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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

From Somewhere: Upcycled Fashion from Orsola de Castro

A pioneer of ethical fashion design, Orsola de Castro has been recycling fabrics since 1997. Here's a taster of her interview with me in Amelia's Compendium of Fashion Illustration. Featuring images of her fabulous new Speedo collection for S/S 2011.

Written by Amelia Gregory

Abby Wright Fifi Bijoux rutile quartz
You were one of the first jewellery designers to take an ethical stance on manufacturing of high end jewellery in the UK. What have you achieved?
I set up the British Ethical Jewellery Association to create a set of auditable ethical standards for the industry. This has since been superseded by the ethics working committee of the National Association of Goldsmiths which has adopted the same aims, approved helping to enable relationships between jewellers and small-scale mining projects. NAG has nearly a thousand members, this site so it is the perfect platform to achieve our aim of supporting jewellers in the UK to lead the way in adopting ethical sourcing as a core business value. In the UK there is a real will to embrace better ethical practices and a fairtraded logo for jewellery will be agreed on shortly.

Have you seen much change in the industry since you started Fifi Bijoux?
The most remarkable change has come from gem and diamond-producing countries such as Tanzania, Madagascar and Namibia, who are now cutting and polishing the gems before export. This represents a huge shift in technical skills and economics since a large percentage of a gem’s value is added at this stage. The lapidary art of stone cutting requires a high degree of technical and scientific expertise in order to create the sophisticated facets expected by western customers, and this can be provided by modern lasers. Gravity mining provides a relatively low impact solution for gold extraction. It is really important that producers in developing countries are able to access markets and this is where organisations such as the Fairtrade Foundation and membership bodies like NAG can create quantum shifts; an individual jeweller may struggle with the process of sourcing gold, exporting it from a developing country, refining it and processing it into a usable material to create jewellery. However, by acting collectively with support resources in place, this becomes considerably less daunting.

Read the rest of this interview with Fifi Bijoux in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, alongside interviews with 44 other ethical fashion designers and 30 fabulous fashion illustrators. You can buy the book here.
Abby Wright Fifi Bijoux rutile quartz
Rutile quartz jewellery by Fifi Bijoux. Illustrated by Abby Wright.

You were one of the first jewellery designers to take an ethical stance on manufacturing of high end jewellery in the UK. What have you achieved?
I set up the British Ethical Jewellery Association to create a set of auditable ethical standards for the industry. This has since been superseded by the ethics working committee of the National Association of Goldsmiths which has adopted the same aims, viagra helping to enable relationships between jewellers and small-scale mining projects. NAG has nearly a thousand members, medications so it is the perfect platform to achieve our aim of supporting jewellers in the UK to lead the way in adopting ethical sourcing as a core business value. In the UK there is a real will to embrace better ethical practices and a fairtraded logo for jewellery will be agreed on shortly.

Have you seen much change in the industry since you started Fifi Bijoux?
The most remarkable change has come from gem and diamond-producing countries such as Tanzania, Madagascar and Namibia, who are now cutting and polishing the gems before export. This represents a huge shift in technical skills and economics since a large percentage of a gem’s value is added at this stage. The lapidary art of stone cutting requires a high degree of technical and scientific expertise in order to create the sophisticated facets expected by western customers, and this can be provided by modern lasers. Gravity mining provides a relatively low impact solution for gold extraction. It is really important that producers in developing countries are able to access markets and this is where organisations such as the Fairtrade Foundation and membership bodies like NAG can create quantum shifts; an individual jeweller may struggle with the process of sourcing gold, exporting it from a developing country, refining it and processing it into a usable material to create jewellery. However, by acting collectively with support resources in place, this becomes considerably less daunting.

Read the rest of this interview with Fifi Bijoux in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, alongside interviews with 44 other ethical fashion designers and 30 fabulous fashion illustrators. You can buy the book here.
Abby Wright Fifi Bijoux rutile quartz
Rutile quartz jewellery by Fifi Bijoux. Illustrated by Abby Wright.

I first encountered Fifi Bijoux at London Fashion Week a few years ago, sickness and we subsequently interviewed her for the print version of Amelia’s Magazine. Since then she’s achieved an amazing amount in ethical jewellery production…

You were one of the first jewellery designers to take an ethical stance on manufacturing of high end jewellery in the UK. What have you achieved?
I set up the British Ethical Jewellery Association to create a set of auditable ethical standards for the industry. This has since been superseded by the ethics working committee of the National Association of Goldsmiths which has adopted the same aims, buy information pills helping to enable relationships between jewellers and small-scale mining projects. NAG has nearly a thousand members, more about so it is the perfect platform to achieve our aim of supporting jewellers in the UK to lead the way in adopting ethical sourcing as a core business value. In the UK there is a real will to embrace better ethical practices and a fairtraded logo for jewellery will be agreed on shortly.

Have you seen much change in the industry since you started Fifi Bijoux?
The most remarkable change has come from gem and diamond-producing countries such as Tanzania, Madagascar and Namibia, who are now cutting and polishing the gems before export. This represents a huge shift in technical skills and economics since a large percentage of a gem’s value is added at this stage. The lapidary art of stone cutting requires a high degree of technical and scientific expertise in order to create the sophisticated facets expected by western customers, and this can be provided by modern lasers. Gravity mining provides a relatively low impact solution for gold extraction. It is really important that producers in developing countries are able to access markets and this is where organisations such as the Fairtrade Foundation and membership bodies like NAG can create quantum shifts; an individual jeweller may struggle with the process of sourcing gold, exporting it from a developing country, refining it and processing it into a usable material to create jewellery. However, by acting collectively with support resources in place, this becomes considerably less daunting.

Read the rest of this interview with Fifi Bijoux in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, alongside interviews with 44 other ethical fashion designers and 30 fabulous fashion illustrators. You can buy the book here.
Joana Faria_Emma Ware_S-S 2011
Emma Ware by Joana Faria.

Jewellery from tyres.
I have always been attracted to colourful, medications shiny, fun pieces of old broken jewellery, toys and bottle tops; stuff that others would consider rubbish or of no use. It doesn’t make ecological or economic sense to manufacture new materials when there is so much out there already. Reusing materials changes the way you design because it forces you to work within the limits of the material you have and I am constantly on the lookout for new waste materials to use. One day my friend had a puncture, and seeing potential in the rubber ring of the inner tube I had a go at chopping it up and immediately knew I was onto something.

Elegance in rubber.
I create designs based on what the rubber wants me to do, playing with the natural shapes when it is cut up in different ways. Making repetitive cuts in graduated sizes of inner tubes rings seems to result in designs that imitate naturally occurring organic patterns; similar to those found in wings, feathers, leaves, shells or even waves. My signature pieces are based on cutting the tube in a specific way, from which I figure out how I can make something to complement the human form…

Read the rest of this interview with Emma Ware in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, alongside interviews with 44 other ethical fashion designers and 30 fabulous fashion illustrators. You can buy the book here.
From Somewhere Speedo Collection S/S 2011by Rachel de Ste. Croix
From Somewhere Speedo Collection S/S 2011 by Rachel de Ste. Croix.

You were one of the first fashion designers to embrace sustainability, this web way back in 1997. What prompted you to design in this way?
Back then it was not about the planet. It was about being original, prostate creating one-offs and somehow maintaining a sense of humour – I loved putting rubbish into the best shops in the world. Eventually, as we progressed and realised how much was being dumped, both by the consumer and by the fashion and textile industry, it became an environmental issue – a design solution to an environmental problem.

From Somewhere Speedo Collection S/S 2011 by Rachel de Ste. Croix.
From Somewhere Speedo Collection S/S 2011 by Rachel de Ste. Croix.

How has the process of designing sustainably changed over the years?
When we discovered pre-consumer waste – offcuts, proofs, colour charts, damaged fabrics and end-of-line stock – design immediately became more challenging because we were no longer just customising anymore. It radically changed the quality of our garments and our capacity to fulfil bigger orders, thus reaching more shops, many internationally.

Read the rest of this interview and see more illustrations of From Somewhere’s clothing in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, alongside interviews with 44 other ethical fashion designers and 30 fabulous fashion illustrators. You can buy the book here.

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