Fashion Week is upon us in New York City! I had a few moments to catch up with Tim Gunn at the Bryant Park Hotel for his conference with PETA on the fur industry. Tim is an outspoken advocate for animals used in the fashion industry, and calls for responsibility and accountability from every single person using or wearing the skin of an animal – whether it is fur, leather, or wool. In the sea of indifference to animals that is Fashion Week, it is amazing to have someone with such clout eloquently speaking the simple truth that fur no longer represents luxury – instead it is an outdated and egregious symbol of ignorance.
12 Comments | activism, animal rights, celebrity, Contributer, fashion, green, news, organic, pets, philosophy, sex, social responsibility, trend report, Uncategorized, vegan, vegetarian, video | Tagged: animal rights, animal welfare, dan matthews, discerning brute, eco, expose, fashion, fashion students, fur farm, green, leather, luxury product, parsons school of design, people for the ethical treatment of animals, peta, Project Runway, sustainable, tim gunn, trapping, undercover video, vegan, vegetarian, video, wool | Permalink
Posted by TheDiscerningBrute
1. BUY NOTHING DAY is a holiday that is more important than Thanksgiving, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, Hanukkah, and yes – even New Years? Why, you ask? Because the integrity of the ecosystems we depend upon for survival hang in the balance. Consumption – something Americans are better at than the rest of the world, requires production. Production requires resource extraction. Every product has to be dug up, ripped out, cut down, or gathered – it doesn’t magically appear! Even greenwashed products, unless totally recycled or thrift, requires a piece of the landbase in some form. So on November 28th, let freedom ring – exercise your right NOT to go shopping!
2. A Breaking Investigation Reveals That Turkeys Were Stomped, Punched, and Kicked. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, do you really need to condone this by choosing to eat a big, dead bird? Really?
What can you do about it? Don’t pay the callous people who do this by purchasingthe body of a turkey this Thanksgiving. Instead – adopt a turkey!
4. Emilie at The Conscious Kitchen has prepared some mouth-watering thanksgiving fare. If you need inspiration, she is your go-to gal for sure!
5. Where Does Donna Karan Stand On Fur? I love the new ad campaign from PETA that is being wheatpasted up all around Donna’s office and apartment.
3 Comments | activism, animal rights, celebrity, energy, environmental justice, fair trade, fashion, food, green, holiday, news, organic, recipes, social responsibility, Uncategorized, vegan, vegetarian | Tagged: adopt a turkey, bunny fur, buy nothing day, conscious kitchen, donna karan, eco, environmental, fur, green, greenwash, peta, thanksgiving, tukey investigation, vegan, vegan peacoat, vegetarian, wool | Permalink
Posted by TheDiscerningBrute
Jack Frost would have bit my big Jew-nose really hard this morning had I not had a cozy winter coat. It’s not so easy to find really warm, well-built winter coats that aren’t filled with feathers, lined with leather, made of wool, or trimmed with fur. My first recommendation is to check out your local thrift store. My second recommendation are this organic, fair-trade, and vegan coat:
If those don’t work out, here are some awesome, animal-friendly coats to keep the chill out! I have these broken into three categories: Money to Burn, Big Spender, & Average Joe.
MONEY TO BURN
And lastly, don’t forget to stand around on the porch in your organic thermal undies!
5 Comments | fashion, green, organic, trend report, Uncategorized, vegan, vegetarian | Tagged: cold, eco winter coat, eco-friendly, fashion, fur, green, leather, mens vegan coats, mens' coat, menswear, vegan, vegan coat, vegetarian, winter coat, wool | Permalink
Posted by TheDiscerningBrute
I’ve been searching for a thick, knit cap for the winter, and all the styles I love are made with wool from sheep that are usually treated quite horribly. If you think harvesting wool is ‘just a haircut‘, you haven’t done your research. Mulesing and live export are just two of the most horrible aspects of the wool trade. Click HERE to learn more, and look below for a handsome boy-bonnet made from organic cotton, available at KAIGHT.
Levis has an Eco line, featuring organic cotton & recycled denim. I just got a pair of the skinny fit and they are my new favorite jeans! They are also really affordable at just $70. Click on the small images below for details.
Musubi is a very popular snack in Hawaii, made in the tradition of Japanese onigiri. Traditionally, this eye-appealing morsel is made with spam, which is pretty gross. Here, we’ve replaced the spam with marinated squash and tofu.
What You’ll Need:
• Musubi Press (get it at any kitchen supply store or HERE on amazon)
• 1 package firm tofu (cut into 1″ x 1/4″ strips)
• 1 butternut squash (skinned and cut into 1″ x1/4″ strips)
• 2 cups of sushi rice
• 3 tbsp Maple Syrup
• 3 tbsp Shoyu
• 3 tbsp Rice Vinegar
• 1 tbsp Sesame Oil
• 1/4 cup Orange Juice
1. Prepare sushi rice according to directions on bag.
2. Combine shoyu, maple syrup, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and orange juice into a marinade.
3. Lightly oil a casserole dish, put in squash and tofu, pour on marinade and bake at 350 for about 30 min until tender (but not mushy).
4. Cut Nori sheets into 1 inch strips. Each piece of Musubi will be wrapped by 1 strip.
5. Press rice in the Musubi Press, cut in half, add toppings, wrap with a nori strip, and seal the strip seam at the bottom with a drop of water.
For variations, try avocado, pickled radish, mushrooms, or other marinated veggies. Thanks to Aylssa and Jodi for this yummy treat!
3 Comments | fair trade, fashion, food, green, organic, recipes, social responsibility, Uncategorized, vegan, vegetarian | Tagged: cotton bonnett, eco, green, kaight, levi's eco demin, live export, mulesing, musubi, seaweed, squash, tofu, vegan, vegetarian, wool | Permalink
Posted by TheDiscerningBrute
1. Conference of Birds
I attended the COB runway show for the Spring 2009 collection and was thrilled to see some organics! Andrew Holden’s ‘excellent bad-boys’ looked as if they were just back to London from a desert excavation or an Egyptian urban-safari. This collection featured gorgeous canvas jackets, Hebrew-inspired scarves, lots of layers, an organic hooded trench coat, vests, and a bright but soft color palate of yellow, bone, black, gray and pale blue. DB contributer Jodi worked on this collection. Most of the spring collection was vegan, but there was some wool and leather, unfortunately.
SuperVegan has been publishing the blog of Tod Emko who documented his time serving on the Sea Shepherd pirate ship, The Steve Irwin, and their mission to stop illegal Japanese whaling from February and March of 2008. In light of the 2008 IWC Meeting finishing with the usual deadlock, and Sea Shepherd officially announcing its 2008-2009 anti-whaling campaign, Operation Musashi, it seemed a good time to show people what’s going on in the world of whaling.
3. ‘Top Model’ Judge Protects Seals!
America’s Next Top Model judge and renowned photographer Nigel Barker opens A Sealed Fate? tonight in New York. If you are in NYC, go check out an exhibition about the world’s largest slaughter of marine animals. Tyra, no doubt, would approve—even if she didn’t think of it first.
July 25-27 at 401 Projects, 401 West St., New York, (212) 633-6202, humanesociety.org/protectseals
4. Victoria’s (Dirty Forest Destroying) Secret cleaned up!
LISTEN to CEO Todd Katzenmeyer as he talks about how the Forest Ethics campaign changed the company’s catalog practices. Also pay attention to the insanity of Corporate monsters like VS and the insanity they foster.
5. An Olympic-Sized Fur Trade
China is one of the world’s largest suppliers of fur garments. More than 95 percent of China’s finished fur garments are exported for sale overseas, and many of them go to North America. Cat and dog fur is often deliberately mislabeled as “Asian jackal” or “rabbit” fur. This summer, with the world’s eyes focused on China during the Olympics, PETA is exposing the horrors that take place on Chinese fur farms. This is a historic opportunity to speak out against the global fur trade and influence consumers worldwide.
6. Ontario has made the largest conservation commitment in Canadian history, setting aside at least half the Northern Boreal region – 225,000 square kilometres – for permanent protection from development.
7. CBS News Joins FOX in revealing the true role of mainstream media: Lies.
8. Click to feed shelter dogs (for free!)
9. VINYL from Olympia
10. Graphic Tease
Some fresh Organic Prints from Edun & Loomstate:
Leave a Comment » | activism, animal rights, dogs, fair trade, fashion, green, news, organic, pets, social responsibility, Uncategorized, vegan, vegetarian | Tagged: america's next top model, andrew holden, boreal forest, CBS, conference of birds, Cover-up, development, edun, forest Ethics, free kibble, fur farms, humane society, Jodi Taylor, leather, loomstate, Mainstream Media, McCain, nigel barker, olympics, ontario conservation, organic teeshirt tshirt, organic trench coat, sea shepherd, seal fur, steve irwin, tod emko, vegan pirate, victoria's secret, vinyl vegan bag, whaling, wool | Permalink
Posted by TheDiscerningBrute
Stefan Miljanic could be one of the most inspired designers today. In addition to crafting a stunning vision of nascent Industrial New England through his apparel, he utilizes the very equipment and processes from the Gilded Period that gave birth to denim. Stefan draws from this period due to the incredible, small-scale, handmade New England inigo-dyed denims that became so distinct and respected. Imagine a culture on the brink of industrialism with a Utopian vision hanging within reach – but there is also a saddness communicated through this clothing, a people losing touch with nature, becoming more mechanistic, and the eventual loss of these handmade paragons due to the increasing demands and profit-driven culture.
What I believe Gilded Age has captured in its clothing design, in addition to an ongoing pursuit of sustainability, is the promise (whether it came true or not) of a bold new world – and the lost art of gorgeous, small-scale, organic, handmade garments. Anyone that is anti-fur, has Tshirts with clearcut forests that reads “unnatural history”, and dyes organic cotton with volcanic mud, persimmon juice, or indigo is certainly a Discerning Brute. I had some time to interview Stefan recently:
DB:What is it about fashion that motivated you, and how does that tie into the vision of the kind of world you want to live in?
STEFAN: As an applied art, fashion is a great influence on the culture and plays big part in determining course of behavior of any civilization. In the past, fashion greatly differed from country to country and the differences were much greater than today. In the era of Internet, fast communication and sharing information one can easily see and absorb what happened on the Milan, Paris, London, Tokyo etc, fashion runway, as well as check what people of these cities wear on the streets, clubs, work… This phenomenon gave a birth to something known as International fashion, were the guy on the streets of New York may dress like a guy in Milan. While everyone is gaining great deal from sharing information, one also tends to loose a bit of its own originality. Acknowledging this new reality as a benefit, I also like to go back in the past (turn of 20th century in New York and the North East) and search for the essence of American style and bring back a few threads that can refresh and reinforce it.
DB: You use organic cotton, natural dyes, and antique equipment. How did this come about and why?
STEFAN: As Gilded Age is inspired by artisanal craft, hand done product, old textiles and older methods of producing textiles, it was natural for us to look into organic and natural fibers, natural dyes and all other components of garment design and production that would give us this this unique casual luxury feel.
DB: What was the inspiration behind the menswear in the fall 2008 collection. Do any artists, writers, or philosophers inspire your work?
STEFAN: Inspiration for Fall 2008 collection was drawn from the achievements of some great American merchants and pioneers of commerce from the early 20th century such as Frank Woolworth, Benjamin Altman, Andrew Carnegie and others. These men, who where great builders, art collectors, and philanthropists, not only built some of the greatest business concepts, but left permanent marks on New York City’s architecture, art and lifestyle. Our world is full of great people, places, creations and events that influence us everyday to create and move our world forward.
DB: If you weren’t designing clothes, what else would you be doing?
STEFAN: I would go back to painting… or perhaps even writing.
DB: What changes do you see happening in the world, and how do your clothes help us to adapt to those changes?
STEFAN: We all are so busy with our own lives that sometimes we fail to notice constant change that is happening in front of our own eyes. The wheel of our civilization is spinning faster and faster. Just in the last 200 years the world’s population has increased from a billion or two to 7 billion and it is projected to go to 10-12 billion in the next 70-100 years. It doesn’t take much thought to predict the way the wind of change will blow. For one thing, it will be increasingly important to focus on sustainability in all spheres of life. That includes fashion of course.
DB: What does the quintessential ‘Gilded Age’ man look like on paper?
STEFAN: Gilded Age man has great sense of style, he is worldly, in the know, accomplished or is heading in that direction, thoughtful, well traveled… We are still painting the picture of this man.
DB: I noticed there was no fur in your fall collection. What is your opinion of the fur and exotic animal-skins trade?
STEFAN: Unless we enter New Ice age, fur is not necessary.
DB: It seems there is an entire generation of young people who want accountability and to redefine what “cool” is. What is your definition of cool, of chic, and of luxury?
STEFAN: Obviously there are many levels of cool, but cool to me is – not trying hard! My definition for luxury could be – feeling good. In today’s modern world you never know when you are going to be stuck in rush hour, going through security in an airport, stuck on a plane, etc. With so many discomforts in life – feeling good in your clothing is a luxury.
Gilded Age Organic Denim
DB: What album are you listening to most right now?
STEFAN: Bunch of stuff… just lot of good music that helps nurture creativity.
DB: What advice do you have for any Discerning Brute; a type of man who considers himself ‘ethically fabulous’?
STEFAN: Perhaps the best advice I could offer would be – just relax (dude)!
DB’s Etiquette Recommendation: It’s great that Stefan is outspoken concerning environmental and social issues. He is even openly opposed to fur. The few things I would ask of him would be to find alternatives to wool (cashmere) and leather, and to use more organics. Regardless, other designers should look to Gilded Age as an icon of ethical fabulousness and certainly follow Stefan’s lead. Thanks Stefan!
Click HERE for locations to buy.
Leave a Comment » | art, environmental justice, fashion, green, organic, social responsibility, trend report, vegan, vegetarian | Tagged: art, fall 2008, fur, Gilded Age, loom, menswear, organic cotton, Stefan Miljanic, wool | Permalink
Posted by TheDiscerningBrute
Canadians are really cool, and not just from the temperature up there. Using soybean rayon, organic cotton, bamboo, as well as natural dyes and processes, Tara St. James – the mastermind behind Covet, has created quite a buzz around herself – and it’s no surprise, Covet really is sailing into uncharted territory by making sustainable clothes that are actually really cool. I can count on my hands how many other designers are doing what I call SSA; Sustainability, Social Justice, and Animal Advocacy. Realizing this crucial interconnection is a rare feat that only a few industry visionaries seem to be able to proffer.
Tara St . James has been a vegetarian and environmentalist for over a decade, and is an industry leader in what she refers to as “hand crafted redemption”. The spring 2008 collection from Covet is almost totally vegan, as compared to the Fall lines, which tend to be very heavily wool and cashmere based – and while we disagree on the use of wool and silk, Tara is a beacon of light in the dark, jagged landscape of the fashion industry.
Covet has been featured in Elle, Lucky, MR, WWD, IOU, and Sportswear International, and showcased at events such as Toronto’s sold-out Sustainable Style World Wildlife Fund fund-raiser. Ms. James’ endeavor is gaining momentum, and I got a chance to interview her recently to find out about her vision, and what’s going on out in the trenches of sustainable fashion’s uprising. Here is the interview:
DB: How did you get into fashion, and what led up to the creation of Covet?
TSJ: I’ve been working in the industry for about 10 years, mainly designing for denim brands.
TSJ: I wanted to reference the casual yet classy clothing of the 1950s, before baggy jeans and tees were a staple.
DB: When did you become an environmentalist, and describe the process of actualizing that in your work – including difficulties. Did you meet resistance? Do you have plans to use organics?
TSJ: I don’t know if there was a specific turning point which made me ‘an environmentalist’. Once I left school and started my career in fashion, and as I grew older and more responsible for my actions and my lifestyle, I also became aware of the circumstances these entailed. Information about the destruction of the earth was abundant, so all I did was put it into practice.
DB: You seem to be at the forefront of a shake-up in the fashion industry where people are actually demanding accountability for the ways in which their products are made – from labor to raw materials. What’s happening out there?
TSJ: Firstly, thank you for the compliment. ‘Going green’ has become very trendy over the past two years or so and to be honest I don’t mind one bit. Whether consumers are buying eco-friendly products because it’s trendy or because they feel a sense of accountability towards the environment, the same end result ensues… eco products are slowly becoming the norm in every day use and people are educating themselves about the repercussions our choices have on our future.
As for labor and raw materials, it’s becoming increasingly easier to find resources both overseas and domestically. Factories in India and China are performing complete overhauls in their methods and products in order to offer labour and eco-friendly products.
DB: The fabrics you use are not common in mainstream fashion – from soybean rayon to bamboo cotton. How are these products made, why are they so great, and how come everyone isn’t using them? What other exciting processes and materials are on your radar for the future?
TSJ: So many beautiful fabrics, so little time! I currently use organic cotton for all my knits, bamboo, modal, soybean blends, tencel and silk.
As for the future, I’m working with an organic merino wool quality that is beautiful. I’m also looking into ingeo (a corn-based yarn), seacell (a version of tencel mixed with seaweed), recycled polyester (made with old plastic bottles), and a milk-based yarn. All very interesting.
DB: Many of my readers are animal advocates. Thank you for not using any fur or leather! Where do you stand concerning the fur and skins trades, and animal advocacy in general?
TSJ: I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 14 years old. I refuse to buy or wear fur, but haven’t quite kicked the leather habit (a girl needs her shoes after all!). Luckily companies like Stella McCartney and Natalie Portman for Te Casan are starting to offer beautiful vegetarian shoes that may help me kick that nasty habit. I also buy vintage leather shoes instead of new whenever possible.
DB: Is ‘cool’ being redefined in our culture? How is iconography changing, or is it not?
TSJ: The world has become a very fast-paced place in which to live. Trends no longer last 2 to 3 seasons. They don’t even last one season, for that matter. The industry is in such a rush to catch up to itself that I think the consumer is looking for a way to stand out, not only in a fashionable way but by wearing their personal philosophies as brands, the way we used to wear band t-shirts or sports jerseys. Now that ‘eco’ is a trend, consumers want others to know they make specific ethical choices when purchasing goods (without wanting a huge recycle logo on their chest)
DB: What other designers do you have your eye on, and who should we be looking out for?
TSJ: For menswear I’ve always been a fan of Alexander Herchcovitch, Henrik Vibskov, Marc Jacobs. The world of mens eco-fashion needs to start moving away from organic cotton jeans and tees. I look forward to the day when a sustainable tuxedo walks down the red carpet at the oscars.
DB: What can we expect to see from Covet in the coming year or two?
TSJ: I plan to expand the woven organics part of the line (shirts, pants, jackets, etc…) I have been using linens and wools as standard issue, but I want to introduce organic cottons and hemp blends in future collections. Hemp has come a long way.
DB: Anything else you want to say to these Discerning Brutes?
TSJ: Thanks for reading!
To find out where to get covet clothing, click HERE the click on ‘shopping’.
2 Comments | activism, art, environmental justice, fair trade, fashion, green, organic, social responsibility, trend report, Uncategorized, vegan, vegetarian | Tagged: animal rights, bamboo, cashmere, covet, eco, elle, environmental, fashion interview, green, iou, lucky, mr, organic, soybean rayon, sportswear international, sustainability, sustainable menswear, tara st. James, wool, wwd, wwf | Permalink
Posted by TheDiscerningBrute
Ali Hewson and Bono’s (yes, of U2) vision for a socially conscious and aesthetically desireable clothing line resulted in EDUN -launched in 2005 as a revolutionary model of autonomous, sustainable social and economic growth in developing countries. EDUN has challenged the typical mode of pillaging communities (sweatshops), and ecosystems (hazardous garment production) that still remains the status-quo for the majority of the fashion industry. For the facts on EDUN’s practices, click HERE. Watch their VIDEO.
And how does the product look? In their own words:
“EDUN is both beauty and brains. Part rock & roll, part punk rock, EDUN pulls intellectual inspiration from the 1920′s Berlin Weimar culture combined with the artistic romance stirred by the art nouveau movement in Paris of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.”
Shop at their online store.
EDUN has its hands in every element of production, from cotton growth through sales. EDUN utilizes locally run factories in Africa, South America and India and does not build or own these factories because their aim is to empower communities and workers at every phase of production (as opposed to exploit them) with the ultimate agenda of fostering self-determining garment producers. EDUN uses organic cotton wherever possible. 31% of the EDUN Fall/Winter 2007 collection is organic; 50% of the EDUN Spring/Summer 2008 collection is organic. *Source
To find out about their ‘ONE’ campaign to fight global poverty and AIDS, click below:
DB’s Etiquette Recommendation: Supporting lines like this is crucial to making a positive paradigm shift within the fashion industry. Let’s face it – clothes affect almost everyone – whether we’re wearing them, selling them, or making them. If you can afford to make choices like EDUN, please do so. I do, however, recommend steering clear of their wool and leather garments for obvious reasons – let’s not forget that, more widespread than worker exploitation, is the unpaid and torturous exploitation of living, feeling animals who, as individuals, have a will to live and not suffer just like you or I or your dog or cat.
1 Comment | activism, fair trade, fashion, green, organic, social responsibility | Tagged: Bono, edun, fair trade, leather, one campaign, organic cotton, social justice, sweatshop, tee-shirt, wool | Permalink
Posted by TheDiscerningBrute