Fuffabulous | New & Improved

Fufab

Hello everyone,
Fuffabulous is now new, improved and getting better, and we have only you to thank for it. Your amazing response and encouraging feedback put the wheels in motion to turn the blog into a website with a new design, more content and fresh ideas.
So presenting to you, www.fuffabulous.com! The heart and soul remain the same, the people behind are the same, but there will be more of everything that you loved about it. We still consider this a work is progress, so apologies in advance for tiny things that may have gone un-noticed. Please continue to give us your feedback and of course, the love and support that you have been very generous with so far.
Fuffabulously yours,
Rachana Nakra

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Livia Firth taking green to the red carpet

Colin Firth might be our favourite eye candy (that accent is like buttered scone to our ears), but who we admire even more is his arm candy, his wife Livia Firth. She is stunning, she is Italian, and she promotes eco-fashion. One of the most high profile faces of sustainable style, she has made it her mission to make ethical fashion the most stylish fashion proposition around. She started out by commissioning “eco-fashion designers” to create garments for her while she accompanied her husband on the red carpet. And it does take a lot conviction to pass big fashion houses in favour of smaller eco-designers and sometimes even wearing pre-owned clothes! Yes, for the Paris premiere of The King’s Speech, starring her husband Colin Firth, she famously wore an outfit made from one of his old (moth eaten) suits. Redesigned by the edgy, London based recycling brand Junky Styling, she made green look cool.

At the Paris premiere of The King's Speech in an outfit recycled from Colin Firth's old suit

At the Paris premiere of The King’s Speech in an outfit recycled from Colin Firth’s old suit

Later she started to team up with big designers for her Green Carpet Challenge (GCC). When her husband hosted the Met Ball in New York in 2011 – one of US fashion’s biggest nights – she wore a Stella McCartney jumpsuit made with organic silk and covered in reclaimed vintage beads, with a detachable skirt made of hemp. From being an ambassador for eco-fashion to starting a consultancy called Eco Age that works with brands that have sustainable and ethical practices, she also owns a store of the same name in Chiswick, west London. Here she sells everything including candles, cashmere cardigans and Italian leather handbags ‘tanned using a traditional technique based on the bark of the native chestnut tree and the mimosa flower’.

Livia Firth at the Met ball 2011, in a Stella McCartney

Livia Firth at the Met ball 2011, in a Stella McCartney

As part of GCC she also recently teamed up with Net-a-Porter. For this collaboration, Christopher Bailey, Victoria Beckham, Erdem, Christopher Kane and Roland Mouret created special pieces that conform to the GCC’s sustainability criteria, which cover social justice implications and environmental impact throughout production. And for every piece sold, Net-a-Porter will donate a percentage to (RED), which aims to eradicate the transition of HIV from mother to child.

In a reworked wedding dress with a slim black belt, at the Golden Globes 2010

In a reworked wedding dress with a slim black belt, at the Golden Globes 2010

Shopping for clothes that she intends to wear again and again, and recycling pre-owned clothes while styling them reflect herself are some of her sustainability mantras. These is also the essence of Fuffabulous, which is why we love Livia Firth and are always looking forward to what she is up to in the world of sustainable style.

Payal Singhal cushion covers and Anita Dongre table runners? Soon!

We at Fuffabulous love initiatives like ours that acknowledge fashion waste and do something creative with it. Mana Shetty has already been doing great things with the non-profit organisation Save the Children India. This also includes vocational training programs for women, and for one of the projects under this program women and girls are trained to create products for retail some of which are then sold at Araaish, a multi-designer fashion exhibition organised by Mana.

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This year, along with IMG Reliance and Lakme Fashion Week, Mana introduced the Fashion Upcycled initiative that will source excess raw materials from fashion designers to make products such as batwas, cushion covers, trays, table runners etc. The proceeds from the sale of these products will be used to work with underprivileged women and children.

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We met Mana at Araaish last week and she told us how most designers she has spoken to are happy to participate in this project. “I can even take small pieces of cloth or extra borders etc, which usually just get thrown away and use them to make beautiful products,” she says. Before launching this initiative Mana had to buy the fabrics from stores.

Mana Shetty

Mana Shetty

At the moment designers such as Anita Dongre, Nishka Lulla and Payal Singhal have agreed to support the cause and many more big names are expected to participate. “We can even name the collection after the designers. Being Sunil’s wife is a passport into this world, and I am using it to do the right things!”

We think so too. And really, who wouldn’t like a piece of Sabya or Payal Singhal in the drawing rooms?  

It’s all in the past

What with The Great Gatsby being the movie of the moment and Nicole Kidman promoting her turn as Grace Kelly at Cannes 2013 for her upcoming big ticket film, period themes and vintage fashion are making a comeback once again. As is prone to happen every few years (Mad Men and Downton Abbey are still people’s most watched TV shows). From the fascinating stories of the 20s to the exciting fashion of the 60s, the themes are strong enough to never really get boring as often as they might be repeated.

The three bloggers who form the Vintage Mafia

The three bloggers who form the Vintage Mafia

Our fascination with the past continues to inspire our present. But there are people who prefer to actually live in the past, at least sartorially speaking. Heard of The Vintage Mafia? No, it’s not a posse dedicated to committing old-fashioned crime, these are women who prefer dresses to skinny denim and red lipstick to bronzer. Their nefarious activities include organising events and sales for other vintage aficionados and drinking lots of gin. If you like flip flops and studded totes, don’t sign up. Updos with back rolls, Lucile Ball lips and retro dresses, these women notch up the glamour quotient every time they step out. From 20s to the 60s their love of everything vintage has become the theme of their lives which they document on their individual blogs – Yesterday Girl and Diary of a Vintage Girl.

Fleur de Guerre of the Diary of a Vintage Girl

Fleur de Guerre of the Diary of a Vintage Girl

Besides shopping at vintage stores and going for afternoon teas, they have made a career out of their love for the past as stylists, writers, event organisers and even in fashion design. The Vintage Mafia group includes only three of the many vintage loving bloggers around the world, although not all of them go to the extreme of adopting the style of the past on a regular basis. Just a Google search for vintage blogs will lead you many, many more. So if you want inspiration for your vintage look (or just have fun), read these women who have dedicated their lives to it in an entirely creative way.

Yesterday Girl chanelling Joan Holloway of Mad Men

Yesterday Girl chanelling Joan Holloway of Mad Men

Going green with love

It has been almost three weeks since the Bangladesh tragedy, where more than 1000 workers in a garment factory were killed. This is the not first horrific incident of this kind to have happened in a garment manufacturing unit in the country, but it is the deadliest disaster to hit the garment industry in Bangladesh that is worth $20 billion annually and supplies global retailers.

The cost of cheap fashion is getting unbearably high and this probably might work as the final trigger for the fashion industry to take the measures necessary to avoid any such tragedies in the future. In fact, as this story reports, H&M, C&A, Primark and Inditex, owner of the Zara chain, said they would sign a five-year contract that requires companies to conduct safety inspections, make factory conditions public and cover the costs for repairs. It also calls for them to stop doing business with any factory that refuses to make safety upgrades.

As the debate about ethics in the industry gains further momentum, it would also be the right time to discuss international brands that have adopted ethical and sustainable practices as a core philosophy for their brands. These are brands and designers that are trying to make a positive difference through fashion, and without any compromise on quality or style. Here are our 5 picks:

1. Stella Mc Cartney: “I design clothes that are meant to last. I believe in creating pieces that aren’t going to get burned, that aren’t going to landfills, that aren’t going to damage the environment,” says Stella Mc Cartney. One of the first designers to adopt the ethical and eco-friendly approach to manufacturing fashion, she made sustainable fashion a serious business. And she made it chic. Mc Cartney’s animal-friendly (no leather, no fur) designs and healthy-living attitude extends into her offices and studios in the UK that are powered by wind energy and abroad, they use renewable energy to power their stores and offices and a large part of their operations are run on 100% renewable, green energy. Read more at www.stellamccartney.com.

Fashion designer Stella Mc Cartney

Fashion designer Stella Mc Cartney

2. Edun:  Launched in 2005 by Ali Hewson and her husband, U2 singer Bono, this brand works to bring about positive change through its trading relationship with Africa. In 2009, LVMH bought a significant stake in EDUN and provides essential support, investment and infrastructure. As a 100 percent African “grow-to-sew initiative”, the brand’s sister line E Live has produced 700,000 African made T-shirts. In 2012, Diesel and Edun joined forces to further apparel trade and development in Africa and Diesel+EDUN was born. Learn more about their work at www.edun.com.

EDUN, Made in Africa

EDUN, Made in Africa

3. Toms: Toms ‘one for one’ concept is one of the most popular charitable initiatives take on by a fashion brand. When Toms sells a pair of shoes a pair of shoes is given to an impoverished child, and when Toms sells a pair of eye-wear, part of the profit is used to save or restore the eyesight for people in developing countries. Gives you a good reason to splurge on their signature espadrilles. Read more about their work at www.toms.com.

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4. People Tree: Designer collaborations with Thakoon and Bora Aksu are just some of the highlights, People Tree manages to achieve design excellence and embrace a green ethic with style. The company aims to use only organic and Fairtrade cotton, natural dyes, sources locally where possible and chooses recycled products. Their fairtrade initiatives span 20 developing countries. Learn more at www.peopletree.co.uk.

people tree

5. Marks and Spencer: The brand has been a pioneer in the sustainable approach when it comes to the high street. They introduced the ‘Shwopping’ initiative with Oxfam that allows shoppers to donate an unwanted item of clothing that will go on to be re-sold in Oxfam, re-used or recycled, cutting waste while raising funds for the charity. Their sustainable men’s suit uses components such as linings made from recycled PET bottle polyester from a hi-tech processing plant in Japan, recycled polyester zips, reclaimed pocket linings (surplus from their own production lines) and reclaimed stray buttons which would otherwise end up in landfill. Read more at marksandspencer.com/Shwop

A street transformed using 10,000 items of discarded clothing, during the launch of the Marks & Spencer initiative

A street transformed using 10,000 items of discarded clothing, during the launch of the Marks & Spencer initiative

H&M, finally! But will it mean more young people dressed alike?

Hennes & Mauritz plans to spend around 100 million euros ($130 million) on an initial 50 stores in India.

Read the full story here: http://www.businessoffashion.com/2013/04/hm-prepares-130-million-drive-to-crack-indian-market.html

So what happened when Zara launched in India? Running into people wearing the same jackets, dresses etc became routine, you knew exactly the place everyone was shopping. Although fast fashion gives us access to cheaper and trendy clothes, it tends to take away individuality and uniqueness in dressing.

H&M flagship in New York, source NY Mag

H&M flagship in New York, source NY Mag

In countries like the UK you have a lot more brands on the high street, which is why even though people are shopping at the same places you can create an individual look with separates. Even so, last season when the camouflage print was popular, I often spotted at least five people on Oxford Street wearing the Zara camouflage studded shirt or the checkered studded shirts. Remember those?

But this is where vintage comes in. My friends in Europe, who don’t want to look like walking ads for Zara or H&M or River Island, scour vintage stores and markets for one-of-a-kind pieces (available at high street prices) and stand apart from the crowd. The most interestingly dressed folks were the ones mixing it up with vintage, high street and key luxury pieces. And like I keep talking about, vintage shopping is necessary to  help reduce wastage, an inevitable result of fast fashion.

PS: H&M has some really cool brands like Monki and Cos. Cannot wait for them to bring in Cos – with their impeccable tailoring and easy to wear, unique styles it is one of my favourite brands!

Cos collection

Cos collection

Cos collection

Cos collection

How social enterprise can succeed in the world of high fashion

The Guardian has written about Cameron Saul, a social entrepreneur operating in the world of high fashion. His father is the founder of the brand Mulberry and Saul has co-founded the handbag brand Bottletop, an unusual product combined with an ethical backstory. Read the full story here:

http://socialenterprise.guardian.co.uk/en/articles/social-enterprise-network/2013/apr/23/social-enterprise-world-fashion

Bottletop bags are selling well at Harrods and Liberty, London

Bottletop bags are selling well at Harrods and Liberty, London

Crespi points out that as much as 50% of negative environmental impact from the fashion industry comes after purchase. “Washing garments at high temperatures, or dry cleaning them, and then throwing them in the bin when you’re done, can be really harmful to the environment. I like to educate my clients on how they can purchase, care and wear more sustainably.”

This is something I have spoken about in this blog as well. The money you spend on the garment you wear once is only one concern, the rest comes in the form of the environmental price you pay for ‘fast’ fashion.

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Zara Accused Of Using Sweatshops

ZARA has been accused of producing clothes in “degrading” Argentinian sweatshop conditions, following a new investigation. The mainly Bolivian employees said that they were made to work more than 13 hours a day and could not leave the factory without permission.

Read the full story on: http://www.vogue.co.uk/news/2013/04/04/zara-faces-sweatshop-allegations-in-argentina

Could it be true??