Thursday, November 27, 2008

DEVIDOLL GETS INTO YOUR PANTS

It's not often that you will think, whilst slipping on (or off, for that matter) your silk gossmer panties and matching brassiere , about fair trade practices and ending labour injustice. Even less likely is that you will be contemplating aspects of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which on Dec. 10 this year, is 60 years old.

Well, you're going to be thinking about all this together if Eco-Boudoir (purveyor of the finest luxury lingerie all ethically sourced and produced), Pants to Poverty (through the sale of fairtrade and organic pants - yes literally - they tackle various issues in poverty eradication) and DeviDoll, along with other like-minded souls, have their way.

The short film 'KNOW WHATS IN YOUR KNICKERS' engages viewers in a dramatic walk down the runway, with front row seats to watch the show unfold. The whole thing revolves around the
environmental and ethical issues associated with creating a garment that either gets no attention at all (when was the last time you really thought hard about your grey/black/white cotton underpants?) or when it does, we're programmed to think lovely, frilly, sexy, delicate, treat, beautiful -- a plethora of terms that conjure up anything but ugly and horrid. Fact is, though, that these innocuous garments can have some pretty awful origins and journey before they end up on us...something this thought provoking film highlights.

The events planned around the debut showing of this film at the Southbank Center on Dec. 10 (if you've been paying attention you'll know why they picked that date) include dance, music, poetry and a debate/discussion about what is/can be wrong with labour rights within supply chains. Sound like a dreary topic? Well, Ben Ramsden of Pants to Poverty is presenting the debate so its likely to have much chutzpah (remember the record set in November at St. Pancras for largest gathering of people dressed only in underpants....well, it was Pants to Poverty's brainchild....ain't nothin' boring 'bout this lot).

There are campaign films and then there are campaign films...this one promises to be unforgettable. Eco-Boudoir and DeviDoll both believe that the consumption of luxury can be wholly ethical....indeed that it should be.

Watch this film and you'll get a glimpse into why.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

HOW MUCH DOES ETHICS MATTER IN FASHION - A LESSON LEARNED


Those of you who receive our newsletter will know that we did our first real public, 'in-the-flesh' appearance for Boutique de Noel earlier this month. Organised by the Junior League of London, Boutique de Noel is (basically) a 1 1/2 day xmas fair made up of independant, exclusive retailers, the proceeds from which go to charity projects in the UK. Always one to throw itself at good cause (and shopping to support children and families is a pretty amazing cause), DeviDoll was honoured to included.

Happy to report that it all went swimmingly. But even more interested in reporting the lesson learned: to an un-preselected audience, in an ethical fashion colletion it's the fashion part that speaks the loudest. This may not come as a huge surprise but to see it in action was instructive. Part of the problem seems to be simple lack of knowledge -- "clothes can be made from bamboo? really?!"; but there is definitely an element of apathy -- "cashlama, huh? fairtrade? Uh...that's, uh....interesting, I guess....erm...anyway, its so soft and cheaper really than regular cashmere. I love that!"

In my mind there is no doubt that if something looks good and then it has done good en route to you, it wins over stuff that only has the former going for it. But I realize some people don't really care about the latter....it's as if its not their problem to worry about. It will take a lot more public awareness for the message to sink in that, ethically made and delivered fashion, is something we all need to think about.

Listen, I'm not complaining because DeviDoll has many customers that are not fussed about ethical but the effect of their shopping is the same as those who are -- DeviDoll is better able to support ethical fashion designers, spread the message and move forward in its aim of making a difference. I am just noting that, having stuck my head out of the eco/green/ethical fashion bubble, I realized how much is still not obvious to shoppers.

Guess we have our work cut out.

Friday, November 14, 2008

FROM SOMEWHERE - WELL DONE AND WELL DESERVED AT RE: FASHION AWARDS


Okay, have to confess I did not make it to this important event. Why? - well, its a long, and more relevantly, somewhat boring story, so I'll spare you. But the main reason for my writing about it is to publicly congratulate From Somewhere duo Orsola and Filippo for winning in 2 categories

RE:Fashion Designer of the Year Award

and

RE:Use Award

I have learned so much and continue to from Orsola about ethical fashion (most notably, long lessons in what upcycling actually is) - the business of it, the politics around it, the fashion benchmarks that must be at the forefront at all times and the love of it all. DeviDoll has been proud to be the only retailer in the UK other than the label's eponymous boutique, to stock From Somewhere clothing. Our pleasure and honour entirely. Always has been.

Anyway, these guys have been doing the right thing since 1997, ie, back when saying ethical and fashion together could only mean -- in the best case scenario -- that you (a) didn't like fur but only because animals and plants are 'one with us' (b) lived in a commune, ate alfafa and (c) thought that commerce was the devil.

Today we all know that ethical fashion is something far more encompassing and headed for the mainstream..warts and all. This, in no small part, thanks to people like Orsola and Filippo with their clear message and hard work. I can't think of a more deserving label for these awards -- pioneers, fashionable, stylish and activist. Ooooh, gives you goosebumps.

Read all about what went on, who was there, what they wore and see really great pictures of all the above at Sarah Woodhead's ever-more-impressive daily green glossy greenmystyle.com.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

DEVIDOLL LIVE DEBUTS WITH STYLISTS AT ECO-FASHION PARTY 2008

video

At DeviDoll we get around. And we wanted to share snippets of our tete-a-tete's with the whose who of ethical fashion, our forays into fashion shows, our exclusive interviews with consumers and purveyors of green fashion....the entire hoo-haa of being bang smack in the midst of the ethical fashion space.

So we bring you DEVIDOLL LIVE. Its not Hollywood (or Bollywood, for that matter...the difference matters to me not a little) but its topical, home-made and local, authentic and organic and educational.

Our debut was at the Eco Fashion Party (check August's archive here) held at the start of the Autumn fashion season at London's Surya Bar. We talked to 3 of the stylists present -- Lupe Castro, Style Counsel's Maggie and Louise from Create Yourself -- about the if's, why's, what's and how's of ethical styling.

Before anyone thinks we don't know it: yes we are aware this is not from yesterday but from the start of a season that already feels 'over' in fashion buyer terms...and to that we say ' hey...ever heard of slow fashion??'

DEVIDOLL LIVE -- here to stay, so tune in and listen up.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Deborah Lindquist -- Queen of Green


Who in ethical fashion hasn't heard of Deborah Lindquist....her of the rock roll style vintage cashmere couture? Her origins were in that 'look' and she still does it better than anyone else but she has now moved into wider pastures - hemp, peace silk, organic cotton and more.

I had the pleasure of meeting Deborah at LFW this year - we were lucky to have her. DeviDoll continues to be a big fan and supporter.

IF YOU GET IT RIGHT, THEY'LL WRITE...

These are hard times for the biggest names in high street retail. Imagine what they are for a online, ethical designer fashion start up. Yikes!! - as Shaggy from Scooby Doo would say. Don't dwell on the image though - you may not survive it.

Fact is times like this are the context in which all those self-help books come in handy. Time to find your reserves of tenacity, self-belief and most of all, tap into your almost pathalogical sense of optimism (a phrase from my one and only meeting with the late Anita Roddick. She told me it was required of any entrepreneur. I memorised it).

I'll admit that nothing does the trick quite like self-motivated, organic (how could I not use the term) energy but I cannot agree that this is enough. A necessary ingredient to keeping your head above water are peer reviews. They keep the space fertile and make what you do seem worthy.

And lately, BTGOG (my secret term which I cannot unfurl, sorry), DeviDoll and our efforts to define and propogate the notion of ethical fashion as essential, fashionable and the the only way forward, have received plenty of attention. Editorial, no pay for play, pure opinion from those who know about luxury, fashion, green issues and have something to say.

So a very big thank you to

greenmystyle.com -- a truly 'daily' read. Lots out there says it is such but you wouldn't really go there everyday. This you would -- for a start for the 'daily e-bay' finds that make reused/vintage/recycled a J-O-Y. Sift for the best green style.


Spire.com
-- join up, ask (literally) any question you need answered about luxury, quality travel, lifestyle, shopping, eating and more, and I guarantee you will benefit from the responses you get. A discreet meeting of like minds happens at Spire and experiences of how, what, where are shared (but not your whole life, phew!). The site does what it says on the package: Quality lifestyle. Savvy perspective.



ecofashionworld.com -- for these folks, its all about helping you arm yourself with knowledge about ethics in that most universal of medium, fashion. Very global, very much about things close to style as well as those that impact it from far off (China Issue, Sept 2008).



theginlady.com -- 'under the influence of Green, Independant and Natural lifestyle brands'. Pretty much sums it up really...read here about all kinds of brands, events, happenings, and more -- all from the land of ethical. Sweet.


Check these for more than their take on DeviDoll. As Spire's Suzanne says - 'Sharing the best, so you can leave the rest'.

 


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