Sunday, December 23, 2007

TALKING ABOUT RECYCLING BEING IN THE BAG...

As we're on the subject, it seemed apropos to mention Nahui Ollin's bags and accessories.
Made from wrappers of all kinds and by independent artisans trained for the job in Mexico (under fair wage conditions), these are, by far, the best of the 'candy wrapper' labels out there. Each style has its own name (I'll let you find itsy-bitsy, clutch nuevo, and the Ritual in the picture) and comes in one of several 'wraps' as it were.
This past Autumn, Nahui Ollin bolstered its 'cool' credentials with a whole different concept - the Artisanal Collection -- traditional motifs and embroidery techniques on transitional cotton and complete with repurposed handles and button details. I have one of the few Riviera bags in the UK at the moment and in describing the effect it has, I think its fair to say sane women have looked menacing when I informed them they can only get one at DeviDoll but in January 2008.

Friday, December 21, 2007

YOUR TRASH IS MY CASH

Talk about really getting the recycling thing *REALLY* right: Conserve, an Indian NGO, founded by Anita Ahuja and her husband, Shalabh, takes discarded polythene bags and through unique processing creates some pretty funky bags and other accessories. Conserve showed at Paris for the first time this past September.


Not only is this intelligent waste management, its also compassionate social management: the Ahujas provide decent wages to the garbage pickers (a notoriously badly treated subset of the contractors the run 'waste management' in India's cities) and employment to otherwise destitute slum-dwellers who are taught skills in polythene processing or design.
Jewel in the crown: informal schooling for the children of the 300-strong slum dwelling work-force has now been put in place. About 200 youngsters between 5 and 13 now gain basic learning from about 8 teachers.
Read more about Conserve's work here and expect to see some of their designs at DeviDoll in Spring 2008.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

UNDER ONE GREEN ROOF

Introducing EVO -- 'the' place to go for all things ethical. The US based site is a 'green' marketplace (though products are not sold on the site -buyers are connected to online merchants) where you can also go to get an education. EVO can help you learn about making more ethical choices in every area of life: home/auto/body/money and also figure out how green your current lifestyle is (take the Greening Your Tree quiz). The website is interesting and easy to use.



So far on this side of the pond we don't have something quite like EVO, ie, as complete a list of consumer goods combined with knowledge bank. At the moment the focus remains on having ethical goods sold in one place - not a bad place to start. Check out the Ethical Superstore or the more chic, 'department store' launched in September 2007, The Ethical One Stop Shop.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

EVEN MORE REASON TO LOVE THE ARSENAL


Okay so I am a bit biased about Arsenal - they are my team (even if they weren't, I'd say delicious Fabregas is enough to turn any girl..but thats another story). Anyway, I just want to report that not only Arsenal's footballing top class, their hearts are in the right place: the team is donating its wages from today's heavyweight game (vs Chelsea, in case you didn't know) to TreeHouse Trust, the UK charity that helps autistic children and their families, through early intervention and education. Watch the associated video 'Pockets'.

Today's action by the team is part of their Be A Gooner. Be A Giver appeal through which the Gunners hope to achieve £250k to build new sports facilities for TreeHouse. You can contribute to the appeal here.

In the pre-match chit-chat, Jamie Redknapp commented thus on the Gunners donation (to paraphrase) '...they've always been a real club, The Arsenal, and (this is) part of how Arsene expects his players to conduct themselves...'.

Go Gunners!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

SHAME ON THE OLSEN TWINS

Dress Up The Trollsen Twins! Dress Up The Trollsen Twins!
I've always found the Olsen twins a bit scary.

The whole look: those glassed over eyes, the smug pouts and almost-as-bad-as-Victoria-Beckham perpetually grim camera look.

The whole story: picture perfect twins start acting from inside moses basket and end up contolling their billion dollar tweeny based empire before 18. All they wear is 'in', all they touch is gold -- of course there are a few hiccups along the way like one of them had an eating disorder -- but thats a minor blip. They just sort of smug pouted that one out.

Anyway, you get the jist. These are 2 strange young women.

Now their glassy stares and perpetually grim are REALLY frightening because apparantly they are windows into the real goings-on: these girls not only wear fur, they use it in their 'lux' clothing line (The Row). So we have 2 women, icons for millions of young women everywhere who grew up with them, endorsing mindless cruelty, for the sake of fashion. And/or for profit.

PETA has rightly begun a campaign against them "Meet the Trollsen Twins" - Hairy Kate and Trashley. You can dress them up, watch a video of their hit show re-edited with fur killings interspersed, join the campaign against their actions (please do!) and watch a very disturbing video investigating the fur trade (definitely an R rating so beware). Some fur may be a by-product (whatever.) but this certainly is not.

Rich, successful, easily able to influence many young minds, and with so many choices for themselves and this is what the Olsen twins go for. Shame on them.

COLOUR ME DELIGHTED

I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I just discovered a site that can turn shopping into entertainment and make having internet access seriously costly (okay, for many of you achingly hip shoppers Etsy may be old news but it's new to me, so bear with me). Etsy is rendered a 100 fold more fantabulous because
1) you can shop JUST by colour - not primary colours, mind...we're talking shades and hues (even of buff, nougat, cremes and ecrus)
2) once you choose a colour all kinds of happy things take place on your screen and items of that colour are then presented to you
3) actually choosing a colour isn't required to get joy from this....just move your cursor and there's a rain dance of hues.
My search under my favourite colour brought me to Lomper the Nightmare Snatcher (now sold out). I rest my case.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

GIVE LOVE AND JOY THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

I'm going to keep this simple because it is SO easy to let the cheese and sentimentality roll out of control on a topic such as this.

Here are some fantastic and genuine ways to give love and joy this holiday season:

1) Gift a winning lottery ticket to a girl so she can be removed from poverty/sexual abuse/exploitation/poor health: the Sharanam Centre for girls in Mumbai's infamous slum Dharavi (Asia's largest) can house, rehabilitate and educate upto 30 girls. In a country where 1 in 4 girls never gets to be a teenager, this is no small gift.
2) Present a way for a child to get off the street/railway platform in New Delhi and put them in a home-like environment where they can live safely, get vocational training, have access to adequate mental and physical health care and get a new start in life. Support Karm Marg.
3) Give the opportunity to have a better life, particularly through a holistic education, to the most hopeless and impoverished of children. Let them believe that if they learn, they can be anything they wish. Involve yourself with Akanksha Foundation. Make donations in the UK here or contact London based Kids in Need of Education.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

COMING FROM BRITTIQUE, IT *REALLY* MATTERS.

Don't get us wrong - we love it when anyone mentions DeviDoll.com or this blog. As a very inspiring (business) woman and icon for our times, Anita Roddick, told me at a one-on-one 'never forget, all publicity is good publicity'.

But we are more than usually chuffed to read that in an interview with luxury living directory, Sheerluxe, Nicole Bremner, ex-investment banker and founder of the achingly stylish Brittique.com, lists DeviDoll among her favourite online stores!!

Brittique's style combines edge with intelligence and never bows blindly to trends. Its founder knows what she likes and isn't afraid to say it (check it out for yourself). We can recognize a DeviDoll when we see one.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

'TIS THE SEASON TO BE JOLLY GENEROUS


Between now and December 31, 2007 (we're making it worth your while to move your fingers across a keyboard as you lie around after the xmas day eat-a-thon) spend over a £100 and receive 10% off your next DeviDoll.com purchase.

Wishing you a VERY merry christmas indeed.

Monday, December 3, 2007

SHALOM HARLOWE IN AOKI AND DEVIDOLL ON MONGOLIA

Canadian born model Shalom likes her fashion green. And we like that. We also like the idea of Bokashi composting (perfect for city-living) that she drew our attention to.

She's wearing AOKI's Traci jean here and though you can't see the 2 mini front-pockets and high waist you can see the rich denim colour and fantastic flare.

Also on her favourites list is mongolian cashmere by Stewart & Brown. Mongolian cashmere is an interesting export from an otherwise sort of forgotten country (I mean apart from Genghis Khan, what comes to mind??). The extremely fine quality of cashmere is produced by nomadic herdsmen for whom this is a traditional way of life and only real skill set. Mongolia's move from a socialist to a capitalist economy and related attempts to integrate with the globalized cashmere market have created problems for these nomadic producers. Chief among these is the destabilizing effects from moving cashmere processing outside of Mongolia. Add to this historic poverty and natural desertification and you get a pretty bleak picture. Read about this whole issue in more detail here.

Stewart&Brown know their mongolian herding suppliers and keep all aspects of production in Mongolia so as to ensure the herdspeople are part of a sustainability cycle. As far as DeviDoll is concerned this makes their cashmere truly cozy, warming and alluring.







A TALE OF TWO (GREEN) LOVELIES - FINALE

From Jill Danyelle, author of the fiftyRX3 project, (a 365-day photo documentary about her sustainable fashion endeavours, now widely considered essential reading for anyone interested in the subject) we have more on how to be a green fashionista. Her philosophical musings are made imminently practical by her sharp eye for distinctive design, trends and style. Her very readable blog, the laboratory, picks out the hippest designers, stores and clothing in sustainable land.


As she tours some of NYC's best eco fashion spots (footnote: she rightly visits Anne Hettinger at Gomi but I wish she had also been to Kaight) she says the same thing as Summer Rayne Oakes: ethical fashion does not mean sacrifice or absence of style; it simply means being aware and making different choices.

At DeviDoll we'd say its all about how you curate your consumption.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A TALE OF TWO (GREEN) LOVELIES - PART I

Is it easy being green? Not for some, perhaps, but for the average fashion lover it isn't hard, especially not now. In fact all it takes is a little thinking. And, to illustrate, I'd like to introduce you to these two distinct, but equally thought-provoking, lovely green ladies.

An environmental science major, supermodel of the eco-fashion world, sustainability consulant, activist and all around hottie, Summer Rayne Oakes tells us how to get it right when we shop and why it matters. Interestingly, it is internet boutiques that are taking the lead in spreading the eco-fashion word.

Footnote: she points out Panda Snack and Doie, and also pulls out Moral Fervor's delicious grey tunic - all exclusive to DeviDoll in the UK! Nice.

Check it out.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

PLAIN IMMORAL

Japan, not satisfied with its on going slaughter of whales, has now gone out after Humpback whales. What motivates such gross disrespect and abuse of nature? If it is because the perpatrators are hungry/poor/uneducated/trying to pull themselves out of grinding poverty then, fair enough, that's a good reason. But wiping a species off the face of the earth to satisfy something as flippant as a culinary preference (of the few)...that's just plain immoral.

And to suggest, as Japan does, that they hunt for purposes of scientific research, that whale meat is part of their 'national food culture', that they rely on protein from whale meat - who are they kidding? Its now well known that tonnes of frozen whale meat is stockpiled in Japan, that the nation does not have much taste for the stuff so school's are being encouraged to include it on menu's to promote it.

Basically the Japanese have other fears about not allowing a precedent to be set regarding their freedom to fish as they please and about 'interference' in their matters.

But the point is that it's not their choice alone to fish as they please and irresponsibly finishing off species isn't their business alone. We need to make more noise, raise more awareness and boycott what we must. Ultimately, they will care about strong opinions and basic demand/supply economics more than they will about their so-called (whale-related) food culture.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

MINI DEVIDOLL FASHION SHOW

Deborah Lindquist's fabulous AW07 cashmere is featured in the US design make-over show 'Character Fantasy' which means you can see several of DeviDoll's pieces on the runway!

You can see the whole clip, including Deborah explaining her inspiration and fabric choices, here.

Our best-selling Empire Mini (above right) is featured as are the very cute Puff Sleeve Mini (below left) and the super edgy Fleur Bustier.

Sweet.








Monday, November 5, 2007

WON'T YOU TAKE ME TO CHUNKY TOWN

How cold has it suddenly got? No way to start the week, I can tell you. Coupled with the darkening afternoons it is SO wrong. Okay, (deep breath)....maybe I should save the angst for January.

Right, glass half full perspective: its perfect weather for snuggly, chunky knits. And to further raise the level in the glass, thick, big yarn knits are all the rage at the moment: Vogue.com tells us to "Wrap up in giant stitches, waffle patterns and outsized scarves and ski jumpers: these extravagant knits are winter's way forward...".

At DeviDoll we are SO on the ball. If you want classic wool then look at Aymara's cashlama cable knit swing sweater , front tie cardi or huge, cozy knit scarves. Want a be a bit more adventurous, then check out Lara Miller's bamboo handloomed knits.

All fabulously chunky and very hip. An uplifting combo indeed.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

OH WHAT A STUD

Spent a great 4 days in Paris last week. Easy trip and soon even faster when the Eurostar goes from St.Pancras. So much better than flying anywhere.

So went to Colette (for the first time!!!) and it was cool but I left feeling it was somewhat over-hyped. The non-clothes stuff did nothing for me…I don’t need to go to Colette to get a fuschia iPod mini…PC World does those. The clothes were interesting, and exquisitely displayed, but not the one-of-a-kind finds I was expecting. Perhaps I’m not getting it.

A very interesting observation from Colette, though: Comme De Garcons (Watanabe) trousers in black with burnished gold stud detailing down the sides – a clear nod to this autumn’s love of metallics. Well, at DeviDoll we've just received Kelly B’s studded bamboo leggings in 3 colours (including black) with detailing along the sides. An almost exact replica of the Comme de Garcons cigarette pants. Want to keep with the trend, then check out her studded merino vest with the flirty ruffle detail.

Reading the Sunday Times International edition on the way home. Someone wrote to ask about the best cashmere around and it made me sick to see Primark recommended for its 10 pound stuff. Directly after this recommendation the article goes on to say “If you are looking for something that will last, though, (my emphasis), head to Marks and Spencer....(etc, etc)”. What could be a more direct admission of the knowledge that Primark isn’t meant to last but that it is cheap, throwaway stuff? Stuff that may be cheap at the tills but in actual fact, is costing us the earth.

When are fashion journalists going to get it?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

DYEING FOR WELLNESS

Take 100% naturally made handloom fabrics, dye them with colours derived from plants recommended in the Ayurvedic medicinal system and, hey presto! you have clothes that can help cure several different ailments.

Hmmm...sounds promising, you say, but a bit far-fetched....

Well, we have news -- it's actually happening and its called Ayurvastra.


Traditionally such clothes were produced by 'healer-weavers' that served the royals in Kerala but modern cloth production stamped out the need for the handicraft. Now it's being revived by the Ayurvastra Handloom Weavers Development Society in Kerala, headed by 37 year old Kuzhivilas Vijayan, from the Kuzhivilas weaving family who were originally at the forefront of 'medicinal dyeing'. The entire process is free of chemicals, conducted in a very controlled environment and at every step, healing through the right combination of herbs is key. For e.g., arthritis requires garments infused with agathi (agati grandiflora) and manjistha (rubia cordifolia) while blood pressure problems require chebula (terminalia chebula) and tusli (Indian holy basil). Colour can come from (the natural antiseptic) haldi (turmeric) for yellow, pathimukham (Ceasalpina Sappan) flowers and bark for red (convenienently the plant also has anti-cancerous properties) and neela amari (indigofera tinctora) for blue. Fragrance can be from sandalwood and the preservative 'glue' used to hold all the colour and smell is also non-toxic (gum of neem is often used). And at the end of it all, waste becomes bio manure and biogas.

While skin problems are clearly a focus for Ayurvastra, early tests by the Government Ayurveda College report material benefits to rheumatic patients, as well. According to its practitioners the reason Ayurvastra works is because the body's immune system is exposed to the right combination of healing herbs and plants, which brings it into equilibrium. Currently the Society has been given substantial grants by the state government to continue r&d.

At DeviDoll we thought we'd heard all we could about superfoods! Anyway, this is some pretty interesting stuff and takes the concept of 'natural dyes' to a whole new level. We are already primed to cut out toxins in our food and also our cosmetics. Next on the list might be toxin free colours.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

CRUNCHING THE CASHMERE NUMBERS


You can see your breath every morning now and the sunshine is very very bright. Its chilly in a crisp way, very crunchy underfoot and trick or treating is only days away. Then its November - the only 30 days of the year when the darkening evening light in London can still feel beautiful (not least because there are xmas lights at the end of that tunnel).

It's time to get out our proper winter wear -- boots, coats and, mmmmm, cashmere...gloves, cardis, caps. There is something SO deliciously decadent about cashmere...partly because it just feels so wonderful on the skin and partly because it's about luxury....which, lets be honest, is about scarcity and hence, price. Right?

Well, not everywhere apparently - what is up with the cut price cashmere all over the high street? Is that cashmere real? If yes, then, how did it get SO cheap…what....more goats out there all of a sudden? Is the entire production process being done for next to free somewhere? Something (or someone) had to give to get to those prices for cashmere – what (who) is it? If you know, do write in and tell. I’m not saying cashmere is only real if its exorbitant in price…I’m saying there is a floor to the price of things that are scarce and we have to think before we buy below that limit.

Anyway, back to (correctly priced) cashmere being a fine winter fabric – now it’s also more hip than you’ve ever seen before thanks to Deborah Lindquist. She colour blends vintage cashmere in very original ways, adds her signature appliqu├ęs and voila, we have some seriously sexy clothing for this season.

Debbie and SV at Pret-A-Porter Paris '07

Her cardis are most definitely not for granny and her gauntlets mix superbly with this season’s biker/bomber jackets.

Her dresses are perfect for this season's over-the-knee socks ensemble, especially if you team them up with, say, some killer mary janes or, for a really SJP look, ankle-boots.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

JEANS JEANS JEANS AND WHAT IT ALL MEANS

So here we are – DeviDoll’s first blog entry. If you don’t know us yet please visit us here. If you do know us then a big big Thank You for all the support.







What to talk about first?

How to introduce ourselves best? What to say that will be relevant to you and representative of us? I've decided the best thing is to keep it simple: talk about JEANS. We all love them, wear them, need them and buy them. About as democratic as fashion can be (want to know more about the history and sociology of jeans?).


At DeviDoll we L-O-V-E jeans (not least because most of us here are inveterate ‘dress them up-dress them down-but wear ‘em 24 hours’ types) and, much to our relief, it looks like every kind of jean is ‘in’ pretty much all the time.
Sure, the skinny shot into focus for the longest time, then high waisted usurped some airtime and the kick flare is having a moment too, but hey, Kate Moss steps out in whatever moves her on the day (high waisted at the end of summer and then skinny greys in Grazia this week) and if that’s not a signal, then we don’t know what is: ladies, wear the jeans you like, when you like. You’ll be fine.

For the skinny lover check out AOKI’s Riley or Mandy, for the ‘boyfriend cut’ nothing beats the Billy. Need your high waisted '70s fix? The Traci is your only port of call. But if you’re into flares but no extremist,check out Carol Young’s bamboo denim C-Flip jeans. Sweet.

A slew of jeans to fit every body and preference...without harming anything/one. In case you don't get what I mean, watch a few clips from China Blue and you will understand why buying ethically produced jeans makes a difference and to whom.

China Blue goes behind the scenes at Chinese factories that produce jeans for the biggest names in the Western market. And its not pretty. One of the most poignant bits is seeing how Jasmine and her colleagues keep up with the gruelling hours and relentless deadlines. Clothes pins are used to keep tired eyes open through shifts and naps are caught when possible. This movie is no tear jerker nor is it a anti-capitalism/globalization tirade. It’s a stark dose of reality that asks every individual consumer to face the truth.



At DeviDoll we’ve decided we simply can’t kid ourselves any more.

 


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