Having just posted a blog on my favorite fashion pics from the British Royal Wedding (see below), my choice of photos confirmed that hats were all the rage at this event. History has also shown us that the English take their head wear seriously. I am sure that the millinery market is, and will remain, a healthy fashion industry in Britain.
But what surprised me to the point of utter confusion, is the fact that these big hats were obviously a visual barrier to wedding guests behind these hats, once seated inside Saint George's Chapel. How could anyone sitting behind the Duchess of Cornwall for example, see past her wide brim pink 'Attic Insulation' hat? Wouldn't protocol have some bearing on the rules of etiquette concerning the size of some of these creations?
I found most of the millinery fashion at the royal wedding more attractive the smaller it was, because being 'understated' at a wedding is a good idea in general, so as not to upstage the bride. But maybe at such an international event, no one is capable of upstaging the bride, so guests wanted to stand out rather than blend in. Whatever the reason behind this amazing display of millinery fashion brought to us by the British Royals and American Elite, I am a firm believer that simplicity can 'stand out', what ever size it is, as illustrated here by model Sareeta Panda!
The designer I admire the most for his use of color in his collections is Manish Arora, often referred to as "the John Galliano of India". His rich palette of psychedelic color combinations featuring embroidery, appliqué, and beading details, are visual feasts for the fashion enthusiast and connoisseur. Coming from a county renowned for its colorful silk saris, Arora brings exotic color to the fashion appetites of the rest of the world.
Taking a lead from this designer, this re-fashioned yoga pant is from a discarded knit top. The colors may have seemed overpowering for a top, but work fabulously as a pair of pants! Photographed against a fiery sunset background at the end of a dock, the viewer is reminded how closely the colors of nature can be aligned with the colors of fashion.
Recycled, Up Cycled, Re-Purposed Clothing Design: A Slow Fashion Movement
Fast fashion, while its economic value is powerful, has left in its wake such an environmental wasteland, that advocates have been for many years actively rallying around and promoting solutions to this problem. One of the early pioneers in this movement was Kate Fletcher, who, eight years ago in 2007, then a member of the Centre for Sustainable Fashion, UK, coined the term Slow Fashion. Originally, Slow Fashion only recognized handmade clothing; later advocating fair wages, lower carbon footprints, and encouraging zero waste. But as the movement has expanded over the years, it has embraced countless interpretations of eco-friendly design methodologies, including recycled, up cycled, and re-purposed clothing design.
Fashion, now a throwaway commodity in almost every country around the world, has created mountains of waste that now have to be addressed and managed. Recycle, up cycle, re-purpose design methodologies are emerging design solutions. Why buy new fabrics that require precious resources to produce when we have more waste products than we know what to do with?
With this in mind, Rachael Boyd helped me illustrate this design practice by modeling an upcycled t-shirt over a pair of re-purposed t-shirt pants. The top was re-fashioned from a man's t-shirt, sculpting cap sleeves and a heart shaped neckline for a more feminine look; the pants cut and remade from another t-shirt. The colors and design are complimentary, giving this ensemble a unique look that you cannot buy from a department store!!
Fish leather is available in many colors and finishes, and makes a great leather substitute for making belts. Colors are unlimited, as every 'tanner' can use any dye available in the marketplace. Finishes typically include satin, silk, and suede; I prefer the silk and suede for a softer finish and richer look. As you can see from the belt in this photo, the fish scales are clearly visible on the surface texture of the pelt, which adds an exotic finish to the belt.
The best pelts come from Salmon, Perch and Carp, although Wolf fish and Tilapia skins are also used. Rays and Sharks are also harvested, but its important to make sure to be selective about the skins you use. Rays are used exclusively for their skins, so are not farmed responsibly. The same is true for Sharks, who are often farmed for part of their bodies and thrown back into the ocean to die. Salmon, Perch and Carp are, in most fishing industries, farmed responsibly, meaning they are subject to fishing regulations and restrictions, so they are sustainable according to current market conditions. This could change, so its important to stay on top of current events.
Up until fish skins were harvested into leather pelts, their skins were always discarded, so by using fish leather, you are supporting a recycling process, which is part of participating in sustainable fashion. However, the fish skin does need to be soaked in a brine solution, which depending on the volume of product being processed, can create a disposable waste issue. So just stay on top of your environmental issues at all times, and try as best as possible to balance production with the environment, so we can all breathe deeper!