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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Community Orchards

Thought gardening was only for retired people with their own houses and a lot of time on their hands? Think again. Zofia discovers Community Orchards...

Written by Zofia Walczak

The inaugural round of graduates from London College of Fashion’s new MA course entitled Fashion and the Environment, about it site exhibited their findings this weekend within the Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall.

P2012400Image courtesy of Rachael Oku depicting the work of Shibin Vasudevan.

The students have taken a variety of approaches to tackle their environmental concerns with the fashion industry, some more successful than others. I wasn’t totally convinced by the practicality and wearability of Shibin Vasudevan’s shirts made from the contents of a hoover bag, though they were very visually stimulating. I was really excited by a number of projects including Shibin’s as his idea was highly innovative.

handheadheartHandheadheart collection image, courtesy of Anna Maria Hesse.

Anna Maria Hesse utilised her background in knitwear and deep interest in sustainable fashion to produce a collection entitled ‘handheadheart’ that discourages consumerism. Her beautifully subtle, draped garments are made to be worn in a variety of ways – so a top is a dress is a skirt. Her thinking is thus: the more ways you can wear one garment, the less garments you need to buy, and they are timeless, the opposite of disposable fashion. Both the traceability and sourcing of the raw materials used are important to Hesse, who uses only pure alpaca wool farmed sustainably within the UK – resulting in luxuriously soft and hardwearing fibres. The resulting garments are beautiful and wearable, and most importantly have been created to last a lifetime.

handheadheart2Handheadheart collection image, courtesy of Anna Maria Hesse.

I was impressed with both the concept and design behind Julia Crew’s collection of man bags labelled i.did.nee.ken (taken from the Scottish colloquialism meaning ‘I didn’t know’). Taking a threefold approach to the design process, Julia has ensured each product fits the criteria of a) durable design b) responsible sourcing and c) sustainable lifestyle. Essentially the bags are made to last, they have a low environmental impact and they can be used as part of a sustainable lifestyle. Designed with the concerns and requirements of a cyclist in mind, the i.did.nee.ken accessories are urban, utilitarian, and feature beautiful soft leather combined with waxed canvas, with graphical touches such as the reflective material around zips – ticking every box a cyclist could ask for.

backpackBackpack courtesy of Julia Crew, photographer Sally Cole.

Another project that interested me was that of Energy Water Fashion. With an aim to create directional garments made from lovely fabrics such as Lamb’s wool and Merino, Energy Water Fashion creates garments that are naturally odour resistant therefore requiring less washing and general maintenance. The designer, Emma Rigby’s environmental concerns relate to the exorbitant figures regarding how much water we use in laundering our clothes (mentioned at length in Amelia’s magazines coverage of the LCF Centre for Sustainable Fashion’s Fashioning The Future Awards, where Emma Won the prestigious award in the Water category). Successfully designing a capsule wardrobe that offers real solutions in reducing our water consumption, there seems no end to Emma’s talents.

P2012385Emma Rigby presentation, photographed by Rachael Oku.

By staging exhibitions like this for the public, it’s good to know that Fashion colleges and indeed designers alike are addressing the need to develop more sustainable, less environmentally impacting methods. There are now a growing number of fashion labels devoted to seeking out cleaner, greener processes, which is great to see. I am continually impressed by two companies in particular whose truly sustainable approach and great designs mean consumers don’t have to choose between looking good and staying true to their environmental conscience and ethics.

Outdoor lifestyle brand Howies produce simple, functional pieces and pay attention to the little details. They use only the best in organic cotton, hemp and sustainable materials such as Merino and Lamb’s wool. The second brand is fair-trade fashion label People Tree, who offer a wide range of affordable fashion forward garments with a continual offering of designer collaborations including Richard Nicholl, Jessica Ogden and Bora Aksu to name but a few. This season, to appeal to a younger audience Emma Watson of Harry Potter fame has collaborated on a range, of which I have my eye on the organic cotton blue and white stripe Breton top (only £25!).

breton-stripe-topBreton stripe top by People Tree, image courtesy of PR shots.

So, until these talented, forward thinking MA graduates gain backing and start producing their collections for real, there are options – getting less limited by the day.
The inaugural round of graduates from London College of Fashion’s new MA course entitled Fashion and the Environment, sildenafil exhibited their findings this weekend within the Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall.

P2012400Image courtesy of Rachael Oku depicting the work of Shibin Vasudevan.

The students have taken a variety of approaches to tackle their environmental concerns with the fashion industry, some more successful than others. I wasn’t totally convinced by the practicality and wearability of Shibin Vasudevan’s shirts made from the contents of a hoover bag, though they were very visually stimulating. I was really excited by a number of projects including Shibin’s as his idea was highly innovative.

handheadheartHandheadheart collection image, courtesy of Anna Maria Hesse.

Anna Maria Hesse utilised her background in knitwear and deep interest in sustainable fashion to produce a collection entitled ‘handheadheart’ that discourages consumerism. Her beautifully subtle, draped garments are made to be worn in a variety of ways – so a top is a dress is a skirt. Her thinking is thus: the more ways you can wear one garment, the less garments you need to buy, and they are timeless, the opposite of disposable fashion. Both the traceability and sourcing of the raw materials used are important to Hesse, who uses only pure alpaca wool farmed sustainably within the UK – resulting in luxuriously soft and hardwearing fibres. The resulting garments are beautiful and wearable, and most importantly have been created to last a lifetime.

handheadheart2Handheadheart collection image, courtesy of Anna Maria Hesse.

I was impressed with both the concept and design behind Julia Crew’s collection of man bags labelled i.did.nee.ken (taken from the Scottish colloquialism meaning ‘I didn’t know’). Taking a threefold approach to the design process, Julia has ensured each product fits the criteria of a) durable design b) responsible sourcing and c) sustainable lifestyle. Essentially the bags are made to last, they have a low environmental impact and they can be used as part of a sustainable lifestyle. Designed with the concerns and requirements of a cyclist in mind, the i.did.nee.ken accessories are urban, utilitarian, and feature beautiful soft leather combined with waxed canvas, with graphical touches such as the reflective material around zips – ticking every box a cyclist could ask for.

backpackBackpack courtesy of Julia Crew, photographer Sally Cole.

Another project that interested me was that of Energy Water Fashion. With an aim to create directional garments made from lovely fabrics such as Lamb’s wool and Merino, Energy Water Fashion creates garments that are naturally odour resistant therefore requiring less washing and general maintenance. The designer, Emma Rigby’s environmental concerns relate to the exorbitant figures regarding how much water we use in laundering our clothes (mentioned at length in Amelia’s magazines coverage of the LCF Centre for Sustainable Fashion’s Fashioning The Future Awards, where Emma Won the prestigious award in the Water category). Successfully designing a capsule wardrobe that offers real solutions in reducing our water consumption, there seems no end to Emma’s talents.

P2012385Emma Rigby presentation, photographed by Rachael Oku.

By staging exhibitions like this for the public, it’s good to know that Fashion colleges and indeed designers alike are addressing the need to develop more sustainable, less environmentally impacting methods. There are now a growing number of fashion labels devoted to seeking out cleaner, greener processes, which is great to see. I am continually impressed by two companies in particular whose truly sustainable approach and great designs mean consumers don’t have to choose between looking good and staying true to their environmental conscience and ethics.

Outdoor lifestyle brand Howies produce simple, functional pieces and pay attention to the little details. They use only the best in organic cotton, hemp and sustainable materials such as Merino and Lamb’s wool. The second brand is fair-trade fashion label People Tree, who offer a wide range of affordable fashion forward garments with a continual offering of designer collaborations including Richard Nicholl, Jessica Ogden and Bora Aksu to name but a few. This season, to appeal to a younger audience Emma Watson of Harry Potter fame has collaborated on a range, of which I have my eye on the organic cotton blue and white stripe Breton top (only £25!).

breton-stripe-topBreton stripe top by People Tree, image courtesy of PR shots.

So, until these talented, forward thinking MA graduates gain backing and start producing their collections for real, there are options – getting less limited by the day.
The inaugural round of graduates from London College of Fashion’s new MA course entitled Fashion and the Environment, mind exhibited their findings this weekend within the Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall.

P2012400Image courtesy of Rachael Oku depicting the work of Shibin Vasudevan.

The students have taken a variety of approaches to tackle their environmental concerns with the fashion industry, some more successful than others. I wasn’t totally convinced by the practicality and wearability of Shibin Vasudevan’s shirts made from the contents of a hoover bag, though they were very visually stimulating. I was really excited by a number of projects including Shibin’s as his idea was highly innovative.

handheadheartHandheadheart collection image, courtesy of Anna Maria Hesse.

Anna Maria Hesse utilised her background in knitwear and deep interest in sustainable fashion to produce a collection entitled ‘handheadheart’ that discourages consumerism. Her beautifully subtle, draped garments are made to be worn in a variety of ways – so a top is a dress is a skirt. Her thinking is thus: the more ways you can wear one garment, the less garments you need to buy, and they are timeless, the opposite of disposable fashion. Both the traceability and sourcing of the raw materials used are important to Hesse, who uses only pure alpaca wool farmed sustainably within the UK – resulting in luxuriously soft and hardwearing fibres. The resulting garments are beautiful and wearable, and most importantly have been created to last a lifetime.

handheadheart2Handheadheart collection image, courtesy of Anna Maria Hesse.

I was impressed with both the concept and design behind Julia Crew’s collection of man bags labelled i.did.nee.ken (taken from the Scottish colloquialism meaning ‘I didn’t know’). Taking a threefold approach to the design process, Julia has ensured each product fits the criteria of a) durable design b) responsible sourcing and c) sustainable lifestyle. Essentially the bags are made to last, they have a low environmental impact and they can be used as part of a sustainable lifestyle. Designed with the concerns and requirements of a cyclist in mind, the i.did.nee.ken accessories are urban, utilitarian, and feature beautiful soft leather combined with waxed canvas, with graphical touches such as the reflective material around zips – ticking every box a cyclist could ask for.

backpackBackpack courtesy of Julia Crew, photographer Sally Cole.

Another project that interested me was that of Energy Water Fashion. With an aim to create directional garments made from lovely fabrics such as Lamb’s wool and Merino, Energy Water Fashion creates garments that are naturally odour resistant therefore requiring less washing and general maintenance. The designer, Emma Rigby’s environmental concerns relate to the exorbitant figures regarding how much water we use in laundering our clothes (mentioned at length in Amelia’s magazines coverage of the LCF Centre for Sustainable Fashion’s Fashioning The Future Awards, where Emma Won the prestigious award in the Water category). Successfully designing a capsule wardrobe that offers real solutions in reducing our water consumption, there seems no end to Emma’s talents.

P2012385Emma Rigby presentation, photographed by Rachael Oku.

By staging exhibitions like this for the public, it’s good to know that Fashion colleges and indeed designers alike are addressing the need to develop more sustainable, less environmentally impacting methods. There are now a growing number of fashion labels devoted to seeking out cleaner, greener processes, which is great to see. I am continually impressed by two companies in particular whose truly sustainable approach and great designs mean consumers don’t have to choose between looking good and staying true to their environmental conscience and ethics.

Outdoor lifestyle brand Howies produce simple, functional pieces and pay attention to the little details. They use only the best in organic cotton, hemp and sustainable materials such as Merino and Lamb’s wool. The second brand is fair-trade fashion label People Tree, who offer a wide range of affordable fashion forward garments with a continual offering of designer collaborations including Richard Nicholl, Jessica Ogden and Bora Aksu to name but a few. This season, to appeal to a younger audience Emma Watson of Harry Potter fame has collaborated on a range, of which I have my eye on the organic cotton blue and white stripe Breton top (only £25!).

breton-stripe-topBreton stripe top by People Tree, image courtesy of PR shots.

So, until these talented, forward thinking MA graduates gain backing and start producing their collections for real, there are options – getting less limited by the day.
espalier tree fruit
Illustration by Vanessa Morris

Planting trees is EXHILERATING! So so underrated. Last Saturday I was gardening for the first time in my life at the Community Orchards project, online organised by BTCV’s Carbon Army and managed by Camden Council.  I mentioned the project briefly in my Green Gyms feature a couple of weeks ago.  BTCV have 22 dates scheduled to plant ten orchards in housing estates and sheltered housing across Camden. The project’s aim is to promote local interest in food growing and provide the opportunity for community groups to develop communal gardening projects. Gardening and growing your own food is great, prostate as I discovered, find and it doesn’t only have to be for people with their own gardens.
CIMG3845

Smiles all round.  Photo by Chris Speirs.

I went along last Saturday to Taplow Estate in Camden, to witness how the scheme works. Feeling rather worse for wear, I was convinced I’d only stay for an hour or two and then go home to sleep. Being hung-over does not exactly get you in the mood for planting community gardens. Or so I thought. Fast forward to four hours later, and I was feeling energised, ridiculously happy, surrounded by great people, and I’d planted the first tree I’ve ever planted IN MY LIFE! Everyone should try this truly underrated source of pure joy at least once in their lives, however hippy you may previously have thought that sounds. Do it in the name of food democracy, fitness, and plain old happiness. I mean it.
CIMG3839

Photo: Zofia Walczak

My first task after I’d met the group of 20-or-so volunteers, who were already busy at work, was to help in the removing of turf from one side of the green area. After this the soil was turned over and mixed with compost to get it ready for planting seeds. It is unbelievable how clueless I felt when I was given a huge heavy spade. Yes, a spade. That humble tool you’d think you’d know how to use. The others were quick to help me though and within two hours I went from total cluelessness to being able to plant a cherry tree, by myself!! My arms and back once again felt like they were getting the best workout they’ve ever had. Goodbye push-ups and weights, hello spades, forks and hoes.
CIMG3841

Photo: Zofia Walczak

Lunch was served to us by residents of the estate: delicious homemade soup and fresh baguette. I spoke to one resident, Ian, who explained that the orchard is being created on previously unused green space. He’d been pushing for the creation of garden space on the estate for four years, looking for funding, and is glad the scheme is now finally up and running. Using Taplow Estate in Camden as an example, the local gardening club are already working together to apply for grants to improve other under-utilised green spaces on the estate, and BTCV hope to be able to come back later in the year to give them a helping hand.

CIMG3846

Photo: Chris Speirs

The Community Orchards project is being managed by Camden Council, and BTCV’s Carbon Army have been commissioned to co-ordinate and facilitate the events. Camden Council have been canvassing local interest, with the key pre-requisite being that local residents take ownership of their new orchard. The Carbon Army are focusing on engaging as many residents from the local communities as possible in the preparation and planting. Local residents will also be offered follow-up training to ensure they know how to care for, prune and make the most of their new local food resource.

If you want to go along to the next session, check out the website and sign up, everyone is welcome. You won’t regret it one bit, especially on a groggy Saturday morning.

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4 Responses to “Community Orchards”

  1. Katie says:

    Hi Zofia,

    Really enjoying reading about your days out with BTCV.

    Would you mind sharing your lovely photos with the BTCV press office?

    pressoffice@btcv.org.uk

    Thanks,

    Katie

  2. Amelia says:

    Hi Katie, thank you for the positive feedback! I enjoyed the sessions, so am only writing what I genuinely thought. I have just sent you 2 emails regarding photos.
    Zofia

  3. Mei says:

    Thanks Zofia for a lovely account and photos.

    I have never done any gardening in my life but always hanker after the outdoor life! I have learnt so much just joining in with this wonderful enterprise of the Green Army the last two weeks. It is hard work digging but fun, enjoyable and also satisfying to know that we are making a difference! Have been spreading the word and hope that more people join in. Hugely recommend it!

    Mei

  4. Jenna says:

    Yeah Carbon Army! It’s extremely beneficial, to everyone.
    Shame there weren’t more people from the block.

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