Posing in Vintage: Green Embassy SS2015 Collection

September 27, 2014 1:35 pm

Posing in Vintage VFW Green Embassy

It’s no wonder Vancouver Fashion Week gave the closing honours to this show. Green Embassy embodies the spirit of sustainability and ecostyle and transforms it into couture fashion that anyone can appreciate.

I anticipate to be seeing much more from this amazing beacon of organic fashion.

Read more herehttp://bit.ly/1pxpPAL

Robin Whachell Blogger: Green Embassy returns to Vancouver Fashion Week

September 27, 2014 1:22 pm

Zuhal Behind the Design Talk Vancouver

I was honoured to attend an Artist’s Talk hosted by Helen Siwak of Kitsilano Kitty’s Closet over the weekend to hear Zuhal Kuvan-Mills (seen above left)  a Turkish-born Australian visual artist, textile and organic certified (GOTS) haute-couture fashion designer speak about her product and inspirations, “Beyond the Design.”  The Australian Honorary Consul Kevin Lamb even attended to show his support.

I met Zuhal last season at Vancouver Fashion Week and was in awe of her unique pieces made from felt and weaving of the alpaca she raises in Perth, Australia. “I am a farmer and a scientist first,” she said.  Zuhal graduated in 1986 from Istanbul University as a veterinarian surgeon.  She went on to lecture in animal science and conservation.

Read more herehttp://bit.ly/1CuyJbg

She’s So Eco Blog: Haute Couture with an organic artisan heart

September 27, 2014 1:17 pm

Zuhal Kuvan-Mills of Green Embassy

Zuhal Kuvan-Mills may be a Fashion Week Darling (she just showed her designs in New Zealand, is about to do it again here in Vancouver, and then it’s off to Paris), but don’t call her a fashion designer.  “I’m an artist who makes clothes,” the Haute Couture visionary explains, adding that she has no formal education in fashion and that she sort of stumbled into the industry by accident. (She was inspired last year to turn her textiles into clothing, and Green Embassy was born.)

Read more here: http://bit.ly/1qF1glN

The Bahamas Weekly: VFW kicks off with 70 international designers on the roster

September 27, 2014 1:13 pm

Raising the Hemline

VFW founder Jamal Abdourahman is hosting the biggest fashion week Vancouver has ever seen. The Opening Gala was definitely a taste of the week coming with plenty of emerging talent, and innovative fashion.

Returning this season is Evan Clayton, Green Embassy, Connally McDougall, Hong Kiyoung, Nikkie Babie, Pappillon, Shelly Klassen blushing boutique, Dawson & Deveraux and others. LaSalle College, a design school in Vancouver will be showcasing on Wednesday evening.

Read more here: http://bit.ly/1Cuy0a3

VanCity Buzz: Article on Amanda Oiom, Model

September 27, 2014 1:02 pm

Amanda Oiom Green Embassy Model

The last few years Amanda has had amazing opportunities from shoots to runways and worked with many talented people. She has been invited by an amazing designer from Australia,  Zuhal Kuvan-Mills (Green Embassy), who will be showcasing at Vancouver fashion week again in September, to go to Paris with her at world fashion week at the end of September.

Read more here: http://bit.ly/1xq607j

Asian Pacific Post: Sidewalk Runway

September 27, 2014 12:57 pm

Skye Natasha and Zuhal Kuvan-Mills

Vancouver Fashion Week SS2015

The Opening Gala (Mon 9.15), Saturday and Sunday appeared to have drawn the best dressed crowds. There were quite a few guests I would love to feature. The same applies to the Designers. I attended 22 shows and I loved Aiaizel, Grandi’s Atelier, Lubov Tumanova and Green Embassy.

Read more here: http://bit.ly/1rkMU07

 

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.

Connected to Land Wearable Art Collection

June 9, 2014 9:09 pm

connected_to_land_ge

GREEN EMBASSY founder and designer Zuhal Kuvan-Mills, once again presents an outstanding collection of contemporary fashion. Zuhal’s new series, Connected to Land reveals a journey of discovery where land and fashion meet. Drawing inspiration from the palette of the West Australian bush, collaborations with West Australia visual artists, and her previous wearable Collections (Night in the Bush, Regeneration and Earth) this new series delivers captivating, wearable sculptures that ‘revision’ natural forms, rocks, waterholes, earth and precious, fragile leaf structures.

Zuhal’s conception for minimalistic, natural fashion is transformed into an exciting body of daring design pieces, striking evening and stylish day wear. These unique, naturally hand-dyed pieces utilise a subtle blend of complimentary fabrics, soft felted Merino, placed to work with playful pleats and glamorous flowing folds. Zuhal describes her embellishments as “biomorphic drawings, paintings and sculptures” viewing her creations as more than fashion, rather, textile artworks delivering a message.

Using locally sourced Australian alpaca, Merino wool and recycled organic natural fibres, hand-dyed with Eucalyptus leaves, Zuhal continues to produce works which proclaim her passion for “eco-consciousness”. The care in which the designer has spun, dyed, felted, stitched and embroidered these exquisite “textile sculptures for the body” is testament to her dedication to sustainability and quality. Zuhal continues to place great importance in recreating luxury through organic processes and the resulting works reflect her love of materials and her craft. The inclusion of precious found metal objects, pearls, hand-painted vintage glass represents her “transfer of memories from the past” into new expressions of land.

Her Connected to Land series focuses on an earthy palette with a blend of strong, black and white contrasts. Zuhal recreates an authentic Australian notion of beauty through the use of muted, rustic ‘Outback’ tones and “sunset” oranges that nourish the soul and reconnect with the earth.

For this collection of work Zuhal researched many culture’s responses to the land, with a particular focus on North American, Maori and Aboriginal art forms. She was inspired by their collective respect and view of the land as a living entity, entwined in their religious beliefs and daily practices.

Connected to Land is invigorated by the introduction of collaborative work by two West Australian visual artists, Deborah Bonar and Jude Taylor, who along with Zuhal, are based in the picturesque Swan Valley region of Western Australia.

Aboriginal artist Deborah Bonar and Zuhal share the ideology of drawing from their traditional cultural arts practices to create contemporary works reflecting their response to country. Printmaker Jude Taylor’s work is inspired by, “the ability of Western Australian wildflowers to sustain life in a hostile environment and the hardy Australian bush women, who were both able to flourish in a harsh West Australian environment.”

Deborah Bonar has exhibited widely in WA and has previously been the recipient of the coveted Cossack Art Award (Indigenous). She is represented in both private and public collections including the City of Perth and the Credit Suisse Art Collections.
Deborah’s artwork is an exploration and a celebration of her Gija and Yamatji heritage. She explains, through her art, she “reconnects with her Aboriginal culture. Creating art gives her a voice and the artistic expression to tell her interpretive stories of Aboriginal culture and her people’s strong spiritual connection to land, water and nature.”

Deborah and Jude are both renowned for their bright design work, combining traditional techniques with a contemporary palette. Both artists have collaborated to extend and reinterpret their traditional design practice to create works to inspire and create visions amongst the landscape for this collection.

The Connected to Land Collection flirts with earthy abstract shapes, natural prints, lush hand-made fabrics and sleek, sensual lines, sharing with you the artist’s respect, love and enchantment with the Australian Land.

Jenny Haynes