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  • September 2007

    The second round of VERYstylemap Ecological London is forthcoming and VERY-eco.com is under way. Part (eco) city guide, part map, part magazine it will be our VERY online ethical information and exchange forum.

    If eyebrows were still raised in astonishment in August 06, the same questions meet nodding heads in September 07. Green, the new black. It wasn’t always like that. The popular vote used to relate eco green more to brown or beige, an uncertain hemp-sand-colour. For me, it wasn’t Al Gore, it wasn’t Michael Moore - it was Orsola de Castro and Filippo Ricci, who brought me onto the sustainable design track. In 2006, their reclaim-to-wear label “from somewhere” was no longer alone against the odds: a handful of designers had emerged

    offering ethically produced fashion without a particular political agendas attached. The preparations for the pair to curate the first edition of Estethica - the ethical portion of the exhibition at London Fashion Week - were en route and the idea to make a VERY ecological map of London was born.

    I grew up in Germany taking recycling for granted. Along with the threat “unless you finish your dinner it will rain tomorrow,” we were told to avoid waste as much as possible, and dispose of it carefully should the nuisance occur. In the news were the protests against “Startbahn West” (the extension of Frankfurt’s airport); I would like to review that footage against what happened at Heathrow this year.
  • Times are different, but in this instance the issues exactly the same. Germans like to see things right through to the end. Organizing the recycling went all the way: an intricate waste disposal system was conceived, colours per type, different days for collection and so on.

    By the time I was keen to leave high school I watched my own father - though politically all but green - arrange the installation of battery recycle containers in Duesseldorf, personally write, print and distribute leaflets which highlighted the dangers and indicated how to recycle this common toxic matter. His approach was to make options realistic for people to naturally choose them, including schemes combining city border parking with public transport. He would analyse options for emission reduction and present them to the industry and press for their implementation.

    I understood that the concern was a natural one for everyone - left, right or centre: after all we shared the same planet. Reaching London as my new home of choice in 1986, I would naturally ask where the recycle garbage was to go. The answer was met by my disbelief: there wasn’t any?!

    Fast forward to 1997, my friend Orsola de Castro starts her fashion label making new and very beautiful - out of “old” and “new and not even used” that would have gone to waste. Indeed: how can so much be produced that is destined to become waste without having been put to use in the first place? The fashion industry is a great offender.

    Thankfully, “from somewhere” salvages what would be lost, and turns it into delightful dresses for us. Now in 2007, the from somewhere flagship store is open in Notting Hill, Estethica is in its third edition, and De Castro/Ricci are about to launch new eco.spaces worldwide, “Slowhite.it” in Milan fashion week this September being the first one to establish the concept.

     

  • Thankfully, “from somewhere” salvages what would be lost, and turns it into delightful dresses for us. Now in 2007, the from somewhere flagship store is open in Notting Hill, Estethica is in its third edition, and De Castro/Ricci are about to launch new eco.spaces worldwide, “Slowhite.it” in Milan fashion week this September being the first one to establish the concept.

    Natural disasters and effects of global warning, CO2 and methane emissions (apparently 21 times worse) make headlines today. Celebrity endorsement is helping the cause. But does it all add up? We see the effects but don’t necessarily understand the cause. There is Al Gore and soon enough an anti Al Gore science professor claiming to prove it all wrong. There are news that don’t make sense, where there’s a trick, there’s a trickster.

    Offsetting CO2 emissions is a great idea and a whole new market with an ethical edge - but must be done right. It’s a new industry of trading invisibles and one very much vulnerable to potential abuse, intentional or incidental.

    To try and sort hay from spray is a daunting task in this suddenly booming market. Yet that’s exactly what we set out to do with VERY-eco.com. Starting with VERY ecological London we can’t wait to see our other VERY cities online, link issues with solutions in different countries, continue where the guides leave off.

    Last but not least, I am excited to print this issue now on paper certified by the FSC. The international Forest Stewardship Council promotes responsible management of the world’s forests. It ensures that the harvest of timber maintains the forest’s biodiversity and helps the locals to benefit from their forest resources.

     

  • Starting at the source, FSC follows the tree down the river in its journey through the saw mill, paper mill, wholesaler, printer, all the way the publisher, in order to assure FSC timber is not unallowable mixed with timber from other sources.

    Arctic Paper (whose paper you’re currently holding) has developed ways to produce its paper with less and cleaner water than most. But this is only part of the story. We look forward to learn more, visit, see for ourselves and get back to you.

    VERY-eco.com

    From Somewhere

    FSC

    Arctic Paper