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Written by Sandra Castañeda Elena - Thursday, 04 December 2008

They are all over the place now…I’ve seen them on store windows together with ethical shoes Veja in Bilbao and also side by side with Levi’s at a new shop behind our fashion school in Madrid. It seems that, at last, mainstream agents do see the opportunity in spreading the availability of cool conscious brands. Ethics are mushrooming… it’s up to us to make them hit the bottom-line as well.

Written by Sandra Castañeda Elena - Thursday, 27 November 2008

I had never heard any of the ‘conscious’ designers and fashion entrepreneurs talk about sex before I met Peter. Mr. Ingwersen, as they might have called him at the European headquarters of Levi’s in Brussels when he was chief a few years ago, decided he wanted to make Corporate Social Responsibility sexy so he founded NOIR. And he made it! Then, he decided he wanted to have his own certified organic cotton and help farmers in Uganda have a better life, and founded Illuminati II. Peter was the key speaker at the second Sustainability & Style session at IED Moda Lab Madrid last Friday and I could see students totally spell-bounded from the very first opening slide. Not because he talked about sex and how we choose our outfits to be desirable, but because he made us laugh, reflect and clearly understand why and how he set up NOIR – his edgy fashion brand which, by the way, is also fairly produced and environmentally conscious. Hot and meaningful fashion. Thanks Peter!

Kein Wendy
Monday, 24 November 2008

I've been eating too much chocolate lately. Because my new flatmate is a chocoholic. Because my love is not with me here. And oh yeah, because I live in Switzerland now. And that means: not in Brazil.

Oh how I miss Brazil! Copa beach in front of my house. The view on Rio's high jungle peaks. The spontaneous samba sessions in my street. The fireworks because Flamengo won again in Maracana stadium. I miss it. And at the same time, I start to love St. Gallen. St. Gallen with its ancient history breathing from the inner city's buildings. With the snow that has started falling yesterday and covers everything with a blanket of silence. And most of all: St. Gallen university where I've found a challenging environment to question eco fashion.

Written by Sandra Castañeda Elena - Monday, 17 November 2008

They flew in from across the Atlantic on a sunny Thursday morning. While they were speaking in front of over a couple of hundred heart-taken fashion students and professionals for two complete hours non-stop, I tried my best not to hug them compulsively as I translated their intense experiences building up SANS, a very personal and groundbreaking sustainable brand based in NYC. Awarded the Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation Award last year, SANS combines Lika’s vision on form and functional design with Alessandro’s know how on eco-conscious textiles such as soy fiber, bamboo, organic cotton and wild silk. But beyond materials, they search for real meaning, genuine sustainability and functionality, bringing about beautiful aesthetic pieces. They both act sweet and plain as if their minds and hearts were not filled with the most brilliant ideas and avant-garde concepts in the fashion world today. That is who they were, just Alessandro and Lika wandering around the city streets in Madrid…Now, THAT is luxury…

Wheels of change
Friday, 07 November 2008

Wheelsofchange.jpg "So, what are you doing here?" the man invites me to his breakfast table and I sit down with my little bowl of yoghurt-muesli-fruit. Big coincidence that the only other guests in the hotel breakfast lounge are Dutchies too: a group of five huge guys all working for newspapers and car magazines. They`re here for the Formula 1 races that take place in Sao Paulo this week and ping pong names of racers and car labels while I cling on to my mango.

Monday, 27 October 2008

A few days after conquering Säntis, I visit the Sentis shop. The pop-up store showcases the Sentis™ collection, a fusion of young design with traditional textile craft from the Appenzell region where I live. When I came here for the first time, I had no idea this area is world famous for its embroidery. It was my one luxurious night in Hotel Einstein, a former textile factory, that made me realize I had arrived to study fashion in a textile city. In the early 1900’s, more than half of the global embroidery production originated in St. Gallen. Although the industry shrank heavily over the last century, St. Gallen embroideries are still in high demand by the creators of Parisian couture. I’m not surprised when I see the Sentis™ collection: the “brides dress” is an explosion of cultural symbols embroidered in neon colors and the perfect example of ethical chic.


Monday, 20 October 2008

Rain drips into the collar of my sports jacket and instantly chills my sweaty back. I have lost the feeling in my hands, cold as they are from the icy wind that blows around us. Slowly I place my right foot one rock further. But the slippery stones and my heavy backpack make me lose my balance. I reach out to the steel cable that is only half visible through intense fog. The weak air makes me almost stop to breathe. My heart is pounding like it wants to jump out of my body. Am I going to fall off this 2.500 meter high peak? What about my eco fashion ambitions? Or is it better nobody knows since I’m not exactly looking like a fashion victim conquering this giant Swiss mountain?

A day in Paris
Tuesday, 14 October 2008

When I‘m in Paris I can’t help but sing Frank Sinatra’s song all day. While waking up in my Occidente nightwear in which I feel like an Oriental princess. Doing my yoga in Sobosibio harempants and Ethos top. After the shower, I slip into my G=98 intimates which make me feel fabulous all day. In Nu Jeans, Mr. Poulet shirt and Como No boots I grab coffee & croissants in the corner café. After a few hours work from home I change into a skirt and top of Les fees de Bengale, and an Art. 23 jacket. My favorite bag by Balianse plus Ombre Claire and Ikken jewelry provide added ethical femininity to my outfit. Moyi Ekolo shoes allow me to move through town elegantly and comfortably. Even on the velib bike that takes me to my lunch appointment with a Silver Fox on this sunny autumn day.

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