LAPLAM \lä pläm\
n 1 a: A new material made from air-infused layers plastic—60 to 80 percent of which is recycled—with an appearance reminiscent of bubble wrap. b: Developed by a lab research team at Italian packaging manufacturer Tecnopack. c: Available in a range of saturated colors, the material is commonly used for furniture and women’s fashion accessories. d: Under the direction of Fabrizio Fattori, Laplam has been used for couture handbags, known as “Big Bubble Bags,” that are wildly popular in Italy’s metropolitan areas.
No space for a garden? Ali Seçkin Karayol and Mette Lyckegaard’s “Mesh” dress doesn’t just anchor seeds for planting, but it also composts kitchen scraps to nourish them. The result is a portable, wearable garden that changes color and form with each passing day. More than that, however, it’s a critique on the growing estrangement between urban dwellers and nature. “Our aim was to create a beautiful symbiosis between nature and citizens,” according to the Karayol, who developed the concept with Lyckegaard for the Performative Design course at the Copenhagen Institute of Interactive Design. “It should be seen as citizens’ opportunity to give back to nature and to immerse themselves in it by wearing their own small ecosystem.”
Deck the halls a more verdant hue this holiday season with more than 200 eco-friendly gift suggestions from our parent site, Inhabitat. From ethically handcrafted knits to socially conscious jewelry, our carefully curated gift guide will have something for everyone.
You haven’t really suffered for fashion until you’ve donned Susie MacMurray’s “Widow,” a gown hewn from black Napa leather and more than 94 pounds of adamantine dressmaker pins. Now on view at the Victoria & Albert Museum’s “Power of Making” exhibit in London, the prickly garment translates the grief of lost love into a shroud that inflicts physical pain and repels human contact and sympathy. Widow is the fourth in a series of garment sculptures that explore concepts of female identity—pins have strong associations with so-called “women’s work”—and vulnerability. Look if you will, but touch at your own peril.
Live data that streams directly before your eyes à la The Terminator sounds like the stuff of science fiction, but researchers are thisclose to making it a reality. In a study published in the December 2011 issue of the Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering, University of Washington researchers demonstrated the safety of such a device by testing it in the eye of a rabbit. Although the prototype contained only a pixel of information, which appears as a tiny dot of light, scientists say it’s a proof of concept that could lead to superimposed emails and other messages in your line of sight. Talk about hands-free communication.
FIT TO BE TIED
Following the path forged by the likes of TOMS and FEED Projects comes FIGS, a hand-tailored line of neckties and bow ties that funds school uniforms in Africa with every purchase. The corporate nooses come in myriad patterns and fabrics, including Italian silk wovens, pure British woolens, and fine wool tartans.
BAGS TO BACKPACKS
Based in San Francisco, Kayu aligns itself with indigenous craftsmen in China and the Philippines to create low-impact, handcrafted accessories that give back to the community. By purchasing this ethically handwoven straw clutch, Kayu will make a donation to Awareness Cambodia, a charity that provides backpacks and school supplies for children who can’t afford them.
Wildlife Works’ patch-style “Almasi” jacket works hard for both people and planet without any need for middlemen. The organic-cotton fleece number hails from the label’s own carbon-neutral “eco-factory” in Kenya, situated just next door to its 80,000-acre Rukinga Wildlife Sanctuary, which now employs 70 locally hired rangers, land managers, greenhouse workers, and other conservation aides.
FEEL GOOD AND CARRY ON
Wayuu Taya’s boldly patterned bags may cost more, but they’re well-worth the extra cash. The women of the Wayuu community in South America’s Guajira Peninsula use traditional tribal techniques to hand-weave and sew each one-of-a-kind piece, a process that takes 20 eight-hour days. Plus, a substantial 90 percent of proceeds goes back to the community.
SPEAK FOR THE TREES
As the United Nations’ “Year of Forests” comes to a close, designer Vivienne Westwood has produced a line of organic-cotton T-shirts that supports reforestation efforts in Europe. All proceeds go to GreenUp, an initiative of the UN Environmental Programme that seeks to reduce deforestation around the world.
ALL THAT GLITTERS
Aurea’s “Cascade” necklace isn’t literally gold, but it exudes quite the luster, nonetheless. The ersatz metal? Golden grass, which artisans in Jalapão, Brazil hand-weave using techniques passed down from the indigenous Xerente people. A stunning piece, whether dressed up or down.
IN THEIR SHOES
Sseko (pronounced “say-ko”) does more than sell sandals. It’s also a not-for-profit enterprise that helps young Ugandan women earn, learn, and grow during the nine-month gap between secondary school and university. Its “Stocking Stuffer” package includes a pair of handmade soles and three interchangeable sets of organic-cotton straps in navy, gray, and gold—perfect for the person who can never make up her mind.
SINGING IN THE RAIN
Made fairly in China from 100 percent natural latex rubber, a single pair of Roma boots won’t just keep your feet dry. Through the company’s one-for-one program, a less-fortunate child will also receive a pair to weather the damp and cold.
ALL IN THE WRIST
Mikuti, a social enterprise that means “dried leaf” in Kiswahili, paired banana bark with local Tanzania wax fabric to create a trio of bangles just begging to be stacked. More than wrist adornments, the accessories are also tools for sustainable economic success, creating jobs and income for artisans in East Africa.
FASHION THAT EMPOWERS
Reusable totes are a great go-to gift, but why settle for the same-old when you can snag a bag that goes beyond schlepping stuff? Nicole Miller partnered with nonprofit Indego Africa on a range of accessories that empowers Rwandan women through fair-trade partnerships, access to global buyers, and skills training. And who can resist that eye-popping print?
CASES FOR A CAUSE
From Della in Los Angeles comes a vibrantly hued iPad case that does more than coddle your tablet PC. The fair-trade label employs local seamstresses in Ghana, providing them with jobs, education, and skills training. “Most people do not realize that a majority of the African-style fabric sold in Ghana comes from China,” says founder Tina Tangalakis. “I wanted to find reliable sources to purchase authentic Ghanaian fabric from to keep in line with Della’s mission of helping stimulate the Ghanaian economy.”
CLEAN UP POLLUTION
The garment industry is a polluting beast, particularly in China, where rivers run blue, red, and yellow with dyes. Help the National Resources Defense Council green the global textile supply chain through its Clean by Design initiative, which works with factories to cut costs and reduce environmental degradation.
Make that guilty splurge count for something by shopping at Community Collection, a new online marketplace that pairs fashion and accessory labels with do-gooding nonprofits of their choice. The retailer may be in its salad days, having launched in October, but it’s already attracted a bold-faced cast that includes Diane von Furstenberg (for Girls Inc.), Helmut Lang (Flying Kites), Clare Vivier (Surfrider Foundation), Inhabit (World Wildlife Fund), and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen (Heal the Bay). For every product you purchase, 20 percent of the sale goes to the designer’s partner charity. You’ll also receive an email that measures your impact, demonstrating the tangible effect of your largesse.
[Via Daily Candy]
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