Posts filed under Uncategorized

The Food Guide - Product Launch

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It has been a really exciting week with the launch of my very first product - Vitamins & Minerals tea towel.

The product is an infographic tea towel that helps you choose foods high in vitamins and minerals, as well as being a handy 100% cotton tea towel! I was first inspired by David McCandless’s book ‘Information Is Beautiful’, this design is a fusion of my love for food, design and well-being.

Thanks everyone for such a great response so far.

If you would like one for your kitchen, they are available at www.lahlastudio.com

Posted on August 16, 2012 and filed under Design, Food, Green Living, London, Uncategorized.

The Thames Barrier

A weekend walk along the river.

I was keen to check out some of the UP projects, particularly the new 'Pleasure Gardens' at Pontoon Dock. Opening in June, there looks like there is quite a bit of work to do!

For further info on the UP projects

Posted on May 28, 2012 and filed under Uncategorized.

Food Efficiency?

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IS THE UK FOOD EFFICIENT?

5.3 millions tones of usable food gets thrown away in the UK each year. As a nation we are buying more than we need in our weekly shop and a huge amount of it ends up in the bin, unopened and wasted.

Over the past few years, everytime I have attended a lecture on sustainability the speaker has brought the conversation around to the problem of food waste. It is an area where we all have considerable control and where we can all easily implement positive environmental change. If in the UK we are throwing away a third of all the food we buy, whether we have brought too much, cooked too much or even during cooking cut half the carrot off to remove the leaves, we need to re evaluate our social view of food.

Stopping this annual food waste could avoid 14 million tonnes of CO2 being emitted each year. equivalent to 1 in 4 cars being taken off the road

As obvious as it sounds, a great way to start being food efficient is to see what you already have in your fridge before you go shopping. Create meals that incorporate these ingredients – don’t leave them there to rot. Whether you love to cook or would prefer to be in-and-out of the kitchen in 5 mins, making sure you use what is in your fridge is an easy way to save money and reduce food waste.

In the UK, we throw away around 1/3 of the food we buy.

When deciding whether to throw out the last spud, I like to consider its embodied energy; that is the resources, time and energy input required to produce it. From seeds, water, fertiliser, farming labour, petrol to power farm machinery, packaging, transport, storage (in electric powered fridges) and staff labour at each stage to finally arrive in my kitchen. When you think about ALL these factors it seems insane to then throw it away. Wrap and WWF recently (March 2011) published a report that investigated the amount of water that was used to produce all the food that we Brits throw away each year.

It turns out that 6.2 billion cubic metres of water is used to produce the 5.3 million tonnes of food that householders waste every year, this is equivalent to twice the annual household water usage of the UK. When many of the origin countries are water scarce and even the UK has seem water shortages over the last few summers, it presents yet another incentive for us to waste less food.

*Statistics presented are based on research by Wrap: www.wrap.org.uk

LOVE FOOD HATE WASTE

It you don’t fancy reading the 120 page Wrap report - Visit the LOVE FOOD HATE WASTE website for some bitesize information and tips on how you can reduce the food you waste. Check out their witty Food Lovers campaign… www.lovefoodhatewaste.com

Posted on July 24, 2011 and filed under Uncategorized.

OXFAM - Every Little Helps

Having sumised that bringing clothing manufacture to the UK will not give us our big ‘eco-break’ – Where else can we tailor our behaviour for a more sustainable fashion culture?

A lot of people say ‘buy less’. I think the beauty of fashion is its quick turn over and the fun that can be had creating a bricolage of old vs new, pricey vs budget and really being playful with your appearnce. Whether it’s a good thing or not, we are a society of consumers and I don’t see this changing in the near future. In which case, we need to think about how we can have our new clothes without damaging the planet.

WEAR THE SAME LITTLE BLACK DRESS FOR 365 DAYS

Over the years, I’ve discovered a variety of projects that aim to adress this problem. One of my favourites is NYC based story, The Uniform Project. Started by Sheena Matheiken in 2009, she pledged to wear the same little black dress for 365 days using only second hand or remade fashion to accessorise her look. The idea was to pose a question about sustainable fashion and also raise funds for a childrens charity in India. Aside from the obvious benefits of raising money for a worthy cause, Sheena gathered a large online following and proved to be a style inspiration for her audience. Using thift and second hand clothes to change your style, whislt keeping a few stable garments, struck me as one of many scenarios, which could help us reduce the amount of virgin materials we consume. www.theuniformproject.com

OXFAM: EVERY LITTLE HELPS

Could we be heading for a charity shop monopoly… Oxfam: ‘Every Little Helps’ springs to mind.

But how will the fashion industry survive if everyone brought second hand clothes? This is a thought that has been with me for some time. I would like to believe that an increase in thrift store buyers is a plausible scenario, where a healthy balance is struck between new and reused. It will not only bring back some sense of individuality (somewhat lost in this H&M era) but will re introduce personability and material worth to our wardrobes.

With the function of retail space changing, where the experience of shopping is far more important than the actual act of buying, it seems an opportune time for the fashion world to consider what they are selling, as much as how they are selling it. What Topshop stores have done with their Vintage and remade ranges already demonstrates that the industry can make a profit from being imaginative with their supply lines. Buyers ARE receptive to a new idea if you SELL it to them!

Sustainability Communications agency Futerra has some great ideas on how to 'sell' green

SELL THE SHIZZLE

Posted on July 24, 2011 and filed under Uncategorized.

Made in the UK - thoughts on textile manufacture

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designtap's onsite green guide for Latitude festival goers. A brief and far from conclusive reflection on UK Vs Global textile manufacture for high street fashion.

MADE IN THE UK

A current hot topic, I keep encountering a renewed desire for British design and that all-important ‘Made in the UK’ garment label. After reading countless defra reports and having worked with one of the UKs leading textile upcycling companies, I am still undecided whether a shift back to UK production IS the best option for the fashion industry.

When talking about global Vs local textiles and particularly fashion production, there is no definitive right answer. My question really is whether the benefits of small-scale British production really outweigh the benefits of manufacturing with a global workforce. As a society we are constantly pushing for a globalised planet, we enjoy working and travelling around the world, we read, watch and eat, ‘foreign’ books, films and food. It therefore seems odd that we place so much emphasis on a garment being ‘Made in the UK’. For a long time I too loved the idea of reviving the old English textile industry and I still think there is room for a partial revert.

For me it is about considering each factor of sustainability, the effects on people, on the economy and the environment. Firstly, you can look at a country like India, one of the largest exporters of textiles to The West. The industry directly employs 35 million people in India and has established the necessary infrastructure to provide for a global market. What will happen to these 35 million people if their jobs become obsolete? It would be preposterous for me to think that there will be an over night shift from foreign to UK production.

However, if their exports become less desirable, there will be a reduction of its scale and a loss of jobs. It is a question of global wealth distribution, I feel that deciding we like things made in Britain would be pulling the rug from under their feet – Your next thought is probably, poor working conditions and bad pay? This is an area we can all make a big difference to and I think this is where the fashion industry should look to expand its influence over the manufacturing process. As the customer, fashion brands have the power to demand that factories are run under certain conditions (many big brands have started to do this). It is also their responsibility to give a fair price to the factories so that they don’t need to cut corners to produce a garment on budget (low staff wages and child labour). If you were after a ‘sustainable’ fashion product, pushing for legislation that improves manufacturing conditions would be far more beneficial than boycotting foreign imports.

Many people will point out that aside from the people involved, shifting manufacture to Britain is about reducing a garments carbon footprint. That is the amount of carbon emitted when it is shipped or flown across the globe (in some cases several times) before it reaches the shop shelf. Without a doubt there are some absurd systems currently in place e.g. cotton grown in India is shipped to China to be made into fabric, the fabric is then transported back to India for dying, then over to Portugal to be made into a garment and sent back to India for finishing (zips, buttons). This is the sort of journey a lot of the clothes we wear makes before it is finally shipped to the UK and into our stores. Bizarrely enough in most cases all these processes could occur in neighbouring factories but it works out financially cheaper to zig zag a garment across the globe – but with a high environmental cost.

My view is that we need to refine the manufacturing process to ‘single country’ production. I figure that it makes little difference if this is the UK or India as the materials we use in clothes production nearly all originate out side the UK so, there will always need to be one journey made (unless there is a sudden UK cotton boom!)

If you fancy exploring where your things are made further, author Fred Pearce provides an intriguing read, as he traces the life journey of everyday products found at his London home in Concessions Of An Eco Sinner (2009).

Posted on July 24, 2011 and filed under Design, Green Living, Third World, Uncategorized.

EcoBuild 2011 | Vertical growing

Amongst the chaos at The Excel Centre, I found great examples of raw, natural materials being used and a real shift towards low-tech sustainable building. In previous years, I had always been impressed my the 'techi' solutions for solar and hydro energy generation and sci-fi style insulation. This year there were a number of advocates for back-to-basics and a running theme of traditional craftsmanship and  'localism' (for want of a better word). I have always had an interested in vertical growing and living buildings so, I was pleased to see a huge increase in resources available.

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An example of a growing wall can be seen on East Road just off Old Street roundabout, on the new developments next to Urbanest student accommodation.

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Thoughtful walls, built with nooks and recesses to encourage insect biodiversity.

Posted on March 6, 2011 and filed under Climate Change, Design, Green Living, Sustainable Design, Uncategorized.

Netil Market > 29th Jan 2011

Today was my first visit to the recently launched Netil Market. One minute’s walk, from the legendary Broadway market, Netil is a hidden gem. Sporting fantastic jam (for only £3!) and lots of fresh, creative talent. I have been working with them to set up the market brand, marketing and cafe space for the past month.

The artists, designers and performers based in Netil house design studios have come together to bring E8-ers, ‘Not Another Chuffin’ Market’ . Located next door to Netil House, an ex-community college turned creative studios.

Every Saturday  11am-6pm

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Elvis is KIng
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Nik Noks
Posted on January 31, 2011 and filed under Design, London, Uncategorized.

DIRTY BUSINESS: Film Series

Over the next few months, Amnesty International is screening a brilliant set of films titled 'DIRTY BUSINESS'.

I went to see the first in the series 'The Yes Men, Fix The World'. Not only was the film extremely funny but it highlights how corporate greed is destroying the planet and what lengths we need to go, to ensure our own future...

If you can make it to any of the other screenings, they are definitely worth the trip:

Thu 04 Mar 2010 - UP THE YANGTZE

Thu 18 Mar 2010 - BLACK GOLD

Thu 01 Apr 2010 - IRONEATERS

Thu 15 Apr 2010 - IRAQ FOR SALE. THE WAR PROFITEERS

Thu 06 May 2010 - CRUDE

All are FREE and start at 6.30pm @ The Human Rights Centre, London

See www.amnesty.org.uk for more info and booking

Posted on February 28, 2010 and filed under Climate Change, Corporate, Global, London, Political, Third World, Uncategorized.

Worn Again 2009

Some recent work @ Worn Again

Worn Again is an resource efficiency business, specialising in the re-circulation of corporate waste materials. By diverting valuable materials from landfill, Worn Again is able to reduce the need for new and environmentally costly, virgin materials manufacture.
Posted on February 28, 2010 and filed under Design, London, Sustainable Design, Uncategorized.