolution site. It is now four years ago that this nightmare happened and there are so many unheard of, unreported tragedies, stories of abuse, poor pay, insalubrious conditions of labour, too long hours, child labour… taking place every day where clothes are mostly manufactured these days, namely South East Asia. Fashion Revolution was set up to commemorate this…

Restyling Up cycling Customising

feline tweed skirt irish organic eco friendly cashmere silk lined

Up cycling is probably a sorry word for it. Customising may sound a bit better and restyling is definitely more accurate. Whichever word you use, giving a new lease of life to existing clothes makes so much sense and is such great fun. Based on applying the principles of a circular, no waste, economy, it has been around for a good few years. The likes of London-based Junky Styling for example have done it since 1997. I exhibited alongside them at the very first ethical fashion section of Pret a Porter Paris back in 2005. At the time, I thought  “how cool” ! Their clothes were so creatively inspiring, all made from gentlemen’s suits transformed into sexy dresses, skirts, tops, scarves…Founded by a very talented duo, Annika Sanders and…

To innovate and produce responsibly is now a must, not just a trend!

overlay crepe de chine trousers irish design sustainable design

At the last Youth Fashion Summit in Copenhagen(May 2016), the likes of Patagonia, Nike, H&M…were represented and were all singing from the same hymn sheet: sustainability is not just a passing trend, it is an essential part of how they run their business and one that needs to be constantly improved upon. Patagonia has been at the forefront of applying a circular economy model for a long time now and it is receiving an award for doing so in Davos this week.  As Business of Fashion recently reported: “The whole idea of [the circular economy] is creating no waste,” says Julie Gilhart, a creative business consultant who counts Amazon and LVMH among her clients and has worked with the CFDA to establish a sustainability initiative….

What is sustainable fashion?

organic cotton dress made and designed in ireland sustainable fashion

The Irish Times just published a piece on sustainable fashion in Ireland and to prepare for this piece Irish Times journalist Dominique McMullan recently emailed me a few questions. One of them read like this: “What aims should a company have if they want to produce ethical and sustainable fashion?” It is a very good question indeed and I replied this: When I started out, I wanted to make as low an impact environmentally and socially as possible. These were my aims. At the time, 2002, most of the the companies working with organic cotton were in Germany and so I decided to research options. I went to Natural textiles fairs in Germany, I went to Biofach( the biggest organic fair in the world) in Nuhrenberg…

I tell love stories with natural/organic fabrics

organic-natural fabrics

  I heard Rick Owens recently saying that, (I am paraphrasing) he was making a poetic statement with his new collection for Autumn Winter 16 but that it wasn’t a manifesto, he did not want to preach. No-one wants to be preached to I thought but yet if you are setting out to make a statement at all whether it be poetic or otherwise you are delivering a message so why not make it intentional and take pride in it. When I founded Unicorn Design in 2003, I set out some basic criteria, intentions by which I would abide. For example, the cotton I would use would always be certified organic and any other fabric I would choose to work with would be natural and…

The Burren

I made a pilgrimage of sort back to the Burren recently, an area of the west of Ireland that holds a very special place in my heart. It is a landscape made up of slabs of limestones interspersed with gorgeously subtle site-specific vegetation. It is a place you feel as much as you see, smell and touch. It excites all the senses and its energy and purity is unique in my experience. It resources me deeply. I love the word resource and resourcing. I am using it now more than ever and it is a word very much associated with sustainability. In this context however it means reconnecting with what is essential, and nourishing my life force at source, at its core. I first came...