Tag Archives: ethical fashion

Meet Di Stitt + GIVEAWAY!

With a love of fashion and a vision to support economic development in African communites, Di Stitt created ethical fashion & accessories label One Colour. Di tells us how starting her business was simply a walk in the park… 

{Magdalene Coat}

 One Colour is an ethical fashion, accessories and gifts brand sourcing mainly from Africa.  The primary aim of our business is to create sustainable employment in Africa, which will ultimately have a positive impact on extreme local poverty. With on-going employment people can make plans for their futures and the futures of their family.

Our range is unique, not just in our shared vision, but through sourcing and producing within Africa we have created an ever evolving range that has an African edge and is made with integrity.

{Abigail PVII Dress}

 In 2007 we met a woman in South Africa who said “I don’t know why we fight each other. If you cut us we all bleed the one colour” – she was telling us about the difficulties they face in her wider community, and this conversation has had an enourmous impact on me and my own family – and was the seed that saw the birth of our brand One Colour. One Colour stands for the innate sameness that lies underneath the colour of our skin.

One Colour could be described as timeless and elegant, with just a hint of Africa.  I design the range in Australia with Libby Andersen, and we design with the Australian woman mind.  Because we source almost everything from within Africa, we are also influenced by the beautiful, vibrant traditional fabrics and beading techniques. We are equally inspired by the amazing, dignified women who work to make our products with love and care.

{Lizabeth Dress}

How did we start the business? The business ‘arrived’ early one morning after a brainstorming session with the family as we were walking through the Botanical Gardens in Brisbane…

Did I mention I’m a U2 tragic? I was inspired by reading a book by Bono (U2) whose wife started the clothing label Edun – which was founded on a commitment to encourage trade with Africa. I also had several conversations in the preceding years with missionaries in Africa who had witnessed first-hand the positive power that employment can have on helping to raise people out of poverty. It is very satisfying to know that One Colour is more than just another label, we are part of a growing number of designers demonstrating our commitment to Africa.

My advice to emerging designers? Keep your vision front and centre. It’s easy to get distracted by all the other things flying around.

one colour

 {Judith Skirt}

To ensure the authentity of our vision with One Colour I work hard to establish relationships with those I partner with in Africa. We travel to Africa every year to see for ourselves that people receive a real living wage plus entitlements and that they work in a clean, safe environment.

I am also looking at ways to incorporate more sustainable or organic fabrics into the next and subsequent ranges. At the moment the range is made with cotton grown by small scale farmers in Africa. They rely on seasonal rains rather than intense irrigation to grow their crops, which is good know, given that cotton is one of the thirstiest crops around.  I also want to introduce eco-friendly fabric dyes but have always felt that it’s best to start with what is happening already then to develop as the opportunity or capacity arises.

one colour

{Women making the One Colour toy collection}

I was a personal assistant in a past life, then had children (now teenagers) so was a full time mum. I enjoyed creative writing and did a bit of feature article writing for our local newspaper in the Hunter Valley. 

When I’m not working I’m hanging out at home with the family, reading, catching up with friends, having coffee or drinks wherever with whoever, travelling, playing piano, gardening…

I can’t live without a place to retreat to.

Right now I’m listening to Jazz Masters – Louis Armstrong, Stan Getz, Count Basie.

My top three blogs are Ecouterre, Design Africa and De-Co.co.
Visit One Colour

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 // GIVEAWAY //

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Di Stitt and One Colour are giving you the chance to win this gorgeous Magdalene Coat valued at $110!!

one colour

HOW TO ENTER

1 entry = Head over to our Facebook page and “SHARE” the competition with your friends. Way too easy!

2 MORE entries = Head over to the One Colour store then leave a comment on the Facebook competition post telling us which piece you would most love to see in your wardrobe.

I know which one I would like…

Entries close THIS Friday 16th Nov. 5pm sharp!

  GOOD LUCK !

Interview + Hand Bag Giveaway!

Meet Jenny Spring of brag bags australia. We had a quick chat with Jenny this week about building her ethical business and the inspiration behind her eclectic range of beautiful bags. here’s what she had to say:

We create handbags for the woman who enjoys her individuality and who wants to feel a sense of connection to the things around her.

A brag bag not only provides you with a beautiful artefact, you are also tracing the bag’s journey from the hands of an artisan to it’s resting place on your shoulder.

Knowing the story behind the object is like having the bragging rights to it. There is a growing awareness and hunger in our Western culture to move away from the mass-produced and toward the handmade.

All our products are designed by us in WA, and then handmade in small workshops in Vietnam. We know and respect the people we work with and do not haggle on price. Employees are treated with respect, and paid fair wages with good working hours and conditions.

A lot of the work is carried out in small outlying villages, allowing the embroiders and artisans to earn a good income and remain in their village – which is so important in maintaining community life. We have been working with the same groups for over 5 years and we incorporate some of their embroidery into our products, as we want to honour their unique skills.

We design specifically based on our customers’ feedback, and we incorporate this feedback into the next range. We change our range each season to maintain exclusivity and  all of our products are handmade in limited editions. We believe this business approach sets us apart from others.

I used to be a corporate software account executive in Seattle, USA! And before that, a teacher. Eight years ago we moved our young family from the USA back to Australia. The move prompted me to consider a career change, and I was eager to run my own company. When my friends introduced me to someone looking for a business partner in a handbag company I jumped at the chance. Three months later, we dissolved our partnership and I took over as owner of bragbags australia.

My advice to young designers is to keep a business focus along with the creative side. To think of what you want your business to be known for and how you want people to talk about your business.

My friends would describe me as determined, idealistic, a big picture thinker, enthusiastic, mother.

I’m the hockey coach and the scripture teacher. I want kids to choose their faith based on information (so I welcome lots of questions, although I struggle with the answers). And I’m travelling whenever I can, whether it is to Vietnam, or with the family.

I couldn’t live without my kids.

I’m listening to anything from Bocelli to Toto (ugh, my husband’s influence there!).

The blogs I read are springintosales.blogspot.com (this is my little sales business that I’ve just launched to help other small business owners get their minds around selling) and themogulmom.com (corporate mums unite!)

The last ethical product I bought was some clothing made for me in Vietnam. I can’t wait for it to arrive! My friend has a tailor who is so talented and makes up anything I want. I have several silk shirts that I love wearing, they are so comfortable and beautiful to wear. She has made them all!

I’m currently writing a course on “Selling to Women”. I think we do such a disservice by not really understanding how women want to be treated. I am running my first workshop at the end of August (in WA) and hope to have a little blog with some downloads. I want to help artisans who have built a lovely little business, but feel overwhelmed when it comes to selling to build a skill set so that they can, in turn, build a customer base of loyal and enthusiastic followers…

// GIVEAWAY //

**ENTRIES NOW CLOSED**

Jenny has given us this most gorgeous little Leather Pouchette (with bonus button cover) to give away to one of you!

It’s valued at $99, and comes in red, black and cream.

HOW TO ENTER

1 entry = Just leave a comment here telling us which colour you would like!
2 entries = plus head over to Brag Bags Facebook page say ‘Hi’, and tell them that we sent you!
3 entries = plus ‘Like’ us on Facebook

GOOD LUCK!

Threads of Grace // GIVEAWAY

Social entrepreneur and fashion designer Lilliana Madigan shows us how engaging with disadvantaged women can bring about social change as well as beautiful design. Her label Threads of Grace brings these two elements together, and the result is a fashion range that is stamped with love.

 

 // GIVEAWAY //

 // GIVEAWAY //

Our favorite piece from the Threads of Grace range could be yours!

 A beautiful silk halter top with embroidered detail – available in either blue/black (as shown) or olive green. One size fits all.

To enter, just visit the Threads of Grace giveaway post on our FACEBOOK page, and leave a comment.

“Share” the giveaway with your Facebook friends – and let us know with a separate comment – for a double entry. So easy!

Enter Here

Ethical Trade – no greenwash here…

Consumers have twigged onto the innate beauty of ethical products in a big way. This in turn has brought the term ‘green wash’ well and truly into the modern vernacular.

With marketing being what it is, ethical slogans are attached to products that may not warrant such high accolades – but how do we wade through all the greenwash to find genuinely ethical gear?

Looking for well known certification labels (Ethical Clothing Australia, Fairtrade, WRAP) makes it easy, but what about all the divine labels and products that don’t fit under a ‘certified’ umbrella?

The Queensland Fair Trade Association is currently looking at a new set of criteria for products that fall into this category, the lovely world of handmade is ‘ethical’ by the very nature of what it is, and Bluecaravan is bringing together an extraordinary group of ethical designers to make it easy for you to buy the things you love – and to feel good about what you buy.

Check out these gorgeous [ethically & fairly traded] products from our site:

Alpaca Throw Blanket by Mayu

Alpaca Throw Blanket by Mayu (Peru)

Recycled Poster Bowl by The Dharma Door (Bangladesh)

Recycled Poster Bowl by The Dharma Door (Bangladesh)

Lotus Big Pocket Skirt by Beej

Lotus Big Pocket Skirt by Beej (India)

Bloomers by Babushka Baby (India)

Deco Print Bloomers by Babushka Baby (India)

Ethical Clothing [in] Australia…

We are most honored to have Ethical Clothing Australia as a friend and supporter of Bluecaravan. It’s so exciting to watch their space, and to watch their list of accredited brands grow.

By looking for the ECA label you know that you are buying fashion that has been fairly made in safe working conditions.

Bluecaravan works with the philosophy that ‘ethically made products have a quality like no other’ – and by looking for products that have been warmed by the good intention of independent designers, artists and artisans you are making a vote against cheap fast fashion – which makes its way to us at a huge (human) cost.

It also affirms the position that these designers have made not to chase huge profit margins by moving their production to off-shore, or locally outsourced sweat-shops. Hoorah for them!

Otto & Spike and Monkey And The Brown Man are both accredited by ECA. Look out for them on Bluecaravan soon!

Otto & Spike

Otto & Spike

Monkey and the Brown Man

Monkey and the Brown Man

The art of Upcycling.

Reclaiming and operating on something that is terminal, or cleverly improving the longevity of it’s usefulness… is what we modern folk refer to as ‘upcycling’.

We all know what it means, but it can be called by another name – particularly when it happens in that private haven known as ‘the shed’.  My *handy* partner added a wire handle to an old flower pot, which is now called a peg basket. Is it functional? Yes. Is it, y’know, lovely? No – but it does hold the pegs, and the rain does drain out the bottom…

The upcycling innovation at our place may not be extraordinary, but it is good.

Meet some designers who have turned the humble act of re-purposing into an artform..

Rummage Style

Luce

Heidi & Seek

Ashley Watson

Hello Ethical Fashion!

We are in the middle of the Rosemount Australian Fashion week, and this time around it’s not just about the glitz, glamour and errr… underweight models.

Ethical Clothing Australia have made their debut into the fashion world, and have emerged with two new feathers in their cap.

Ginger & Smart

Lisa Ho

Lisa Ho and Ginger & Smart have successfully completed the accreditation process that now allows them to carry the Ethical Clothing Australia label. This means that their garments are Australian made, and all those involved in the making of their garments did so with fair pay and in safe working conditions. Strange that we need to cheer this achievement, but sadly we do. Woo Hoo!

The newly re-branded Ethical Clothing Australia (formerly no-sweat shop label) are a not-for-profit initiative assisting labels in gaining ethical certification… and we are happy to say that they are a proud supporter of Bluecaravan. You can check out their website at http://www.ethicalclothingaustralia.org.au

Happy fashion week!

Jen x