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MUSINGS

        
{"author":"Sally Paton","date_published":"17th Nov 2021","show_read_more":false,"summary":"Let's Talk About Pleating\r\n\r\n\tExquisite folds, delicate detailing and a meticulous making process; pleated garments exude a sensuality and movement that has forever fascinated the world of fashion. Over the course of history, the process of pleating has evolved under many artisan’s hands, with technology taking little reign. Human touch, tradition, curiosity, and entrusted knowledge are still at the heart of this exacting and time-honoured craft, with a lineage traced back to ancient Egypt. Handmade pleats decorated rulers’ tunics of silk, cotton and wool, disappearing once washed, only to be done all over again.\r\n\r\n\r\n\tPleating machines, the permanent press, and polyester have simplified the process and enabled mass production, although many pleaters still choose to create them by hand. One is Rado Pleating, a specialty hand pleating house that has been in the heart of Surry Hills, Sydney, since 1962. It is the last of its kind in Australia, and I was introduced to their immaculate artistry through their work for Australian designer Bianca Spender. Mark Radowski, a second-generation pleater, has worked at Rado Pleating for most of his life, keeping the company’s legacy alive since his father passed away. Mark’s parents started the business in 1962, having escaped war-torn Communist Poland to Australia in search of a better life, and built the business from the ground up with help from their local community. Mark is passionate, grounded and an excellent conversationalist. After many failed attempts at getting ahold of him on email or text, I called Mark on the phone, and what unfolded was a dynamic conversation on his family’s personal history, places he finds inspiration and the lasting importance he places on community, collaboration, and supporting of local production and manufacturing.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tWhat did your family do to work in pleating, having had no experience in the field when arriving in Australia?  \r\n\t My parents came from diverse cultural backgrounds. They were both Polish; my mother was Catholic, and my father was Jewish. He met some people in the Jewish community who tried to help him, and one of them had a pleating business. There were quite a few pleating companies in Australia back in the 60s, and clothing manufacturing in Sydney was particularly vibrant. I guess he thought this might work and rented a cheap space on Reservoir street, the same street as our current factory.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\t“Pleating is folding a fabric in some fashion, \r\n\tin multi-direction, one direction,      \r\n\tor graduated direction.\"\r\n\t\r\n\t\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\"Most of our work  \r\n\t\r\n\t uses pleating moulds.\r\n\t\r\n\tThings like sun rays...\"\r\n\t\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nWhy did they choose to start in Surry Hills? Do you have childhood memories of the factory? What was it like? \r\n\tSurry Hills was the traditional heart of the rag trade in Sydney. In the 50s and 60s, these big open factory spaces were available cheap because Surry Hills was pretty much just a grungy working-class suburb. My parents found a factory space on the 7th floor of this building. The elevator only went to the 6th floor. They had no money and were just starting out, so they took the space. It was pretty physically challenging, as I recall as a kid. Totally flat, low roof, no elevator. But our experience was probably no different to most migrants back then. We all go through tough times in the beginning, and then hopefully, you end up making good. Which was the case, I guess.\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tDid your dad learn about the trade through the Jewish community he worked with at first or was he self-taught? \r\n\t \r\nHe initially learnt the skill set from another older Jewish guy who had a small pleating business, I think someone in the same street. He was happy to help him. When my mum and dad started their business, they started off small, doing everything themselves. As they got busier and gained credibility in the fashion industry, they had a small workforce of maybe 6 or 7 people in their little congested space.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tWhen did you join the business?\r\n\t \r\nMy background was high school teaching, and my parents didn’t want me to join the business because it’s very much up and down. Clothing manufacturing and other parts of the industry are generally constant once you’ve built yourself up. But pleating is very much fashion dictated. Some years pleating was the fashion, and some years it wasn’t, and suddenly you need fewer people, and you don’t have much income. I remember my father telling me he never had more than a one year lease on his factory space because he never knew what the future would hold.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tHow have you seen it change over the years?\r\n\t \r\nRight now we’re very small, there’s only around 6 of us, but back then we had 30 staff. Most of them came from our ethnic background, which is Polish, after the war having had negative experiences of Communism. I was much younger and had lots of energy and enthusiasm. My father and I were quite different, but I think that we complemented each other quite well. He taught me a lot of technical skills, and I encouraged him to take on more space and buy more machinery. When he realised he would have someone by his side through it all, he said, ok, let’s expand. We had the whole floor, 30 staff, and it was bustling. Fast forward to the late 80s early 90s, the tariffs came off clothing. Suddenly everything started shifting offshore. But through it all, we’ve been here in our building, inefficiently occupying space in Surry Hills.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tTell me about pleating…\r\n\t \r\nEvery pleat has their own particular characteristics. Pleating is folding a fabric in some fashion, in multi-direction, one direction, or graduated direction. Movement relates to the pleat and the fabric that you’re using. Most things we pleat aren’t natural fibres but polyester, mainly because polyester is the most functional fabric to pleat. But we do pleat silk and wool too. Wool pleats quite nicely.  Pleating is highly skilled process work. You use special pleating moulds, which we make ourselves. In the 20 years before I joined my dad, we didn’t have machinery and equipment. He only used pleating moulds.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tAnd using pleating moulds is what you would call hand pleating? \r\n\t\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\t“Yes. Our history and our expertise are in hand pleating. Initially, my father learnt how to make them, then my mother, but they’re very time consuming. We became so busy that we had to employ a person full time to just make pleating moulds. The fabric is placed into them, compacted, and gets placed upright in a large stainless steel box that has steam and heat pumped into it. When we first moved into this building, we used most of its 4 levels to store our moulds. We had 10,000 pleating moulds. We still have around 1000.\"  \r\n\t\r\n\t\r\n\t\r\n\t\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tWhat is your role at Rado?\r\n\t \r\nMy role has been procuring work, managing the business, production, quality control and timelines. Nowadays, it’s my wife Marysia doing the pleating, and occasionally our two  sons lend extra hands. I didn’t ever get involved in the actual pleating side of it. All the pleating companies in Australia have closed. We managed to stay open because we own our own space, and my parents established a good reputation for having quality work. We’re focused less on the price that we charge than on making sure everything we do is to a particular standard. Sometimes some of our competitors weren’t that focused on that.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tDo you have a collection of vintage pleated pieces you reference? Is there a historic pleater you love? I remember seeing pieces from the early 1900s by the Spanish designer Mariano Fortuny at The Met in New York, which took my breath away.\r\n\t \r\nThat’s the kind of pleating which my folks wouldn’t have been aware of initially; Fortuny or other historical references. Back in the late 80s, grunge had a big influence on fashion, and that kind of crushed and distressed effect was very popular. We weren’t familiar with it. We didn’t even see it as pleating. We were immersed in the tradition of sun rays, knife pleats, box pleats. And I remember one of the designers we worked with took me aside and said, ’Can you do this kind of stuff? The crushed stuff like Fortuny?’ and I said no, and she said, ‘Well, you want to learn quickly, or you’re going to miss out.’ Motivated by the fact that we had to keep a lot of people busy, we found different ways of presenting that look in different formats and developed new pleats. Being creative is motivated by the commercial realities, and you’d be wise to modify your brain and adapt.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tI guess it was less about looking at history and more about looking at the current. Do you use more hand pleating techniques or machinery now?\r\n\t \r\nWe do what’s best for the situation. Most of our work uses pleating moulds. Things like sun rays, based on those half-circles, which Bianca Spender does a lot of. When Bianca discovered us a few years ago, she got excited by some of the sunray samples we showed her, and she developed some of her collections based on those patterns. She seems to have a lot of success with them. We use machines only when we can’t do it by hand because we feel we have more control with the moulds. However, small pleats can only be done on the machine. Many of the crushed pleating, Fortuny type pleating or those with larger spaces that look more organic, like tree bark or something, can only be done on the machine.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tBecause so much pleating work now goes offshore, has that made you focus on custom design work where you work closely with your clients and designers?\r\n\t \r\nThat’s partly true. Probably 99% of Australian fashion is manufactured offshore. A lot of the luxury or upper-middle brands have offices here where they design or make  samples here but produce offshore. We have references of old moulds we hardly ever use, and we also have garment samples here that we’ve made over the years, and some of them go back 40 years. Sometimes people are encouraged or inspired by what we show them.  I don’t know how Bianca works, but I think she’s probably far more creative to be doing what mainstream markets are doing. Still, a lot of the commercial fashion industry since the 70s has gone over to Europe, brand’s find looks working overseas, and if it’s popular and selling in volume in Paris or Milan, they’ll buy the samples, photograph them, and have us recreate them.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tI mean, that’s basically the fast fashion model now, but they just get it from catwalk images online, and often have it on the shelf before the designers do. It’s interesting to think about that historically, though, that by nature of the fact that Australia is on opposite seasons, and we don’t feel we have a big enough market to be leaders in design, that we’ve always been following trends. I hope that’s changing. When you work with Bianca, does she seem to be an independent thinker when creating her designs?\r\n\t \r\nI definitely think so. I don’t know exactly how Bianca works, but she obviously has talented people around her, people who help and inspire, whether it be her design team or a pattern maker. It seems they work really collaboratively. She leads the team. She’ll have her own ideas about what she wants to do. I mean, how are designers inspired? Whether it be by fashion or something from history which triggers an idea in their head. They’ll come to us when they want to bring the idea or concept to life, and if we can, we’ll always accommodate whatever they need.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tWhen did you start working with Bianca Spender?\r\n\t \r\nI met her for the first time a few years ago. She came here with a couple of her colleagues. She was genuinely excited about discovering us because she hadn’t done pleating before and could see this as a whole new aspect of her work. From that moment onwards, every season, she’s had some pleating in her range. Pleating adds a whole different dynamic to a garment. It could be a whole skirt or a little inset on a cuff or collar. It depends on the creativity a designer has. We work closely with Bianca and with her design team. She seems to attract and employ people who are very capable.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tIt seems like you attract people who are artistically minded and creative. \r\n\t \r\nThe ones who are producing in this country are probably more likely to be that. On a personal level, I find it disappointing that most mainstream companies produce offshore. Most are large enough and expensive enough to do all or at least some of their production here, but for financial reasons, they choose to produce offshore because there’s a far bigger financial advantage. They’re focused on the bottom line.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tYou place a lot of importance on locally made and Australian manufacturing. Where does your passion stem from? \r\n\t \r\nI think whether it’s a fashion garment or a tin of tomatoes, you want to feel like you’re supporting your local community, even if the cost is a little more. I’ve made attempts to talk to people at an owner or senior design level at many companies to encourage them to produce here, but typically they don’t.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tI think that the collaborative aspect and tactile nature of working closely with craftsmen and artisans are really worthwhile.\r\n\t \r\nSome people are reassessing their position now that we had so many supply chain level issues with Covid. But people at the budget level of manufacturing are locked in. They’ve got no choice. If you’re selling a shirt for $40 and need to pay someone a legal living wage in this country, realistically, you’re not going to be making it here. But there are plenty of people reassessing it because, yes, you can make more money making it in China, but we can still make a living and justify making it here. Hopefully, the people at the higher price point will start making that decision.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tI think consumers are becoming much savvier, and the narrative element and storytelling behind the clothes they buy and wear are becoming more important.\r\n\t \r\nAnd isn’t it great to be able to put a label on your garment and say it is proudly made in Australia? There’s a sentimental aspect because I’ve been here over thirty years, and a practical aspect. If we close our humble little pleating factory, no one will ever reopen pleating in Australia. No one could invest the amount of money into the machinery, rent. It just wouldn’t make financial sense. Maybe someone with passion and interest will carry it on for us, but if not, the last remaining pleating factory in Australia will vanish.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tDo you think a motivating factor was to keep the tradition of your family alive?\r\n\t \r\nIf we were motivated by the financial aspect of what we can make week-to-week, we wouldn’t still be around. But we’re not motivated by that. We’re comfortable, we’re happy, we don’t need anything more. My father, he’s been gone for nearly thirty years now, had a saying; ‘How much can you eat?’. He didn’t want to live in poverty, but he didn’t need excessive wealth in his life. If some larger companies were driven more by that mindset, there would be more local manufacturing.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tIn Paris, there was a pleating workshop by Gerard-George Lognon, and when retired without an heir to take over, Chanel purchased it to keep the atelier’s traditional craft and skill alive. There’s a history of importance on craft and couture in France, which I wish we saw more of in Australia. \r\n\t \r\nThere are designers here in Australia who are placing importance on Australian manufacturing over profit. You can support local industry, and Bianca Spender is doing that, and I don’t think enough credit is given to the people who make that effort. These brands know they’d make more money manufacturing in China, but they choose not to. It’s a choice.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tWhat is inspiring your world at the moment? \r\n\t \r\nOver the last 30 years, we’ve encouraged and had many students come here on industry visits to see how the process works. Sometimes they’ll come back with their ideas about incorporating our facilities when creating their designs. We admire and are inspired by the young people coming through, new designers, often forging a new path. They’re always very excited to find there’s still someone who can meet their pleating requirements. That’s a really pleasurable aspect of the business, contributing to their education and development, I suppose. An influx of them come towards the end of the year when their collections are coming together. They’ll send us a couple invitations when they have their end of year parades, and we get to see the pleating that we’ve helped to create become these amazing garments. It’s inspiring to see.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tI’m sure they get a lot of inspiration visiting your space and feel excited that someone is keeping the craft alive. I imagine that they’re learning so much about the historical element of pleating too, and tradition. You guys are living that. \r\n\t \r\nTotally. We get people from all industries, dressmakers, Opera Australia, ballet companies or theatre companies. But students find us essential. They have no other choice, so it’s pleasurable to know we can assist them and contribute to their development. It’s good to feel needed. We worked really hard in the first 20 or 30 years to be where we are now. As I come to the end of my working life, I’m here because I want to be here. It’s a good place to be. The legacy that my family helped create, this modest little story, which eventually will come to an end. Hopefully, the pleating will continue, but I’m not so sure. But for as long as Marysia keeps enjoying her work, we’ll keep turning up and doing our thing.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n# x-field x-format:yaml\r\nbodyTitle: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet\r\nteaserText: |\r\n        Exquisite folds, delicate detailing and a meticulous making process; pleated garments exude a sensuality and movement that has forever fascinated the world of fashion. Over the course of history, the process of pleating has evolved under many artisan’s hands, with technology taking little reign. Human touch, tradition, curiosity, and entrusted knowledge are still at the heart of this exacting and time-honoured craft, with a lineage traced back to ancient Egypt. Handmade pleats decorated rulers’ tunics of silk, cotton and wool, disappearing once washed, only to be done all over again.”\r\npublication:\r\n    name: Sally Paton\r\n    image: https://store-s1mbbc7h64.mybigcommerce.com/product_images/import/Sally-headshot.JPG\r\n    note: |\r\nrelated:\r\n    title: More From The Journal\r\n    items: \r\n        - /musings/bianca-spender-/\r\n        - /musings/muse-charlee-fraser/\r\n        - /musings/brodie-neill-/\r\n        - /musings/introducing-tatsiana-shevarenkova/\r\nrelatedProduct:\r\n    title: Related Products\r\n    items: [1906, 1905, 1904, 1903]","tags":[{"name":"Learnings","url":"https://showroom-x.com/musings/tag/Learnings"}],"thumbnail":{"alt":"Let's talk about pleating","data":"https://cdn11.bigcommerce.com/s-s1mbbc7h64/images/stencil/{:size}/uploaded_images/bianca-spender-pleating.jpg?t=1637124763"},"title":"Let's talk about pleating","url":"https://showroom-x.com/musings/lets-talk-about-pleating/"}
Let's talk about pleating

Let's talk about pleating

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{"author":"Sally Paton","date_published":"24th Sep 2021","show_read_more":false,"summary":"Let’s talk about Vegan Leather\r\n\tVegan leather goes by many monikers; faux leather, pleather, leatherette, alternative leather and synthetic leather. It’s easy to assume that ‘vegan leather’ is the most commonly used on the labels of our clothes due to its moralistic connotations. The growing adoption of vegan leather in the accessories, ready to wear, and luxury fashion market has been a watershed moment for those living with the dichotomy of loving leather while equally concerned with the welfare of animals. The global vegan leather market is predicted to be worth a staggering $85 billion within the next decade. As a relatively new material, vegan leather sits towards the top of an industry riddled by inconsistency, irregularity and ambiguity. It is made under a range of methods from even more sources, both natural and synthetic. Not all vegan leathers are created equal.\r\n\t\r\n\tThis is Part II of our Leather Diptych. It’s impossible to talk about vegan leather without covering what it is an alternative for, being animal leather, most commonly made from the skin of cows. Part I covered the challenges and our advice for shopping real leather sustainably and ethically. Now, for Part II, we discuss its vegan alternative.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n             \"Apple, mushroom, cactus and mango \r\n\tare increasingly being used to create sustainable vegan leather substitutes.\"\r\n\t\"Vegetable-based leather is \r\n\tbecoming a leader\r\n\t\r\n\tin the \r\n\talternative\r\n\tleather\r\n\t market...\"\r\n\t\r\n\t\r\n\t\r\n\r\n\r\n\tAs we covered in our leather learning, the reasons for brands and consumers opting out of real leather are multifaceted; the material poses issues concerning animal welfare, human rights and the wellbeing of our planet. Real fur has been all but cancelled; meanwhile, leather has been a slower fade. Leather is less explicit, meaning consumers are able to divorce the material from its animal source. However, in recent years, stringent laws regarding the production and usage of real leather are propelling the demand for its synthetic counterpart. Animal rights lobbying from groups like PETA and WWF has also increased consumer and industry discomfort with real leather.\r\n\t\r\n\t\tFrom Stella McCartney, cult-favourite Telfar, to Bianca Spender, many luxury brands have taken an unwavering stance against the use of real leather in their designs. Australian designer Bianca Spender explains that animal rights and environmental concerns were key factors in the label’s decision to use vegan leather.\r\n\t\r\n\t“Our focus as a business has always been on ethical practices, and I’m always seeking change to make sure people and our planet come first. Our core focus is on reducing the impact of climate change through the reduction of our carbon footprint. Our decision to use leatherette has been influenced by the environmental impacts the meat industry has on the Earth, and animal welfare is also a part of it.” Bianca Spender\r\n\t\r\n\t\r\n\t\r\n\t\r\n\r\n\t“Our focus as a business has always been on ethical practices, and I’m always seeking change to make sure people and our planet come first. Our core focus is on reducing the impact of climate change through the reduction of our carbon footprint. Our decision to use leatherette has been influenced by the environmental impacts the meat industry has on the Earth, and animal welfare is also a part of it.”\r\n\t\r\n\tThose working within the fashion industry are starting to see the advantages of utilising vegan alternatives. Its application is getting nearer to genuine leather, replacing its use in crafting handbags, briefcases, car furnishings and clothing at a pacing rate. Synthetic leather materials offer some superior properties, such as high gloss finish, durability, strength, UV resistance, and easy maintenance. Paired with the lower cost of producing animal-free goods, with an estimated one-third of the cost of leather, it’s also more accessible to everyday consumers.\r\n\t\r\n\tHowever, when assessing the credentials of synthetic leather, we need to look at its raw properties and how it’s made. Simply swapping out leather for any vegan alternative does not solve all the problems of the leather industry. Yes, animal welfare issues no longer stand, but the material a designer chooses can significantly alter the vegan leather garment's carbon footprint and environmental impact.\r\n\t\r\n\tA vast majority of vegan leather on the market is made from the plastic polymers most commonly used due to their wrinkled texture, which helps to give the effect of real leather. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) is a widely used plastic polymer because of its affordability. It is a material you’ll commonly find in cheap leather products. The plastic is softened with chemicals called plasticisers, and PVC is made with approximately 57% chloride and 43% carbons, which comes from oil, gas or petrol. Being predominantly made with fossil fuels and heavy chemical treatments, PVC poses severe environmental issues.\r\n\t\r\n\tIncreasingly preferred by the fashion industry is Polyurethane (PU), which is less sticky and can retain body heat. PU is made with a more regulated chemical process and biodegrades faster than PVC, which can take upwards of 500 years to decompose. Even then, PVC breaks down into micro-beads which get washed into our oceans.\r\n\t\r\n\t For this reason, It’s been argued that vegan leather is worse than using real leather, which is a natural textile that biodegrades. But this does fail to consider the ways leather contributes to climate change, land devastation, pollution and water contamination (all of which we covered in Part I of our Leather Diptych). Marked skin and the irregular shape of animal hides can also mean 20 to 30 per cent of animal skins go to waste, something vegan leather prevents. The 2018 Environmental Profit & Loss report by Kering states that the impact of vegan leather production can be up to a third lower than real leather.\r\n\t\r\n\tMany designers, including our labels Bianca Spender and Strateas Carlucci, are choosing to use remnant or recycled plastic polymers to tackle animal rights and sustainability issues. Bianca explains that,\r\n\t\r\n\t“One of the biggest environmental impacts of the fashion industry is the production of raw materials. We incorporate remnant fabrics where possible and as the first port of call. 50% of the fabrics we use across the range are remnants, which have been overproduced and would have otherwise been destroyed. A significant portion of our leatherette comes from remnants.”\r\n\t\r\n\tThat being said, some designers do see a drawback in the functionality of vegan leather for certain products. Strateas Carlucci, who uses vegan leather for their main collections, has been opting for the real thing when crafting their luxury accessories.\r\n\t\r\n\t“The Meta Bag is our very first leather accessory. Being our first item in this category, we wanted to launch with an accessory which would be a functional, quality product. As we had a specific design in mind, we ended up using leather due to the structural integrity of the bag.”\r\n\t\r\n\t However, Strateas Carlucci are working towards using vegan leather wherever possible.\r\n\t\r\n\t“Although it’s currently made from calf leather, like our main collection, our plan is to grow this category and introduce vegan alternatives… We are currently in the process of designing a second release, which will include a softer, more un-structured design, whereby a vegan leather alternative will be perfectly suited.”\r\n\t\r\n\t Many mid-high end fashion houses are hesitant to adopt vegan leather due to customer perception. Leather is renowned for its longevity. New materials, often used in fast fashion, have somewhat hindered the reputation of vegan leather accessories and clothing.\r\n\t\r\n\t“Being a new category, we did have some concerns around customer-perception around the use of vegan and real leather, and we knew there would be an argument for each side.”\r\n\t\r\n\tVegan leather seemed to be coasting for a few years, but being cruelty-free yet unsustainable is no longer enough to satisfy educated consumers and designers. There have been fascinating developments for viable, consistent, transparent alternatives to the animal trade entering the market in the last few years.\r\n\t\r\n\tVegetable-based leather is becoming a leader in the vegan leather market, being lighter in its environmental impact and maintaining a cruelty-free process. Apple, mushroom, cactus and mango are sources for leather substitutes that are manufactured without the same toxic chemicals used in leather tanning and PVC production. Rapid industrialisation and constant research and development in this area are starting to transform the industry. Several of our own labels are making efforts to remain informed and agile with their collections. Bianca Spender explains that,\r\n\t\r\n\t “Leather alternatives are an area of innovation that is still being explored globally. We’re looking at some leather alternatives ourselves – pineapple, apple, mushroom and cactus leather can provide a similar look and feel to leather; however, the quality and longevity of the fabrics are still in their exploratory stages.”\r\n\t\r\n\t Our soon to launch label A_C Official has launched a Desserto Cactus Leather collection. They are the first Australian brand to produce a collection from this innovative cactus-based leather, preferring it for its environmental benefits and functionality. A_C Official’s Creative Director Tessa Carrol describes that “[C]acti fields are a huge carbon sink which means the growing process alone is a great help when sequestering carbon from the atmosphere.” The plants themselves are also never removed from the Earth, which aids carbon capture.\r\n\t\r\n\t Mushroom leather is also in the development stages. It’s a natural resource that can be grown on sawdust or agricultural waste, meaning it is not region-specific for farming and utilises waste to create something productive. Luxury brands seem to be heading the front in R&D for this new material, as they tend to be focused on quality, differentiation and know the competitive advantage of good PR. MycoWorks, the company Hermès is partnering with, closed a $45 million series B funding round last year.\r\n\t\r\n\t It’s a complex issue, one rich in nuances and contradictions. But as a general rule, keep in mind transparency, visibility and sustainability. Always try to purchase from brands that are transparent around their sourcing. If the information is not available on their website, they’re likely not following best practice. And when you choose vegan leather, don’t choose brands that use virgin plastic. Opt for recycled plastic polymers or vegetable-based leather. The best option is to do your research as thoroughly as possible on a case by case basis to help you make informed choices. Find out who you’re giving your money to and whether it’s something you want to support, regardless of the latest trends or aesthetics, unless it’s a mushroom leather trend. We’re on board for that.\r\n\t\r\n\tSources:\r\n\tA_C Official\r\n\tKering\r\n\tThe Guardian\r\n\tHarpers Bazaar\r\n\tGrand View Research\r\n\tHarpers Bazaar\r\n\tPlant Based News\r\n\tGrand View Research\r\n\tThe Sydney Morning Herald\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n# x-field x-format:yaml\r\nbodyTitle: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet\r\nteaserText: |\r\n        Vegan leather goes by many monikers; faux leather, pleather, leatherette, alternative leather and synthetic leather. It’s easy to assume that ‘vegan leather’ is the most commonly used on the labels of our clothes due to its moralistic connotations.\r\npublication:\r\n    name: Sally Paton\r\n    image: https://store-s1mbbc7h64.mybigcommerce.com/product_images/import/Sally-headshot.JPG\r\n    note: |\r\nrelated:\r\n    title: More From The Journal\r\n    items: \r\n        - /musings/art-of-the-land/\r\n        - /musings/lets-talk-about-viscose/\r\n        - /musings/lets-talk-about-linen/\r\n        - /musings/regenerative-fashion-with-kitx/\r\nrelatedProduct:\r\n    title: Related Products\r\n    items: [1613,1616,1615,786,431,1386]","tags":[{"name":"Learnings","url":"https://showroom-x.com/musings/tag/Learnings"}],"thumbnail":{"alt":"Let's Talk About Vegan Leather","data":"https://cdn11.bigcommerce.com/s-s1mbbc7h64/images/stencil/{:size}/uploaded_images/v-parallax-3-asset-10.jpg?t=1632468591"},"title":"Let's Talk About Vegan Leather","url":"https://showroom-x.com/musings/lets-talk-about-vegan-leather/"}
Let's Talk About Vegan Leather

Let's Talk About Vegan Leather

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{"author":"Sally Paton","date_published":"3rd Sep 2021","show_read_more":false,"summary":"Let’s talk about Leather\r\n\r\n\tBoots, bags, briefcases, car seats, wallets; Start looking for leather, and you'll find it everywhere. Leather is one of man's earliest and most valuable materials, unique for its strength, stretch and warmth. Not to mention its aesthetic appeal and links to powerful cultural archetypes and icons; Robert Mapplethorpe, Marianne Faithful, Mel Gibson as Mad Max. Dressing in leather is synonymous with subcultures of the rebellious, sexy and tough. But sub no more, leather's gone mainstream.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tToday, the global leather goods business is worth over $100 billion a year, with roughly half of all leather produced used to make shoes and about 25% for clothing. As a resource derived from an animal source, it's impossible to talk about leather without discussing animal ethics. Less obvious are the human rights issues and environmental impact involved in creating the material. This is Part I of a two-part series. Next week we cover Vegan Leather, a similarly complex industry that is only getting more intriguing. But for now, to help you buy leather pieces with consideration and care, we’re talking about real leather.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n             It is estimated\r\n\t that 17,000 litres of water are required to make 1kg of leather.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\tProducing leather\r\n\t\r\n\tis a resource-intensive\r\n\t\r\n\t process\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\t\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\tOur ancestors used leather to protect themselves from the elements. The process of creating leather is dependent on animal skins. Many animal species are used to make leather - pigs, goats, sheep, crocodiles - but most commonly, leather comes from the hide of cows. And if you've read anything about the meat industry, you're already familiar with the reputation the cattle industry has for wreaking havoc on the natural world.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\t\tRaising and slaughtering the billions of animals whose skins sustain the leather industry each year can be inefficient, cruel and comes with huge environmental impact. A rising global middle class has bolstered the demand for leather goods and the farming of cows. Around 290 million cows are killed annually, and the global herd is approaching 1 billion. It's projected that in order to keep us accessorised with leather wallets, handbags and shoes, the industry will have a yearly slaughter of 430 million cows by 2025.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\t“Legacy brand R.M. Williams has been creating leather goods since 1932 and offer full transparency on their website as to where they source their materials.”\r\n\t\r\n\t\r\n\t\r\n\t\r\n\r\n\r\n\tProducing leather is a resource-intensive process, driven by land use, greenhouse gas emissions, and vast water use. It is estimated that 17,000 litres of water are required to make 1kg of leather. Cattle ranching is the world's largest user of agricultural land. The Brazilian cattle industry alone is responsible for 14% of the world's annual deforestation, primarily the Amazon rainforest. The Amazon is home to about three million species of plants and animals and one million indigenous people. It is a vital carbon store that slows down the pace of global warming, and biodiversity loss and climate change directly result from the growing demand for cattle rearing.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tTraditional leather supply chains can be long and challenging to manage. We buy leather goods without knowing where the hide originates or the conditions the animals lived through. If all the ‘Italian leather’ goods were truly reared in Italy, you’d be pushing through cows for a better view of the Duomo. This stamp most often indicates that the piece was merely finished in Italy. In reality, nearly half of the global leather trade is carried out in developing countries, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, and Cambodia, which have negligent environmental regulations and safety protocols for workers. These conditions put workers' health at risk and cause the exploitation of animals and humans alike.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tThe process of turning raw hide into leather is a hazardous and polluting business. A great deal of energy and chemicals are needed to transform the skin into the leather material we know so well. From the farm to the end product, the list of toxic chemicals used to make leather is daunting. It involves pesticides, chromium salts, tanning liquor, sulphide, acidic effluents and many more noxious substances, all of which are harmful to people and the environment.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tOnce an animal's skin is removed, chemicals are used to break down protein in the raw hide. This process is known as ‘tanning’ and prevents the skin from decomposing. Without proper regulation and safety protocols inside factories, the chemicals used in the tanning process are incredibly harmful to leatherworkers. Worldwide, the majority of leather tanneries use chrome, most commonly in developing countries, where workers breathe in and have direct contact with chrome daily.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tAustralian label Ginger & Smart use real leather sourced from New Zealand and have taken a stance against chrome tanning, stating that,\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\t \"Chrome tanning is still the main method used by 85% of tanneries as it is quick and cost-effective. But the hidden cost of chrome tanning is with the toxic wastewater that can seep into the ground and affect soil and groundwater, often harming the people in nearby villages.\"\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tLeatherworkers face health consequences from working in tanneries, from debilitating skin conditions to bronchitis, pneumonia, cancer and permanent blindness. Due to the levels of toxic chemicals in the soil, Environmental Protection Agencies deem previous leather tannery sites as defunct for a period after their use, much like a petrol station. The sites are rendered infertile, restricting our ability to grow anything or safely live in the area until they are regenerated.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tGinger & Smart opt for vegetable tanning, an increasingly popular alternative to chrome. Purchasing vegetable tanned leather is significantly less harmful to the planet, and you guarantee that workers have not been in contact with hazardous chemicals. When the garment reaches the end of its life, vegetable tanned leather is decomposable and does not leach toxins into the soil.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tThe animals' livelihood also needs to be taken into account. For brands to use leather for high-end, luxury goods, the animal's skin must be pristine. Animals are often confined to small, barren enclosures to prevent damage to their hide. These pens have been described by reptile experts as “overly-restrictive, understimulating and inhumane”. Marked skin and the irregular shape of animal hides can mean 20 to 30 per cent of animal skins regularly go to waste.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tIt is unlikely that the world's ever-increasing consumer population will be dissuaded from buying leather altogether. Part of the solution is to exclusively source leather that is a by-product. Many tanneries reclaim hides from the meat industry to prevent waste, which encourages a closed-loop system. Strateas Carlucci explains that this ensures that every part of the animal has been utilised,\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\t \"We are working with a well-established luxury handbag and shoe manufacturer who produces items for many of the larger luxury houses, and also working with suppliers who can ensure we are working with cruelty-free leather products, where the leather is a by-product, not the primary. We know this is not perfect and understand there is much work to be done in this space; however, we do want to be honest and transparent with our customers.\"\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tAnother method to ensure workers and animals are treated humanely is to buy from designers who have transparent supply chains. Many tanneries are rated on their energy and water use, emissions and chemical input. Access to supply chain information also means the treatment of the animal can be traced back to the farm and slaughterhouse. Labels who are conscious of humane sourcing will supply this information on their websites.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\t If you choose to buy real leather, it is important to research the brands and materials you're spending your money on, both processes and products. Legacy brand R.M. Williams has been creating leather goods since 1932 and offer full transparency on their website as to where they source their materials. R.M. also build their leather pieces to last and offer a boot repair service and maintenance guide to increase the longevity of their footwear.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tIt is essential to look after your wardrobe to ensure you can wear it for years to come. And beyond this, focus on only purchasing pieces which are timeless and which you cherish. That way, you're buying less and are able to spend a little more on each piece to ensure that the animal's life, the craftsmanship of the leatherworker, and the Earth is being respected.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tTune in for our learning on Vegan Leather soon.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tSources:\r\n\r\n\r\n\tAlta Andina\r\n\r\n\r\n\tBBC\r\n\r\n\r\n\tGinger and Smart\r\n\r\n\r\n\tFluence Corporation\r\n\r\n\r\n\tGrand View Research\r\n\r\n\r\n\tHarpers Bazaar\r\n\r\n\r\n\tPeta\r\n\r\n\r\n\tR.M. Williams\r\n\r\n\r\n\tThe Guardian\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n# x-field x-format:yaml\r\nbodyTitle: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet\r\nteaserText: |\r\n        Dressing in leather is synonymous with subcultures of the rebellious, sexy and tough. But sub no more, leather's gone mainstream. Today, the global leather goods business is worth over $100 billion a year, with roughly half of all leather produced used to make shoes and about 25% for clothing.\r\npublication:\r\n    name: Sally Paton\r\n    image: https://store-s1mbbc7h64.mybigcommerce.com/product_images/import/Sally-headshot.JPG\r\n    note: |\r\nrelated:\r\n    title: More From The Journal\r\n    items: \r\n        - /musings/art-of-the-land/\r\n        - /musings/lets-talk-about-viscose/\r\n        - /musings/lets-talk-about-linen/\r\n        - /musings/regenerative-fashion-with-kitx/\r\nrelatedProduct:\r\n    title: Related Products\r\n    items: [1221,330,1051,475]","tags":[{"name":"Learnings","url":"https://showroom-x.com/musings/tag/Learnings"}],"thumbnail":{"alt":"Let's talk about Leather","data":"https://cdn11.bigcommerce.com/s-s1mbbc7h64/images/stencil/{:size}/uploaded_images/leather-parallax-2-asset-5.jpg?t=1630645170"},"title":"Let's talk about Leather","url":"https://showroom-x.com/musings/lets-talk-about-leather/"}
Let's talk about Leather

Let's talk about Leather

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{"author":"Sally Paton","date_published":"16th Jul 2021","show_read_more":false,"summary":"Let’s talk about Cashmere\r\n\tThroughout history, cashmere has been a luxury. Cashmere is aspirational, timeless, and an investment. In the last decade, the mass production and the democratisation of the fashion industry have caught up with cashmere. Once a highly expensive commodity reserved for an exclusive minority and wealthy fashionistas, casual cashmere has permeated the high street, with cheaper garments flooding the market. While we believe no one should be priced out of having comfortable clothes in their wardrobe, this shift has spelled problems for producers, their herds, and the natural world.\r\n\t\r\n\tCashmere is made of the fine winter undercoat produced by certain breeds of goats, such as the Zalaa Ginst white goat and Tibetan Plateau goat. Cashmere has been in use since well before the 13th century when Marco Polo allegedly encountered wild goats that had been domesticated by people inside caves in Mongolia. Napoleon Bonaparte’s wife, Empress Josephine, helped popularise the fabric as she began to wear pashmina-style shoulder shawls brought home from her husband’s travels. This sealed cashmere’s reputation as the height of fashion amongst the French upper class.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n            It takes a \r\n\tfull year of growth from four goats to produce enough fibre for one sweater.\r\n\"Soft cashmere\r\n\t\r\n\t  is hard on the\r\n\t\r\n\t environment\r\n\t\r\n\t\r\n\r\n\r\n\tBy the 19th century, the fabric had made its way across Europe and became known as “kashmir” after the Kashmir Valley. This region of the Indian subcontinent has temperatures hitting as low as -40 degrees Celsius, and the region’s goats have developed downy undercoats that allow them to survive bitter winters. Cashmere began being processed, treated and produced in other corners of the world from the 1800s. Mongolia has long been prized for its craftsmanship of high-quality cashmere but only began global exports in the post-Soviet era.\r\n\t\r\n\t\tThis century, a spike in demand paired with changes in World Trade Organization rules brought mass-production of cashmere to China, where The Nature Conservancy estimates there are over 100 million goats. This has caused a severe strain in the industry, as less experienced herders are trying to meet large orders from fashion conglomerates, calling into question the quality of the cashmere being produced, the welfare of the goats, and the effect of increased goat populations on the natural world.\r\n\t“Fashion labels must consider the herding communities in their supply chains and make it worth their while to farm less but smarter.”\r\n\t\r\n\t\r\n\t\r\n\t\r\n\r\n\tUbiquity can spell trouble for a product as it loses its perceived value, especially one historically marketed as a luxury item. Cashmere has always been a luxury industry because it is light, retains heat and is a low yield crop. The global cashmere industry produces between 15,000 and 20,000 metric tonnes, but this only results in 6,500 tonnes of pure cashmere after it is cleaned. And according to the National Resources Defense Council, it takes a full year of growth from four goats to produce enough fibre for one sweater.\r\n\t\r\n\tSignificant increases in cashmere production in China has put pressure on all herders to keep many more goats and focus on quantity instead of quality. Designer Loro Piana remarks that it has created a problem. “Some growers, tempted by higher volumes, have gone for volume rather than quality.” The quality of the fleece is evaluated according to the hair’s length, thickness and degree of crimping, all of which are direct reflections of the animal’s overall health. High-quality cashmere is renowned for its very fine, long fibres, which create its incredibly warm and soft finish. Lengthier cashmere fibres also maintain their integrity for a longer time, allowing garments to retain their structure, and will typically only pill once.\r\n\t\r\n\tBut we’re now seeing a vast increase in low-priced, mass-market cashmere due to the rise in global supply, and you can now shop a simple cashmere sweater for under $100. This has led to a significant drop in quality, with coarser, short fibre becoming commonly used, resulting in garments that persistently pill. Low-quality cashmere also becomes a part of ‘cashmere blends’, which bulked out with synthetic materials, and often contain as little as 5% cashmere. These blends don’t have the warmth or resilience of pure cashmere, are not biodegradable, can no longer be recycled and often don’t last more than a season of wear. But this isn’t the only sustainability issue with the new era of cashmere. Soft cashmere is also hard on the environment.\r\n\t\r\n\tCashmere supply cannot keep up with demand in a sustainable way. While cotton, silk, or leather can be produced in modified farming systems, cashmere production relies on natural grasslands in limited areas of the world. As a result, it is especially vulnerable to environmental change. And the spike in production has led to larger herd sizes being raised than the alpine grazeland can handle. Cashmere goats are tough on fragile land. They consume 10 percent of their body weight daily, destroy plants by eating very close to root systems, and damage topsoil with their stiletto-like hoofs. They may be cute, but they’re causing extreme environmental stress!\r\n\t\r\n\tFor centuries, nomadic families have driven their goats across Mongolia’s steppe, preserving a way of life that goes back generations.  With no agriculture to speak of and little vegetation, the goats are a life source for the nomadic herders. This is a way of life that has existed for thousands of years. And despite the global popularity of cashmere, its commercial success has not financially benefited the Mongolian herders.\r\n\t\r\n\tThe increased grazing pressure has led to the degradation of the native grasslands across the country which has only been exacerbated by climate change. This has led to desertification in the region, a phenomenon media have labelled the “Cashmere Crisis”. In 2010, the combined impact of a summer drought, which reduced available forage in the grasslands, and an extremely severe winter (or ‘dzud’ in the Mongolian language), saw more than nine million domesticated animals perish in Mongolia, most of which were cashmere goats. This has caused severe dust storms and exacerbated herders’ economic hardship, with many being driven into poverty and displaced into urban slums.\r\n\t\r\n\tCompanies must recognise that their business depends on natural capital and impacts the welfare of the animal and the livelihoods of the producers at the base of their supply chain. Because it is derived from an animal source, the animal’s welfare is an essential factor to bear in mind when purchasing cashmere. It is unlikely that the animals have been treated with respect and care if the brand cannot disclose or does not know where the fabric was sourced.\r\n\t\r\n\tLuxury brands, including our beloved ESSE Studios, are more selective in their sourcing, centring on Mongolia and Inner Mongolia and using only the finer, longer and whiter fibres. Sustainably sourced cashmere from Mongolia ensures that the cashmere is almost always organic and sourced from well looked after animals whose flock has been hand combed, as shearing can be very stressful. Even though it takes more time & effort to hand comb, herders have over 2,000 years of nomadic herding tradition to uphold. This approach is still the best thing for their goats and for the resulting garments. Many Mongolian herders are also trying to adapt by forming communities. This allows them to manage their pastures, pool their labour, and slow down the degradation of their land.\r\n\t\r\n\tWe only see a future for cashmere where labels are actively working with their suppliers to create resilient production systems such as sustainable herding practices and holistic management of pasturelands. Fashion labels must consider the herding communities in their supply chains and make it worth their while to farm less but smarter. We believe collaborative efforts could provide an opportunity to create a cashmere industry that helps regenerate natural systems and supports the livelihoods of millions of people who may otherwise face poverty. Supporting suppliers means protecting the price to ensure they are able to value quality over quantity.\r\n\t\r\n\tThere is a reason why cashmere should remain in the luxury market. It ensures that the highly skilled communities who have historically relied upon the industry for their livelihood can continue to do so. They know how to care for the goats and create the best cashmere with the smallest impact on the natural environment. We want cashmere to be able to fit right into that classic, elegant closet of your dreams. But for that to continue, we have to be sure that our choices are both ethical and sustainable. Otherwise, the industry may not outlive the industry’s democratisation of cashmere.\r\n\t\r\n\t\r\n\tSources:\r\n\tNRDC\r\n\tBusiness of Fashion\r\n\tBusiness Standard\r\n\tNapoleon\r\n\tNaadam\r\n\tEsse Studios\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n# x-field x-format:yaml\r\nbodyTitle: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet\r\nteaserText: |\r\n        Throughout history, cashmere has been a luxury. Cashmere is aspirational, timeless, and an investment. In the last decade, the mass production and the democratisation of the fashion industry have caught up with cashmere. Once a highly expensive commodity reserved for an exclusive minority and wealthy fashionistas, casual cashmere has permeated the high street, with cheaper garments flooding the market. While we believe no one should be priced out of having comfortable clothes in their wardrobe, this shift has spelled problems for producers, their herds, and the natural world.\r\npublication:\r\n    name: Sally Paton\r\n    image: https://store-s1mbbc7h64.mybigcommerce.com/product_images/import/Sally-headshot.JPG\r\n    note: |\r\nrelated:\r\n    title: More From The Journal\r\n    items: \r\n        - /musings/art-of-the-land/\r\n        - /musings/lets-talk-about-viscose/\r\n        - /musings/lets-talk-about-linen/\r\n        - /musings/regenerative-fashion-with-kitx/\r\nrelatedProduct:\r\n    title: Related Products\r\n    items: [1423,1427,1530,1543,1544,1528,1529]","tags":[{"name":"Learnings","url":"https://showroom-x.com/musings/tag/Learnings"}],"thumbnail":{"alt":"Let's talk about Cashmere","data":"https://cdn11.bigcommerce.com/s-s1mbbc7h64/images/stencil/{:size}/uploaded_images/ignant-photography-daniel-dorsa-selection-001-1440x1800.jpeg?t=1626426324"},"title":"Let's talk about Cashmere","url":"https://showroom-x.com/musings/lets-talk-about-cashmere/"}
Let's talk about Cashmere

Let's talk about Cashmere

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{"author":"Sally Paton","date_published":"8th Jun 2021","show_read_more":false,"summary":"MASCULINITY\r\n\r\n\tThere is no natural link between a garment and a specific gender, but dressing against gender norms is relatively rare. While the wearing of trousers by women in the West has been done since the early twentieth century, they often faced ridicule and resistant legislators. After all, it took until 1993 for women to be allowed to wear trousers on the U.S. Senate floor. Women have had an easier time adopting these and other masculine coded garments than men have had embracing feminine clothes. The donning of trousers by women may have represented a critical adjustment in the definition of femininity and gifted the freedom of movement in daily life and work, but it hasn’t necessarily led to a revolution in the way we dress.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tCritics of gender-fluid clothing may be humbled when looking to the past. Throughout history, men’s clothing typically included some variant of a dress. Roman men wore togas, Kimonos in Japan often included a skirt as the lower garment and were extremely valuable in society as often meaningful family heirlooms. Irish men wore kilts, Chinese men, Hanfu. Skirts were a key piece of almost every ancient outfit for men because they were easy to create and comfortable to wear.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n            Critics of gender-fluid clothing may be    \r\n\thumbled when looking to the past.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tIt wasn’t until the nineteenth century that men began to incorporate longer and tighter trousers into their everyday wardrobes. This is where most people believe the gender divide became evident in fashion, as men stuck with pants and women continued to mostly wear skirts. Certain articles of clothing quickly became attached to specific genders.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tIn his Symposium, Plato wrote that we were all hermaphrodites (now termed intersex) until the gods decided to split us in two. The notion of men having feminine and women masculine traits has entered the mainstream by now, but even so, we continue to favor convention when it comes to our appearance.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tThere are many ways we express masculinity through our appearance; short hair, baggy clothes, loafers, and relaxed suiting. When worn by a woman, a classic suit is labelled a ‘power suit’, as if simply wearing something masculine allows the female wearer to adopt the elevated status and power of a man. These changes in fashion have been influenced by a perception of gender constantly in flux. We have all questioned why blue is for boys, why ‘men will be men’ is used to normalise violence and aggression, and what we mean when we say ‘the clothes make the man’.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tWhile men still hold more power in modern society, men in skirts should be prepared to field questions about their masculinity. A man in a skirt is not only perceived as looking feminine but being feminine. Men failing to dress to fit with hegemonic masculinity may be put at risk, personally and professionally, which acts to preserve the gender order. We only need to look at the cyclone of discourse and news covered when Harry Styles graced the cover of Vogue in a lace dress to see how underdeveloped our bandwidth to accept feminised fashion on men can be. For fashion-forward men, this has led to hybrid masculinity. They will attend Thom Browne shows in skirts and dresses, but it's rare to see gender-fluid sartorial choices extend beyond the front rows of Fashion Week.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tFor now, women can relish the fact that borrowing from our boyfriends, brothers, or fathers’ wardrobes is not only socially acceptable but a fashionable choice. Women have widely claimed male cut jeans as boyfriend jeans, and an oversized blazer is the uniform of the chic and cool fashion-forward woman. The social nature of masculinity is a pattern of practice and one rife with complexity and contradiction. Today, it seems more apt to talk about ‘masculinities’ in the plural, to underscore the many ways in which one can be a man, become one, or choose to dress like one.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tIn recent times, one of the more interesting questions is what do we have to learn from the way men shop and dress? \r\n\t\r\n\t\r\n\t\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tWe’ve noted that many of the men we live and work beside will wear their clothes to death, don the same outfit as a form of uniform, and would sooner go without pants than wearing something which made them uncomfortable. Their choices began to transform in our minds from cavalier to a more conscious form of consumption, something we had been rallying behind since we awoke to the environmental impact of our lust for an ever-updated wardrobe.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tIn light of the freedom we believe one deserves to choose their mode of dress, we introduce NONPLUS, a collaboration by Gareth Moody and Maurice Terzini. Inspired by a surf-punk aesthetic with a focus on luxury tailoring and relaxed fits, NONPLUS transforms classic menswear into elevated and androgenous essentials. Co-creator Gareth Moody describes, “The search for the perfect everyday uniform is something that challenges me... this collaboration, years in the making, has brought me one step closer.\" The capsule collection stays true to the designers’ heritage in menswear, presenting traditionally masculine shapes, from contemporary tailoring and everyday staples, for a unisex modern capsule wardrobe.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tAs our co-founder, Kelly Atkinson, describes it, “We strive to be an innovative platform that isn’t restricted by the “business as usual’ restraints of the fashion industry at present. So when creative genius Maurice Terzini, of Ten Pieces, Icebergs dining room & bar and CicciaBella, and his friend Gareth Moody, of Chronicles of Never, approached us to launch, we knew this was a great chance to do something different.” It introduces 'masculine wear' as a category to Showroom-X, designed to be worn by women and men alike.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tBinding genders so closely to clothing ultimately limits how people can live comfortably and candidly express themselves. It instills a fear of judgment that no one should feel. Our sartorial choices are one of the first ways we learn to show who we are to the world. It should be personal, and we will do whatever we can to give you the freedom of choice.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tCredits: \r\n\tVictoria and Albert Museum / World Clothing and Fashion: An Encyclopedia of History, Culture, and Social Influence / Symposium\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n# x-field x-format:yaml\r\nbodyTitle: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet\r\nteaserText: |\r\n        There is no natural link between a garment and a specific gender, but dressing against gender norms is relatively rare. While the wearing of trousers by women in the West has been done since the early twentieth century, they often faced ridicule and resistant legislators. After all, it took until 1993 for women to be allowed to wear trousers on the U.S. Senate floor. Women have had an easier time adopting these and other masculine coded garments than men have had embracing feminine clothes. The donning of trousers by women may have represented a critical adjustment in the definition of femininity and gifted the freedom of movement in daily life and work, but it hasn’t necessarily led to a revolution in the way we dress.\r\npublication:\r\n    name: Sally Paton\r\n    image: https://store-s1mbbc7h64.mybigcommerce.com/product_images/import/Sally-headshot.JPG\r\n    note: |\r\nrelated:\r\n    title: More From The Journal\r\n    items: \r\n        - /musings/art-of-the-land/\r\n        - /musings/kitty-clark/\r\n        - /musings/what-you-need-to-know-about-fabric-dyeing/\r\n        - /musings/lets-talk-about-merino-wool/\r\nrelatedProduct:\r\n    title: Related Products\r\n    items: [1416, 1415, 1414, 1413, 1412, 1411, 852, 1073, 613, 368]","tags":[{"name":"Learnings","url":"https://showroom-x.com/musings/tag/Learnings"}],"thumbnail":{"alt":"Masculinity","data":"https://cdn11.bigcommerce.com/s-s1mbbc7h64/images/stencil/{:size}/uploaded_images/masculinity-parallax-1-asset-2.jpg?t=1623144988"},"title":"Masculinity","url":"https://showroom-x.com/musings/masculinity/"}
Masculinity

Masculinity

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{"author":"Sasha Whiddon and Sally Paton ","date_published":"3rd May 2021","show_read_more":false,"summary":"What you need to know about fabric dyeing\r\n\r\n\tThe practice of fabric dyeing has existed since our earliest cultures. In Mexico, the Aztecs created their deep blood-red dye from annatto or “achiotl”, the dried seeds of an evergreen shrub. Ancient Egyptian blue has always been called indigo, of “Isatis tinctoria”, the dyestuff extracted from its plant leaves. The Mayans used various organic sources to create dyes; plants, minerals, insects, and mollusks, each colour used for visual storytelling in dress and tapestry. Black was indicative of creation and death, green for the ancestors and the abundance of cacao and tobacco crops, and purple was considered the first colour associated with Mama Oclla, the founding mother of the Inca people.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tToday, we’re still drawn to colour. We pay consultants to instruct us what colours to wear according to our ‘seasonal colour palette’. We have our auras read, in the ancient Chinese tradition, to be assigned ‘our’ colour. We have the right and the wrong colours for ourselves, but what are the wrong colours from an ecological standpoint?\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n            “Colour!  \r\n\tWhat a deep and mysterious language, the language of dreams.” - Paul Gaugin\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\t“Colour is a power,  \r\n\t\r\n\t it directly influences the soul.”\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\tFabric dying, for the most part, is incredibly unsustainable and an issue that the fashion industry needs to address urgently. Today, the large majority of clothing is dyed synthetically, with detrimental effects on our natural environment. As seen below, the Yangtze River which runs all through China, is one of hundreds of water sources heavily polluted by the fashion industry. Orsola de Castro, the founder of fashionrevolution.org, states, \"There is a joke in China that you can tell the 'it' color of the season by looking at the color of the rivers.\"\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\t\tThe majority of the water used during the production of garments is for the dyeing process. Following this, billions of tonnes of wastewater are then flushed into water sources completely untreated, containing residual dyes, chemicals, and mordants (a substance used to set dyes on fabrics). The result is water oxygen dissolving to levels that are unable to sustain life. These hazardous and highly toxic chemicals do not break down as they enter water streams, making their way around the world. While retailers and customers worldwide relish in the kaleidoscope of prints and tones from which to select, the ramifications are felt by local communities surrounding production sites. Often, the water is flushed through untraceable pipes meaning no individual brand or retailer can be held accountable for their contribution. Over 70% of water sources in China are heavily contaminated, which results in an estimated 1.4 billion people being unable to access uncontaminated water.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\t\tWater waste and contamination are indicative of a broader issue in the fashion industry. Many brands, retailers, and companies do not own their manufacturing facilities and instead outsource to less economically developed countries to cut costs, creating a greater profit margin. This lack of accountability and transparency through the manufacturing process puts lives and the future of our planet at risk. Optimistically, more and more labels are increasing supply chain transparency as consumers and investors are holding labels accountable for their sustainability practices.\r\n\r\n\r\n\tAt Showroom-X, one of our central ethe is human craft, a step away from the industrial and appreciation of local artistry and the beauty of imperfection.\r\n\t\r\n\t\r\n\t\r\n\r\n\r\n\tIn celebration of human craft and local artistry, Showroom-X has collaborated with Rukaji Designs in curating a collection of 100% Australian silk sarongs and scarves. Looking back to historical techniques of fabric dyeing, each scarf is dyed by hand with naturally occurring Australian earth elements; bark, rust, red dirt, and botanicals such as tea tree.  These elemental pigments capture the diversity and geographical drama of the West Australian landscape. Led by matriarch Eva Nargoodah and her eldest daughter Ivy, the Nargoodah family are passionate creators and cultural keepers, having developed their textile designs over many years. Rukaji are proud to keep the cultural practices that surround bush medicines and dyes alive, teaching their children and broader community about these essential practices. The profits from each purchase are reinvested back into the Rukaji family business to support the creation of new artworks. This acts to support local economies by facilitating income streams for the artists.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tWolfgang Scout is another label who’s fabric dyeing techniques reflect their overall commitment to tread lightly. Leading the way for a more sustainable future, Wolfgang Scout is synonymous with super-soft knitwear, handwoven from Australian Merino wool and designed with purpose to minimise waste and water usage. Their entire hand-dyeing process is done within Australia with organic, certified non-hazardous, non-chrome dyes, with a low impact on the environment and minimal water wasted. Further, their linens are dyed with natural eucalyptus.  This artisanal approach harkens back to a different, earlier time and produces investment pieces to be cherished. Founders Natalie Wood, Carla Woidt, and Marianne Horton have built a brand around the philosophy of interwoven connections; to people, places, and the natural environment.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tAt Showroom-X, one of our central ethe is human craft, a step away from the industrial and appreciation of local artistry and the beauty of imperfection. We love the words of artist David Hockey, “I prefer living in color (sic)”, but it’s integral to take pause to consider how the shades,  tones, and patterns of the clothes we wear each day have come to pass.  We can actively choose which brands and what processes we want to support. So, choose wisely, choose your future.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\t\r\n\tSources:\r\n\r\n\r\n\tCultural Heritage.com\r\n\r\n\r\n\tLupine Publishers.com\r\n\r\n\r\n\tAncient.edu\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n# x-field x-format:yaml\r\nbodyTitle: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet\r\nteaserText: |\r\n        The practice of fabric dyeing has existed since our earliest cultures. In Mexico, the Aztecs created their deep blood-red dye from annatto or “achiotl”, the dried seeds of an evergreen shrub.\r\npublication:\r\n    name: Sasha Whiddon and Sally Paton\r\n    image: /product_images/import/Sally-Sasha.jpg\r\n    note: |\r\nrelated:\r\n    title: More From The Journal\r\n    items: \r\n        - /musings/art-of-the-land/\r\n        - /musings/lets-talk-about-viscose/\r\n        - /musings/lets-talk-about-linen/\r\n        - /musings/regenerative-fashion-with-kitx/\r\nrelatedProduct:\r\n    title: Related Products\r\n    items: [1369,1368,1006,1007,1003,899]","tags":[{"name":"learnings","url":"https://showroom-x.com/musings/tag/learnings"}],"thumbnail":{"alt":"What you need to know about fabric dyeing","data":"https://cdn11.bigcommerce.com/s-s1mbbc7h64/images/stencil/{:size}/uploaded_images/untitled-1.png?t=1620005968"},"title":"What you need to know about fabric dyeing","url":"https://showroom-x.com/musings/what-you-need-to-know-about-fabric-dyeing/"}
What you need to know about fabric dyeing

What you need to know about fabric dyeing

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{"author":"Sasha Whiddon and Sally Paton","date_published":"29th Apr 2021","show_read_more":false,"summary":"Danielle on FibreTrace\r\n\tBefore hanging in our wardrobe, the clothes we wear pass through countless hands. Take a cotton t-shirt: The cotton is picked, ginned, spun, woven, sewn into garments, and shipped to warehouse and retail stores. It will be sold, worn, washed, repaired, donated, and most often ends its life as untraceable waste.”\r\nDanielle Statham wants to change this.  Since the earliest age she can remember, Danielle knew that she wanted to be in fashion, “I was one of those lucky girls who always knew what I wanted to do… The love of textiles and design has been taken through the rest of my life.” Having now worked within the full supply chain, Danielle is passionate about closing the loop in fashion, so we can know exactly where our clothes start their lifecycle. Alongside like-minded leaders in the global textile industry, in 2018, Danielle founded FibreTrace. This technology allows the life cycle of a garment to be traced, from farm to shelf, with full transparency.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n            \"I’m very tactile,  \r\n\tand I loved that old-school, hand-stitched couture.\"\r\n\"My love of the raw fibre \r\n\t\r\n\t was grown from being \r\n\t\r\n\ton \r\n\tthe cotton farm so early”\r\n\t\r\n\t\r\n\r\n\r\n\t“Australia is seen as a golden child for many reasons, especially at the moment with the pandemic, for being able to get on with things, make great decisions, and stand on our own two feet.”\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\t\r\n\t\r\n\t\r\n\tTell me a little about your personal and professional background? \r\n\t I grew up in the racing industry in NSW, and I’m sure seeing beautifully dressed people developed my early love of fashion. I got married very young and had my first baby when I was 24. Before that, I studied fashion and textiles, but I also majored in millinery. It was a big passion of mine, I’m very tactile, and I loved that old-school, hand-stitched couture. For over thirty years, I’ve been a milliner. I studied under the Royal milliner in London, which was a lovely experience. He was the Queen’s milliner, and had a very close relationship with Princess Diana. It was really lovely to have those stories told to me. I also owned a wholesale and distribution agency and started a denim label. I saw that an interesting marketing exercise would be to have my own cotton in my own denim. I thought that it would be a really nice experience for the consumer. But I found it very difficult to have that cotton back in my own product.\r\n\t\r\n\tAnd your husband’s family is involved in farming cotton? \r\nI met my husband David when I was 20. He was a cotton grower, and his family are first-generation farmers. He didn’t grow up on a farm, and it wasn’t until the late 80s that his family saw the opportunity in agriculture and purchased Keytah, our cotton farm. David was straight out of school, no university, straight to the school of the land.  We are certified carbon-positive cotton.\r\n\t\r\n\tWhat was the genesis of FibreTrace? \r\nMy love of the raw fibre was grown from being on the cotton farm so early, and the textiles it can create, and so that’s where FibreTrace came into play, and the Good Earth Cotton brand as well. FibreTrace is a technology that provides the irrefutable and truthful information of a product. A luminescent pigment is put into the raw material and once that pigment has blown through that fibre, it’s there for life.\r\nThis physical tracer within that raw fibre is connected to a digital blockchain platform. Essentially, the aim is to give a 20/20 vision of the supply chain, providing full transparency of the farm and beyond. This includes the emissions of the product, which is really important.\r\n\t\r\n\tIs there anything unique about Australia which made you believe it would be a great fit for the FibreTrace model? \r\nI think we’re seen as clean, ethical, and forward-thinking. If we can tell that story from an Australian brand perspective, from farm to shelf, with full transparency, it creates a compelling narrative for the overseas customer.\r\n\t\r\n\tWhat excites you about the current Australian creative landscape? \r\nWe’re so good at what we do creatively here in Australia. We’re very methodical, detail-oriented, and I think we’re naturally brought up with great morals and ethics. Because we’re such a small country in terms of population, Australians have had to think laterally to succeed in business. I wish we had more manufacturing and I really hope we can onshore more in the future. I think that would be so well-received in this current climate, not just for our local market, but particularly for an international market. Australia is seen as a golden child for many reasons, especially at the moment with the pandemic, for being able to get on with things, make great decisions, and stand on our own two feet. I think our small population allows us to be more nimble.\r\n\t\r\n\tWho are some of your favourite designers,  local and international? \r\nWe’ve got so many amazing labels in Australia. We’ve had two great launches with FibreTrace, one being the Australian brand Nobody Denim, and in recent times the LA label, Reformation. When you’re on the front, you can love what you see visually, but when you start to get into the nitty-gritty working with some of these brands, you grow such enormous respect not only from an aesthetic viewpoint but from an honest marketing and business standpoint. I think digging deeper into Nobody and Reformation and meeting the people who operate them, they’re doing such a great job.\r\n\t\r\n\tWhat does the term luxury fashion mean to you? \r\nA state of great comfort. Whether that be something that’s expensive or inexpensive, it’s luxurious to you and how you perceive it, your state of  mind. It’s something that makes you feel good.\r\n\t\r\n\tWhat do you look for in your personal style? \r\nComfort. Denim and a soft jacket, a gorgeous t-shirt. Anything that goes with flat shoes because I have four kids and I have to move fast. I’ve really grown out of high heels. I refuse to wear anything higher than an inch. I live in Queensland, so I love a lovely pair of sandals.\r\n\t\r\n\tWhy do you believe that transparency is so important in the fashion industry? \r\nAcross the industry, globally, I think that supply chains have become so multi-tiered.  So that’s made traceability and transparency so problematic for brands. Particularly for cotton, which is one of the most used fibers in the supply chain. It passes through so many hands before it becomes fabric. When a brand is serious about the claims that they’re prepared to make public, it needs to be conclusive with transparent information.  They need to be able to satisfy those savvy customers, like my kids, who want an honest conversation around where their garments came from, the supply chain that it travelled, the emissions it created, and also the ethical standards, which we’re seeing a greater focus on at the moment.\r\n\t\r\n\tHow will this technology impact the industry moving forward? \r\nWe believe FibreTrace will bring those in the industry who champion best practices forward to the front of the line. I think it will enable unique and true storytelling for brands.\r\n\t\r\n\tTell me about the Nobody Denim collection you have been working on. \r\nJohn Condilis is so passionate about his Aussie-made product. He was so excited about keeping that industry in Australia and creating ethical garments with low-impact fibers. Unfortunately, we don’t have any spinning left in Australia, so we did have to go offshore, but once the fabric was back in the country, everything else was completely Australian. That is something we should definitely support and be proud of. It was more about providence for John because we know in our country that we’re doing everything ethically correct. He chose a great partner in Orta Anadolu in Turkey who has great ethical standards and fantastic environmental impacts in their fabric production. That was such a great starting point for a soft launch for FibreTrace. I was so proud that we could do that with an Australian brand. Nobody has just launched their second collection with FibreTrace, and I know that John wants to take this through the whole collection. We’re working on that.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n# x-field x-format:yaml\r\nbodyTitle: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet\r\nteaserText: |\r\n         Danielle is passionate about closing the loop in fashion, so we can know exactly where our clothes start their lifecycle. Alongside like-minded leaders in the global textile industry, in 2018, Danielle founded FibreTrace.\r\npublication:\r\n    name: Sally Paton & Sasha Whiddon\r\n    image: https://store-s1mbbc7h64.mybigcommerce.com/product_images/import/Sally-Sasha.jpg\r\n    note: |\r\nrelated:\r\n    title: More From The Journal\r\n    items: \r\n        - /musings/art-of-the-land/\r\n        - /musings/lets-talk-about-viscose/\r\n        - /musings/lets-talk-about-linen/\r\n        - /musings/regenerative-fashion-with-kitx/\r\nrelatedProduct:\r\n    title: Related Products\r\n    items: [1005, 884, 1269,653]","tags":[{"name":"Learnings","url":"https://showroom-x.com/musings/tag/Learnings"}],"thumbnail":{"alt":"Danielle on FibreTrace","data":"https://cdn11.bigcommerce.com/s-s1mbbc7h64/images/stencil/{:size}/uploaded_images/danielle-parralax-1-asset-2.jpeg?t=1622093854"},"title":"Danielle on FibreTrace","url":"https://showroom-x.com/musings/danielle-on-fibretrace/"}
Danielle on FibreTrace

Danielle on FibreTrace

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{"author":"Sasha Whiddon","date_published":"9th Apr 2021","show_read_more":false,"summary":"Let’s talk about Merino Wool\r\n\tAfter what felt like an endless summer, the colder months are finally catching up to us. The sun is setting that little bit earlier and we’re now rising before daylight. There’s a chill in the air. Our woolly knits are being pulled to the front of our wardrobes, and sandals are swapped for boots.\r\n\t\r\n\tThough synonymous with crisp, winter weather, Merino wool is a more versatile fabric than you may appreciate. Beyond your crew-neck knit, oversized scarf, and the classic Australian Ugg boot, Merino wool is often the base of many cross-seasonal designs, from activewear to light-weight suiting.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n            \"“Wool is most beautiful, most kind to our  \r\n\tskin and best for the earth in its natural form.” - Wolfgang Scout\r\n\"“We believe in treading lightly\r\n\t\r\n\t on this earth and creating\r\n\t\r\n\tlong-lasting products...” - W.S\r\n\t\r\n\t\r\n\r\n\r\n\tWhat is Merino Wool?\r\n\tWe have a long history with wool. Around 1950 the saying that Australia ‘rode on the sheep’s back’ entered our lexicon, alluding to wool as the source of our nation’s prosperity. Wool is one of our heirloom exports. Those who bred sheep and sheared their fleece came to symbolise and epitomise what it was to be Australian.\r\n\t\r\n\t\tMerino wool is a natural fibre grown by Merino sheep, a breed that produces the finest wool for high-quality, luxury apparel. It’s a softer and thinner wool, making it more versatile and easier to work with. Consequently, Merino has a softer hand feel in comparison to other wool, so the garments it produces can be worn comfortably against the skin. The vast majority of Australia’s sheep flock is Merino, and Australia produces 81% of the world’s ‘superfine’ wool.\r\n\t\r\n\t\tThough our near 4000 dedicated sheep shearers work amongst the harsh Australian elements, the lanolin, or wool yolk, gifts shearers with the softest of hands.\r\n\t“We believe in treading lightly on this earth and creating long-lasting products to be worn well and passed down to future generations.” - Wolfgang Scout \r\n\t\r\n\t\r\n\t\r\n\r\n\tWhy we love Merino Wool.\r\n\tA wholly natural fibre, Merino wool offers its wearer a multitude of benefits. The natural fibre allows for thermoregulation. This means that, during those warmer days, Merino will transport sweat away from the skin, to keep the wearer cool and dry. In contrast, when it’s colder the natural ‘crimps and bends’ in the fibres trap air, which mimics insulation to retain heat. Thus, it’s not uncommon to see merino wool used for high-quality sportswear. The wool also contains odour resisting properties, as it has a larger capacity than other fibres to absorb liquid.\r\n\t\r\n\tThe benefits of Merino wool extend to the environment. As the shorn fleece of a sheep, it is an entirely renewable and regenerative resource. If left untreated or dyed naturally, the fibres are completely biodegradable, preventing the garments from adding to landfill. After about 12 months in the ground, it will have decomposed, returning to nature.\r\n\t\r\n\tImpact of producing Merino wool on the animals.\r\n\tWhen reviewing fabrications borne from a living creature, it’s crucial that we consider the welfare of the animal. Merino sheep's most common breed is the Peppin sheep, originally bred by the Peppin family in the 1860s. In order to produce more wool, the sheep are bred to have wrinkly skin. This breeding resulted in sheep producing roughly twice as much fine, high-quality wool. Proper care and maintenance are essential for the well-being of flocks. When not shorn on a timely schedule, these sheep can suffer from life-threatening heat exhaustion during Australia’s warmer months.\r\n\t\r\n\tDue to breeding, Peppin sheep are also vulnerable to flystrike, a parasitic infection with a significant mortality rate if left untreated. As a preventative measure, a controversial procedure called mulesing is performed. This is when skin near the buttocks of a sheep is removed.  While it’s effective at preventing flystrike, it can be incredibly traumatic for the sheep and puts their welfare at risk. Until recent years mulesing was performed without the use of painkillers or anesthetic. However, there has been improvement in Australia, with an estimate of 80% of sheep now receiving pain treatment.\r\n\t\r\n\tNew Zealand has taken a stronger stance against this issue, and since 2018, mulesing has been banned nationwide. Following suit, many retailers who produce Merino goods will now clearly state if their products come from non-mulesed sheep. Bales of wool can be certified either non-mulesed or pain relief used. Many European buyers are moving away from Australian wool as fashion companies turning to a more transparent supply structure.\r\n\t\r\n\tBrands who focus on the ethical production of Merino.\r\n\tAt Showroom-X, we are proud to work alongside Australian brands who are responsibly sourcing Merino wool. Among the brands privileging the welfare of sheep and the planet over profit are Wolfgang Scout and Bassike.\r\n\t\r\n\tWolfgang Scout, brought to life by Carla Woidt and Marianne Horton, is renowned for their high-quality merino garments. The two women at the helm of the brand make sure that their yarn is fully traceable back to the grower. This ensures non-mulesed sheep and RWS (responsible wool standard) certified wool, meaning the animals and the land are treated with care and respect. \r\n“We believe in treading lightly on this earth and creating long-lasting products to be worn well and passed down to future generations.” - Wolfgang Scout\r\n\t\r\n\tTheir wool is also 100% Australian Superfine Merino, a measurement used to describe the diameter of wool fibre, which is a quality micron rarely found in hand-knit garments. Wolfgang Scout has also eliminated the use of chemicals through the scouring, carding and combing process.\r\n “Wool is most beautiful, most kind to our skin and best for the earth in its natural form.” - Wolfgang Scout\r\n\t\r\n\tBassike was founded back in 2006 with the aim of creating sustainable wardrobe staples.  They’ve made a conscious effort to manufacture and source with the environment in mind from inception. This is reflected in the production of their woolen garments, with materials being sourced from Italian suppliers utilising non-mulesed sheep.\r\n\t\r\n\tWe are grateful that there are Australian brands who cherish the importance of sheep and their woolen fleece to our nation’s past and present. With a little research, there are sustainable options available to us all to ensure the wellness of not only the sheep but our planet. Next time you pull on your favourite woolen sweater or Merino blazer, we hope you consider the process your garment went through from the sheep’s back, to yours. It’s up to us to make the conscious decision.\r\n\t\r\n\tSources:\r\n\tWoolmark\r\n\tWolfgang Scout\r\n\tBassike\r\n\tABC\r\n\tFarm Online\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n# x-field x-format:yaml\r\nbodyTitle: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet\r\nteaserText: |\r\n        Though synonymous with crisp, winter weather, Merino wool is a more versatile fabric than you may appreciate. Beyond your crew-neck knit, oversized scarf, and the classic Australian Ugg boot, Merino wool is often the base of many cross-seasonal designs, from activewear to light-weight suiting.\r\npublication:\r\n    name: Sasha Whiddon and Sally Paton\r\n    image: /product_images/import/Sasha-Whiddon.jpg\r\n    note: |\r\nrelated:\r\n    title: More From The Journal\r\n    items: \r\n        - /musings/art-of-the-land/\r\n        - /musings/lets-talk-about-viscose/\r\n        - /musings/lets-talk-about-linen/\r\n        - /musings/regenerative-fashion-with-kitx/\r\nrelatedProduct:\r\n    title: Related Products\r\n    items: [1281,900,1008,1141,1007,901]","tags":[{"name":"Learnings","url":"https://showroom-x.com/musings/tag/Learnings"}],"thumbnail":{"alt":"Let’s talk about Merino Wool","data":"https://cdn11.bigcommerce.com/s-s1mbbc7h64/images/stencil/{:size}/uploaded_images/mw-parralax-1-image-3.jpg?t=1617964163"},"title":"Let’s talk about Merino Wool","url":"https://showroom-x.com/musings/lets-talk-about-merino-wool/"}
Let’s talk about Merino Wool

Let’s talk about Merino Wool

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{"author":"Sasha Whiddon","date_published":"31st Mar 2021","show_read_more":false,"summary":"Let’s talk about fast fashion\r\n\tIf you’ve heard the phrase ‘Fast Fashion’ thrown around and not felt completely sure what it means - you’re not alone. It’s a term whose use has grown in frequency over the last few years, with brands now going to great pains to counteract the damage fast fashion has wrought on the environment.\r\n\t\r\n\tAs we all continue to grow and strive for a more sustainable future, it’s necessary to educate ourselves on what constitutes fast fashion as well as its myriad ethical and environmental impacts. The Good Trade defines it as -\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n            \"“A design, manufacturing, and marketing method \r\n\tfocused on rapidly producing high volumes of clothing.\"\r\n\t\r\n\t\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tAt a glance, it’s easy to assume fast fashion is limited to cheap and mass produced clothing, and though this is correct it’s only the tip of the iceberg. Fast fashion is also synonymous with unsustainable and unethical practices, ranging anywhere from manufacturing with non-biodegradable or low quality fabrications, trend replication, poor working conditions, over-working and not earning a liveable wage despite some employees working almost 70 hours a week.\r\n\t\r\n\tIn many cases, the ways in which these cheap garments are produced violate numerous basic human rights, as well as an individual’s personal ethics. According to the Garment Working Centre (a worker rights organization encouraging an anti-sweatshop to enhance conditions for garment workers),\r\n\t“Approximately 85% of garment workers do not earn the minimum wage and are instead paid a piece rate of between 2-6 cents per piece.” \r\n\t\r\n\t\r\n\t\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\tSustainable fashion cannot subsist without transparency. This is why at Showroom-X we stock brands that are open and informative regarding their manufacturing processes. From brands such as KITX, who pride themselves on complete transparency, and ensure a fair, safe and healthy working conditions and guarantee environmental responsibility throughout their supply chain, to Lee Mathews, ESSE Studios, Jac + Jack, Matin, Matteau and Bassike, we actively champion labels who are conscious and transparent about their products and their processes.\r\n\t\r\n\tWhere European retail giant ZARA needs only a little over a week to design, produce and stock a new product on the shelves, it would comparatively take a smaller, more sustainable business at least six months. These brands need our support now more than ever.\r\nSources:\r\n\tGarment Worker Center\r\n\tForbes\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n# x-field x-format:yaml\r\nbodyTitle: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet\r\nteaserText: |\r\n        If you’ve heard the phrase ‘Fast Fashion’ thrown around and not felt completely sure what it means - you’re not alone. It’s a term whose use has grown in frequency over the last few years, with brands now going to great pains to counteract the damage fast fashion has wrought on the environment.\r\npublication:\r\n    name: Sasha Whiddon\r\n    image: /product_images/import/Sasha-Whiddon.jpg\r\n    note: |\r\nrelated:\r\n    title: More From The Journal\r\n    items: \r\n        - /musings/art-of-the-land/\r\n        - /musings/lets-talk-about-viscose/\r\n        - /musings/lets-talk-about-linen/\r\n        - /musings/regenerative-fashion-with-kitx/\r\nrelatedProduct:\r\n    title: Related Products\r\n    items: [1169, 1145, 1230,1222]","tags":[{"name":"Learnings","url":"https://showroom-x.com/musings/tag/Learnings"}],"thumbnail":{"alt":"Fast Fashion ","data":"https://cdn11.bigcommerce.com/s-s1mbbc7h64/images/stencil/{:size}/uploaded_images/adut-by-craid-mcdean.jpg?t=1617092483"},"title":"Fast Fashion ","url":"https://showroom-x.com/musings/fast-fashion/"}
Fast Fashion

Fast Fashion

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{"author":"Victoria Pearson","date_published":"8th Mar 2021","show_read_more":false,"summary":"GRACE FORREST ON INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY\r\n\tIn honour of International Women’s Day 2021, we talk transparency, the rights of women in the fashion industry and female inspirations with activist, abolitionist and founding director of international human rights group Walk Free, Grace Forrest.\r\n\tDescribe what it means to be a woman in the fashion industry in 2021 … \r\nAs a woman working in the field of international human rights, modern slavery intersects with the fashion industry far more often than it should.  In fact, \r\n\tThe Global Slavery Index ranks the fashion industry among the five most high-risk industries in the world.\r\n\t\r\nModern slavery and fashion supply chains disproportionately impact women. Conservatively we estimate one in every 130 women ON EARTH is living in a modern slavery. A hard fact to comprehend as we celebrate International Women’s Day.\r\n\t\r\n\tGrab any garment in your wardrobe, and you can be pretty confident it was made by a woman. Flash marketing, the rise of fast fashion and endless collections by luxury brands, even the sustainability movement, disconnect us  from the reality that the clothes we wear were made by real people with real lives. It’s an exception, rather than the rule, that brands disclose the working conditions under which their shiny final products are made.\r\n\t\r\n\tWe can’t call ourselves feminists if we do not value the lives and rights of the women behind the clothes we wear.  Nothing highlights this irony more than shirts emblazoned with “GirlBoss” and “Girls Can”, while the women who made them don’t even have the right to a living wage or basic workplace protections.\r\n\t\r\n\t As a woman who loves fashion, I am determined to ensure the narrative of this industry is radically re-imagined. The definition of sustainability, a word trending across the global fashion landscape, must be expanded to include information and policy frameworks to protect people at every level of the supply chain. You can be assured, that any brand which claims to “protect the planet” while exploiting people, will never do right by either.\r\n\t\r\n\tI am so proud to work with some incredible Australian brands and designers who are swimming against the tide, to ensure that the journey of the clothing is respectful to people and planet from start to finish.\r\n\t\r\n\t I love clothes, and the expression is allows each and every one of us – at its core I believe sustainability is looking after what you already own, regardless of where that garment comes from. While we can’t buy our way into a more ethical world, there is such a vital role for the consumer to ask questions about the origins of the clothing we buy, before adding pieces (ideally made to last) where greatly loved or needed.\r\n\t\r\n\t\r\n\tRelated reading:\r\n\tFashion identified as one of five key industries implicated in modern slavery\r\n\tRebuilding Fashion from COVID\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n            “Modern slavery and fashion supply chains  \r\n\tdisproportionately impact women”\r\n\t\r\n\t\r\n\r\n\r\nWhat women are currently inspiring your world (and why)? \r\nSo many incredible women inspire my world, from near and far. First and foremost, I am inspired by my mother and my grandmothers, all incredible women, all who have and continue to break down barriers in their chosen fields be it as pilots, artists or early childhood specialists. They are all style icons to me, in their own way.\r\n\t\r\n Within my space I am inspired everyday by the women who I work with at Walk Free, as well as female leaders around the world fighting to tackle injustice – such as Grace Tame, Nimko Ali, Bernice King, Vanessa Nakate and Jacinda Ardern.\r\nI’m inspired by women paving the way through and within the hard conversations about how this industry must transform.  Some in the fashion industry include: Aja Barber (@AjaBarber), Orsola de Castro (Co-Founder of Fashion Revolution @Fash_Rev), Jeanne DeKroon (Founder of Zazi Vintage @jeannedekroon + @zazi.vintage) and Venetia LaManna (Co-founder of @rememberwhomadethem @VenetiaLamanna). As well as creators like Maggie Marilyn (@maggiemarilyn), Kit Willow (@KitX) and Ashton Cameron (of @MountainandMoon).\r\n\tIn your opinion, what makes the Australian women’s fashion industry so special or unique? \r\nWhat makes us unique in my opinion is our individualism born of isolationism. We are a country of both unique privilege and challenge.\r\n\t\r\nI don’t believe that any Australian wants to buy something that harmed another human being in the process. On the contrary, I think we strive to support local and Australian made where we can, but this isn’t the only way we can ensure we’re investing in our values when we’re buying new things. I believe our fashion industry could become world-leading in the ethical and sustainable landscape by moving to ensure that our values and principles of fairness are extended off our shores and into our global supply chains. It’s not ok that some Australian brands, selling dresses for hundreds of dollars under the guise of luxury goods, don’t even ensure a basic living wage for the people who make their clothes.\r\nTransparency, coupled with accountability, is what will transform this industry. We have national legislative support for this through the Australian Modern Slavery Act, and an increasing level of  consumer and media awareness to hold those at the top to account.\r\n\t\r\n We vote for the kind of world we want to live in everyday with the way we spend our money. So where possible, why not support brands actively working to do the right things? From a purchase as small as your morning coffee (choose Fairtrade) to a larger investment for your wardrobe, put your money behind brands and groups that are working to make our world a fairer, safer place to live in for all people.\r\n\t\r\nWith more women and girls living in modern slavery than there are people living in Australia, there has never been a more urgent time to call for mass transparency and accountability in the fashion industry. From the women who make our clothes, to the women who wear them, we are all connected.  We progress together, or not at all.\r\n\tRelated reading: \r\n\tThe origins of International Women’s Day\r\n\tModern Slavery Act explained\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAll imagery courtesy of @graceforrest\r\n# x-field x-format:yaml\r\nbodyTitle: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet\r\nteaserText: |\r\n        In honour of International Women’s Day 2021, we talk transparency, the rights of women in the fashion industry and female inspirations with activist, abolitionist and founding director of international human rights group Walk Free, Grace Forrest.\r\npublication:\r\n    name: Victoria Pearson\r\n    image: /product_images/import/Victoria-Pearson-2.jpg\r\n    note: |\r\nrelated:\r\n    title: More From The Journal\r\n    items: \r\n        - /musings/art-of-the-land/\r\n        - /musings/lets-talk-about-viscose/\r\n        - /musings/lets-talk-about-linen/\r\n        - /musings/regenerative-fashion-with-kitx/\r\nrelatedProduct:\r\n    title: Related Products\r\n    items: [1167, 1168, 1169,1154]","tags":[{"name":"Learnings","url":"https://showroom-x.com/musings/tag/Learnings"}],"thumbnail":{"alt":"Grace Forrest On International Women's Day","data":"https://cdn11.bigcommerce.com/s-s1mbbc7h64/images/stencil/{:size}/uploaded_images/121511707-406842020480094-2083545640484158031-n.jpg?t=1614757568"},"title":"Grace Forrest On International Women's Day","url":"https://showroom-x.com/musings/grace-forrest-on-international-womens-day/"}
Grace Forrest On International Women's Day

Grace Forrest On International Women's Day

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{"author":"Victoria Pearson","date_published":"4th Feb 2021","show_read_more":false,"summary":"Everything you need to know about upcycling\r\n\r\n\tIt’s impossible to have a conversation about fashion at the moment without addressing the 500,000-tonne elephant in the room: textile waste.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nSynonymous with warm climate wardrobes, linen has grown to become one of the most popular and versatile fabrications in use locally. For this edition of Showroom-X Learnings, we break down the material and explore some of the biggest advantages and misconceptions surrounding linen. And that figure isn’t just plucked from the imagination – according to research published by McKinsey & Co -\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n            More than \r\n\t500,000 tonnes of textiles are discarded into Australian landfillannually.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nWith production still on the rise, \r\n\t\r\n\tthere’s never been a more important time to discuss upcycling\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n “Upcycling is the practice of creating a useable product from waste or unwanted items or adapting an existing product in some way to add value. The purpose of upcycling is reducing waste and improving the efficiency of resource use” (as defined by whatis.com).\r\n\r\n\r\nIn the fashion industry, this could mean taking old, worn or stained products and repurposing whole sections of the design into a new, updated piece.\r\n\r\n\r\n\tConfused by the difference between recycling and upcycling? Recycling means brands break down the materials of a product in order to construct an entirely new garment. Upcycling retains the form of the original item (it doesn’t break it down into fibres, etc), and works with whole sections of the piece to create something new. \r\n\t\r\n\t\r\n\t\r\n\r\n\r\n\t Thankfully, many Australian luxury brands are harnessing the benefits of upcycling in their own collections. ESSE Studios, for example, frequently uses fabrications upcycled from deadstock. The brand’s sleek Column Dress, available at showroom-x.com, utilises upcycled material that was originally produced in excess and would have otherwise ended up as waste.\r\n\r\n\r\n\tSustainable-design pioneer, Kit Willow, requently uses upcycled fabrics in her KITX designs, telling Showroom-X “We are committed to being an example of true style for the modern global era, we simply don't believe in quality fashion that harms our planet and natural eco-systems.” (read the full feature with Willow \r\n\there).\r\n\r\n\r\n\t Unsure how to identify upcycled pieces? Give product descriptions or clothing tags a thorough read – brands are always keen to identify sustainable and ethical practices, and will highlight the use of upcycled fabrications in an obvious manner.\r\n\r\n\r\n\tShowroom-X will always identify and celebrate brands using upcycled fabrications, so if you’re unsure just reach out on email or social media and we’ll help clarify. And if you want to contribute to the upcycling process, there are plenty of places to send back your old pieces, such as Upparrel, which offers a clothing collection service.\r\n\r\n\r\n\tIf you ask us, old never looked so good.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n# x-field x-format:yaml\r\nbodyTitle: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet\r\nteaserText: |\r\n        It’s impossible to have a conversation about fashion at the moment without addressing the 500,000-tonne elephant in the room: textile waste.\r\npublication:\r\n    name: Victoria Pearson\r\n    image: /product_images/import/Victoria-Pearson-2.jpg\r\n    note: |\r\nrelated:\r\n    title: More From The Journal\r\n    items: \r\n        - /musings/lets-talk-about-denim/\r\n        - /musings/lets-talk-about-viscose/\r\n        - /musings/lets-talk-about-linen/\r\n        - /musings/regenerative-fashion-with-kitx/\r\nrelatedProduct:\r\n    title: Related Products\r\n    items: [251, 244, 221,970]","tags":[{"name":"Learnings","url":"https://showroom-x.com/musings/tag/Learnings"}],"thumbnail":{"alt":"Everything you need to know about upcycling","data":"https://cdn11.bigcommerce.com/s-s1mbbc7h64/images/stencil/{:size}/uploaded_images/upcycling-parralax-1-image-3.jpg?t=1612417572"},"title":"Everything you need to know about upcycling","url":"https://showroom-x.com/musings/everything-you-need-to-know-about-upcycling/"}
Everything you need to know about upcycling

Everything you need to know about upcycling

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{"author":"Jaime Carmody","date_published":"20th Jan 2021","show_read_more":false,"summary":"Let’s talk about linen\r\n\r\n\tHere at Showroom-X, the phrase ‘summer holidays’ collectively conjures images of oceanside escapes, beach reads, an ice cold cocktail and, most importantly, our favourite linen staples.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nSynonymous with warm climate wardrobes, linen has grown to become one of the most popular and versatile fabrications in use locally. For this edition of Showroom-X Learnings, we break down the material and explore some of the biggest advantages and misconceptions surrounding linen.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n            One of the \r\n\toldest textiles in the world, linen dates back to around 8000BC\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\"We try to choose fabric\r\n\t\r\n\tthat's gentle on the planet.\" - SJC\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nDrawn from the flax plant, the textile itself is created through a process called ‘retting’ which assists in separating the fibres to break down the structure, allowing the material to be separated, spun and woven or knitted. On the plus side, growing flax requires a low amount of water, and there is very little waste associated with the plant, as discarded parts can be reused and repurposed to produce linseed oil or flax seeds for consumption.\r\n\r\n\r\nAnother upside of the material is the lack of harsh pesticides used when crafting organic linen meaning that, when untreated, it is fully biodegradable. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that once the material is mixed or is not organically sourced, the textile is no-longer biodegradable as it was most likely curated using pesticides and harsh chemicals to fasten the production process.\r\n\r\n\r\nA number of Australian labels harness the benefits of the versatile textile for their collections, including Jac & Jack, SIR., KITX and Sarah-Jane Clarke.\r\n\r\n\r\n\t\"I find that not all linen is created equal, like many things,” says Clarke, who launched her eponymous brand in 2018. “We source our linen from Lithuania, [from] a family run factory over there … I heard that they did organic linens and I liked the fact that they were a small family-run business. I just thought that tied in quite nicely with my brand.\" \r\n\t\r\n\t\r\n\r\n\r\n\t A personal favourite of Clarke, linen features heavily across her vacation-ready collection, rendered in sun washed shades of pink, ivory, seagrass and blue. “We try to choose fabrics that are gentle on the planet,” she says, the added bonus being “it keeps you cool; I just find it’s a really durable fabric”.\r\n\r\n\r\n\tSo how can we ensure we’re investing in sustainable linen? Clarke recommends examining the price tag. “You can normally tell on the pricing, if you’re buying something that is on the cheaper side you probably know that the linen isn’t as good quality as something that’s a little more expensive.”\r\n\r\n\r\n\t Next, check the facts. Brands will indicate how the garment is dyed - veer towards natural dyes over harsh chemicals, as these are less harmful for the environment. Keep an eye out for brands that meet organic certifications and ecological and social standards, such as ESSE Studios, SIR., KITX, Bassike and Jac + Jack.\r\n\r\n\r\n\tLastly, approach your linen purchase as a timeless investment. “Depending on how it’s woven, good quality linen shouldn’t lose its shape,” says Clarke, making it a wardrobe staple for years to come.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n# x-field x-format:yaml\r\nbodyTitle: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet\r\nteaserText: |\r\n        Here at Showroom-X, the phrase ‘summer holidays’ collectively conjures images of oceanside escapes, beach reads, an ice cold cocktail and, most importantly, our favourite linen staples.\r\npublication:\r\n    name: Jaime Carmody\r\n    image: /product_images/import/Jaime-Carmody.jpg\r\n    note: |\r\nrelated:\r\n    title: More From The Journal\r\n    items: \r\n        - /musings/lets-talk-about-denim/\r\n        - /musings/regenerative-fashion-with-kitx/\r\n        - /musings/secret-australia-rhor-remedy/\r\n        - /musings/fashion-laureate-awards-2020/\r\nrelatedProduct:\r\n    title: Related Products\r\n    items: [1084, 1088, 1085, 1090]","tags":[{"name":"Learnings","url":"https://showroom-x.com/musings/tag/Learnings"}],"thumbnail":{"alt":"Let’s talk about Linen","data":"https://cdn11.bigcommerce.com/s-s1mbbc7h64/images/stencil/{:size}/uploaded_images/54800408-398074694356691-2447184046155338584-n.jpg?t=1611134562"},"title":"Let’s talk about Linen","url":"https://showroom-x.com/musings/lets-talk-about-linen/"}
Let’s talk about Linen

Let’s talk about Linen

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