Friday, July 16, 2010

BioCouture: U.K. Designer “Grows” an Entire Wardrobe From Bacteria

I came across this article on ecouterre site by Jasmin Malik Chua, , found it very fascinating,  super interesting and my dear friend Rachel send it to me from Denmark as she could not believe it. See and read for yourself.

 Suzanne Lee can conjure clothing out of thin air. No, wait, that’s not entirely accurate. She’ll need at least a couple of bathtubs, some yeast, a pinch of bacteria, and several cups of sweetened green tea. Lee, who is a senior research fellow at the School of Fashion & Textiles at Central Saint Martins in London, is the brains (and brawn) behind BioCouture, an experiment in growing garments from the same microbes that ferment the tasty caffeinated beverage.

 The ruffle-embellished jacket is the latest addition to Lee’s kooky collection of biofilm wearables, all of which can be swiftly composted when they wear out.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

How Eco-Friendly is Bamboo Fabric, Really?

Bamboo is the fastest-growing woody plant in the world, capable of growing up to four feet a day. Most of it is grown organically (though very little is certified organic), and in most locations requires no irrigation or fertilizers. There are some concerns about its use, namely depleting natural bamboo habitats (for pandas) and clearing forests for bamboo plantations. But for the most part, the growing of bamboo can be considered sustainable. Fabric made from bamboo, however, is more controversial.


Bamboo stalks contain bast fibers that can be processed into a relatively stiff and rough fabric like flax (linen) or hemp. Most bamboo fabric in the market, however, has a smooth, silky hand that feels similar to rayon—because that’s essentially what it is.

Most bamboo fabric has a smooth hand that feels like rayon—because that’s essentially what it is.

Rayon is a regenerated cellulose fiber, which means that a natural raw material is converted through a chemical process into a fiber that falls into a category between naturals and synthetics. The source of cellulose can be wood, paper, cotton fiber, or in this case bamboo.


Patagonia’s material developers have been investigating bamboo since 2003, but since almost all available bamboo fabric is made using the viscose process, we don’t use bamboo fabric in our product line. We’re aware of some linen-type bamboo fabric that is processed as bast
fiber, but currently we’re not using it because we have hemp fabrics that perform well in this type of application.
The appeal of bamboo fabric is usually the drape and the hand that is a product of the viscose-type chemical processing. We’ve searched for an alternative fabric with these attributes, but with less harm to the environment.

Tencel is also a regenerated cellulose fiber, but processed with a nontoxic spinning solvent in a closed-loop system.
Read more here via

Friday, July 9, 2010

Trip to Philly-Umbrellas pick-up

Dutch Umbrella in Philly have been supporting our  work very closely. Not only we will be making totes from their own discarded umbrellas, they also did conduct an Umbrella drive during the month of June, Independent Retail Week for HIMANE.
My visit to Philly on June 18th 
In Karen Rostmeyer words:
Catherine Charlot of Himane takes time before heading back to NYC to breakdown the nearly 100 umbrellas Dutch Umbrella donated during Independent Retail Week in Philadelphia. I was amazed at how quickly she could break them down!
What  I do with your "retired" Umbrellas materials among other things.
If you are in Philly and would like to donate your old umbrella, contact Dutch Umbrella or you can do exactly that "see below".
Dutch Umbrella
In Philadelphia we'll collect your broken umbrella and get it to Himane. Just leave it at a RainDrop and we'll take it with us when we restock at the beginning of every month.
Those little guys from the umbrellas are also recycled and reused as accessories/art items in many different ways.

Support our effort and let's recycle together. Before putting this old umbrella into the trash can, think about the environment and our landfills.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

17-Year-Old Former Refugee Turns Spent Bullets into Pro-Peace Jewelry

Beautiful girl, great and smart ideas. So proud of her. Turn the bad things into something good!
Read full story below.

Out of ashes comes new life and Lovetta Conto, who grew up in Ghanaian refugee camp, knows that better than most. She was only 18 months old when she fled her native Liberia with her father to escape its civil war. When she turned five, they reached Ghana, where she spent the next nine years living with with 47,000 other people. At 14, she left her father and moved to America as part of the Strongheart Fellowship Program. Now 17, Conto makes jewelry using the spent casings of bullets fired during the same civil war she escaped.


Despite a difficult upbringing that frequently included going without food and water, Conto always harbored aspirations of becoming a fashion designer. With help from the Austin-based Strongheart Foundation, notably founder Cori Stern, who spent two years getting her a U.S. visa, Conto is now designing her own line.

“Akawalle,” which translates into “also known as love,” uses spent bullet casings from the Liberian civil war.

Named “Akawelle,”, which translates to “also known as love,” Conto’s collection includes bullets that were used in Liberia during its civil war. The top of the bullet is is melted down and refashioned into a leaf-shaped pendant, which Conto engraves with the word “Life” to symbolize the promise of new life arising from even the worst hardship. The bullet’s bottom is filed and strung on a chain like a bead.
Proceeds from each necklace benefits the Strongheart House, a safe house in Robertsport, Liberia, for gifted youngsters from the developing world who are displaced by war or other circumstance. “I wanted to keep the memory of my people alive,” Conto says. “Everything I was doing, I had in the back of my mind ‘I can use this money to help the other people who are left behind: kids whose parents died in the war or kids who don’t have the opportunity I had.’”

+ Akawelle
[Via CNN]