Monday 23 July 2012

Sustainable Packaging 101

Okay, one quick update before my holiday begins (actually, I'm on the ferry on my way to the airport as I type).

Last Thursday I had the privilege of presenting "Sustainable Packaging 101" with Gwen Blake, Director of Boxer & Co, Sydney-based specialist packaging agency.

We hosted a wonderful group of participants consisting of marketing managers, designers, journalists and innovation specialists, all wanting to better understand sustainable packaging options.

We touched on a number of areas including material choices, end-of-life considerations and innovative solutions from around the globe (we even had a number of samples to share around thanks to our families!).  The main message of the evening, however, was that no matter how daunting it may seem to make your packaging more sustainable, the most important thing is to just get started!

At the end of the session we had time for a workshop, enabling participants to consider how to incorporate what they'd learned into their own specific business needs, and a lively discussion.

I walked out of the workshop feeling totally inspired, and I suspect many of the participants did, too. 

I owe a huge thanks to Boxer & Co for inviting me to present this important information, and I congratulate them for being at the forefront of sustainable packaging solutions in Australia.  If you need to 'green' your packaging, they are the agency for you!

My next post will be in a few weeks, post Kimberley exploration, so farewell for now!


Great examples from the US 
Did you know 90% of Australians are sceptical of health and
sustainability claims on packaging? We need to stop the
greenwashing to earn back their trust!

Sharing my favourite piece of packaging with an attendee. 
Samples, samples samples!

Me and Gwen post workshop - well done to us!

Wednesday 18 July 2012

I can create that style sustainably : Offspring's Nina Proudman

Okay, confession time, I am obsessed with Offspring*.

Admit it, you are, too. The humour. The drama. The romance. The all-too-familiar overactive imagination. Definitely my favourite Wednesday night activity.

Now that another season has come to a brilliant conclusion, I find myself lingering on the webpage hoping to discover a 'hidden' episode I missed. Alas, I've seen the entire season, so instead I'm putting my obsession to good use and am making Nina Proudman's the next style that I create sustainably.

Nina's wardrobe staples are layers, tall boots with a heel, denim, maxis and interesting accessories. And if you've ever found yourself wondering 'where can I buy Nina's [fill in the blank fashion item]?', you're not alone. There is a cult-following of Nina Proudman's wardrobe, and I'm definitely on the slow boat of fashion bloggers describing how to emulate her boho-luxe style, most notably a fab 14-part series by Styling You.

Here I will show you how to recreate her feminine, playful, effortless-with-amazing-details, style, sustainably.

Shop your wardrobe
As a starting point, shop your own closet. Have a look for pieces that you may not have worn together before, and mix them together to make a fabulous "new" outfit. Nina regularly does this - so three cheers for Offspring's wardrobe department. Not only does this make her character feel more realistic, it's much more sustainable than buying new pieces for each episode.

Local designers
Many pieces in Nina's wardrobe are quite unique, with beautiful detailing, frequently found in smaller labels, and it's a great opportunity to support local designers. NancyBird, a Melbourne accessories label with a great sustainability ethos, is regularly featured on the show (another three cheers for the wardrobe department!).  Here are a couple beautiful 'Nina-like' pieces from their current collection.

Nina regularly slings a bag across her body, and this
Millie bag
includes lovely detailing in the square fabricl.

 Nina is the queen of the long, skinny scarf, and I reckon
this colour and pattern would look stunning on her.

Nina regularly rocks tall boots over great-fitting jeans - here are three fabulous eco-options you can try:
Left: Nudie is now using 100% organic cotton - eco-fashionistas rejoice!
Centre: Reborn jeans by REUSE, using 80% recycled cotton.
Right: Good Society organic demin, naturally dyed. I have a pair of the Slim Fit
and can attest to the 'my-bum-looks-great' quality firsthand.
Maxi skirts
Nina's wardrobe is packed full of feminine maxi skirts, which lend themselves so easily to sustainable styling . Anyone else thinking vintage and reuse? I found each of the below options on eBay.

My favourite thing about Nina's wardrobe is her love of layers - to me it's quintessential Australian-style, and she wears such interesting colour and textural combinations. Here are a few pieces to get your layers started sustainably.

All great layering starts with a high-quality basic. I love this
vibrant Arctic Blue organic tank from Sosume.

Another great colour and beautiful draping on this vest
by Sosume - made of organic cotton and wool.

A quick online search found these 3 vintage tops - I especially love the pale blue sequins!

This vibrant yellow is a very 'Nina' colour, though I suspect she'd wear
it untucked with jeans, and maybe a button or two undone.
This blouse is made of vintage fabric, by Ra Ra Superstar.

How great is this biker jacket made of upcycled vintage leather?
HOT! Get it at Fashioning Change.
And I LOVE this cardigan made of vintage lace.
I reckon Nina would, too. Another Fashioning Change find.

Nina loves her tall tan boots, whether pulled over her jeans or worn under her maxi skirts, and I found this eco-pair by Naya:

Naya is a shoe company with a commitment to sustainability, using
natural products, vegetable-tanned leathers (so not a vegan brand) and
recycled materials whenever possible.

Nina sports plenty of playful jewelry - there are so many amazing sustainable jewelers at the moment making beautiful, quirky and unique pieces, and I've just pulled out a couple below.

This long statement necklace by Raven & Lily was handmade using
melted bullet casings and recycled metals by HIV-positive women
in Ethiopia - a gorgeous piece that makes a difference.
Another stunner by Raven & Lily. If Nina wears a bracelet
it's usually thin and feminine, like this one. Proceeds from these
sales go to health and literacy programs in Ethopia.

These earrings on AndAble just look like they belong on Nina's ears.
Made of recycled steel, certified Fair Trade, and a portion of the profits go to Kiva,
a micro-financing organisation helping women help themselves out of poverty.

I've really just scratched the surface here. For every item I've shown above, I had multiple others that didn't make the final cut. It was easier than even I imagined to pull together Nina's wardrobe sustainably, and I'm the eternal optimist.

So, if you want to recreate Nina's style, sustainably, happy shopping! I'd love to see any great pieces you come across.

*My American readers, you probably haven't seen Offspring, and you don't know what you're missing! I suggest you go to iTunes right now, download Seasons 1, 2 and 3, and start watching immediately. You can thank me later.

* * * * *

Though it's not typically my personal style, I had to chuckle to myself today as I was clearly channeling Nina Proudman. I really should have worn a long thin scarf or necklace, and a lighter shade on top to do it properly, but it's obvious I really got into my research this week!

My sustainable boho-luxe look consists of:
  • Fast-fashion rescued skirt from eBay
  • Fast-fashion rescued velvet blazer from Vinnies
  • Long-sleeve top made of eco-wonder fabric micro-modal.

And on a side note, I this is probably my last post from Oz for awhile. I leave next week on my grand adventure. I look forward to bringing you the latest eco-news from around the globe!

Friday 6 July 2012

a green travel wardrobe fling

As many of you know, I'm getting ready to depart on a six-month adventure around the globe. I know, I know, flying around the world is not the most sustainable activity, which means I'll have to work extra hard to make this trip as eco as possible (and yes, you can count on blog posts from my adventures, perhaps just not with the same regularity).

Some aspects of eco-travel are quite obvious - offset my flights, use public ground transportation as much as possible, be respectful and inquiring of the cultures I'll be exposing myself to - and others are not quite as obvious, like greening my travel wardrobe.

I'm only taking one medium-sized piece of luggage, which will certainly help limit my 'luggage footprint', but it's also much easier than lugging huge suitcases onto buses and trains.  It would be hard enough to pack for such a long trip even without eco-restrictions, but I had plenty of time to prepare, and I feel it's the least I can do since my flights will be spluttering huge amounts of emissions into the atmosphere.

Here's a glimpse of my green travel wardrobe - so friends and family, get used to seeing me wearing these same items over and over again in my holiday snaps!

So, what's so sustainable about it?  Here are some highlights:

I didn't buy all of this new, but everything I did buy new was either eBay, vintage or sustainable fashion.  All in all I'm quite pleased with my stylish, sustainable travel wardrobe. We'll see how it all performs!

I'm also leaving some space for bringing some supplies to projects we'll be working on in Tanzania (and for local market shopping, of course!). Thanks to Indigo Bazaar for sharing the organisation Pack For a Purpose - if you have overseas travel planned, hop on this website and see if you can bring any needed supplies to communities in the area.

I still have a couple of weeks before I depart, so this isn't my last post before I go - any packing tips are greatly welcomed!