Sigrid McCarthy- All things ethical fashion!

Lois Hazel recently had a chat to the wonderful Sigrid McCarthy on the importance of building consumer awareness surrounding the ethics of the fashion industry. Sigrid lay out all the important aspects associated with overhauling the industry in regards to production and consumption. Sigrid also touched on the important considerations she makes when building her timeless wardrobe (Note pad and pens ready!) . 

Read the full scoop bellow

Tell us a little about yourself? 
My name is Sigrid McCarthy and depending on which day you ask me, I am the determined optimist or the overwhelmed pessimist. The fashion industry continues to inspire and daunt me in equal measures! I currently hold two roles within the industry - both of which advocate for a healthier, more responsible system.
 
My day job is at Ethical Clothing Australia, an accreditation body safeguarding local garment workers. As the Media and Communications Coordinator I promote the value of supply chain transparency and the importance of ethical business practices. My moonlight project is Intent Journal, a publication exploring the need for a more considered and deliberate relationship with what we wear. I launched this platform as a way of debunking the ethical fashion stigma. I wanted to offer people a more in-depth analysis of fashion - the psychology of consumption and the ways in which we can address our social and environmental impact. Since then I have connected with a remarkable community of people.
 
Outside of fashion, I am a budding gardener currently building a large scale veggie patch and greenhouse with my partner. It has been great getting away from the computer and amongst the dirt. I have no idea what I’m doing but I’m slowly learning! While my work focuses on the sustainability of fashion, my general interest lies in the bigger picture: how to be kinder to the planet. I find the romantic idea of being self sufficient and living off the grid to be super appealing, especially in the current context.
 
What is your favourite item in your wardrobe?
While I’ve made a conscious effort to ensure all items in my wardrobe are familiar and add some sort of value to my life, there are a few that hold a special place. I’d say my R.M.Williams boots are my current favourite, as they are built so damn well. Putting them on each time is a beautiful reminder of what quality feels like - they truly are the highest quality wearable product I’ve ever bought. (Note, this is an unsponsored plug!). I love knowing that their makers are just over in Adelaide and that they’re continuing such a beautiful craft. I’m a sucker for process and supporting local.
I also love my new Akubra hat for obvious reasons (I have peaches and cream skin that burns at even the slightest sighting of sun), and it plays out my chic country life fantasy. I can’t wait to visit my partner’s dad - who is a farmer - so I can tip my brim on arrival. Ha.

What got you into fashion, and what do you love most about the industry
It sounds terribly cliche, but my engagement in this industry started via a blog. Like most blogs, it began as a personal scrapbook of sorts for my own enjoyment, but then became a place for me to share my thoughts on the fashion industry. Back then I knew very little about the systemic issues, but wanted to explore my frustrations and concerns. Why were fashion journalists mostly focused on describing how a garment looked when the accompanying photograph did that visually? The role of fashion media was something that really interested me - I was interested in understanding its responsibility to question and influence how the industry was evolving.
In its own little way, this blog helped me gain a clearer understanding of not just the industry but also my own career path. It led to a job opportunity as a curator at a local gallery where I produced an exhibition called The Ethics of Style - showcasing both fashion illustration and garments. At the time I was also studying International Studies and, as part of my final year research project, I decided to look into the issues inherent to the Australian garment industry. Ethical Clothing Australia was an integral part of this research and they offered me an internship after I graduated. The rest is pretty much history.

What is the one thing you hope to see eliminated from the fashion industry, or a massive issue that requires attention?
There are many, but if I was to narrow it down to one I’d say the need for systemic change. The issues are too significant for tokenistic engagement - we need to seriously rethink the way we engage with fashion altogether. Consumers need to ditch the passive word consumption and become active citizens who own their buying power. Businesses need to focus on the benefits of embracing innovation and lower impact practices. Governments need to regulate and support the industry to ensure long term change. Regardless of our interest in fashion, we are all humans coexisting in a world that’s in trouble. We have a collective responsibility to address our impact, and I’d like to see mindless behaviour replaced with critical thinking. 
Another one I’d like to add here, simply because it’s the elephant in the room and needs to be addressed, is that the fast fashion business model will never be sustainable. Greenpeace encapsulated this sentiment perfectly in the following quote: "Industry leaders rarely talk about the real solution: reducing the overall volume of production. All their talk about sustainable investing and innovative new materials and technologies comes under the assumption that the industry continues to grow. But unlimited growth is impossible on a planet with finite resources." I hope more people start looking at the bigger picture.

When shopping what are some of the questions you ask yourself before you purchase
I have adopted a ‘personal uniform’ as a way of addressing my daily impact. This means I bring items into my life in a deliberate way, and consider cohesive outfits as opposed to buying pieces based on their immediate appeal. I ask myself the following questions:

  • Do I actually need it?
  • Will it either a) serve a purpose or b) bring value to my life?
  • Will it complement other garments and fit into my ‘curated wardrobe’?
  • What resources were used in its construction? Is the brand transparent about this?
  • Will I continue to wear it for years to come?
  • If a brand uses the words ‘sustainable’ or ‘ethical’ in their marketing, I always ask them politely to explain what these words mean to their business and how they are reflected in their supply chain.

What is your favourite piece from Float
The Black Classic Slip, which is made by the beautiful Jimmy at LCN Fashion. I work with LCN as part of their Ethical Clothing Australia accreditation; they’re so passionate about they do. And of course, a black slip would complement my wardrobe perfectly :)
 

Well, there you have it! straight from the expert on all things slow and thoughtful fashion! Over at Lois Hazel, people like Sigrid continue to be a constant source of inspiration, pushing for change and asking the important questions. Questions that we all need to be made aware of when seeking to transform both industry practice, and consumer mentality! Massive ups to you Sigrid, and thanks for sharing your wisdom with us!


* All opinions expressed are Sigrid's personal opinions and do not reflect those of any company she is affiliated with

Portrait by Katy Thomas for Intent Journal

Portrait by Katy Thomas for Intent Journal

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ECO | MONO

 

 

At Lois Hazel HQ we are firm believers in slow, responsible and thoughtful fashion. It shouldn't be up to the environment or garment workers, to wear the cost of great style. 

It is for these reasons and many more that Lois Hazel is thrilled to announce our newest online stockist, Eco | Mono! Eco | Mono is a blog turned sustainable online retailer, featuring stunning monochromatic pieces from local and international designers!

The eco Mono online store will feature entirely black, white and grey pieces making them all wardrobe staples that can we worn again and again (quality not quantity!) 

This incredible online platform launched March 1st,  so be sure to head over and check out the awesome selection of designers, and sleep well knowing you are supporting a sustainable fashion initiative.  In the wise words of Vivienne Westwood, buy less choose well (choose Eco |Mono!)

 

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Float AW17 is here!

Lois Hazel is thrilled to introduce to you our 2017 Autumn/ Winter collection, Float. 

The inspiration for Float comes largely from the designers time spent interning with Amsterdam based textile artist, Marianne Kemp.  http://www.horsehairweaving.com/ 

The images below show one of the projects they worked on together, from sitting down designing the fabric, weaving it, pattern making then making the final garment. 

 

Lois was fascinated by the intricacies of the weaving process, being able to work so closely with the entire process of producing a garment was truly inspirational. Seeing the way all the warp threads were delicately and precisely waiting for the weft thread to be woven through; Floating there, waiting to unify the whole structure. For Lois, it was the small intricate details that made up the beauty of the final product. The contrast between the loose threads and the solid fabric just sitting next to one another. 

Looking at Float as a final product, it is easy to see how seamlessly each element of the garments are individually and intricately designed, while disrupted, come together to create elegant and wearable pieces.

Our first drop of Float launches tomorrow at the CTF pop up shop at L1 studios (Level 1, 377 Little Bourke St), which is open till sunday:

Thursday: 12pm - 5pm
Friday: 10am - 7pm
Saturday: 10am - 6pm
Sunday: 10am - 4m

then launches online on the 13th of March!  We are thrilled to showcase this collection to you, our wonderful customers!

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Meet Lois Hazel!

On the Birthday of our brands wonderful creator, we thought it was high time you got to know the lovely lady a little better.

Lois launched her self titled brand after returning from New York and Amsterdam where she interned with Marchesa and Iris Van Herpen. She wanted to create a brand that had the same design integrity in its creative process and similar focus on local collaboration as the brands she worked with overseas. Having studied at RMIT and worked within the local fashion industry she decided to return to Melbourne to establish the brand rather than working out of a more established fashion capital - She believed that she could create a business that held it's own alongside international brands while championing the resources and knowledge available within Australia.

When our wonderful designer isn't hard at work creating; She loves to spend time with her husband Felix and little pup Sara chilling out at home binging reality TV shows, Married at First Sight anyone?  Lois loves cruising the Melbourne café scene, hello Avocado on toast with Fetta; and Finally  when she isn't doing any of those things, she works at the Fabric store on Brunswick street! (where does she find the time!)

Happy Birthday Lois!!!

Baby Lois
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CTF Curated

Never heard of it? Well you should have! CTF curated is the latest initiative from the council of textiles and Fashion, Melbourne, to bring you a rich selection of Melbourne's best emerging labels, to create one very exciting shopping experience!

This year, Lois Hazel is thrilled to be included in the lineup. Featuring along side some truly amazing designers. (you can check out the full list here) https://ctfcurated.com/shop-the-pop-ups/

CTF curated provides shoppers a wonderful interactive shopping experience where you can meet the faces behind the work, connecting consumer to producer. 

Needless to say, we can't wait to meet you all at the pop up shop! This interactive shopping experience  will be taking place 9th-12th of at L1 studios, 1/377 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne.

Get excited folks!  We definitely are!! 

 

For more info head CTF Curated now!

 

 

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Behind the scenes.. with Bobby Clark

On Monday the Lois Hazel crew took to the dreamiest warehouse location to shoot some of our most beloved looks for 2016. The result were amazing! Biggest thanks to such an incredible team and Mia for being such a natural beauty! check out some of the behind the scenes shots below and more of Bobby's amazing work at www.bobbyclark.com.au

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http://www.bobbyandtide.com/

http://www.bobbyandtide.com/

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