Long Coat Steals the Show

July 8, 2015 11:56 pm

AdinaLA6AdinaLA1

I’m not in the business of fame.

But I have to admit, I was blown away when the Hollywood actress Adina Porter wore a Green Embassy garment for a red carpet event in LA late last year.

I first met Adina at Vancouver Fashion Week last September. She was sitting next to me, but I had absolutely no idea who she was! We got to chatting and kept in touch though it took me a month to realise she was a star.

The piece Adina chose was a stunning merino and alpaca fibres long coat – GOTS certified, of course.

It’s from the Regeneration collection, which was showcased during London Fashion Week and Ecoluxe London in 2014. Like all my other items, this garment was a labour of love, taking over two weeks to create.

In other news, the long coat was recently also in the running for a World Green Product Design Award. How exciting!

The award is an international not-for-profit competition for sustainable product design.

In line with the competition’s rules, Green Embassy had to be nominated through a third party recommendation – in this case, Felicia Shi, the GOTS China representative.

Anyway, the winners were announced at the World Green Design Forum Yangzhou Summit in China in May.

While we didn’t win the Award, it was such a huge honour to be nominated, given that we’re a small business up against much larger brands. It’s a positive sign that the world is really starting to notice our eco sustainable fashion brand.

Viva the long coat!

Vancouver Fashion Week S/S2015 Highlights

September 29, 2014 6:34 pm

It was a whirlwind last week in Vancouver and I have just now caught my breath enough to post about what happened. This is just a quick ‘taste’ of what I got up to – there is plenty more, trust me!

Connecting to Canadaskye natasha in green embassy vancouver

skye natasha vancouver

I was so used to the feel of Australia, its smell, and colours. Early in my visit, I was able to discover the new backdrop of a different continent and land. Here was my first experience of an on-the-land photo shoot with model and socialite, @SkyeBerryPie aka Skye Natasha Lintott.

Model: Skye Natasha Lintott

Hair: Jennifer (Grassroots Hair ecosalon)

Make-up: Hailey and Stephanie (She’s so Eco)

Photographer: Zuhal Kuvan-Mills

Raising the Hemline

The Public Art project coordinated by Patti Desante, Raising the Hemlines, was launched. My blank canvas dresses were decorated by the public, with the first piece of artwork done by myself and placed on the dress worn by a model at the Downtown Vancouver Farmers Market.

raising the hemline

 

Amanda Prepares for Paris

My evenings were also busy, starting with a fundraising event for Amanda Oiom, my gorgeous model who is going to hit the Paris runway with Green Embassy at World Fashion Week Trade Show.

Amanda runway

backstage

 

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Behind the Designs

My amazing host Helen Siwak of Kitsilano Kitty’s Closet, my lovely friend Patti Desante, Australian Vancouver Honorary Consul Kevin Lamb, my new Vancouverian Team and my lovely models. This was at the Behind the Designs artist talk.

behinddesign

Zuhal and Helen

Zuhal Behind the Design Talk Vancouver Zuhal Kuvan-Mills of Green Embassy behind the design

Opening Gala

The Opening Gala. I am accompanied by my lovely models: Ben Williams, Katie Stuart, Lollie, Martin, Amanda Oiom (amongst others), back stage.

Backstage3

backstage4

It was an amazing week – and now it’s Paris to continue the whirlwind! Follow my social media to keep in touch: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

About the series: CONNECTED TO LAND

September 15, 2014 11:11 am

Everything about our society is connected to land.

My latest series of textile artwork explores and interrogates this connection.

My research into aboriginal peoples (North American, Maori and Australian) indicates that one special element ties these three populations together: a deep and abiding traditional connection to the land – both physical and spiritual.

These many different nations and groups both respected and loved her (the land), and see her as their original mother. The land is a living entity with specific pasts, presents and futures; as well as with consciousness and will towards life.

Because of its richness, the land is simultaneously home, peace, and nourishment for the body, mind and spirit. Land is central to these groups’ identities. As a result, they have great respect for, and take on custodial roles for, the land.

For 60,000 years aborigines relied upon the land for food, shelter, and medicine without depleting it. The relationship was a symbiotic one. Aboriginal spirituality is embedded in the earth and all it sustains: ‘caring for country’ is the indigenous way of life.

Aboriginals ensured that their activity helped regulate the health of the land. When collecting food, for example, they maintained sustainability by leaving a few eggs when harvesting from nests, leaving seeds for regeneration, and lighting grass fires to regenerate areas of bushland. In these ways, they ensured the sources were always being renewed.

To me, this signifies working with, not against, nature.

During the creation of the pieces in the Connected to Land series, I have eco-printed organic cotton, silk, merino and alpaca fibre with eucalyptus leaves to transfer and preserve nature in a textile. These handmade fabrics carry the glorious scent of the Australian Bush.

I have also collaborated with Australian Indigenous artist, Deborah Bonar, and a renowned local Australian printmaker, Jude Taylor, who has a lifetime of working on Australian wild flora.

The pieces feature my own biomorphic drawings, paintings and sculptures. The colour palette is sunset (burnt orange, coral, black, cream, ochre, and umber).

They feature delicate embroidery with real pearls, precious gems, hand painted glass vintage beads, and the application of found-on-the-land scrap metals for eco-printing. My objective was to transfer the memory of the land’s past where these metal pieces were used and abandoned.

The Connected to Land message is delivered via this earth-inspired collection of fragile, delicate, yet beautiful garments.

 

View the collection in the Green Embassy online store.

Jewellery as Art in the Eco-Fashion World

September 9, 2014 11:45 am

My designs are understood in the fashion community as ‘wearable art.’

And lately I’ve been venturing into jewellery making – another kind of wearable art.

Not everyone recognises jewellery making as an artform. Jewellery has become tied to its monetary value and is usually recognised simply as a commodity, with diamonds generally considered the highest expression of jewellery.

But jewellery is an artform. It is practiced in the same way as sculpture – with attention to the moulded and structural forms, the use of symbolism, and exploration of multi-dimensional materials. And without a design sensibility, a piece of jewellery will lack beauty, resonance or meaning. Great artists of the 15th and 16th centuries all trained in the design and production of fine jewellery!

My foray into jewellery making was inspired by a roll of copper wire and the precious stones I had procured for use in my garment designs. The malleability of the copper wire was immediately of interest to me – I could knit with it! Here is one of my recently produced pieces – a knitted copper wire and agate choker necklace.

Green Embassy Jewellery Knitted Copper wire, Agate Stones

Knitted Copper wire, Agate Stones

There is a wealth of contemporary and ancient body ornaments in museums and galleries around the world. Some of the elements most appreciated by collectors and museums are intricate beadwork and extensive use of mixed media. This appreciation has gradually expanded to include the use of found objects and a variety of flexible media. I’ve been upcycling vintage jewellery found in thrift shops and antique stores – these can make a wonderful base or foundation for the development of a truly unique piece of jewellery.

Green Embassy Jewellery Upcycled vintage beads with Eco-Print on Merino hand made organic fabric with Eucalyptus leaves , metal chain

Upcycled vintage beads with Eco-Print on Merino hand made organic fabric with Eucalyptus leaves , metal chain

 

Green embassy jewellery Natural Silk Organza, Eco-Printed with Eucalyptus leaves, Hand made Organic Certified Merino fabric sculpture, agetate Stonem, Fresh Water Pearl, knitted Copper wire

Natural Silk Organza, Eco-Printed with Eucalyptus leaves, Hand made Organic Certified Merino fabric sculpture, agetate Stonem, Fresh Water Pearl, knitted Copper wire

Green Embassy Jewellery Agate Stones, Copper Wire, Organic hand made Alpaca textile sculpture, copperwire, upcycled vintage glass beads

Agate Stones, Copper Wire, Organic hand made Alpaca textile sculpture, copperwire, upcycled vintage glass beads

I have also been recycling pieces of my organic and eco-printed fabrics to create miniature landscapes of soft and hard forms, and all allowing me live out the Green Embassy Zero Waste Policy.

Green Embassy Jewellery Organic Certified hand made Merino and alpaca fabric sculptures, knitted copper wire, various vintage beads

Organic Certified hand made Merino and alpaca fabric sculptures, knitted copper wire, various vintage beads

Green Embassy Jewellery Natural Silk Organza Eco-Printed by hand with Eucalyptus leaves on Metal Chain, knitted Copper wire with variety of Gem Stones (Jade, Agate, Aventurine, Red Jasper, Sardonyx)

Natural Silk Organza Eco-Printed by hand with Eucalyptus leaves on Metal Chain, knitted Copper wire with variety of Gem Stones (Jade, Agate, Aventurine, Red Jasper, Sardonyx)

Green Embassy jewellery Knitted copper wire, GOTS Certified Organic Cotton fabric, Natural Silk Organza Eco-Printed with Eucalyptus leaves, Agate Stones

Knitted copper wire, GOTS Certified Organic Cotton fabric, Natural Silk Organza Eco-Printed with Eucalyptus leaves, Agate Stones

Jewellery is used by women and more recently also men as an expression of individual personality. People can become very connected to a piece of jewellery and it almost becomes part of their identity. This is why unique, one-of-a-kind pieces are important to their wearers.

Green Embassy Jewellery Silk Georgette hand printed with Eucalyptus leaves, copper wire, Agate Stone

Silk Georgette hand printed with Eucalyptus leaves, copper wire, Agate Stone

 

Simon Sakhai, the director of the Shizaru gallery (a contemporary art gallery in Mayfair, London), said:

“We see jewellery as an important part of the artistic dialogue and it should be included in the great intellectual discourse of art.”*

Simon, I agree.  With new necklaces and headpieces to complement my eco-fashion designs, this month, the world will see a new side of Green Embassy on the runways of Vancouver and Paris!

 

*UK Financial Times, Nov 11, 2011.

Fashion that moves and heals

September 4, 2014 9:03 pm

I’ve been inspired since creating the Mrs Australia gown a few weeks ago and I’ve been exploring the use of healing stones and semi-precious gems in my designs!

Mrs Australia stonework

The Mrs Australia Dress

Originally, all I knew was that I loved the idea of working with stones. I started with stones only of Australian origin, including turquoise, hematite and cultured pearls. More recently I have added new stones, including agate, goldstone, moonstone, amethyst, howlite, amazonite and others with complicated names I cannot recall at the moment! I selected them purely for their origins in the earth, which worked with the ‘Connected to Land’ theme of my latest collection.

Connected to Land series - dress with stone and Aboriginal artwork

Connected to Land series – organic cotton dress with agates (indigenous artwork by Deborah Bonar)

But when you work closely with something as I do, hand-stitching and attaching the little treasures to organic textiles and garments, you become intimately acquainted with them. In the same way that I come to know all the unique shapes and tones of a piece of handmade fabric, I found that, as worked with the stones, I started to notice their beautiful patterns and colours. The depth the stones added to the appearance of my designs became a much more important part of my choice to use them.

I started exploring the possibilities, such as installation art by using transparent thread to string the stones to dresses, giving them the appearance of being suspended in mid-air. This gave the gowns, when worn on the body, a wonderful kinetic quality – sparkling and moving in response to the movement of the wearer. 

Installation art

Installation art – stones threaded into spaces in fabric

I’ve also taken a leap into creating jewellery art pieces incorporating the stones, organic textiles and metals such as copper.

Copper wire and stones on a choker necklace

Copper wire and stones on a choker necklace

After doing more research on these stones, I discovered that gem stones have an ancient tradition in the healing realm. Since history has been recorded, stones and crystals have been used for their healing qualities. This was very exciting. I researched the healing qualities of the stones I was working with and found the following:

  • Agates attracts strength, providing protection from stress and energy drains. Agates have being used in jewellery since Babylonian times and are one of the oldest stones in recorded history.
  • Goldstone helps you attain your goals. Goldstone is also said to help you stay calm and stabilise the emotions. It can be used as an energy generator and can deflect unwanted energies, so it is also a protection stone.
  • Moonstone is strongly connected to the moon, the feminine, and to intuition as well. It is first and foremost a women’s stone, directly associated with the Mother Goddess. It is also associated with good fortune.
  • Amethyst is traditionally worn to guard against drunkenness and to instill a sober mind! However, it is also considered protection against toxicity, and can guard you from guilty and fearful feelings.
  • Howlite is a very calming stone. It is often used to relieve insomnia as it stills the mind for sleep or meditation, and can calm turbulent emotions and teach patience.
  • Amazonite is a harmony stone – helping you find focus both within yourself and with others. It will help you to communicate your true thoughts and feelings in a clear, concise way.

I like to think that these designs have yet another purpose – not just fashion; not simply art; but also healing and protective qualities. These pieces will make their exciting debut at Vancouver Fashion Week in just two weeks’ time and at World Fashion Week in Paris.

Follow my journey on Twitter and Facebook.

Green Embassy’s Zero Waste Policy

August 26, 2014 9:46 pm

What does ‘Zero Waste Policy’ really mean?

For me, it means just that: zero waste.

Green Embassy’s haute couture collections are famous for their GOTS certified organic cotton, silk and wool textiles; but part of the commitment to sustainability includes, for me, not adding to Australia’s landfill problem.

However, it isn’t just about minimising landfill. The Green Embassy Zero Waste Policy also rests on the fact that I work very hard on creating textiles and fabrics from their raw state, taking each item through the entire production process, from the field to the catwalk. It’s surprising how precious each piece of fabric becomes when you spend that much time and energy on it. As a result, all scraps and fabric cutoffs from the creation of the current collection will also become part of that collection, or sometimes an upcoming collection. Everything is used, even the smallest parts, until the remaining threads are negligible and can be added to garden compost.

In the end, the declaration of Eco-fashion must carry with it the strongest commitment to the whole ecological picture. Not just organic textiles, but also fair trading practices and sustainable waste management.

To illustrate how I make this happen I have taken some photos of instances where I have utilised ‘scraps’ from other creations to inspire or embellish a new piece.

Silk fabric strips and scraps are refashioned into delicate, feathery tendrils on a cocktail dress.

Sasha57

Cotton offcuts coloured with plant-based dyes can make perfect pieces to stitch into other textiles to add texture. They are also wonderful for colouring new lengths of textile – for example, some small pieces of black organic cotton created beautiful shimmering grey shadows when used in the cooking process to eco-print a length of silk.

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I use merino and alpaca wool to spin and felt, but the pieces of fleece unsuitable for wool textiles are used as stuffing in sculptures that add amazing texture to some of the headpieces and gowns in my new collection.

amandasasha

I also weave woollen offcuts to become fabric once more: the offcuts from the dress I recently worked on for Mrs Australia were woven on my upcycled wooden loom into a panel of fabric that will form the bodice of a new evening gown. I love how the weaving process allowed me to create a sedimentary cliff-face of colours.

Sasha-2

The recent introduction of semi-precious stones to my pieces has also allowed me to reuse fabrics as backing for body jewellery using these stones and beads.

These pieces are all within the Connected to Land collection that will soon see the bright lights of Vancouver Fashion Week, followed by Paris. I cannot wait to show you the full range.

The Unfashionable World of Greenwashing

April 15, 2014 12:25 pm

As one of the eco-fashion industry’s up-and-coming ’emerging designers’, I love to celebrate the industry’s wins. Don’t get me wrong. I do.

But even in the short time since Green Embassy’s launch, I’ve seen enough greenwashing around to make me want to dedicate a blog to it! So I thought it’d be worthwhile to play my part as artist, creator, designer – and educator – to reinforce what truly being green looks like. Or doesn’t look like, as the case may be. So here goes.

  1. Products should not be considered ‘organic’ when garments only contain a small percentage of organic fabric mixed with synthetics.
  1. Designers who claim they use handmade natural materials such as cotton, silk or hemp don’t necessarily adhere to eco-friendly standards. For example, cotton production can require tonnes of pesticides and water – not exactly kind to the earth!
  1. For true accountability and credibility, designers should commit to voluntary organic certification standards (such as GOTS), which speaks to the highest global benchmarks.

So as much as I moan and groan about the amount of work needed to demonstrate my GOTS compliance, I (and all my Green Embassy fans) can relax in the knowledge that my garments are produced ethically and sustainably from production through to the supply chain process. This means no exploitation of third-world labour (mostly of women or children), no using of harmful dyes or chemicals, no wasting of natural resources, no animal exploitation, and so on. Phew, glad I got that off my chest!

  1. It’s a privilege for me to be doing what I feel most passionate about. But the beauty of what we do as designers is not just what we create, but how we create. We have a responsibility to do what’s best for the industry – and embrace the role as advocates for slow fashion. The world is simply better off without mass-produced, disposable fashion.

The thing is, even though greenwashing obviously exists in the fashion world, Organic Certified ethical fashion is the way of the future. Everyone else will get left behind. That’s inspiring and comforting to me, as the ‘mother’ of Green Embassy and overall earth ambassador.

To wrap up on a totally different note, I’m flat out preparing for my next international fashion shows  in New York Eco-fashion show with Gabby Wild, foundation and  the Plitzs Fashion Week in Beijing in June.

As one of the Plitzs event’s sponsored designers, I’m working on an exciting new collection, which is still under wraps – but not for long! Stay tuned – and thanks everyone for your ongoing love and support.

On a High After Vancouver Fashion Week

April 9, 2014 9:11 pm

PINCH…PINCH…PINCH…that’s just me pinching myself because UK Vogue has featured the entire latest Green Embassy Collection in its latest edition!

After a whirlwind trip to Canada for the incredibly exciting Vancouver Fashion Week, I’m still swooning from the rave reviews I’ve been getting from the international press fashionista world. Along with UK Vogue, Green Embassy has also gotten coverage in UK Glamour Magazine and loads of other juicy places.

“Awe-inspiring” and “breathtaking” are just some of the kind words used to describe the 16 garments I chose from my EARTH series. Check out all the press highlights on the Green Embassy FB page or click here.

I’m so happy and proud that handmade certified organic fashion design is starting to get the recognition it deserves .

As Vancouver blog StyleDrama so beautifully describes it: “Wearable art fashions were first introduced on the Paris and Milan runways for spring summer 2014 by Chanel, Dior and Prada, so we now include Green Embassy Australia’s first internationally recognized organically certified fashion label on the cutting edge of this new style trend.”

Despite all this thrilling news, I know that Green Embassy still has a long way to go, especially in the Australian consumer market. Sadly, it’s still lagging behind Canada, Europe and the US in terms of sustainability consciousness.

As for me, there’s no rest for the wicked – but I’m not complaining. Coming up for later this year are fashion events in New York, Beijing, New Zealand and Paris, so it’s busy, busy, busy, but absolutely loving it!

Up, up and away: from London to Vancouver

March 11, 2014 7:34 pm

ecoluxe

I promised to tell you all about Ecoluxe London, which featured our very own Green Embassy!

It was a whirlwind of a trip but I’m feeling on top of the world about the future of Green Embassy and eco-fashion in general.

Back to the show…there’s nothing quite like the buzz of a fashion event – and seeing your garments on the international catwalk with a gallery packed with media and press members (I was the first designer of the show).

It was fascinating to see so many designers from all over the world sharing a passion for sustainable fashion. I loved the enormous variety in collections, with fantastic ideas on everything from recycled materials to gorgeous high-end fashion.

The pieces I showed from my Regeneration series ignited much interest, especially from fashion and blog writers. I suppose my work stood out from the crowd as it was the only certified organic label combined with a strong artistic approach. I was even asked to start producing garments for men and children!

On 16 March, I’m back on a plane and heading OS again, this time to Vancouver Fashion Week. I’m excited to be showing pieces from my latest Earth collection (check out the gallery here), which is all about earthy tones and biomorphic lines, which is another way of saying organic shapes inspired by nature.

Stay tuned, and thanks so much for your continuing support.

Green Embassy will be in Ecoluxe London!

February 8, 2014 5:11 pm

It’s possible for dreams to come true!

As an artist and designer who honours the integrity of sustainable and certified organic textiles and fashion, the last few months have been an unbelievably amazing time for my baby – Green Embassy.

I’ve been invited to a string of international fashion shows in 2014 and 2015, which I’ll keep under wraps for a bit longer until we’ve done the rounds with the press.

But in the meantime, I’d love to tell you more about the very first of the international sustainable fashion shows I’ve been invited to – Ecoluxe London (17 February), a highlight of London Fashion Week.

I’m just about to jump on a plane and I’m thrilled beyond belief. International models such as Jan de Villeneuve will be on the runway supporting Ecoluxe’s ethos of sustainable and ethical luxury.

Now in its eighth year, the show has this year teamed up with an award-winning prison charity and social embroidery enterprise called Fine Cell Work, with an online silent auction to raise funds, including donations from people such as Stella McCartney!

I’m so proud and excited to be joining an amazing group of ethical designers on the London catwalk – and of course, to be representing Australia through Green Embassy.

Check it out www.ecoluxelondon.org

Read the press release by Ecoluxe London here:

http://ecoluxelondon.wordpress.com/2014/02/01/ecoluxe-london-sustainable-luxury-fashion-show-a-grinn-fairy-tale/