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Bianca Spender on sustainable fashion: ‘There’s always a way to weave in something beautiful’

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Bianca Spender

The #MeToo movement, the 19th-century designer Emilie Flöge and the water stewardship council of Australia may seem to be unlikely inspirations for a fashion show but these are all part of the backstory for Bianca Spender’s latest collection.

On Monday the designer launched her resort collection at Australian fashion week. In a show staged in a cavernous warehouse with bare-brick walls, she sent a parade of young women down the runway in draped dresses, sculptural tops and tailored pants.

The collection was filled with glorious but unexpected combinations of mint green, terracotta, buttery yellow, royal blue and white, with a splash of fluoro orange. Even the most casual observer would have appreciated that the clothes looked both elegant and wearable.

But there’s much more to the design of these clothes than their expertly draped finish. Firstly, Spender didn’t start off thinking about the latest trends or the hottest colours; she began by thinking about the emancipation of women. “[I was] trying to think about the role that fashion has and the role that fashion has had in our lives in giving us power and freedom and equality.”

Bianca Spender in her studio three days before her fashion week 2018 show
 Bianca Spender in her studio: ‘I think [being sustainable] means being careful and respectful. That sounds really simple but it’s really complex in a creative world to be careful with your resources.’ Photograph: Carly Earl for the Guardian

She spent hours researching the Victorian dress reform movement, which brought about the abandonment of corsets, the push for women to wear pants in the mid 19th century, and the aesthetic dress movement, to which Flöge belonged. “[The aesthetics] were like it’s not beautiful to distort women’s bodies, why are we doing this?”

The dress-reform movement also shifted the emphasis of women’s clothes away from the waist and up to the shoulders – an idea that has changed Spender’s approach to design. “It’s really interesting when your anchor point changes, how you come about designing and what you’re allowed to hold off – for me, it’s a major shift.”

In her work, she’s also attempting to untangle some of the sustainability conundrums inherent in the fashion industry. The industry is one of the most polluting in the world and is often linked to worker exploitation, but Spender is looking for solutions.

“I think [being sustainable] means being careful and respectful. That sounds really simple but it’s really complex in a creative world to be careful with your resources, to be really respectful of every metre of fabric you use.”

She has used dead-stock fabrics – those end-of-run fabrics usually discarded by manufacturers – since she started her label almost 10 ten years ago. And she has now made a commitment to increase the use of those fabrics from 23{193319180524fe1cbcf93f2fa4436f311e82d10b1113c9fa2c57b372435e0a56} to 50{193319180524fe1cbcf93f2fa4436f311e82d10b1113c9fa2c57b372435e0a56} of her production.

A model at Bianca Spender's fashion show
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 Spender’s Australian-made clothes are accredited by Ethical Clothing Australia. Photograph: Matt Jelonek/WireImage

In this collection, the fluoro orange, mint, butter and graphic blue print fabrics were all dead-stock fabrics. Using these fabrics makes her more creative: “I had to find ways to weave them in because they are so beautiful and compelling. There’s always a way to weave in something beautiful.”

She has worked with the same makers for many years, and her Australian-made clothes are accredited by Ethical Clothing Australia. She’s also working with a company that makes recycled polyesters and recycled fabrics, she has got rid of most of the plastic in her packaging and she has worked with The Social Outfit on a capsule collection made by refugee and new-migrant sewing technicians. Her next challenge is working with Water Stewardship Australia to look at the Chinese companies that make her silks, addressing how they can improve their water usage.

Spender also believes sustainability is about creating clothes that last and she says she has worn many of her own clothes for about 10 years. “[My collections are] always designed to not be out of fashion next season, so that is also intrinsic in it.”

She’s not alone in her push to increase fashion sustainability: other Australian high-end brands including Lee Matthews, Ginger & Smart, Arnsdorf and KitX are trying to improve things, while smaller ethical brands including Vege Threads, Pure Pods and Good Day Girl are breaking through. There’s also an industry push with initiatives including the Australian Circular Fashion conference, and online retailers including Well Made Clothes.

But she knows there is much more to be done, individually and collectively. “I’m not going to solve it on my own, but I’m just trying to work with anyone who’s interested in working with it and look at all of these different layers to see what version I can do.”

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Original Article posted by : The Guardian

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Top Ways to Buy a Smartwatch

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Nowadays, smartwatches have become our most dependable companions. There are extra features to it, apart from a normal phone, like sending text messages, receiving messages, making calls. Smartwatches always allow you to stay in touch with the World, in a more convenient way than a smartphone. We get many notifications like fitness tracking, WhatsApp notifications, Facebook notifications, and many others through a smartphone. There are certain points you need to consider when you are by the small watch.

Compatibility

The first and the most important thing you need to consider when you are going to purchase a Smartwatch is compatibility. All the smartphones or not compatible with all smartwatches and so, we need to check if your current smartphone is compatible with the model of the Smartwatch you want to purchase, or else you need to check the models which are compatible with your smartphone and then purchase them.

Most of the functions work based on the compatibility and the connection between a smartphone and a smartwatch. Especially if your smartphone is an Android phone, you need to check only for Android smartwatches. If your smartphone works on any other operating system, you need to check only the smart watches on the same operating system; otherwise, synchronization function will not work.

Display

Most of the smartwatches come with the LED display but still, there are some smart watches which have an LCD display. Thus, while selecting your smartwatch, make sure the display is LED because it has many additional features. You can go through the notifications just by swiping the screen, for entering any app you need to touch, just with a finger. If it is a touch screen these kinds of features are available with smartwatches produced by many good companies such as Apple, iPhone, Samsung, etc.

As the features increase, your convenience increases and so does the price. Search for a model which fits your budget and which is more convenient for you. There are also ladies watches and gents watches as a part of smart watches. You should also consider this because ladies watch are stylish, delicate and gents watches give you a handsome look and which look little bigger.

Personalization

Nowadays, many companies offer you a personalization option, so that you can choose all the features according to your taste and requirement. It also helps you a lot in saving, memory, and money. You can customize your mobile and now, it is a trend to wear Smartwatch, which looks more traditional. Keeping all this in mind, you can select your watch and customize the options.

Notifications

The best facility of smartwatches is the notifications it provides us. You need not carry your smartphone all the time with you and you need not worry about missing an important call or message or an email. You get all the notifications through your Smartwatch, whether it is an incoming call or text messages or a Facebook update. It helps you to keep in touch.

Fitness

There are also some fitness features, available in smartwatches. Nowadays, when you walk or do an exercise or consume some food, it shows you how many calories we have burnt or how many calories are approximately consumed, so tracking becomes easier. There is another option of saving your past records so that you can understand whether to increase your diet or decrease, or make any modifications to the current workouts. It also helps you to monitor your heart rate, so that any unavoidable situations can be avoided, like a heartbeat which is significantly above normal. Select the models which allow you to be fit.

Battery Life

The most important point you have to consider, while purchasing a smartwatch is its battery life. Many smartwatches nowadays are armed with good performance rate and with the good life of the battery, you need to charge your smartwatch regularly just as you charge your mobile. You should keep in mind that some smartwatches have very less battery life and they get discharged very soon. You should make sure that you purchase a Smartwatch with good battery backup and good battery life. This is very important as you cannot constantly keep changing your smartwatch.

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Deciding Between Adorning Yourself with Pearls Cultivated in Freshwater and Saltwater

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Pearls never go out of style. They are elegant and symbolize purity. Jewelleries made of pearl are in huge demand. Regardless of whether they are man-made or natural, pearls are formed when many layers of nacre are produced by molluscs inside a shell. This is caused by the presence of an irritant.  In natural pearls, irritants are some type of organism while in cultured ones; a tissue is placed as a substitute for irritant.

Pearls can be classified in many ways. The quality and price of a pearl is dictated by where it is grown. The two main types are fresh water and saltwater pearls. Though the advances in technology work on narrowing the differences between both, each of these has specific characteristics with respect to appearance, durability and price.

How are both the types created?

Owing to the rarity, both of these are mostly cultured and not natural. The mussels are implanted with tiny pieces of mantle tissue in freshwater pearl farms while in the case of pearls cultured from saltwater, a perfectly round nucleus is inserted into an oyster. Over a period of several months to 7 years, pearls are formed. The quality of nacre gets better with the time period for cultivating the pearl. The ones with a higher time period are expensive which is why pearls cultured in saltwater are costly.

Difference between both the types:

Due to the thicker nacre coating of freshwater pearls, they are less prone to chipping and more durable. In terms of lustre, saltwater ones are more lustrous and glossier. Freshwater pearls are come in various colours and round and oval shapes while the latter is usually round which have higher demand.

Choose freshwater ones if:

  • You are worried that it may be handled roughly or lost
  • You are looking for cost-effective pearls
  • You aren’t bothered about the slight variations in shape
  • You are going to be using it for daily-use

Choose saltwater ones if:

  • You are looking for perfectly round pearls with excellent lustre
  • You are willing to invest more
  • You are looking for a treasured piece and want to pass it down for generations
  • You are going to be wearing it for special occasions

Pearl jewelleries have been modernized and look chic than ever. Add it to your jewellery collection.

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