Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Ethical Fashion: Stella McCartney

Who doesn't know Stella McCartney? You would at least know her father, Paul McCartney, right? Well, his daughter is a renowned fashion designer, apparently. I've known Stella McCartney as a brand for several years now, but I never thought that her brand is ethical. As a matter of fact, they are actually the world's first and only vegetarian luxury brand. Their manufacturing process is thoroughly laid out on their website and they talk in depth about their attempt to live up to the ethical label status that they uphold. It is their understanding that they are not perfect as a brand and try to keep monitoring every aspect of their production process to ensure the most ethical procedure possible is being practiced in their factories.

Not only is their commitment something to be applauded for, their style and unique designs often catch the eyes of celebrities and the greater public alike. The use of several different patterns in cuts that are far from conventional is enough to attract attention. The style is chic yet with a vintage '70s and '80s vibe possibly—with all the crazy patterns and almost abstract placing. The silhouette is very modern but with a touch of classic quirks that has lasted almost a lifetime. Not only do they have clothes, Stella McCartney as a label also produces bags, accessories and lingeries. They claim not to use any animal byproduct in their items, for environmental and health reasons—they use leather alternative instead, which you can read more about here. Not just for women, Stella McCartney also provides clothes for children.

Stella also collaborates with various organisations to keep up to date with the latest ethical practice as well as the latest environmental issues to fight. I think it is amazing how bold and brave Stella McCartney is in sticking to her belief in creating her garments. Her brand has become a household name for all fashion enthusiasts worldwide—and to think that it's ethical!—which hopefully will inspire other high end brands as well as fashion icons to switch to more ethical practices—both for people and the environment. Even Anna Wintour acknowledges and supports her work in bringing sustainability into the elite community and high fashion industry. Let's just hope other brands will soon follow suit in her footsteps.

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Saturday, 21 May 2016

Monthly Read: The Mysterious Benedict Society

It's that time of the month again when I get to recommend a book to you. This week's series—again—is a children/young adult book which I loved to read in high school: The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart.  It is also a trilogy, telling the story of four extraordinary children who got recruited by Mr. Benedict to stop Mr. Curtain, a criminal mastermind, from trying to take over the world. These orphans live with Mr. Benedict and his quirky crew, to be surrounded by puzzles and knowledge every single day. There are Reynie, the outside-of-the-box thinker and pack leader; Sticky, the nervous nelly with a bald head and tremendous memory; Kate, the overactive and creative lass with her bucket of tools; and—my favourite—Constance, the temperamental and stubborn girl who likes to create poems when she's irritated. The story is filled with many excellent jokes for all ages, incredibly orchestrated puzzles as well as lovely quirks for all the characters—even Mr. Curtain! The first book is illustrated by Carson Ellis but the rest are done by Diana Sudyka, who does all the covers as well. It's really all well written, with amazing character development and wonderful plot twists—but, really, the puzzles are why we're here to stay.

The series got me so hooked that I actually purchased two extra books to the instalment: Mr. Benedict's Perplexing Puzzles and The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict. The first one, as the name suggests, is simply a book of puzzles, which are supposedly created by Mr. Benedict himself. If you love puzzles—as I do, this will be a great book to have on a train trip when you need to occupy yourself with a task. The puzzles can be quite hard to do too—I'm not even finished with it yet! But the answers can be found at the very last pages of the book, although it really doesn't help you understand the puzzle, just helps you get the answer. The second one is the prequel of the whole series which tells the story of Mr. Benedict's childhood in an orphanage—which is strange because there was no mention of Mr. Curtain at all. It is quite difficult to imagine the helpless boy from this book—though smart from the start—will become the savvy and intelligent man in the series. But it really does help you understand how he can relate so well to the children, especially Reynie. Just talking about this series makes me want to re-read them! Have you read them yet? Let me know what you think!

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