Friday, 20 March 2020 17:48

Splash or Cash? The Greek Key Underpants

Versace greek key underwear black gold pantsVersace underwear, thanks to its signature use of the ancient Greek key design, has become one of the most recognisable brands across social media and in other images.

A little light history if you will. This decorative border is also called a meander or meandros. It recalls the twisting and turning path of the Maeander River in southwestern Turkey and is the labyrinth in linear form. It is thought to symbolise infinity and unity.

These, let’s call it an ‘homage’, from River Island, could fool even the biggest designer underwear fan. While the Versace Medusa head has been replaced by a bee - clearly these will be popular in Manchester - the rest looks almost identical and nobody on Instagram would ever know!

Versace greek key underwear black gold pants

Left - River Island - Black Printed Waistband Briefs 3 Pack - £15

Right - Versace - Logo Low-Rise Stretch-Cotton Briefs - £45 from matchesfashion.com

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Tuesday, 17 March 2020 17:10

Splash or Cash? The Box Brownie Bag

Box bag trend menswear mens Nappa Dori IndiaI think Loewe’s Puzzle Bag is the main influence here. The box shape is practical and distinctive, especially worn across the body. It looks like you're carrying a Box Brownie camera, while in fact the box shape is useful for your phone charger and any other bits you want to carry.

For the cash option, I recently discovered Indian brand, Nappa Dori, stumbling across their store in Covent Garden. The Nappa Dori name literally translated means 'leather and thread’ in Urdu. Founded in 2010 in Delhi by Gautam Sinha, a NIFT (National Institute of Fashion Technology, Delhi) graduate in Fashion Design, he had an epiphany that compelled him to discard conventional fashion design and explore the world of Indian leather and artisanal craftsmanship.

Left & Right - Nappa Dori - Nordic Brick Bag - £181.10

Box bag trend menswear mens Nappa Dori India

Nappa Dori supports Harmony House, a day shelter for destitute children in India that provides free food, shelter, clothing, education and medical care to the under privileged. As well as the flagship store in London, they are seven stores in India spread across Delhi, Gurgaon & Bombay.

While for the cash option, designer, Eudon Choi, has this square bag with a similar handle to the Puzzle in this handsome green colour.

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Below - Eudon Choi - Cardena Dark Green Leather Box Bag - £385 from Harvey Nichols 

Box bag trend menswear mens Eudon Choi

Box bag trend menswear mens Eudon Choi

menswear product of the week adam jones pub beer towel tank topNow it is out of bounds, it is the perfect time to celebrate the traditional pub. Welsh designer, Adam Jones’ presentation for his SS20 collection at LFWM in June was a confection of beer mats, beer towels and everything associated with your local boozer. It’s one part tacky, two parts nostalgia. I’m surprised his old enough (28) to remember beer towels at the bar soaking up the excess lager or bitter.

Anyway, I’m loving these beer towel tank tops, particularly the Tetley Bitter. They’re fun, a bit retro and obviously up-recycled. 

menswear product of the week adam jones pub beer towel tank topHis stockist is 50m at Eccleston Yards, a short walk from Victoria Station in London. 

This is the perfect time to support young British designers and he has a super cool Newcastle Brown Ale scarf for only £60. A steal.

Right - Adam Jones - Gold Cross Beer Towel Vest - £190

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Thursday, 12 March 2020 16:45

Menswear Product Of The Week The Parasuit

menswear product of the week parasuit suit raeburnWhile I’m not sure when the suit will return, if ever, as a fashion thing, one of the lovely gentleman who works at Raeburn was wearing this on their stand at the recent Pitti Uomo. The penny dropped and I thought, this is how you wear a suit today. 

Made out of a sort of shell material, it is easy care and looks modern and contemporary. Called the ‘Parasuit’ and crafted in the Raeburn Lab in East London using original dyed parachute material, it is reworked to achieve a textured and lightweight crinkle finish. This item is one of 50, and individually numbered and is the nearest thing to sportswear you're gonna find in a tailored shape. Great for travel too.

Left & Below Raeburn - Parasuit Jacket - £350, Parasuit Trousers - £250

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menswear product of the week parasuit suit raeburn

Tuesday, 10 March 2020 16:51

ChicGeek Comment See The Trees

stella mccartney fashion show tree samplings given outAt the recent Stella McCartney AW20 show in Paris guests were gifted a sampling. Wrapped in paper and tied with string, a note was attached which read: “We should all be carbon neutral now. We are absorbing the CO2 emitted by the show to make this a completely carbon neutral experience. Planting this tree is part of the solution.”

Left - The samplings given out at Stella McCartney's AW20 fashion show in Paris

How many of these young trees made it off the Eurostar and into the ground we’ll probably never know, but it is another example of fashion’s current obsession with tree planting to seemingly balance out the rest of its environmental impact. 

New trees have become part of some quantum, climate change, environmental maths equation and, seemingly, the answer to many of our climate change woes. It’s an easy solution to carry-on-as-you-were by simply chucking money at the problem and hoping re-greening, by randomly planting new trees, is the band aid needed.

The Committee on Climate Change says the UK will have to plant 1.5 billion trees if it is to meet its pledge to reach net zero emissions by 2050 – and this needs to “happen quickly”. UK woodland cover needs to increase from 13 per cent to 17 per cent. It recommended that 30,000 hectares be planted every year, but if other carbon-reducing targets are not met, it said this will have to go up to 50,000. In 2018, the UK planted 13,400 hectares of woodland.

In the recent Labour 2019 manifesto, it said, if elected, it would plant 2 billion trees in the next 20 years. That would have been the equivalent of 100 million trees a year; the equivalent of three trees planted every second, day and night. These numbers are staggering and make the whole thing look too simplistic and far fetched. Where would they all go? It's as though all these trees will just magically appear not to mention. Done. Fixed.

European footwear brands such as Womsh, Faguo, Yatay have all made planting trees part of their brand ethos and USP. Yatay promise for every pair of shoes sold a tree will be planted in a specific area in Bore, Kenya and since 2014, Womsh has created and preserved 46 tennis courts of equatorial forest and offset 74 tonnes of carbon dioxide emission, equal to the consumption of more than 10 milions sheets of paper.

Romain Teissedre, Faguo Communication Manager, says, “From the beginning, Nicolas and Frederic, (the founders) wanted to be positive for the planet. They choose trees because it's the best way to offset CO2. It encourages wood use too. We think that it's better to use wooden materials instead of plastics or glass, because it continues to offset CO2. We symbolise that with a coconut button on all of our products.” he says.

yatay italian sneakers stella mccartney fashion show tree samplings given out“For each collection, we know how many Faguo products we will produce, so we ask our plant nursery workers (Naudet Pépinières) to find projects in France who want to forest or re-forest their land.” he says. “If they engage to care about the plantation and put a wood Faguo panel in front of the forest, then Faguo pay for all the plants in the field. Naudet Pepinières wait for the right season to plant and decide if they plant conifer or broad-leaved trees.” 

Right - Italian sneaker brand Yatay informing customers how many tons of CO2 has been absorbed by their tree planting

Faguo has planted 1.5 million trees in France since 2009 in 270 Faguo forests.

“It's great, but not enough." says Teissedre. "We need to install a more circular fashion to reduce our emissions. The beginning must be using recycled material!” Sixty-five per cent of Faguo products are made with recycled materials right now. It will be one hundred per cent by 2024 they say.

“Planting a tree is good, but the most important act is reducing our footprint.” he says.

A whole industry of socially responsible companies have sprung to facilitate this new mania in tree planting from the fashion industry. Offset Earth helps companies and individuals offset their carbon footprint by supporting carbon reducing projects around the world including tree planting. Olly Rzysko is an advisor and Co-founder for Offset Earth. Having worked in retail (specifically clothing/fashion) since he was 20 he knew the impact it was having on the environment and also the power it has to make a difference, quickly. He donates his time to Offset Earth having been really inspired by Elliot, Alex and Lucy, who founded it in 2019.

“The fashion industry, like most industries, is unable to completely remove its carbon footprint overnight, it may never be totally possible.” says Rzysko. “All the while our dwindling global carbon budget continues to drain faster than ever before. What we need to do until industries are fully decarbonised is pay to offset the footprint as it will increase the amount of time we have to live more sustainably.” he says. “You can do the offsetting by planting trees, protecting rainforests, and installing wind and solar farms.

“At Offset Earth we don’t count tree planting as carbon reduced, the tree has not yet grown yet so the carbon has not yet been reduced. The trees we plant will absorb a lot of carbon though, and this calculation is often averaged over a 25 year growing period. Many tree varieties will keep on growing after this, and the carbon they sequester continues to accelerate. For Offset Earth planting trees is a backbone of what we offer - it’s what really ignites the imaginations of our susbscribers, plant 12 trees a month for £4.50.” says Rzysko.

stella mccartney fashion show tree samplings given out faguo french forests

Is there anything consumers should look for or be suspicious of?

“You should look to find information on how the climate projects are being verified as to what they are doing. The projects we support are all verified by Gold Standard, an independent certification body, that raises the standard of the project to an exceptional quality. Other standards include Verra, Climate Action Reserve and Climate, Community & Biodiversity.” he says. “Often you wont be buying carbon offsets directly from them, so if you’re going through another company then ensure you’re happy with the level of transparency and thoroughness of the information, that has links to plenty of sources.”

How can consumers trust that these trees will be planted and cared for? “The actual project operator that is planting the trees needs to be well established and known for responsible reforestation. Our reforestation partners work with local governments and plant in newly nationalised parks, protecting them in perpetuity. There should be a monitoring period over 30 years in place, where an independent auditor ensures the stated number of trees are healthy.” he says.

Left - Map on Faguo's website showing where and how many trees have been planted in France

“If the entire (fashion) industry offset its carbon footprint it’d be a staggering boost to our global climate goals, but it is just one part of the solution.” says Rzysko. “The reason we need to use this tool is because it’s available today and is something most businesses can get behind without too much effort. The bigger picture is to remove the carbon footprint of the industry, and that will be slow to change. However it needs the spotlight at all times to ensure we’re all marching in the right direction.” 

Fashion app, Mallzee recently launched a Swipe To Plant initiative, partnering with non-profit organisation One Tree Planted - a non-profit dedicated to global reforestation - to turn every swipe made on their free Mallzee apps into tree planting funding. The week long green initiative focused on highlighting the sustainable fashion ranges available on the shopping app whilst also helping fund reforestation globally. In addition to helping consumers find their favourite fashions, Mallzee strives to reduce wastage in the fashion industry by partnering with retailers to improve their product selections and stock ordering through pre-release product testing.

Tree planting is fantastic, and nobody is going to say the world has too many trees, but it feels too easy and simplistic an answer in combating the impact of the fashion industry. Just carrying on regardless and saying you’ve planted part of a forest feels like the environmental equivalent of sticking a plaster over a gaping wound. Many brands are doing great things and are transparent in their efforts, but consumers can feel blinded by the numbers and what it all means. It's also clearly cheaper to plant trees in some countries over others due to land prices and labour costs. This trend is a positive one, but it does feel like some brands are jumping on the brand wagon and how much of this is checked, monitored and also cared for, with so much passing onto third parties, is ripe for abuse. Forget the wood, consumers need to see the trees. 

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