Tag Archives: Fashion

Dangerous Chemicals In Your Clothing

Did you know that the products you wear contain dangerous chemicals that have a proven harmful effect on your health? Not only do we have to give careful consideration to the food we put in our bodies, we must consider the clothing and shoes we wear. Worst of all, children are the most vulnerable to the negative effects of chemicals that are added to otherwise perfectly safe materials. Two-year-old children are being exposed to dangerous levels of hormone-disrupting chemicals in domestic products such as rubber clogs and sun creams, according to an EU investigation being studied by the government. So what can you do? Until these chemicals are banned, it is important to choose products certified organic.

Hormone disrupting chemicals used in household products

• Phthalates are used in the manufacture of rubber clogs, rubber boots, soap packaging, products made from PVC, bath mats and soft toys. They are also found in food products as a result of environmental pollution, according to the Danish study.

• Oestrogen-like substances, including chemicals known as parabens, occur in cosmetics, sun creams and moisturising lotions.

• Pesticides, such as DDT, dioxins and PCBs, are also known hormone-disruptors.

If you would like to lean about what the European Union is doing to regulate the this problem, please click here.

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Hip-tech Pop Culture

When I see performers like Kanye West and Lady Gaga sporting light up clothing and accessories I can’t help but think that this could be a glimpse into the near future of fashion.  The visceral use of the technology lends itself in performance but could there actually be a real world purpose? Yes, but not yet. A new technology called Lumalive has emerged, and like most fashion technology collaborations, Lumalive is best suited as marketing buzz. Until there are more fashion designers that understand material technology and see the big picture, we will continue to see frivolous high-tech innovations.

Lumalive is a branch off product from Phillips, and specializes in pieces of clothing with embedded LED lights that can create moving images within the textile itself. So far, they have been pushing the idea that this is an eye catching way to promote your company, product or event.  The images that are created within the garment are very generic and look like a scrolling movie theater marquee. None the less, the experience is visually stimulating, and as this technology evolves the images will become more complex.

It seems inevitable that its novelty will wear off and that Lumalive will make its way into mainstream retail. Considering how fast trends in fashion move people may just crave a light bright garment for back to school.  Now the idea of illuminating clothing becoming accessible doesn’t seem to be so Tron-esque anymore.

CABEZAS

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Carbon Fiber Textiles

Carbon fibers are a woven structure of thin carbon strands used to create a strong and lightweight shell for a variety of products from cars and fishing rods to cycling clothing.

The textiles are stronger than steel but much lighter. This decreased density is why the fibers are used to lower the center of gravity in cars, and create ultra light, durable clothing.

In some cases the fibers endure a multi-step process of heat and oxidization reaching several hundreds of degrees Celsius. The last phase for some of the fibers involves using a plastic resin changing the fiber into Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic. For military use in planes and protective clothing this multi-step, energy intensive process may make sense, yet it seems excessive for everyday clothing.

According to C&F Fabric Corps., the carbon fiber biking jerseys have extra absorbency to keep athletes cooler, cleaner and drier. Overall, the ecological impact seems too great to start mass producing clothing dependent on a process involving extreme temperatures and exposure to toxins.

– GANDRUD

History of the Bike Jersey

Hussein Chalayan

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“I’m not a fashion person or an art person. I’m an ideas person.” That is the most succinct description Hussein Chalayan can offer to a world of outsiders looking at his creations. The British Designer of the year for 1999 and 2000 has a new exhibit at the Design Museum in London. True to form, his clothing is arguably art. Dresses made from LED screens, futuristic silhouettes, it is all very inspiring perhaps, but who will buy it and wear it? The avant garde designer makes no attempt to choose between art and fashion and that is evident in his creations.

As a Central Saint Martins senior he buried his collection of silk clothing in the earth to see how it would decay. Clearly, Chalayan is an idea person. It does not seem he is designing practical clothing for people to actually wear despite his admission that he hates it when people say they are inspired by his collections. He wants people to buy.

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In his 2000 Sadler Wells show Chalayan’s models stepped into what looked like coffee tables and then pulled them up over themselves and they were garments. In his current collection the His Before Minus Now dress is programmed to change shape by a remote and is made of aircraft materials, there is a dress made of over 15,000 LED lights and one that shines lasers. Hard to believe Chalayan also works for Puma, but he seems to criss cross barriers in fashion and art effortlessly.

Seemingly excessive in ideas and unusual materials, yet fascinating, Chalayan’s last 15 years of work can be seen at the Design Museum in London until April 24th.

– GANDRUD

Design Museum

Hussein Chalayan

 

English Retreads

English Retreads

English Retreads is a Boulder, CO based company born from Heather English’s own desire for a vegan handbag. Heather, a strict vegetarian, was looking for a leather alternative handbag. One day while floating down Boulder Creek on an inner tube she got an idea to refurbish vintage rubber and made herself a bag with tools from the local company McGuckin Hardware. After producing her bag and a few for friends, the company was officially founded in 2001 and operated out of her basement. Now based out of North Boulder, English Retreads continues to collect used inner tubes from local bike shops and gas stations, reusing the rubber for everything from dog collars to purses and belts. The average inner tubes have traveled an average of 60,000 miles already according to English Retreads.

Aside from a personal commitment to vegetarianism, Heather had no formal background in design or production. The company’s philosophy is to create “one-of-a-kind, hand-crafter accessories that make a high-impact fashion statement and a low impact on the environment.” Eight years later the company offers its hip, urban, waterproof products throughout  local boutiques in the U.S. and Canada. Not only is the product committed to social and ecological consciousness, English Retreads is a member of Co-op America’s Green Business Network and offsets its carbon footprint.

The bags themselves are very individual since each inner tube has different markings and as of now the product is made by hand. Recently the line has expanded to include lined bags as well and the lining is made for PET, recycled plastic bottles. Of course the bags are sturdy because of the material and also a little heavy. English Retreads is a great example of a local business born from an individual need for a smart product.

English Retreads bags are only sold in local boutiques and the average cost is between$100 and $200, with the large Beetle (pictured above) retailing at $209. – GANDRUD

 English Retreads

McGuckin Hardware

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The New, Green Museum

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The California Academy of Science in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park has long been dedicated to the study of nature, and after 8 years and half a billion dollars in sustainable renovations, Italian architect Renzo Piano’s design is a pioneer in sustainable architecture. Unlike traditional theater museums, this museum is built inside the park, well underneath it to be more specific. The 2.5 acre living roof is the signature element. After walking the grounds in silence and observing the hills from a run down building, Piano sketched a simple rolling hill with a line underneath and with only his sketchbook, Piano beat the other five competitors.

Not only has Piano’s design been compared to Frank Lloyd Wright’s spiraling Guggenheim Museum and Frank Gehry’s titanium Guggenheim in Bilbao, the new museum is expected to capture the attention of the public with its design and green focus. Hoping to receive the highest ranking from the U. S. Green Building Council, a platinum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, the living roof absorbs storm water and according to the museum will prevent 3.6 million gallons of polluted water from entering into the eco-system. The living roof is also home to wildlife and California wildflowers. It is said that the roof keeps the building 10 degrees cooler and turns carbon dioxide into oxygen.  Solar cells produce 5-10% of the museum’s energy as well. The structure is insulated by nearly 216,000 pairs of Levi’s jeans, paying homage to the native San Francisco denim company.

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Underneath the living roof, the museum houses the Steinhart Aquarium, Morrison Planetarium, Kimball Natural History Museum and includes a four story rainforest, a coral reef, a 100,000 gallon tank with Pacific coast marine life, a swamp, a habitat for penguins and exhibit on climate change and global warming.

Piano explains, “You almost never get a chance to build something in the middle of a great park, so it needed to be transparent…here you need to know about the connection with nature, so almost anywhere you are in this building you can see through to the outside.”

California Academy of Science: http://www.calacademy.org/
More on Renzo Piano: http://architect.architecture.sk/renzo-piano-architect/renzo-piano-architect.php

NANCY GANDRUD

Fashion Jobs of the Future

Chair of Fashion at Parsons, Simon Collins, moderates an informative panel of fashion industry leaders selected to discuss future careers in a fast-changing fashion industry. NATALIA