19 June 2010

They Call her Leather Girl

In her workshop she'll be humming away while hand working the one of a kind leather cuffs, bags and belts that Kayrene Kelley fashions in her Portland farm studio – all the while french press brewing away in her large country kitchen chock full of dogs of all shapes and sizes.

This setting is heaven on earth for the artist’s creative mind to emerge as evident in Kayrene’s latest creations.

Biker chic and Hippie hot? Why not! Any as Kayrene says, “If its not custom, why do you have it on?”

Kayrene chooses recycled and veggie tanned leather to fashion her lovelies and the the most vivid and beautiful turquoise one can find.

This leather and lace corset is a one of a kind to die for for any eco biker chic lady on the go.

We can't wait to see what is ahead for you Leather Girl!


While I was writing my last blog post about the Tecbor rubber, I became very skeptical of whether this process was truly eco-friendly. I have always been taught that producing rubber and plastic was one of the most harmful processes to the environment. If this technology is really "out there" why isn't being used all the time? So, I decided to do a little bit of research. This is what I found.

Tecbor is a new type of eco-friendly rubber made and produced in the Brazilian Amazon. The eco-friendly process of congealing the rubber without the harmful chemicals was first invented by Professor Floriano Pastore at the University of Brasilia Latex Laboratory. The key ingredient in this new technology is pyroligenous acid which is used to produce the rubber sheets. Before this technology the only way of coagulating the latex material was through acetic acid in combination with a substance derived from wood smoke. Also. this new process cuts the stages of grinding and rinsing, which in the past, used a large amount of water and electricity. The rubber tappers are able to dry the latex panels outside which saves a lot of energy.

Greenpeace, an environmentalist and peace associated organization, has collaborated with 40 rubber tapping families in the Jurua Valley, an extractive reserve in the amazon, to launch The Amazon Tecbor Project sponsored by the University of Brasilia, the National Council of Rubber Tappers, and the National Centre of Traditional Populations. Greenpeace chose this location for the pilot phase of the project because the region faces the threat of large scale logging operations. Greenpeace along with it's collaborators use this project as an example to prove that the rain forests can be economically useful while they're alive. The rubber produced during the first phase of this project was used by Greenpeace to produce completely eco-friendly mouse pads.

Using this process to produce rubber has also helped the small, native rubber tapping communities in the Amazon. The people of these communities have taken the technology and adapted it to their own practices in order to improve the rubber making process. The Brazilian rubber tappers are able to produce the rubber sheets on their own, eliminating the middlemen, which directly helps the residents of these communities.

Despite my initial skepticism, I have been completely converted after doing the research on Tecbor. It's a wonderful new technology that helps us use the rich resources of the rain forest without destroying it. Also, this technology helps the smaller communities rather then the large rubber producing companies. This research has also given me a new appreciation of Flavia Amadeu's rubber bracelets. She has found a way to make this new rubber stylish and fashionable.

14 June 2010

Tecbor Tribal

One of the biggest trends to stride the runway this season was the "tribal" concept we so often see during the spring and summer. However, this spring's "tribal" styles had a new, hard-edge. Fierce models looking more like warriors, took on the runways with painted tattoos and armor style jewelry, providing the perfect inspiration for every summer wardrobe.
The perfect way to bring this trend into your wardrobe is with accessories. A chain mail bracelet or a spiky metal ring can be just the right amount of edge with a pretty summer dress. I was on the look-out last week for more accessories like these to toughen up some of my girly looks, when I found just the thing.

As I scanned countless pages on etsy, (with zealous I probably should have been directed towards the rest of my work), I came across an accessories designer that has a very new take on this popular spring trend. Flavia Amadeu, a member of etsy, sells amazing jewelry made from a rubber material produced in the rain forests of Brazil. The unique material, called Tecbor, is an eco-friendly rubber made with a new technology of coagulating the material with out the smoke acid chemicals used in making other rubber products.

Flavia Amadeu makes everything from bracelets to bookmarks with this interesting new eco-friendly material. The pieces I found most interesting were the "zig zag” and "rectangle" bracelets and arm bands. These bracelets are bold and tough with a tribal feel that’s perfect for the the summer trends. Also, because it's made from rubber the jewelry is comfortable and flexible and comes in vibrant summer colors. They would even be the perfect accessory to wear with a bathing suit at the pool or beach.

Check out Flavi Amadeu’s great pieces on etsy and bring the tribal trend into your wardrobe.

08 June 2010

Bags With A Past

Like a proud mom, I set my favorite hand bag on the coffee shop counter. As I foraged threw my ole friend for some spare change for a morning joe, the very patient cashier complimented, "What a great vintage find!" Any compliment on a vintage find is usually a great start to my day, which would have been today, if I hadn't purchased my great, slouchy doctors bag last year, brand new. I could almost hear it whimper as I examined its well-loved shape beginning to crack and peal away. My favorite classic bag had become something of an old withering hag. I have never been one to replace an old friend with something new…..unless it is something really fabulous.

With upcycling on my mind from the latest ecoCouture post, I was searching the web for something new when I came across a great accessories line, Hoakon loves Helga. The Canadian designer, Andi Strand claims she’s, "obsessed with anything vintage", from her unique line name inspired by her grandparents to the her vintage-made-new bags. The Hoakon/Helga designer has a background in Fine Arts and Textiles and is also the editor and founder of online magazine, Antler Magazine. The magazine features different designers from all over the world who have the same flair for vintage and eco fashion. Antlermag is full of great editorials with vibrant fashion photography.

At Hoakon/Helga, Strand combines vintage and recycled materials to create chic, “new” eco friendly bags and clutches. For the designer's current collection, she hunts through thrift stores and vintage shops searching for vintage leather jackets that have been tossed aside as the base for her designs. She creates a variety of bags with similar styles and silhouettes; however, because of the nature of her design process, each bag is unique with its own identity. Each jacket has its own details which the designer tries to incorporate into her own bag designs. Strand says that she "strives to achieve a respect for the past and future using sustainable approaches." Each bag is one-of-a-kind with different colors and patterns as well as unique shapes and pocket styles. The bags and clutches range in price from $25 for a simple clutch to $129 for some of the larger more detailed bags.

While many of these eco friendly accessories might not be an option for the vegan customer, they are great for people who are trying to be cautious about their fashion impact on the environment. For those that don’t like the leather, Hoakon/Helga has a selection of bags made from recycled denim and other materials. Pair one of the “Furrow” totes from Hoakon/Helga with the Jonano “Bloom Puzzle” dress and you have a perfect, completely eco-friendly, day to night look.

I’m afraid I may have to give my sweet, old doctor’s bag a rest for a bit in exchange for something that was made to weather my busy days…and when a cashier commends my find I will thank her with a smile.