Turning Battle Scars into Beautiful Jewellery

Shopanthropic
Shopanthropic
A recycled bullet pendant and recycled bombshell cuff designed by the artisans of Cambodia, in partnership with local cooperatives, and Shopanthropic

TORONTO, Canada — The old adage that “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” could be a cornerstone of the sustainable fashion movement. The idea that there are alternatives to throwing things out once we have used them is revolutionary in the face of our fast fashion culture, which encourages low prices, large quantities and unethical production practices. Yet ideas such as recycling and upcycling are encouraging people to find new ways to use old things, embrace quality craftsmanship and lead fashion trends.

What if we were to take seemingly useless items, things we throw away or deem as insignificant, and turn them into something wearable? That is exactly what a group of artisans have done in Cambodia, as they produce jewellery made of bombshell remnants, old bullet casings and other recycled materials, proving that battle scars can be beautiful too.

The Faces Behind the Product

From 1967 to 1975, the people of Cambodia suffered through an horrific civil war and genocide that left the country broken, haunted by memories of the not-so-distant past and littered with unfortunate relics of war.

Shopanthropic
The process of smoldering the bombshell metal to turn into into a beautiful cuff. This work is now completed in safer working conditions and for fair wages.

These littered items have now become hope for a group of artisans, who, with professional training, production and marketing support plus other assistance, are handcrafting jewellery and accessories to bring them to the global market.

The stories these artisans have to share are as inspiring as their creations. One example is that of a 32-year-old man who was left orphaned by the civil war at the age of 8. Through an orphanage centre, he learned the art of jewellery-making and received the opportunity to continue his education. Now, he is part of a team of eight other jewellery artisans, who are making bombshell and bullet jewellery with the three-decade-old recycled war remains.

Another example is that of a 34-year-old single mother in rural Cambodia. After having survived the civil war, she found herself as the victim of an acid attack which, in 1999, was a common form of violence in Cambodia at the time. Her disability caused her marriage to fall apart, leaving her with the sole responsibility of a daughter and elderly mother. As she faced severe financial hardship, she found that her knitting skills could be used to generate a form of income. With the support of a regional cooperative, she has developed her skills further and now produces bags, cushion covers and bracelets. Through this work, she has not only combated poverty and the lack of opportunities for her daughter, but has also gained a sense of dignity while facing the stigma of being blind.

Hope for the Future

Through collaboration between designers such as Shopanthropic, which features a collection of Cambodian-made jewellery from bullet casings and other recycled materials, and cooperatives, these producers finally have access to:

  • Regular work
  • Fair wages
  • Education for their children
  • Local and global markets
  • Future stability for themselves, their families and communities.

Perhaps the most exciting part of their stories are the end results they produce – quality, hand-made, sustainable and ethically-conscious pieces that are allowing a country to heal from a tumultuous past.

From Trash to Treasure

Any fashionista will agree that there is no better therapy than retail therapy. Yet with beautiful pieces, such as the Recycled Bullet Pendant, part of Shopanthropic’s Bombshell collection, the therapy goes both ways. The jewellery-making being done by these artisans is allowing them to earn a meaningful livelihood, gain a sense of independence, produce fashion that does not harm the environment, and help a country heal from a tragic past. So next time you are eager for a special new accessory to complement your latest look, consider how you can turn trash into treasure or a bullet into something beautiful.

Courtesy of: Shopanthropic | Website: shopanthropic.com

Leanne Claxton: All year round!

Leanne Claxton
Leanne Claxton
Photographer: Nora Orthofer | www.noraorthofer.com

LONDON, United Kingdom — Are you looking for bespoke, luxurious scarves and accessories that are both unique and versatile? Every scarf in the Leanne Claxton digital luxury scarf collection starts life as a detailed graphite sketch which is then interpreted into an dramatic oil painting. The artist’s oil paintings are then digitally transformed and printed in the highest possible quality and finish onto the finest fabrics. Claxton Bespoke luxury scarves are individually painted, treated, washed and hand finished.

Claxton accessories make a fabulous Christmas gift that keeps giving all year round. Check our tailored suggestions for every month of the year and use Code “FG30” to receive a 30% discount on all non-sale items on-line. Valid until 25th December!

December

Perfect for the party season, the Florence scarf is a simple way to add a touch of luxe, glamour and sparkle to your look this Christmas. Available in oversize to snuggle in against the cold, or in a small size to pair with your favourite party dress.

Photographer: PhotobyIan @photo.by.ian www.photobyian.co.uk | Model: Geri Gjata @gerigy
Photographer: Pete Fallen @petefallan www.peterfallan.com | Model: Anechka Golubova

January

Banish the post – Christmas blues by wrapping up warm in a Claxton scarf. Just because Christmas is over doesn’t mean you have to stop treating yourself! Wrap your scarf around your neck a couple of times and tuck it into a coat or jacket to ensure maximum cosiness.

Leanne Claxton
Photographer: Ian @photo.by.ian www.photobyian.co.uk | Model: Geri Gjata @gerigy

February

Treat your loved one on Valentine’s Day to a bespoke scarf, personalised with her name or initials, a memorable date or a heartfelt message. Handpainted and arriving in a signature box, each scarf is a labour of love!

Leanne Claxton

March

Celebrate the official start to Spring with a winning street style. Wear your scarf loosely around the neck and pair it with a plain top and a pair of jeans for a casual daytime look, or add a twist by wearing it backwards; an easy way to add a flash of colour to a simple outfit.

Leanne Claxton
Photographer: Robyn D’Arcy | Instagram: robyn_darcy

April

Spice up your Spring wardrobe and get inventive; transform your scarf into a bracelet, necklace or belt – the possibilities are endless! Get some inspiration with our new tie scarves!

Leanne Claxton
Photography by Dana fashion blogger – @dee4dana www.deefordana.com

May

With summer right around the corner, a Claxton scarf makes a great versatile accessory. Create armholes and transform your scarf into a floaty top or jacket for a casual look, or tie at the front for added elegance- perfect for the start of the wedding season.

June

Get festival ready with a laid-back Boho style plait or ponytail, create a formal up’do perfect for a Summer ball, or simply tie your scarf as a headband to keep your hair at bay when out in the sunshine.

Leanne Claxton
Photographer: Nora Orthofer | www.noraorthofer.com

July

Add a twist to your Summer style by combining your scarf with your holiday essentials; wrap it around a sunhat or pair it with your favourite sandals by tying it around your ankle. And if you prefer one of our silk oversize scarves, then we would suggest our ‘Naula Natural‘, which has a 50% discount. What are you waiting for?

Leanne Claxton
Photographer: Pete Fallen @petefallan www.peterfallan.com | Model: Anechka Golubova

August

Transform your scarf into a sarong or maxi dress and hit the beach, or tie around your head for some stunning Hollywood glamour. Feel like a 50s goddess, whether you’re lounging at a luxurious pool party or sat in your own back garden.

Leanne Claxton

September

Wow the office by incorporating your scarf into your business-wear wardrobe. Wrap around the strap of your bag or add a splash of colour to a crisp white shirt or your favourite suit for a sophisticated yet fun ‘Back to Work’ look.

Leanne Claxton
Photographer: Nora Orthofer | www.noraorthofer.com

October

Claxton scarves are inspired by the natural world around us – and when better to celebrate the beauty of nature than in its most colourful season? Perfect for October, the Ruby Bespoke and 100% wool Fearne embrace the vibrancy of Autumn. A must-have in any wardrobe!

Leanne Claxton
Photographer: Robyn D’Arcy | Instagram: robyn_darcy

November

Take the Winter months by storm with a Claxton umbrella. The eye-catching colours and floral prints are enough to turn heads and brighten up the greyest of days. A real fashion statement that looks great with a dark coat, a Claxton umbrella will have you hoping for rainy days.

Leanne Claxton

Courtesy of: Leanne Claxton | Website: www.leanneclaxton.com

Ganor Dominic: ‘If not now, then when?’

Ganor Dominic

LONDON, United Kingdom – A few months ago, I was walking through the stalls of Scoop London, frivolously picking up anything that caught my eye as I searched for new emerging talent. All of a sudden, I came across a table display with podiums of various shapes and sizes that drew my eye through a quite unique footwear collection featuring an artful mix of styles, the SS16 “Marble” collection from Ganor Dominic.

Ganor Dominic features bespoke designs crafted by Italian artisans with locally sourced materials and components. The brand’s name has a paternal inspiration as Anna, Creative Director and Katherine, Brand Director chose to name their new venture after their father, Ganor Dominic – two sisters, one brand.

Let me introduce you to a one of a kind shoe collection featuring marble heels, tassels and digital prints inspired by the ancient Greek Gods and Muses!

3D Muses at your feet?

The Ancient Greek Gods and Muses have been a great inspiration for every piece of Ganor Dominic’s SS16 Marble collection.My debut collection was inspired by Ancient Greek classical sculptures,” say Anna, who has always been fascinated by classical art and started to develop this theme during her final year at London College of Fashion, allowing her to win National Footwear Design Student Of The Year 2015 award, presented to her by Jimmy Choo.

Anna would then take further this concept to become the starting point of her new collection: “I took the core designs [from the award-winning graduate collection], such as the ones with 3D faces, and developed them into a more wearable range,” she recalls.

What makes Ganor Dominic’s design aesthetic so unique is the combination of various 3-dimensional details and classic shapes. A great example of this is their signature style ‘Apollo’ featuring a traditional shape of an elegant pump with a 3D printed face under the sole.

Ganor Dominic

“The idea came from looking at Ancient Greek sculptures of Apollo (God of music, poetry and light). We 3D-scanned the face of the real sculpture and then 3D printed it following the shape of the shoe,” explains Anna. Afterwards, they applied a special treatment to achieve a marble effect to make it look like an actual sculpture. “We combined this ‘face’ idea with other techniques, such as leather embossing (styles ‘Selene’ and ‘Chronos’) and digital printing (styles ‘Gaia’, ‘Iris’ and ‘Tatty’), which we will continue to develop in future collections,” continues Anna.

This debut collection has already had a great response with very rewarding feedback for Anna and her sister. They participated in Scoop London and the Tranoi show in Paris in 2015 and now they will focus on expanding brand awareness through social media and will exhibit the new collection during fashion weeks in London and Paris again.

Ganor Dominic
Leto khaki, SS16 Marble Collection
Ganor Dominic
Apollo beige, SS16 Marble Collection
Ganor Dominic
Apollo black, SS16 Marble Collection

What does the future hold?

Techniques like 3D printing and artful styles will continue to inspire Anna in her upcoming work. “Our AW16/17 collection will be called ‘Black Marble’. It will have a similar design aesthetic as SS16 with usage of 3D printing and will also feature face details, but it will have a darker feeling with a black & red colour palette.”

Like the debut collection Ganor Dominic’s AW16/17 range will combine very feminine styles, such as high heel pumps with masculine lace ups and soldier boots.

Stay tuned because the new collection will launch in February 2016 with more surprises to come as they are planning to “expand to children and men’s footwear and, by that time, open an independent boutique in London,” concludes Anna with a optimistic note.

I see a great future ahead for Ganor Dominic and who knows maybe in 5 years time it will become a global footwear brand with stockists worldwide. A must-watch brand for the years to come.

Andrée Sorant: a new twist on a classic accessory

Andree Sorant

Andree Sorant

PARIS, France — Perhaps no accessory is more emblematic of Parisian chic than the silk scarf. Nonchalantly tied around the neck, worn as a belt, or twisted into a coiffure, the scarf is worn by French women of all ages and styles. Even banished to the bottom of a dresser drawer, the scarf remains a family heirloom to be handed down to the next generation.

Now comes Louise Motte, a 30-year-old fashion designer from the north of France, to give a whole new dimension to this wardrobe staple. Her limited edition silk scarves, produced and marketed under the label Andrée Sorant, are based on designs that combine soft colours with bold, geometric shapes. “A silk square can be very classic,” she notes. “I wanted to make it more contemporary.”

Andree Sorant
Louise Motte wearing one of her foulards.

Louise’s first collection of 10 scarves, made in the Lyon factories that have traditionally supplied silk to the French fashion trade, reflected her fascination with the pure architectural lines of the 1950s and 1960s. She was particularly inspired by the work of a Charlotte Perriand, a 20th century French architect and designer and contemporary of Le Corbusier. Influenced by contemporary Japanese work, she used highly original layouts that allow each scarf to be folded and tied in different ways to highlight a particular aspect of the design.

An avid collector of vintage silk scarves from Hermès, Carven, Yves Saint Laurent, and others, Louise launched her own line in Autumn 2013. She named it after her maternal grandmother, an elegant free spirit who lived and worked on her own, married late and took first place in a tango dancing competition – all quite remarkable in provincial France of the times. “It was my way of paying homage to her, of course, but it was also her values of personal freedom and avant-gardism that I wanted to convey,” Louise says.

Louise grew up in Roubaix, a former worldwide textile capital near the Belgian border. Following the completion of a Masters degree in textile design in Lille, she worked as a colourist for Décathlon, a large sports company, and then as a designer for Promodes, a national retail group. A year working in Berlin and then a stint on the fabric team of Sonia Rykiel allowed her to further explore the intricacies of colour on fabric.

Sold on-line and in her atelier-boutique in Roubaix, Louise’s scarves have been joined by another accessory: the “col Claude”, a whimsical piece of printed silk for men and women worn under a collar. The name is a play on words that refers to the “Claudine collar “popular in the 1950s and 1960s and was inspired by a friend of her father’s, named Claude, who used to sport a “twist collar” from that era. “It’s simple and more discreet than a bow tie,” she notes.

For the holiday season Louise is working on scarves in soft wool with eclectic designs. In the New Year she hopes to find new sales outlets in Paris, London and other European capitals, where her work has been favourably received in fashion salons. Given the eternal fascination with scarves, Louise’s quirky designs and colours are sure to enjoy wide appeal among women and men of all ages.

Courtesy of: Louise Motte | Website: www.andreesorant.com

Jalan Sahba – a truly global designer

Jalan Sahba

LONDON, United Kingdom — There is nothing like a melting pot of cultures, languages, beliefs, costumes, flavours and colours that can be encompassed and celebrated through the work of those who are lucky enough to have been exposed to diversity, heritage and various forms of beauty. Jalan Sahbá, a trained interior designer, art connoisseur and fashion enthusiast, does not only celebrate diversity and cultural variety through her brand of luxury leather handbags, but she also represents a new wave of well-rounded emerging designers whose work make the world a richer and smaller place to live in. As an Italian born artiste with American/Iranian heritage and life experience in India, Kenya and Mozambique, Sahbá’s handbag collections are a blend of contemporary style and ethnic inspired aesthetics.

“Merging differing ethnic influences has always fuelled and inspired my work,” says Sahbá, a global designer who believes that the richer the cultural reference that one obtains, the more meaningful the aesthetic contribution will be in your work. As she explains: “I have gleaned insight and inspiration from diverse visual cultures and this has both fortified my identity as a designer and solidified my aesthetics language.”

Being exposed to different cultures and traditions, Sahbá has found great synergies and affinity in the many cultural influences that her work features. In her own words: “I credit my affinity for art, culture and design to my baha’i belief, rich multicultural lineage, exposure to diverse visual cultures and innate aesthetic sensibility. These influences are entrenched at the heart of my work.”

Exploring bold options

Sahbá’s elegant pochettes and bags are beautifully presented in three admirable collections: Limited, Classic and the newly launched L’ODISSEA, each featuring one of a kind design. To give you an example, in the Limited collection you can find OPHELIA, a bag featuring an iconic silhouette and a signature line of Sahbá, which exhibits the beauty of artisanal craft marrying black hand-cut Italian calf leather with a 14k Gold plated hardware engraved clasp incrusted with horn-shaped grey Agata jewels.

“The use of semi-stones in our collections is both a nod to India’s rich artisanal legacy and to my own personal experience,” explains Sahbá of her distinguished use of semi-precious stones.

The new L’ODISSEA collection presents a greater array of colours and materials providing a vibrant tone with a classic yet edgy style, highlighting the diverse and rich visual cultures that Sahbá is very proud of. This collection is full of favourites ranging from mini pochettes in creamy calf leather, meticulously crafted to the smallest details, including hand-carved semi-precious stones and tinged metals, to ultra sophisticated cuts, featuring exotic blues combined with jewelled clasps and gold finish chains.

Sahbá adds: “L’ODISSEA collection has an array of sultry semi-precious stones such as Grey Agate, Amethyst, Citrine, Smokey Topaz and Amazonite.”

Jalan Sahba
L’ODISSEA Collection, Jalan Sahbá.
Jalan Sahba
L’ODISSEA Collection, Jalan Sahbá.
Jalan Sahba
L’ODISSEA Collection, Jalan Sahbá.

The distinctive collection embodies the astute allegiance between the conviction of Italian craftsmanship and the intriguing aesthetics of inspired global design. Sahbá is prompt to highlight the remarkable work of her team that brings to life each of her creations: “I feel that what ultimately brings cohesion to these many elements is the artisan who hand-constructs each single bag. Our team of artisans in Italy ably imbue each piece with the authority and care of their craft.”

Every Jalan Sahbá piece is handcrafted in Italy using the finest quality materials sourced from across the globe while the stones are expertly hand-carved by one of India’s last remaining royal jewellers, adding a royal touch to the already one of a kind designs. Most importantly, and as Sahbá reminds us all:

What fosters uniqueness in a product is the absence of a seasonal reference, it transcends culture, it disregards finite fads and trends and has a commanding aesthetic.

Jalan Sahba

Challenges & opportunities

The seamless and successful combinations of the variety of materials that Sahbá brings together in her designs can also create some technical and logistical challenges. “But each element hinges on the other to ensure a bold and significant composition of contrast, as well as a distinct and unique product,” emphasises Sahbá.

As a committed emerging luxury designer, Sahbá is thrilled with the overwhelming international attention and the great interest that fashionistas, connoisseurs and the press such as Vogue (China), Elle and Harper’s Bazaar, among others, have expressed around the world, but she is also aware of the hurdles of this sector, which require continuous care, undeterred focus and refined vision, three characteristics that define the DNA of the brand and its creator.

This is also a good moment for emerging luxury as the markets are changing and modern retail is moving forward. “While institutional brands may continue to dominate, we are inevitably moving towards a more diversified market, one that favours a distinctive product, with a unique aesthetic, a bold vision and an authentic voice,” explains the designer.

Sahbá is already capturing the imagination of the millennials and all those women considering the ultimate investment piece: fine jewellery, a pair of exquisite shoes or a luxurious accessory, such as a Sahbá clutch. “I trust I am building a brand that exudes a passion for fine artistry, an appreciation for curated materials and a design inspired by our collective visual heritage,” says Sahbá.

Jalan Sahbá is well positioned in the market as a fresh, bold alternative brand not to mention that the gold trend is much more of a long trend, a metal that I believe Sahbá might have strategically chosen for a long lasting and timeless collection: “The next five years are going to be crucial and possibly golden. We have a lot planned ahead and trust we will be able to build a unique vantage point for ourselves,” concludes this forward looking global designer.