Sunday, 31 January 2010

Keeping warm by M.O.

This week is Green Week at UCLU, and MODO is hosting a free workshop on recycling scrap fabric and old clothes - major excitement! I wish I could come. That's tomorrow, Monday 1st February, Bloomsbury Conference Room, 7-9pm, and anyone interested in sustainable fashion should definitely attend! Check out other events taking place during Green Week on the facebook event, and read more about the Union's sustainable credentials on UCLU and the Environment. Aside from detailed info on forums, audits, and policies, you'll find the freshly added UCLU Green Guide, 'which is full of tips on how to live more sustainably, get involved in campaigning at UCL, and get in touch with great ethical & environmental organisations in London.'

So much for sustainability, but what of fashion? The Union's guide doesn't quite give you tips on how to keep warm but dress in style. The only piece of guidance we receive that refers to clothes is to consume less, shop in charity shops, give away unwanted clothing, and use Freecycle. You know that much from the first sustainable fashion post!

Perhaps more interestingly, one of the top ten tips to reduce carbon emissions is to turn your thermostat down by a few degrees (which, we are told, will also save us money) : so not only we have to freeze in the street, but even at home! Keeping warm seems to be the trend of the season, and the previous post, Fashion in the Freeze by V.B., gives you some excellent advice on how to do it in style. I'll try to add a bit more on this topic from my own Eastern European experience on dealing with the cold, and tell you about the greatest weapon you have against global warming (and it's a piece of clothing!)

1) Protect your head

Allegedly 80% of body warm escapes through the head. I already blogged about the knitted headbands that keep your hairstyle happy by Pretty Green (but you can check out Clare's new layout), and I believe earwarmers were mentioned in some posts as well. But no note of the big furry hat! It may mean that it's already so-last-season, but I'd say it's still very nicely warm. Obviously it needs to be faux fur to really be sustainable.. but if it can be fluorescent, who'd mind?

at Michael Kors

at Dolce & Gabbana

at Dynasty

by Emilie Zanon, young French artist/designer

Or you could, of course, get an Endless Warm solar-powered hat designed by Yiran Qian from Germany: but that still sounds very futuristic.

2) Wrap something around your neck

A scarf never hurts, for warmth or for style. For something totally new (at least I think so), consider a faux Foks: a knitted alternative to the rather unpleasant real fox scarves Eastern European grandmothers still wear. The woolen ones are beautifully hand made, come in a range of colours, and Celapiu also make pretty gloves to match.


3) Keep your legs and feet warm


Those are super important body parts for heat management! Wear wool tights, or layer a few pairs - thinner over thicker for interesting texture and colour effect (see how Susie Bubble does it). Wear tights or long johns under trousers. The extra layer of air in between will serve as even more insulation. That applies to all layers, so wear tight clothes under looser ones to add that layer of air. It's also a nice idea to wear spats over your boots - they certainly add something interesting to a plain black or brown straight shoe.

All of this works outdoors as much as indoors (OK, maybe not the boots). Wearing warmer clothes at home will make it easier for you to turn down the temperature. The idea is not to be as warm as humanly possible, but to be comfortable - so try and feel the right temperature balance. For ways of coping with turning down the heating, the sustainable experts Do The Green Thing advise to 'leave the radiators off and wrap up in a jumper - or better still, with another person.'

'Your body is equivalent to a 100 Watt heater', say Do The Green Thing

Wearing a hat indoors is surely an innovation in style, and the use of blankets as dresses and coats has entered the catwalks alright:

Comme des Garçons, Kenzo, and Chloé

Comme des Garçons

Junya Watanabe

  Romance Was Born

Lastly, the awesome book Teach Your Granny to Text & Other Ways to Change the World (a great read, even for grown-ups) states clearly: 'What is our greatest weapon against global warming? Science? Biofuel? Solar power? Nope. It's the sweater. The next time it gets chilly, put a sweater on. Not the heating.' So yay to sweaters, natural sustainable fabrics, and human heat. And keep it MODO, people ;)

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