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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