Dreams Vs Reality: Kelpman Textile Sustainable Wool Coats

Hailing from Estonia, textile designer Mare Kelpman creates thick blanket-like wool coats that warm up even in the coldest nights of Nordic winter. Kelpman Textile’s latest collection Sophy combines sustainable design, architectural elegance and Nordic simplicity. Her unique patterns laced with asymmetry and artistic colour combinations are beautifully eye-catching. What inspires such magnificent design?, we ask. 

Words: Johanna Raudsepp

Sophy collection wool coats by Kelpman Textile, 2016. 

Sophy collection wool coats by Kelpman Textile, 2016. 

We love seeing designers with an eco-friendly approach cropping up in the Scandinavian region, but we must admit this way of looking at design has not conquered the world yet. Why have you chosen to pursue sustainable approach in textile design?

For a while I taught at the Estonian Academy of Arts and I always urged my students to think what to do and how to execute it. [I’ve always advised students that] if you don’t have a sustainable idea, then seriously consider, if it’s worth creating at all. Following this path is pricey, which is why it’s marginal – the profit won’t be great nor happen fast. The way I see it, for me there is simply no other way – the joy from creating is far more important than the profit you make. I don’t see any reason to overwhelm the world with even more synthetic things.

Sophy collection wool coats by Kelpman Textile, 2016. 

Sophy collection wool coats by Kelpman Textile, 2016. 

What are the setbacks you have experienced following the sustainable route? 

I can’t say that I have. More or less so, I have encountered the expected issues of having a small business and finding the right partners, who are flexible to fulfil orders of all sizes. In Estonia, my products were initially received with jaws dropped– what do you mean you’re making wool clothing? Where’s the glamour and affluence usually en vogue in the local fashion scene? I exhibited my products at many foreign fairs and finally got the reassurance I’m doing the right thing. Now I’ve realised that small businesses emphasising natural textiles are emerging, too. 

What inspires you in creating different textiles?

 Primarily the people who I create for in my head. I feel like I know my potential client quite well. However, focusing only on the commercial side doesn’t work either. I am inspired by rhythms and colours from nature and architecture. What really drives me is conquering technological challenges. You can dream of different fabrics and structures all you want, but it really comes down to the technical ability of the partners. Creating textiles requires a compromise between dreams and reality.

“The joy from creating is far more important than the profit you make.”

What material do enjoy working with the most?

 Right now, my favourite is wool, as you can see from my product range. But every material can be challenging to work with, if you choose the right approach. For example, in the summer season I reach for linen and a little bit of silk as well. Wool is a material for which you don’t have to kill or exhaust dry land, as sheep require shearing. Since I only work with European materials, I know where and how the yarn is created, in what conditions and I can be sure that it’s also certified. I produce all my products and fabrics in Europe and I know those small factories well.

Creating textiles requires a compromise between dreams and reality.”

Sophy collection wool coats by Kelpman Textile, 2016. 

Sophy collection wool coats by Kelpman Textile, 2016. 

If you had to compare your design to a natural phenomenon, what would it be and why?

Perhaps the refreshing morning dew before a hot day. Freshens the air.

What can we look forward to in 2017?

Hopefully great execution of some fresh ideas. A year ago, I didn’t even plan on having my own store. Now that has been set up and gotten a lot of positive feedback. I like to let life surprise me and am open to new challenges on the way. 

Find Mare Kelpman's designs in Tallinn, Estonia, at the Kelpman Textile store, or online at www.marekelpman.eu.

By Signe: A Danish Brand + Women As Artwork

By Signe is a Danish fashion brand dedicated to catering honest and feminine easywear for the independent and creative woman in a modern society. By Signe stands out not only by its clean candy-coated aesthetics and having the whole honest production process from A to Z taking place under one roof, but also seeing women as artwork that should only be wrapped in the dearest delicate comfort... 

By Signe Lookbook AW16. 

By Signe Lookbook AW16. 

How would you classify the woman By Signe is meant for?

Actually, describing a muse like this is a bit unnatural for me, because I never wish to exclude or discriminate. But I am inspired by natural women who are more art than beauty. I am inspired by independent and creative women, and I wish to create healthy and comfortable garments for the natural woman in a modern society. 

By Signe Lookbook AW16. 

By Signe Lookbook AW16. 

What was the main catalyst leading you to create a sustainable brand?

I have a huge conscience, so when creating the brand, it was essential for me to create a product that I could vouch for 100 per cent. [I was motivated by the concern that] the fashion industry is one of the most polluting in the world. By setting up my own production in-house, I wish to prove that it is possible to combine design and handcraft based on ethical principles, in order to create a deeper dimension of honesty and soul behind the brand in today’s industry. 

"I am inspired by natural women who are more art than beauty."

By Signe Lookbook AW16. 

By Signe Lookbook AW16. 

What are your personal tips for looking good, but consuming less?

I would encourage the consumers to build a beautiful basic wardrobe of organic clothing. These garments, if chosen well, should be long-lasting and live through several seasons. Also, I would ask everyone to recycle and donate instead of throwing anything away. 

How does By Signe stand out from other responsible fashion brands out there? 

By Signe definitely stands out for having gathered the entire design process under one roof. Our creative studio is located in extension of our production — cutting, finishing and packaging area. This ensures full control of all parameters and the required quality of the entire process.  

Our in-house Danish production ensures absolute ethical security in a non-discriminating, healthy and safe environment. We cover everything around the garment sustainably too, such as size and care labels, which are handprinted on organic cotton. All sewing thread is made from organic cotton. Hangtags, printed material and packaging are made from recycled and recyclable paper. 

"I wish to prove that it is possible to combine design and handcraft based on ethical principles, in order to create a deeper dimension of honesty and soul behind the brand in today’s industry." 

By Signe Lookbook AW16. 

By Signe Lookbook AW16. 

Your branding is sophisticated, yet simple and unique. Where did you take inspiration for Creative Direction for Signe?

My own personal aesthetics are directly reflected in the visual profile of the brand. This comes from constantly being open for inspiration and developing it over time.  I find inspiration mostly from old books, poetry, photography and travel, and I combine this with my passion for luxurious soft organic materials and comfort. 

By Signe Production Studio. 

By Signe Production Studio. 

"I find inspiration mostly from old books, poetry, photography and travel, and I combine this with my passion for luxurious soft organic materials and comfort." 

If you could make one major change in the fashion industry today, what would it be?

This could be really abstract, as my first priority would be to make sure that everyone involved in the entire industry is treated well. It would include many more larger changes, obviously, as all is connected. We strive for all fabrics to be organic and certified by The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) which is recognised as the world's leading processing standard for textiles made from organic fibres. GOTS defines high-level environmental criteria along the entire organic textiles supply chain, and requires compliance with social criteria as well, such as freely chosen employment, no child labour, safe and hygienic working conditions, payment of living wages and reasonable working hours.

http://www.bysigne.com

ELLISS London: Unconsciously Conscious Organic Jersey Wear

ELLISS is a London-based responsible brand focusing on organic jersey wear. The collection 'Unconsciously Conscious' speaks of choosing responsible clothing unconsciously for its aesthetics rather than merely ethical production. Their vintage-inspired jersey wear, using ultra nostalgic silhouettes, sported by vulnerable looking girls, is not only visually appetising, but out-of-this-world comfy, too. Even so much so, we want to keep it close all winter long... 

ELLISS 'Unconsciously Conscious' lookbook, 2016. 

ELLISS 'Unconsciously Conscious' lookbook, 2016. 

How does ELLISS connect sustainability and fashion?

We use organic materials and manufacture in England to maintain a low carbon footprint and are conscious of every element of the design process to waste as little as possible. 

What are the main aspects ELLISS as a responsible fashion brand looks to improve?

I would like to show that sustainable fashion can be stylish. The design is very important to me. I want people to buy the clothes because of the way they look, rather than just because they are consciously made. The collection is called ‘Unconscious Clothing’, I want the women who buy my clothes to not necessarily be looking for something eco-friendly, but to choose a piece because of the design – to unconsciously be conscious. 

ELLISS 'Unconsciously Conscious' lookbook, 2016. 

ELLISS 'Unconsciously Conscious' lookbook, 2016. 

Why is it so difficult to get something responsible manufactured in Britain?

It isn’t difficult to have things responsibly manufactured in the UK as you can oversee the production. However, it did take time to find the right factory. The options are few, but I am lucky to have found a factory I can work closely with. The price is slightly higher in the UK than abroad, but the quality is fantastic. 

What inspired the creative direction for ELLISS? Who is perhaps your muse?

The creative direction has happened very naturally from working with great teams on the shoots. Amy, the model in our lookbook, is incredible — she has the ability to look so vulnerable and confident at the same time. That is something that is important to me, to show women in a natural way. We just released a behind-the-scenes film of the launch presentation, which is a candid look at the girls, the playful, real moments. 

"I want the women who buy my clothes to not necessarily be looking for something eco-friendly, but to choose a piece because of the design – to unconsciously be conscious."

ELLISS 'Unconsciously Conscious' lookbook, 2016. 

ELLISS 'Unconsciously Conscious' lookbook, 2016. 

What personally bothers you the most about fast fashion? How can we still look good with less? 

The waste — the nature of the way people buy clothes needs to change. The best way to shop is to buy less, but pieces you really love. Curate your wardrobe. 

How much importance does sustainable living have in your everyday? 

It plays a big part in the way that I think. I like to buy vintage clothes – that is one of the reasons I decided to focus on jersey wear. Vintage shopping is great for a trousers and outerwear, but when it comes to lingerie and T-shirts – you want something fresh and new. I love wearing matching jersey underwear and a soft T with a pair of vintage jeans.

"The best way to shop is to buy less, but pieces you really love. Curate your wardrobe."

ELLISS 'Unconsciously Conscious' lookbook, 2016. 

ELLISS 'Unconsciously Conscious' lookbook, 2016. 

What makes it tricky to have an entirely Made in Britain clothing brand?

Manufacturing in the Britain is more expensive, but it means that you have control of the production and can see everything that is going on throughout the process. I think it is important for the customer to know where their products are coming from.

www.elliss.co.uk

Study 34 & The New Crew: Quintessentially British Functional Knitwear

Study 34 is a quintessentially British responsible knitwear brand for the intelligent woman in the know of all things sustainable. Fun fact: it was born from a simple functionality issue - more often than not, functional garments come with all the unnecessary buttons and pockets and keyhole fastenings, leaving little space for beautiful simplicity. We took a glimpse into the world of Eleanor O'Neill, author of Study 34 clothing brand and writer on sustainable fashion, about her latest 'The New Crew' knitwear collection and passion for sustainability... 

'The New Crew' by Study 34, 2016. 

'The New Crew' by Study 34, 2016. 

How did you become interested in all things sustainable? In particular, what led to interest in fashion x sustainability?

The knowledge I have gained has come from talking to lots of people with much more knowledge than me, as well as reading – I do a lot of that!

I’d say I really become interested during my first internship in the fashion industry, which was for the global supply chain manager Li & Fung in New York. Once you’re exposed to the reality of the fashion system, you start to question things more…

What were the main aspects you wanted to improve when starting with your own responsible fashion brand called Study 34?

I think I had quite a few things on my mind at the beginning. Firstly, it was about style. I like simple, timeless, but modern shapes in knitwear and all the pieces I liked were always out of my price range – we’re talking hundreds of pounds. I wanted that aesthetic to be more attainable.

I’m really passionate about the manufacture of clothing, too. I found it quite frustrating sitting at a desk and drawing things, when I was working for larger brands, and never having the chance to improve my knowledge of construction. It seemed silly, I probably always made the same mistakes but never knew because it was someone else’s job to correct them. When I first started STUDY 34, I made everything in my studio with domestic machines and I learnt a great deal about construction during that time.

“The overproduction and consumption of badly made garments has resulted not just in waste but in clothing itself becoming a totally undervalued part of our society. It has become disposable.”

'The New Crew' by Study 34, 2016. 

'The New Crew' by Study 34, 2016. 

In the intro describing the production process of your new jumper in a British factory you mention many complex issues. In a nutshell, why is it so difficult to get something responsible manufactured in Britain?

It’s not the ‘responsible’ part that’s the problem necessarily; it’s just that when you’re starting out, you’re often working to a factory’s minimums, so it’s hard to get your foot in the door because it doesn’t make you very desirable. You often have to work with what you can get so to speak, which is often not exactly what you wanted…

Who is the woman The New Crew is aimed at?

The STUDY 34 woman is creative, intelligent and interested in the world around her. She’s busy and she needs to be comfortable and look good while she’s going about her day. 

“I’m always talking to people and getting their perspective on the fashion industry, as well as meeting people who make amazing things. All of these activities play a huge role in my day.”

'The New Crew' by Study 34, 2016. 

'The New Crew' by Study 34, 2016. 

What are the main concerns that should be addressed when in comes to fashion industry's irresponsible ways? What personally bothers you the most?

I get asked this a lot and it’s hard to answer because there are so many things to learn and as one person, you can only explore so much at one time. There are a number of things that bother me more than others, though, and the first is working conditions. That anyone can turn a blind eye to what’s happening in a lot of factories I find shocking. 

The second is waste. The over production and consumption of badly made garments has resulted not just in waste but in clothing itself becoming a totally undervalued part of our society. It has become disposable.

What's your personal link with leading a sustainable lifestyle? How big is the role it plays in your everyday? 

Every day I strive to keep learning and expand my knowledge of different areas of the supply chain, whether it’s to do with materials, water usage, design, washing etc. I’m always talking to people and getting their perspective on the fashion industry, as well as meeting people who make amazing things. All of these activities play a huge role in my day. 

'The New Crew' by Study 34, 2016. 

'The New Crew' by Study 34, 2016. 

What's the best advice you have been given in order not to give up your pursuit of creating clothing Made in Britain?

I’m not sure anyone has ever advised me NOT to give up… our textile industry has so diminished in the UK, it remains very difficult. 

How can we make this world a better place and reduce consumption?

Buy thinking before you buy and by valuing the things that you DO buy.

https://www.study34.co.uk

Sleep In Bliss: Responsbily Made Sleeping Masks by ÖÖLOOM

It’s very easy for sleep to become an insignificant, routine activity. Yet we all know that good sleep is essential for our physical well-being and sanity. I am a resident sleepyhead. So when I spotted Estonian brand Ööloom’s (literally ‘night animal’) range at the store, I was immediately in awe. A company dedicated solely to provide people with a great sleeping experience with their soft animal-shaped sleeping masks – what more could you want? To top it all off, their products are responsibly made and locally-sourced. I felt like I needed to introduce Ööloom to all the professional nappers out there. Mihkel Virkus, resident visionary and a rigorous sleeper at Ööloom, answered our most haunting questions. 

Words: Johanna Raudsepp

'Fox Girl' by Ööloom, 2016. 

'Fox Girl' by Ööloom, 2016. 

It’s not every day that we see a new brand dedicated to great and sustainable sleeping gear. What inspired you to launch a sleeping mask line? 

Quite true. You don’t see many distinct sleeping brands. I guess people tend to take sleep for granted much of the time. 

This kind of ties in with the origin story of Ööloom. The thing is, many people view sleeping as a passive act. You just close your eyes, and don’t worry about the rest of it. But the reality is that you actually go on breath-taking adventures inside your own mind. Just because you grow stronger and become rested doing it, doesn’t mean you’re doing nothing.

We think that the dream world and the human capacity for imagination should be celebrated and to that end a regular sleeping mask just won’t do. The Ööloom sleeping mask stands as an active reminder of the silliness that your brain can muster up.

Ööloom unicorn mask with packaging, 2016.  

Ööloom unicorn mask with packaging, 2016. 

Who is Ööloom?

Ööloom is a creature of the night. The friendly kind, of course. He is mysterious, but never frightening, like a hedgehog in the fog. He acts as a sort of an ambassador for the seemingly unreasonable dream-world – delivering fresh and unconventional ideas to our rational and, dare I say, dull reality. The word itself comes from the Estonian language. It loosely translates into “night owl”, a person who tends to stay up quite late. But we ourselves prefer the literal translation – “night beast”.

"The ÖÖLOOM sleeping mask stands as an active reminder of the silliness that your brain can muster up."

I love napping on couches and when I’m travelling. Where is your favourite place to nap?

Ahh yes — couches are fantastic. I’m a big fan. But I’d say it’s not about where you fall asleep that interests me the most. It’s what kind of a world you dream yourself into. I once napped into a parallel reality situated inside the imagination of a blueberry pie. It was a pretty sweet dream.

Variety of Ööloom sleeping masks, 2016. 

Variety of Ööloom sleeping masks, 2016. 

Your products are made in Estonia, using locally sourced materials. Conscious production is something we strongly care about. What is your take on it? Do you think more companies should produce ethically made products?

We at Ööloom spend a great deal of time in the subconscious or unconscious, depending on your understanding of how sleeping works. As a matter of principle, we aim to be very conscious about our actions while we are awake. 

A lot of the raw magical power of our products come from the way we make them. The sheep that provide the wool are hand-fed, the felt is hand-made from the wool and the masks are hand-sewn by a small army of lovely ladies. The love and care that is put in, reflects in the finished product.

"Many people view sleeping as a passive act. You just close your eyes, and don’t worry about the rest of it. But the reality is that you actually go on breath-taking adventures inside your own mind."

The importance of locally sourced materials for us is very much a part of the brand. It’s the cold Nordic environment that has made us, Estonians, so creative. The first Estonians that arrived here had to figure out how to build a fire on top of frozen water before they could go to bed. That’s not easy. This has made Estonians more appreciative of sleep and we believe that local materials carry that same appreciation within them.

There is definitely a trend towards more ethical ways of manufacturing. I think it has a lot to do with the ever-growing amount of information available. About the producers as well as to the consumers. It’s easier now to know where, how and by whom, the stuff is actually made. 

For us it’s a no-brainer. As a consistent brand that values happiness, we need to know that the journey of the wool from the belly of a sheep to the face of a human is a happy one as well.

Ööloom panda sleeping mask, 2016. 

Ööloom panda sleeping mask, 2016. 

You have a few endangered species featured in your line of night animals. Where did that idea stem from and will we see more in the future? 

Yes, that’s right. The “endangered species” is a category in the e-store (ooloomstore.com) for the animal sleeping masks that are no longer in active production. The reason is that we want to keep the main collection at 10 different animals, so that the already tired and sleepy person looking for a mask wouldn’t be overwhelmed by choices. We introduce new animals fairly slowly. Maybe one or two new faces a year, the most recent one being a black fox. The older ones fall out of the ‘current collection’ and remain in the ‘endangered species’ category – available only online. We just didn’t have the heart to cancel their production altogether because in our world no animal should go extinct. Imaginary or otherwise.

"It’s not about where you fall asleep that interests me the most. It’s what kind of a world you dream yourself into."

What does Ööloom dream about? 

Ööloom dreams about many things. The most common and reoccurring dream is one of total world domination. I’m not an expert in dream interpretation. But this probably reflects the ambition of the company and our own plans for total world domination – achieved not by force, but by the creative use of happiness, whimsy, and dangerously cute sleeping gear.

See more:

Ööloom sleeping masks exclusively featured in our Conscious Gift Guide.

https://ooloomstore.com

Grind and Glaze — Epitome of Feminine and Masculine

Your next must-know eco fashion brand Grind and Glaze tells a thousand stories of the designer's upbringing in rural Ohio. We took an insight into Tessa Clark's vision connecting masculine 'grind' and feminine 'glaze' in every single responsibly made piece. Their minimal, yet aesthetically impressive debut collection simply makes a sustainable masterpiece, and we can't wait to hear what more the brand has on hold. 

Grind & Glaze Debut Collection, 2016. / Photography: Courtney Sinclair / Model: Cheyenne Janelle

Grind & Glaze Debut Collection, 2016. / Photography: Courtney Sinclair / Model: Cheyenne Janelle

What does Grind and Glaze stand for? What informed the inception of your brand?

Grind and Glaze was originally created for my thesis project as an ode to my parents and my upbringing in rural Ohio. My father is a miller and my mother is a potter. Grind for grain, Glaze for ceramics, a combination of raw and refined elements and aesthetics. I grew up in a creative environment and was a part of their business and entrepreneurial ventures. They inspired me from a young age to be an entrepreneur as well. It was in my blood. 

What are the key sustainability principles you follow?

My goal is to remain ethically grounded while creating garments that are elevated, but inspired by casual-wear. As my brand grows, my goal is to keep all production fair-waged and to remain aware of the working conditions my clothes are being produced in. I also use only organic cotton and other eco-friendly textiles, such as hemp, silk, recycled polyester (made from plastic bottles), and tencel. I also try to use as much of the fabric as possible. For example, I found that one of my designs was creating a lot of fabric waste, so I re-patterned the top and now it doesn't waste as much fabric. The fabric that is left over, I use for my neck-cuff designs. 

Grind & Glaze Debut Collection, 2016. / Photography: Courtney Sinclair / Model: Cheyenne Janelle

Grind & Glaze Debut Collection, 2016. / Photography: Courtney Sinclair / Model: Cheyenne Janelle

What inspired your first collection? Are there any restrictions that make producing ethically difficult?

All of my collections and designs refer back to my original inspiration and grounding aesthetics for Grind and Glaze. Grind: grain, rough, raw, masculine, natural. Glaze: refined, glossy, feminine, minimal. 

My goal with everything I design is that I want it to be timeless, ageless, wearable, and eco-conscious. Right now because my production is so small, it is not difficult to produce ethically. If I keep production in the USA, I will be able to visit the factory, and make sure proper labor laws are being followed. I refuse to sacrifice price for what is morally right. 

"Sustainability and ethical thinking should be at the forefront of everyone’s agenda in the industry."

Why is ethical thinking important for you personally and on a wider global scale?

On a personal level, I find it empowering to be aware of where my clothes come from and to choose where my money is going. Fast fashion was created for corporations to make money by pressuring consumers into thinking they have to have every trendy article of clothing out there. A lot of these garments are made in countries with loose environmental regulations and labor laws, in turn allowing the garments to be produced and sold cheaply. After learning about these processes, I made the decision to make more conscious purchases. Quality over quantity. 

Fashion is a huge industry. And it’s the second pollutant behind oil in the world (ref. The True Cost movie). A lot of what is being produced and sold is harmful to the environment. Sustainability and ethical thinking should be at the forefront of everyone’s agenda in the industry. 

 "I refuse to sacrifice price for what is morally right."

Grind & Glaze Debut Collection, 2016. / Photography: Courtney Sinclair / Model: Cheyenne Janelle

Grind & Glaze Debut Collection, 2016. / Photography: Courtney Sinclair / Model: Cheyenne Janelle

What's your relationship with today's speed culture that encourages us to bombard others with our digital presence, constantly share photos, and forget the actual meaning instantly? Have you ever thought about embracing a slower lifestyle? 

I'm guilty of being sucked into the speed culture, as I'm sure a lot of Instagram and Facebook users are. I’ve been trying to view Instagram as a visual archive for myself and my brand. I follow a lot of fashion and design accounts and screenshot what I find inspirational. I'm trying to view it as an interactive, in-flux moodboard. I've thought about embracing a slower lifestyle and I've tried to create that opportunity for myself by recently moving to Hawai’i. I decided that moving to a big city and working for a corporation was not where I would find my happiness. I very much desire a slower paced lifestyle. I may need my big city fix sometimes, but like all things, it's about balance. 

"I decided that moving to a big city and working for a corporation was not where I would find my happiness. I very much desire a slower paced lifestyle. I may need my big city fix sometimes, but like all things, it's about balance."

Grind & Glaze Debut Collection, 2016. / Photography: Courtney Sinclair / Model: Cheyenne Janelle

Grind & Glaze Debut Collection, 2016. / Photography: Courtney Sinclair / Model: Cheyenne Janelle

Do you feel that today's digital culture has made it harder/easier to reach your audience?

Easier! Social Media platforms are amazing for reaching an audience worldwide! It's free marketing.

What are your plans with Grind and Glaze going forward?

I'm planning my e-commerce presence currently. I’d love to be stocked in more boutiques and my dream is to open my own concept brick and mortar store or workshop, and in some way incorporating education of the industry to aspiring designers and those interested in learning more about fashion, design, and textiles. 

More of Grind and Glaze:

http://www.grindandglaze.com

From Love of Hair to Fear and Love: Your Culture Guide to December

Hair by Sam McKnight, Somerset House. 

Hair by Sam McKnight, Somerset House. 

Art House by Assouline. 

Art House by Assouline. 

Eat - Noble Rot Wine Bar & Restaurant. We love the Parisian style wine bar and restaurant Noble Rot. Head over to enjoy their vast wine list, served with a succinct, seasonal British menu. 51 Lamb's Conduit Street, WC1N 3NB.

See – Hair by Sam McKnight, Somerset House. Is there anywhere more inviting than Somerset House at Christmas? Enjoy an afternoon at the Hair by Sam McKnight exhibition celebrating McKnights 40 year career. Until 12th March 2017.

Visit – Claridges. December is the time to treat yourself. Don’t miss the spectacular room-size Christmas installation designed by Sir Jony Ive, Chief Design Officer at Apple and Marc Newson, one of the world’s most influential industrial designers in collaboration with renowned British set designer Michael Howells.

Do – Design Museum. Following a five-year building project, the remarkable new Design Museum in Kensington has opened its doors. The current exhibition ‘Fear and Love: Reactions to a Complex World’ will occupy the space at the museum until 23rd April 2017.

Read - Art House, AssoulineArt House takes readers on a breathtaking visual tour of five residences designed to house six hundred works of art, including masterpieces by Marcel Duchamp, Andy Warhol, Donald Judd, Louise Nevelson, Diane Arbus, and Frank Stella.

London Design Museum in Kensington. 

London Design Museum in Kensington. 

Duvet Days: Fighting Violence Against Women Through Empowering Visual Stories

Duvet Days is an engaging storytelling platform and community enveloping captivating visual language to bring together victims of violence and guide their path towards the healing process. Savant had a chat with Jenna Wiebe, graphic designer and author of Duvet Days, on what it means to communicate emotional real-life stories through beautiful, curated visual imagery.  In this zeitgeist of women's empowerment, by encouraging everyone's individual journey to self-acceptance and self-love, Duvet Days aims to break apart from all things taboo.

Duvet Days, 2016. 

Duvet Days, 2016. 

SAVANT MAGAZINE: What is Duvet Days in a nutshell? What's your mission and what inspired you to create Duvet Days, platform for fighting abuse and encouraging self-love?

DUVET DAYS: Duvet Days is for all the brave women out there who have been affected by rape, sexual assault and domestic abuse, who are on their journey to self-acceptance and self-love using my own experiences with these things as a tool to speak about these issues. I am a Graphic Designer, so I was inspired to use design — graphic design and photography — as an aid to communicate about abuse and promote self-love. I want women to know that these experiences do not define them, but instead are a part of their story and who they choose to become. [I created the platform] to let their experiences empower them and others, not define them.

Duvet Days, 2016. 

Duvet Days, 2016. 

Is there a personal story that links with starting the platform?

Yes, I am a survivor of rape, sexual assault, and domestic abuse — all by different men that were in my life throughout all of my 20s.

Considering the cultural climate we live in, do you feel speaking of violence against women is still a taboo in our society? How does your project encourage women to speak out?

I think culturally, from a North American standpoint, we have come a long way with speaking openly about violence against women, but we still have a long way to go, especially in other parts of the world. I am fortunate to live in North America, where we have the freedom to speak. I do think that it is still taboo to talk about violence against women to some degree, as it isn’t an easy topic for many to hear or see, and there is a lot of judgment and shaming that goes along with it. I believe my project helps others not feel afraid to speak out and that they are not alone. I try my best to not filter my own personal experiences in my posts, so that others have the courage to not be afraid to share their own stories, opinions and experiences. Creating a space for people to feel heard, understood, supported, loved, and inspired is so important for the survivor community. The more people speak out, the less it will be taboo. 

"I want women to know that these experiences do not define them, but instead are a part of their story and who they choose to become."

Duvet Days, 2016. 

Duvet Days, 2016. 

Duvet Days, 2016. 

Duvet Days, 2016. 

How is the visual language you use helping to convey the message?

Before I started Duvet Days, I had done a lot of research trying to find something that was for survivors that were in the healing process, and found it difficult to find anything that was done in a visually pleasing way. Everything I came across was very clinical, or more on the extreme activist side. I think both of these approaches have a place and are needed, but I personally felt there was a missing piece. I think there is a time and place for explicit and in-your-face imagery to convey these messages, but I also think that using visual language, like I do with Duvet Days, connects people in a different way to these topics and gets in front of a different audience. It helps people visualise or feel what others possibly feel from abuse. Words are powerful, but photography also plays a big role in evoking emotions which help people connect on another level.

Who are the ones that benefit the most from your community? How have the audiences reacted so far?

Survivors of either sexual or domestic abuse. I think the most prominent feedback I get on a regular basis is that survivors are happy to know they aren’t alone in feeling the everlasting effects of rape, sexual assault and/or domestic abuse, and that they are not wrong for feeling these things. I also have had great feedback from men, who have thanked me for helping bring awareness to these topics though my own experiences, as many men have lost their mothers, sisters, and daughters to the hands of an abuser. I think if people can see how these events cause everlasting effects in a more relatable way, it helps others become more mindful and hopefully become an advocate for others and these issues.

"Words are powerful, but photography also plays a big role in evoking emotions which help people connect on another level."

Duvet Days, 2016. 

Duvet Days, 2016. 

Duvet Days, 2016. 

Duvet Days, 2016. 

What are the most touching stories you have heard in the months involved in the project?

I communicate regularly with so many amazing survivors with equally incredible stories, but out of the privacy of these individuals I cannot share these stories due to the sensitive nature and their consent.

"Creating a space for people to feel heard, understood, supported, loved, and inspired is so important for the survivor community. The more people speak out, the less it will be taboo." 

Duvet Days, 2016. 

Duvet Days, 2016. 

Duvet Days, 2016. 

Duvet Days, 2016. 

"I think there is a lack of dialogue that is happening with the everlasting effects of sexual and domestic abuse for survivors. People are expected to just somehow go back to the way they were before all these violent acts, but in reality, it isn’t that simple."

Why do communities, such as Duvet Days, need to gain more visibility?

We need more visibility to help reach other survivors and for survivors to not be afraid or ashamed of their experiences. I think there is a lack of dialogue that is happening with the everlasting effects of sexual and domestic abuse for survivors. People are expected to just somehow go back to the way they were before all these violent acts, but in reality, it isn’t that simple. Survivors need to be a part of the change and to let their experience empower them and not define them. The more survivors speak out, the less abusers can hide and be protected and enabled by others. Yes, there will be judgements and shaming from some, but overall there is an overwhelming amount of support, love, and kindness that stretches all around the world. This project has given me a new hope in humanity. The love that I have received has outweighed by far any hate that has been directed at Duvet Days or me personally.

Thank you to DUVET DAYS for sharing their experience!

You can follow and engage here: https://www.instagram.com/duvet_days/ 

fb.me/duvetdaysorg

The Wälderhaus Hotel: A Forest Sanctuary in Hamburg, Germany

We often wonder how sustainable living and slower lifestyle could be incorporated into our day-to-day lives. One approach that benefits living slow is making the most of your time — enjoying the various experiences life has to offer to the fullest. Travelling is a great example of that experience, and having a relaxing stay, without too many fancy, digital nuisances, is something we often strive for. Thanks to innovations in architecture and increasing interest in running a healthy lifestyle, some hotels have now become the epitome of sustainable design — creating a pure, holistic atmosphere for your stay. We took a glimpse into the environmental solutions at Raphael Hotel Wälderhaus in Hamburg, Germany, where modern architecture meets fully sustainable accommodation.

Words: Johanna Raudsepp

Raphael Hotel Wälderhaus, 2016. 

Raphael Hotel Wälderhaus, 2016. 

The extraordinary wooden façade prominently stands out in the middle of a busy city — made from mostly locally sourced certified wood, the Wälderhaus (which literally means ‘forest house’) is a modern forest delight. “Guests are fascinated by the innovative atmosphere within the hotel and how it is created,” says a Wälderhaus representative. “A nice bonus is, after a visit to the Science Center forest or an overnight stay, you can truly learn something about the connections between the city and nature. The forest house polarises, fascinates, and encourages communication and reflection.” The architecture of the building, despite standing out with the use of materials, fits in with the cityscape. 

Raphael Hotel Wälderhaus, 2016. 

The building meets passive house standards — it is self-sustainable and thus doesn’t damage the environment. In addition to a restaurant, which serves the guests only locally sourced food, the three-star plus standard hotel Raphael Hotel Wälderhaus, with 82 rooms, offers space for special exhibitions and conferences. Here sustainability meets modern innovation to provide the guests with a 360-degree, relaxing holiday. Sleeping between organic cotton sheets and enjoying gastronomic treats at the restaurant ensures you will depart your stay with a well-rested, worry-free mind. As a cherry on top, the Wälderhaus features a green roof, planted with 9000 bushes, 500 hornbeams and various North German tree species.

“The forest house polarises, fascinates, and encourages communication and reflection.”

Raphael Hotel Wälderhaus - Komfort Zimmer.jpg

A fully natural approach is surely gaining popularity. As people are becoming more aware of their impact on the environment, they hold higher standards in terms of sustainability when travelling, as well. The Wälderhaus meets the needs of a conscious traveller. “The guests want as little plastic or artificial in the room as possible, also little electrosmog or superfluous ‘energy eaters’, like minibars. The interest in health is rising, even in healthy indoor air. The architecture should be clear, straightforward, modern, but nevertheless cozy and comfortable.” 

“The interest in health is rising, even in healthy indoor air. The architecture should be clear, straightforward, modern, but nevertheless cozy and comfortable.” 

An eco-approach in the hotel world will definitely be more prevalent in the future. “The eco-concept pays off. We save about 30% energy in the forest house compared to a conventional hotel. The issue will hopefully become even more important.  We like to be pioneers and show that it is possible to [be] sustainable, comfortable and modern at the same time. The number of 100% eco-hotels will surely continue to rise.” The Raphael Hotel Wälderhaus is truly a pioneer in this field, and we cannot wait to see more of such creative, yet environmentally conscious solutions in a modern, urban setting, leaving space for a slower approach to life. 

http://www.raphaelhotelwaelderhaus.de/en

Fonnesbech's DNA of Intelligent Functionality

Fonnesbech is a Danish label with its heritage taking us back as far as to 1847. Without compromising its delicate DNA of intelligent functionality and the tailored quality of impeccable classics coined by Anders Fonnesbech’s legacy, the brand was re-launched in 2014. Aiming to deliver history and craftsmanship not starved of sustainability, Fonnesbech’s vision remains embedded in creating a captivating capsule wardrobe — long-lasting designs that are forever relevant. Fonnesbech’s take on innovating the urban classics may make you forever want to do pirouettes in their elegant silhouettes. We ventured into Fonnesbech’s maison of multipurpose classics with Andrea Friis Laursen, Brand Manager of Fonnesbech.

Fonnesbech AW 16/17. 

Fonnesbech AW 16/17. 

What are your brand's principles related to sustainability? 

We get everything produced within Europe. The fabrics we work with need to have a sustainable story, for instance certified GOTS or Oeko-Tex, as well as recycled and organic materials. We are continously searching for new, innovative fabrics. We do not compromise the final look of the product, regardless of sustainable production. 

You mention the multipurpose functionality of your garments.  What's your take on the concept of 'capsule' wardrobe?

We think that having a ‘capsule’ wardrobe in good quality is a luxury nowadays. We like the thought of wearing clothing, which hasn’t affected people, animals or the environment in a detrimental way in the course of its production. We create clothing that contains no harmful chemicals and we aim to design clothing that you feel you can’t live without — be it in five or ten years.

Who is the woman of Fonnesbech?

She is an ambitious, driven and conscious woman, who loves good quality items and classic design with a twist.  

Fonnesbech AW 16/17. 

Fonnesbech AW 16/17. 

How to still look chic with buying less? 

It is essential to build a wardrobe formed of classics in good quality, like the trench coat, the light blue shirt, little black dress and jeans. It is also important to take care of your clothes as much as you care about your own hair and skin. The fibres will stay intact longer, if you lower the temperature when washing.  Do not tumble dry, buy a lint roller, and do iron your shirt every once in a while. It’s actually the little things that matter.

"It is essential to build a wardrobe formed of classics in good quality, like the trench coat, the light blue shirt, little black dress and jeans. It is also important to take care of your clothes as much as you care about your own hair and skin."

What are the main improvements in the clothing industry you look to push forward with Fonnesbech?

We want to be an example of sustainability that is modern, innovative and cool. We want to make timeless clothes you want to keep forever and use season after season, without failing to still look chic. 

In year 2026, where do you see sustainable fashion stand? 

We are wishing for the day to come, where sustainable fashion becomes mainstream. Instead of having to carefully search for sustainable clothing as today, the conventional part will take much less space in stores. The speed of the technological development should make it realistic, or at least that is what we hope for.

https://fonnesbech-cph.com