Fashion says 'Me too', and style says 'Only me'.
~ Geraldine Stutz (August 5, 1924 - April 8, 2005)
Have you ever wondered what your local neighbourhood would look like without small boutiques, cafes, hairdressers, bakeries, barbers, restaurants, newsagents, delis, nick-knack shops and the likes?
I get it! Your preferred shopping mall offers all the conveniences under one roof. All the big brand label stores, the fast-food courts and a department store or two stocking everything you can think of and then some.
Actually, NO! I don’t get it!
All these (mega) malls try to outdo each other by becoming the next biggest and most upmarket but there really is little or no variety between one mall and the next. Every mall hosts the same big name retail brands stocking the same items and products. Where is the variety? Do we all want to look and buy the same? What’s more, where do you think the money you spend at a mall goes to? Local employment wages aside, ultimately the largest part of every dollar you spend at a mall goes to the corporations and their shareholders, which often means your money disappears overseas.
Instead of driving to a mall to support shareholders, I shop at and support the small and independent businesses in my area. Here are some reasons why:
Locally owned businesses build strong communities by sustaining vibrant town centres, linking neighbours in a web of economic and social relationships, and contributing to local causes.
A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based, not on a national sales plan, but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, guarantees a much broader range of product choices and variety.
Keeping Dollars in the Local Economy
Compared to chain stores, locally owned businesses recycle a much larger share of their revenue back into the local economy, enriching the whole community.
Local Character and Prosperity
In an increasingly homogenised world, communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character have an economic advantage.
Local ownership ensures that important decisions are made locally by people who live in the community and who will feel the impacts of those decisions.
Public Benefits and Costs
Local stores in town centres require comparatively little infrastructure and make more efficient use of public services relative to big box stores and (mega) shopping malls.
Local stores help to sustain vibrant, compact, walkable town centres, which in turn are essential to reducing urban sprawl, car use, habitat loss, and air and water pollution.
A marketplace of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation, variety and competitive prices over the long-term.
Entrepreneurship and small businesses fuel Australia’s economic innovation and prosperity, and serve as a key means for families to move out of low-wage jobs and into the middle class.
Job and Wages
Locally owned businesses create more jobs locally and, in some sectors, provide better wages and benefits than chains do.
Keep the soul of your unique community alive and take up the cause of supporting your local small businesses.
Polyester Gets a High-End Makeover
Man-made fibers—including, yes, polyester—are an increasingly important component of high fashion. Polyester remains a dirty word to most people, so designers cloak non-natural textiles in euphemisms like “technical fabric.” Christina Binkley has details. (courtesy of WSJ.com)
The New High-End Eco Fabric
Demand for high quality recycled polyester is now outstripping supply, thanks to growing use by diverse brands such as Armani, H&M, Patagonia and Esprit, which are using the material in an increasingly diverse range of applications. The opinion of the fashion world seems unanimous - fashion retailers across the world have expressed optimism about the recycled polyester fibre market.
Recovery and recycling of polyester provides important environmental benefits that cannot be overlooked. Textiles present particular problems in landfills, as synthetic fibres will not decompose, while woollen garments decompose and produce methane, which contributes to global warming. Recycling polyester significantly reduces the need for landfill space in this capacity. Recycled polyester also reduces pressure on virgin resources and results in less pollution, as fibres do not have to be manufactured or transported from abroad.
Polyester textile recycling has been developed using the clear plastic water bottles, or PET as the raw material. The most common form of textiles made using recycled polyester is fleece, a knitted pile fabric often used by outdoor clothing companies to make jackets. Patagonia are the most well-known promoters of polyester recycling and have partnered up with Teijin, a Japanese company who have developed their own closed-loop polyester recycling system.
Fabrics made from recycled items are now becoming more commonplace, with recycled polyester made from recycled drinks bottles now being made by companies such as Marks and Spencer, EcoSimple and Armani jeans.
Armani have been incorporating eco fabrics and design since the mid 90’s. Their first eco project started in 1995 with the development of a process to recycle denim. This was revolutionary for the time and the jeans were displayed at the Science and Technology Museum of Milan. Later that year, Armani Jeans developed new materials using 60% recycled wool and recycled cross dyed cotton and introduced hemp eco washes into the collection. This experimentation has continued with the production of an organic knitwear range, the use of pure alpaca and the engagement with fair-trade cotton projects in Peru and Bolivia and recycled polyester.
EcoSimple is another company whose fabrics are a blend of recycled cotton and RPET, which is made from plastic bottles. These fabrics are available in a rich assortment of hues, and seamlessly combine beauty and functionality while supporting environmentally- and socially-responsible business practices. EcoSimple’s fabrics are impressive examples of how eco-friendly textile production and incredible design are not mutually exclusive. Along with a growing number of clothing manufacturers, they have made a commitment to innovation, social responsibility, and high-quality fabrics that draws conscientious designers the world over.
(courtesy of Le | Souk)
In Australia, Mother's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May. The tradition of giving gifts to mothers on Mother's Day in Australia was started by Janet Heyden, a resident of Leichhardt, Sydney, in 1924. She began the tradition during a visit to a patient at the Newington State Home for Women, where she met many lonely and forgotten mothers. To cheer them up, she rounded up support from local schoolchildren and businesses to donate and bring gifts to the women. Every year thereafter, Mrs. Heyden raised increasing support for the project from local businesses and even the local Mayor. The day has since become commercialised. Traditionally, the chrysanthemum is given to mothers for Mother's Day as the flower is naturally in season during May and ends in "mum". Men often used to wear a chrysanthemum in their lapels in honour of their mothers, a practice sadly discontinued in the modern age.
The origin of Mother's Day goes back to the era of ancient Greeks and Romans. But the roots of Mother's Day history can also be traced in UK where a Mothering Sunday was celebrated much before the festival saw the light of day in Australia. However, the celebration of the festival as it is seen today is a recent phenomenon and not even a hundred years old.
It is thanks to the hard work of the pioneering women of their times, Julia Ward Howe and Anna Jarvis, that the day came into existence. Today the festival of Mother’s Day is celebrated across 46 countries (though on different dates) and is a hugely popular affair. Millions of people across the globe take the day as an opportunity to honour their mothers, thank them for their efforts in giving them life, raising them and being their constant support and well-wisher.
Earliest History of Mother's Day
The earliest history of Mother's Day dates back to the ancient annual spring festival the Greeks dedicated to maternal goddesses. The Greeks used the occasion to honour Rhea, wife of Cronus and the mother of many deities of Greek mythology.
Ancient Romans, too, celebrated a spring festival, called Hilaria dedicated to Cybele, a mother goddess. It may be noted that ceremonies in honour of Cybele began some 250 years before Christ was born. The celebration made on the Ides of March by making offerings in the temple of Cybele lasted for three days and included parades, games and masquerades. The celebrations were notorious enough that followers of Cybele were banished from Rome.
Early Christians celebrated a Mother's Day of sorts during the festival on the fourth Sunday of Lent in honour of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Christ. In England, the holiday was expanded to include all mothers. It was then called Mothering Sunday.
Present Day Celebrations
Nowadays, Mother’s Day is celebrated in several countries including US, UK, India, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Turkey, Australia, Mexico, Canada, China, Japan and the Netherlands. People take the day as an opportunity to pay tribute to their mothers and thank them for all their love and support. The day has become hugely popular and in several countries phone lines witness maximum traffic. There is also a tradition of gifting flowers, cards and others gift to mothers on this day. The festival has become commercialised to a great extent. Florists, card manufacturers and gift sellers see huge business potential and make good money through a rigorous advertising campaign
Here’s to all mothers around the world!
"I have always believed that fashion was not made only to make women more beautiful, but also to reassure them, give them confidence." ~ YSL
Linen is a natural fabric, from the flax (linseed) plant - made into clothing; it has a well-earned reputation for its exceptional coolness and freshness in hot weather. It is currently going through a renaissance as people become aware of its properties and seek an alternative to unfashionable and un-eco-friendly garments using made-made fibres. It also has certain cachet in fashion circles and is seen as a high-grade alternative to cotton.
Linen is the oldest fabric known; the flax plant from which it comes is easy to cultivate and was used to make the oldest fabrics ever found. It is the fabric that put the “lin” in “lingerie” and “lining”.
The wrinkling of linen has long been admired and exploited in fashion. The word textile is derived from the Latin word meaning “Touch” and linen is considered one of the most tactile textiles. The tendency to wrinkle is often considered part of the fabric's particular "charm", and many modern linen garments are designed to be air dried on a good hanger and worn without the necessity of ironing. Fabric in fashion is all about texture and many designers use linen specifically for its "crumpled" effect and rough texture similar to that achieved with silk.
People often associate linen with a course texture – this is not necessarily the case, although in fashion texture is all-important; a characteristic often associated with contemporary linen yarn is the presence of "slubs", or small knots, which occur randomly along its length. However, these are actually defects associated with lesser quality fabric; the finest linen has very consistent diameter threads, without slubs.
Linen is very versatile and is much stronger than cotton yet can be very soft.
Linen allows more airflow and its structure means it stays away from your skin allowing better air circulation over your body, it is a “stiff” fabric and is less likely to cling to the skin; when it billows away, it tends to dry out and become cool quickly.
Linen is highly absorbent and a good conductor of heat, linen fabric feels cool to the touch and it will quickly remove perspiration from the skin. Linen is “hygroscopic”; it is capable of absorbing moisture and then and quickly yielding it again. Linen cloth can absorb as much as 20% of its dry weight before giving a feeling of being damp or wet. This means that it will absorb a lot of perspiration and it is unlikely you will ever feel the fabric is clammy. Water is absorbed quickly and evaporated quickly. This makes the fabric itself an excellent cooling system. All these properties allow linen to function well in very hot and humid conditions significantly alleviating the effects of the heat and humidity on the wearer.
It is said that in hot weather people wearing linen clothes have been found to show a skin temperature of 3°- 4°C below that of those similarly dressed in silk or cotton.
Linen is among the strongest of the vegetable fibres, with 2 to 3 times the strength of cotton. Linen is a durable fibre, as is two-three times as strong as cotton. It is second in strength to silk. You pay a little extra for linen but it will very likely outlast all your other clothes.
The more linen is washed the softer and smoother it becomes, so it is not abrasive to the skin.
Linen has natural antibacterial properties and that is why it is used in medicine. It also acts against the bacteria that make you smell.
As linen is produced in lower quantities than many other fabrics and can be more difficult to manufacture, it tends to be relatively expensive – however, it is worth every penny when you take into account its resilience and longevity.
Linen is above all a natural fibre, even the growing of flax is less environmentally damaging than cotton and petrochemical based fibres.
All clothing worn in a tropical climate needs to fit well – not too tight and with room for the body to move and breathe properly. Long-flowing, loose-fitting linen garments with long legs and sleeves actually keep you cooler than shorts.
Laundering linen is easy; you can wash linen as hard as you like, but it does not really grab hold of dirt or stains so you will find it washes easily even in cold water and dries quickly. Beware though, new linen shrinks.
Linen has poor elasticity and does not spring back readily, explaining why it wrinkles so easily. Constant creasing, especially with starch, in the same place in sharp folds will tend to break the linen threads. This wear can show up in collars, hems, and any area that is iron creased regularly during laundering.
Linen clothing is timeless and a wardrobe staple.