Look, feel and do-good fashion

These TOMS polka dot classic shoes are made of natural hemp, and for every pair of TOMS shoes you buy, TOMS will provide a pair of new shoes to a child in need.


Sass & Bide latest line of tribal-style limited edition shopper bags, clutches and purses have been created for Sass & Bide by women from the Kikuyu, Masai, Samburu and other East African tribes. It is part of Sass & Bide’s Made With Love Made in Africa campaign that is helping to fight poverty through The Ethical Fashion Initiative. Other designers supporting The Ethical Fashion Initiative empowering East African women include Stella McCartney, Vivienne Westwood and Ilaria Venturini Fendi.


Dunedin designer Jeong-Hee Shin of MU uses zero waste cutting for her designs, and reuses fabrics. This MU dress is made from a vintage kimono.


Melbourne designer Lisa Gorman uses sustainable practices to produce her fashionable clothing line, Gorman. The brightly coloured printed fabrics are mostly made of sustainable fibres, produced using eco friendly practices. Even the swing tags, which are made out of recycled paper and printed with vegetable ink, get the green tick. This Gorman ‘One Direction’ T-shirt is made of 95 per cent organic cotton.


Kowtow is certified by the Fairtrade Labelling Organisation (FLO) which means that farmers are paid a premium for the crop they grow. Kowtow is also certified organic by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) which means that its cotton is grown without pesticides and only farmed with low impact practices. Dyes are free from heavy metals such an nickle, lead and formaldehyde.


Zambesi makes its garments in New Zealand and uses homespun New Zealand wool and deer leather.


Ecoluxe label We’ar garments are produced in Bali using organic fabrics where possible and natural dyes.

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Levi’s Waste<Less jeans collection is an innovative denim line made of post-consumer waste. Levi’s has now created a limited edition EKOCYCLE + Lev’is 501 Waste<Less jean under EKOCYCLE, a social movement founded by musician in partnership with Coca Cola.


Ethical streetwear label Chalky Digits sources ethically produced fabrics and raises awareness of the environment through its designs. Its spring/summer 2013/14 collection is inspired by 1970s hit television show The Good Life and abounds in botanical prints including “weeds for wellbeing” like rosemary, lemon balm and peppermint which help soothe tired muscles. Pick them from the garden, wrap them in a clean cotton rag and throw into the bathtub to soothe you while you soak.


Hills Hats & Havana Coffee Works in Wellington have collaborated to create a line of hand crafted hats using recycled coffee sacks.


Changing shape of fashion

Exaggerated proportions, voluminous skirts, and garments with padding added to the derriere and hips were some of the looks presented on the catwalk at the iD International Emerging Designer Awards held in Dunedin, New Zealand on March 13.

The silhouettes and proportions may seem confronting and out of the norm, but that’s what’s exciting. It’s refreshing that emerging designers are approaching garment design and construction in new ways, whether that be using new technology, mixing textures, or playing with proportions.

‘The World Through My Eyes’, was the title of the winning collection designed by Iceland’s Rakel Blom, 26, of Otago Polytechnic. It was also the crowd favourite. Visually bright, colourful, bold and large on texture, Blom used traditional tapestry techniques to create grassy green and red shaggy wool.  The wool was hand dyed, cut down and threaded onto a base before being incorporated into the garments and accessories. Its carpet-like texture framed Blom’s vibrant digital prints pop. Inspired by her travels, the prints captured the culture, history and natural environment of the world’s continents. Perspex cut-outs that mirror the images on the prints were also stitched onto the fabric, providing a 3D effect.

Melbourne RMIT fashion graduate Emma Boseley’s collection ‘Hyperbolic Beauty’ was attention grabbing and took second prize.  Boseley, 24, described it as exaggerated beauty. She looked at the body in a mechanical sense and how a solid shape can be created on the body, and then how the body can be molded into a new shape. She achieved this by padding a dressmaker’s dummy with the inside of a pillow to change the shape, and canvas and boning to make her garments “stick out”.  This included humpbacks, exaggerated bottoms and hips. 

Third place also went to Australia. Kathleen Choo, 24, from the University of Technology, Sydney explored the process of pattern formation. The clever construction of Choo’s garments meant major components were completely stitch-free, made possible through inter-locked fabric. 

The Most Commercial award went to Blathnaid McClean, 27, from Dublin’s National College of Art and Design. Her collection ‘Expression’ was beautifully executed, dramatic in terms of its strong silhouette, fabric treatment and monochromatic tones. McClean was inspired by German expressionist films from the 1920s and used surface embellishment and hand painting to recreate the use of the chiaroscuro effect used in these films.

Auckland University of Technology graduate Sohong Lim, 22, originally from South Korea won the award for Excellence in Design for her ‘Collage Collection’ that was made mainly out of old military bags.

Other emerging designers worth noting, were Zhou Shi Yang of Shanghai University of Engineering & Science, and Gemma Anastasiou of the University of Technology in Sydney. Yang took her inspiration from Google maps for her collection ‘The Map of Life’,  using Photoshop to capture cities, streets and natural environments in print. It was beautiful, wearable and had a great message too. Yang’s aim is to enhance people’s awareness of the need to protect the environment.

Anastasiou’s collection ‘Destructured Bloom’ also followed that theme and was her conceptual interpretation of the current relationship between fashion and the natural world. Her delicate garments looked as so they were made of pressed rose petals and skeletons of leaves.

British milliner and one of the award judges Stephen Jones praised the garment construction of each of the 30 finalists (whittled down from more than 100 entries). Jones scrutinised every stitch and hemline. The high standard made it an extremely tough job for the judges. Jones proclaimed them “all winners though of course, some were more winners than others”.