Posts Tagged ‘Filippo Ricci’

A Garden Party to Make a Difference by Orsola de Castro

October 5, 2010

I am so proud of the workshops that we did in the Red Cross Tent at the Clarence House Garden Party To Make A Difference.
Goodness knows how we got it all together with the little time we had, but with incredible support from students and designers, as well as sponsors such as Janome, John Lewis and B&Q, we did it.
And it was a fantastic experience.

As for the LIVE UPCYCLE, scheduled for Saturday the 11th September, well, all I can say is that I wont be doing that again in a hurry, (I never knew being on stage could be so petrifying), although Lucy might have other ideas…

For starters, when Lucy Siegle and I first went to Clarence House to offer the NOI Collective services (the Noi Collective being Lucy Siegle, Livia Firth, Jocelyn Whipple, and I), and we mentioned that we were interested in doing a series of workshops and a Live Upcycle, we had but a vague idea as to what a Live Upcycle actually was.
We were clear about the workshops – fantastic designers sharing their methods and experiences with the public – but the “live upcycle event” was somehow, more … abstract.

Lucy, consummate professional, got going in writing the script, after we babbled a few concepts all together – like to involve the most experienced UK upcycling designers and get them on stage to play sewing machines instead of electric guitars, for instance.
Then we had to think of what actually we were going to sew, exactly.
And again, televisual Lucy, came up with the idea of upcycling Sinitta, and anything iconic from her 80’s wardrobe.
What can I say, she is a genius Lucy, and a very funny genius to boot.
And as she scripted away, we involved more and more people to take part – all who agreed absolutely blindly to possibly be completely humiliated on stage and talk rubbish, in this case, literally.

As the opening day drew closer, with the workshops beautifully organised by Elizabeth and ready to go with amazing designers (Elvis & Kresse, Enamore, Lu Flux, THTC, Alessandra Rigillo, Little Glass Clementine, From Somewhere) and an army of students from some of the UK’s best colleges ready at hand, our generous sponsors donated (all haberdasheries from John Lewis, irons and ironing boards from B&Q, and all sewing machines and overlockers from Janome) we proudly saw our concept taking shape and come to life.

On the first day of the event, Lucy and I had to do press.
I kind of thought we’ll be in a little room, a bunch of journalists will ask a few questions – what else can people expect from you at 8 am anyway?
Well, actually, what they expect from you at 8am in this kind of situation is a line up of 10 national and international live TV crews grilling you for 5 minutes each, followed by 20 photographers flashing away at a long celebrity line up, and me, pretty much the only civilian.
Vivienne Westwood was there, Jooles Holland, Alan Titchmarsh, and a few others I am ashamed to say I didn’t recognise.
Luckily I was flanked by Lucy and Sinitta, who were as relaxed as if they were having a cup of tea.

On Thursday I met HRH The Prince Of Wales. As you do, on Thursdays.
He came over to the Red Cross Tent during a workshop on jewellery upcycling, which was run by one of our new Estethica labels, Little Glass Clementine.
This time, support came thanks to Caroline Rush (head of the British Fashion Council) and Louise Carter, there to talk about the Sustainable Catwalk, also scheduled to take place at Clarence House, on the 17th of September.

And so it all rolled quickly into Saturday and the Live Upcycle.
Junky Styling (honestly, who else?) got to upcycle Sinitta’s outfit from her Toyboy album cover, and we used our usual scraps (generously donated by Dame Vivienne Westwood, Stella Mc Cartney, Sir Paul Smith and Speedo) and on stage with us we had the creme de la creme of the UK upcycling scene: Christopher Raeburn, Gary Harvey, Erin O Connor with Traid and John Paul Flintoff (revisiting his own homemade experiments as featured in his book Sew Your Own.)
It was anarchy on stage. Machines whizzing. Crazy hand stitching behind the scenes. And all of us, united in our cause to diminish landfill mass and re-use waste creatively.

It was absolutely, amazingly brilliant. Scary, mad, spontaneous, but brilliant.

I can’t conclude this report without thanking, from the bottom of my heart, all that took part, on stage and at the back.
Elizabeth Laskar and Jocelyn Whipple (bossy but adorable in keeping everything together backstage).
Our celebrity participants, enthusiastic, funny, relevant, talented, brave designers changing the way we look at fashion.
Lucy and Sinitta – the stars of the show.
Livia, texting frantically from the Toronto Film Festival (on duty there with husband Colin Firth).
Our models, Sarah and Emma – and Adam, our good looking assistant turned male model for the occasion.
Filippo and our film crew (Balthazar, Geoffrey and Ed).
All our interns and colleagues, frantically sewing away.
START, who gave us free reign.
And Aveda, who made us all look sleek.


From Somewhere with Speedo

October 5, 2010

From Somewhere with Speedo Dress

From Somewhere’s new and exciting collaboration between the world’s leading swimwear brand, Speedo, was revealed in September at Estethica the British Fashion Council’s ethical fashion area at London Fashion Week.

The ‘From Somewhere with Speedo’ collaboration forms part of a series of creative art and design projects commissioned by Speedo created from unsold stock and surplus pieces of the revolutionary Speedo LZR Racer suit. The limited edition capsule collection that is still in development, comprises a statement dress constructed purely of Speedo LZR Racer suits that will be auctioned for charity.

Following the decision of FINA (Federation Internationale de Natation), swimming’s governing body, to change the rules regarding swimsuit design and prohibit the use of full-body suits from January 2010, the world’s leading swimwear brand was left with a surplus of the record breaking LZR Racer suit.

As part of a wider project to explore new ways of utilising excess stock and a more responsible solution than sending the obsolete product to landfill; Speedo opted to write a new chapter in the history of the Speedo LZR Racer suit by providing the suits to a series of artistic and creative groups and institutions to use in a series of collaborative projects, ensuring that the suit will continue to make waves despite no longer being used in competitive swimming.

With a phenomenal 91 world records broken by athletes wearing the Speedo LZR Racer suit, including the unforgettable achievements of the most decorated athlete of all time, Michael Phelps, the Speedo suit will always be remembered for the way in which it revolutionised the sport of swimming.

David Robinson, President of Speedo International, said: ’The Speedo LZR Racer suit has been a design icon in the sport of swimming since its launch in 2008. During its time in the pool, swimmers wearing it have broken 91 world records and achieved outstanding results. The Speedo collaboration with From Somewhere now allows the LZR Racer to be a design icon outside of the pool. As a company which places great importance in sustainability, we are thrilled to announce the collaboration with From Somewhere. Innovative projects such as this are the perfect way to responsibly dispose of the surplus stocks of the suit while extending the legacy of the Speedo LZR Racer beyond the pool and onto the catwalk. I look forward to seeing the rest of the range early next year.’

Filippo Ricci and Orsola de Castro, owners of From Somewhere, said: ‘From Somewhere is incredibly excited about collaborating with Speedo, as the high-tech fabrics allow for our creativity to run wild. The collection is design led and directional as well as having a considerable environmental impact. We look forward to digging deeper both into our creative resources and into Speedo’s excess stock!’

The full ‘From Somewhere with Speedo’ collection will be revealed early 2011. A percentage of sales from the collection will go to charity. Details of the auction, charity and the sale date are to be announced.

(View the film preview of the From Somewhere with Speedo Collaboration here)

Estethica at YOOXYGEN

October 5, 2010

Estethica - Yooxygen Film

The British Fashion Council launched a collaboration with the virtual boutique for fashion & design that will act as the official online retail partner by creating the first online retail space for its ethical talent showcase Estethica. Launching during London Fashion Week in September 2010, YOOXYGEN (’s eco-friendly initiative), will present a selection of Estethica designers’ Autumn/Winter 10 collections on with special contents, videos and exclusive interviews profiling this groundbreaking initiative.

Estethica showcases the very best of sustainable, innovative fashion. Designers selected for the first season of this collaboration and available on the new YOOXYGEN’s ethical retail space include: From Somewhere, Goodone, Henrietta Ludgate, MAXJENNY, Nina Dolcetti, Sonya Kashmiri and Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF).

Caroline Rush, CEO (Joint), British Fashion Council said, “We are very pleased to be collaborating with for its YOOXYGEN initiative. Estethica was established to showcase collections of progressive designers working in ethical fashion, this online retail space will offer our leading ethical designers an opportunity to compete in the mainstream and gain greater worldwide visibility.”

Over the past eight seasons Estethica, sponsored by Monsoon has become the epicentre of sustainable fashion at London Fashion Week. Over the past year the BFC has developed this initative to offer mentouring support to a selection of emerging ethical designer businesses.

In line with its commitment to eco-sustainability and its research and promotion of new approaches to creativity, now supports with this collaboration also the new scene of sustainable fashion, offering its global presence & reach to bring emerging British talent around the world.

Winning the Observer Ethical Award by Orsola de Castro

June 16, 2010

For this newsletter, I am supposed to be describing how it felt like to win the Observer Ethical Awards.

This is no easy task, given the multitude of feelings involved: I very much wanted to win and I had been really nervous ever since the shortlist was  announced, plus I was convinced  that the prize was going to go to Pachacuti.

Ever since being shortlisted in 2008 (Finisterre won that year), this award has felt a bit like an elusive milestone. I didn’t even apply last year, completely out of fear of wanting it and not getting it.

The Ethical Awards are intelligent, they celebrate achievements that are pursuing the right causes, creatively, sustainably, originally, often humorously, always inspirationally.  It is a small wonder if, after 13 years of the most tumultuous journey inside the fashion industry and its waste, I wanted for From Somewhere to be recognised as being some of those things.

When we started in 1997 it was pretty much just us, Junky Styling, Fake, and Geoffrey B Small in Italy.

Recycling clothes didn’t even particularly classify it as “ethical fashion” then, it was just something we did that made sense: buy something second-hand and cheap, change it, make it beautiful and desirable and sell it to the best boutiques.

There was a story to it too, it was poetic, we used to call our collections “abandoned and reclaimed womenswear”. The buyers loved it, the press loved it, and we did our first LFW in 2001 already selling internationally.

For Filippo, my partner, and myself, the ethical and environmental realisation came just about then, when, in order to fulfil increasing orders, we realised quite how much stuff was being thrown away, by the consumer, by  the shops, by the factories, and by the mills – and from that point on  sourcing waste fabrics for our collections became a mission to go further and  further into the heart of the industry’s waste, entering factories only by the  warehouse door, scouring the enormous bins outside textile mills, infiltrating  production cutting rooms, looking for all that is discarded at  source.

In our quest for design led, reproducible, uncompromising up-cycling, we have used waste from some of the best mills, manufacturers and designers in the world, and more and more we find that the companies that we have been working with have come to understand and support this process, make it theirs, collect for us, be an active part in preventing their waste from being  dispersed; from high end family run companies like MILES in Italy to, more recently  (and more controversially), Tesco Clothing, who validated all our efforts by  taking upcycling on board through our joint collection for F&F by making  it widely available and affordable, giving it a much wider  audience.

But back to the Awards and the big party at the V&A..

Who was there: Sam Roddick, there to celebrate her father Gordon’s Lifetime Achievement Award, Jo Wood, Anna Orsini from the British Fashion Council, Allegra Donne, Nicola Giuggioli from Eco Age, Ex- Mayor Ken Livingstone, inventor Trevor Baylis and presenter Rick Edwards. Livia Firth looked beautiful as always and again she was wearing From Somewhere, as were Uscha Pohl from Very Magazine, and Rosie Budhani from Foundation, who looked like a goddess. Still, despite Joss Whipple acting as my nerve sponge all day, I was so electric I could have charged a phone. Filippo on the other hand, was tranquil, the voice of reason, composed and totally reassuring.

We mingled a bit in a room full of people we know so well, and then it all opened with an amazing looking Lucy Siegle, who can switch better than  anyone I know from human encyclopaedia on all things sustainable to  eco-glamour puss, and who truly is the life and soul behind the Ethical Awards. It was then over to Colin Firth, who is the funniest and most eloquent of hosts. His opening speech had us all in stitches; a bit like at last year’s awards, when I kept on chuckling long after he had finished talking. And then this lovely thing happened – when Lucy announced our name in the shortlist, the room filled up with cheers and applause, and that, for me, was almost as romantic than when it was announced that we were the winners.

It feels incredible, it was the most monumental moment in my career so far, and it just made the past few months, which, with one thing and another, have been outrageously eventful, even more poignant.

Luckily and uncharacteristically, I didn’t cry.

Even better, Filippo did, and so did Anna Orsini.

‘The judges chose From Somewhere because we saw so many robust but creative ideas in one top-selling, mainstream ethical design. Orsola de Castro  has spent her career simultaneously pursuing creative top end fashion and attempting to bring common sense sustainability back into fashion. She has an extensive knowledge of dead-stock, waste materials and sees opportunities to upcycle all along the fashion chain. She also had the courage to work with a multinational mainstream producer and the tenacity to liberate ‘waste’ fabric from warehouses, skips and even factory floors. We were simply bowled over by her energy and creativity!’ – Lucy Siegle