29 April 2015

Giddy & Grateful: RELOVED MAGAZINE FEATURE


Leotie Lovely is honoured to be featured in ReLoved's April issue as designer of the month! ReLoved is an inspiring magazine celebrating upcycling and can be found on UK news stands, ordered online, or viewed on their app (iphone/android/kindle/desktop). 


27 April 2015

Review: Beauty Counter

I had recently decided to step back in terms of fashion and beauty and re assess the products I am using and how much I really need.

Before moving back to North America, my partner and I rid ourselves of most of our belongings and in that process I came to realize how silly it is to have so much stuff.

On a beauty level I used the rest of what I had and converted from a many bottles by many brands to a simplified beauty routine both myself and my partner could share, which consisted of washing my hair with banking soda and apple cider vinegar, using natural soap for my body and face, and moisturising with coconut oil. Simple. Travels well. Good for mama earth.

A few weeks ago, however, an old friend from my first Euro trippin' in my late teens got in touch with me offering to send samples of products from a new company she was working for. Surprisingly, it was a company I had heard of called Beauty Counter, which exists in response to the fact that beauty companies in the US are allowed to use known toxins, ingredients that have been linked to cancer, reproductive issues, hormone disruption ect ... without informing their customers of the health risks (you likely have products by these badboi brands)

In the past two decades, the EU has banned or restricted more than 1,300 ingredients where the US has only banned 11 to date. Beauty counter has banned more than 1,500, making them both activist and lobbyist for your health and beauty needs. To add to their already good gal grin, portions of their sales are donated to three amazing not for profits: Environmental Working Group, Breast Cancer Fund, and Healthy Child Healthy World.

The average woman uses 12 beauty products in the morning, which adds up to 100s of chemicals every single day, many of these ingredients are potentially harmful. Though what I was using was completely natural, I had been feeling my skin lacked luster - so with the company ethos and curiosity in mind, I agreed to give these goodies a go.

PRODUCT REVIEW
Most facial cleansers use sodium larueth sulfate contaminated with 1,4-dioxane - a known carcinogen. This cleanser uses sugar-derived cleanserdecyl glucoside instead, which in all honesty feels like any other cream cleanser, only this one won't hurt ya.

GENTLE EXFOLIATOR Polishing Cream
Most facial scrubs exfoliate the skin with tiny plastic beads, which can sneak past waste water treatment facilities and end up in waterways, affecting wildlife. Beauty Counter's gentle exfoliator uses natural, biodegradable jojoba beads, so that rivers and oceans stay clean. On top of being green, this exfoliator doesn't feel abrasive, yet leaves you feeling like you've revealed a new layer of fresh new skin.

EVERY DAY AM Hydrating Cream
Free of parabens (which can mimic estrogen and disrupt hormone signals) found in most day creams, this light unscented face cream was an awesome thing to have on the skin, it absorbed almost immediately and left the skin feeling silky smooth, a bit like after applying makeup primer, all day long.

EVERY NIGHT PM Hydrating Cream
Normally I use a heavy dose of Organic Coconut Oil which is lovely, but this cream includes that plus vitamin and amino acid-packed aloe, bit of a bonus. Both the day and night cream absorbed brilliantly into my skin. I've never described my skin as feeling supple, but the night cream made it feel thus.

ANYTIME Eye Cream
I didn't notice the eye cream, it's unscented and feels lovely on the skin but sort of goes un noticed. Around my eyes is where I have aged the most and where I saw the most difference. I went without mascara or any other makeup for most of the week because my eyes weren't puffy or squinted as they seem to have become, they looked like my early 20s eyes. This eye cream is free of the ethoxylated ingredients, often found in eye creams, which are often contaminated with carcinogens.

LUSTRO FACE OIL 1 
Probably my favourite of the lot, this face oil has an intoxicating herbal scent and makes your skin feel cared for. I do an ayurvedic massage on my face while I moisterize and did it with the face oil morning and night - I'd probably chalk the overall radiance and clarity of my skin up to this oil specifically. It's magic.

ROSEWATER Uplifting Spray
Scented with organic rosewater instead of synthetic fragrances (which contain phthalates, chemicals that interfere with the body's endocrine system), my skin was left with a dewy glow and was, as the bottle suggests, uplifting.

RESULTS

I used the products religiously, twice a day for two weeks. During this time I spent some time in the sun, which always makes me look a bit younger and more radiant and conversely relapsed in my non-smoking by ... smoking a few cigarettes, which usually does the opposite. I also started swimming again in chlorine which usually doesn't add to ones appearance, but might.

My partner went to Paris for 11 days while I was using the products, unaware of my change in facial routine, during the time he was gone I received an abnormal number of compliments on my skin and appearance, but chalked it up to the slight suntan. When he returned, he accused me of having gotten botox ... which I eventually took as a compliment.

Now I'm not entirely sure, and I guess we'll never know, if the product is owed thanks for the compliments I received or not. But it sure did feel nice on my skin and I sure did feel radiant and look lovely while using them and I'd happily recommend them to anyone who wants to try something different that makes a difference.

WHERE TO BUY
You can get the whole face collection (bar the oil) HERE for $135



24 April 2015

Meet My Maker: Kumi Tani



- MEET KUMI -
When I decided to begin upcycling vintage fabrics with eco-friendly components to create my first collection of clutches (which took about a year), I put an ad up on Central Saint Martin's website for a seamstress to help me sew them in a way that would make them last long enough to one day earn these creations their Vintage title again. I interviewed about 17 applicants all of whom were lovely, talented and kind, but the moment I met Kumi, I knew I'd found Leotie Lovely's girl.

Kumi (pictured above) is from Kumagaya, Saitama in Japan but has lived in London for most of her adult life. She is an eco designer herself creating jaw dropping costumes with her ethical project and fashion brand, Re-Cycle Style. Her Newspaper Collection caught the attention of numerous galleries and magazines in the U.K. & Japan including Dazed and Confused, Fudge and Untitled.

Currently, on top of working with me, she designs costumes for several theatre production companies and musicians including Secret Cinema, a performance for Friends of the EarthSonja Kristina (from Curved Air), Gabby Young, and Joji Hirota. Despite her elevated designer status, she's re-enrolled herself in school, and for the next two weeks will be attending Ethical Fashion College in Japan.


- HOW EACH LEOTIE LOVELY CLUTCH IS MADE -
Before Kumi sews each bag I add embroidery, hand fringe the leather, braid the tassels, or paint and bead the steerheads/driftwood. Because the bags are limited edition or one-of-a-kind, each bag takes about 12 hours, and an injection of Love from both Kumi and I, to create from conception to completion. The delightful definition of slow fashion.

Though my production is not without its flaws (LL labels and the embroidery thread used for tassels aren't eco friendly), a huge amount of work goes into ensuring each item going into the clutch is as eco friendly and waste free as possible. The design sketches are done on the backside of paper bills, the exterior fabric is upcycled from charity shops or vintage stores, the lining come charity shops or the deadstock bins of fabric stores, and the zippers are from estate sales or bought new from YYK organic.

Kumi has sewn every Leotie Lovely clutch (apart from the few I did myself) since the collection launched and I'm so honoured and blessed to have her on board. She's not only an awesome seamstress who ensures each bag created lasts a lifetime, she's also an incredible person with a beautiful heart and kind disposition.

You can follow Kumi on Facebook, Tumblr or keep an eye on her website here.

Find out more about Fashion Revolution, #WhoMadeMyClothes and what you can do to make a change in the fashion industry here.




20 April 2015

Bella Lulu Ink



I decided a few months back my blog was looking less than sharp and searched around for a new theme within my limited budget constraints.

Etsy is my go to for all my needs or wants, and as usual, I wasn't disappointed. The choices were so vast and the quality so high I struggled for weeks to decide on which theme suited Leotie Lovely best and even after choosing had heaps requests to be made and questions to be answered.

Chelsea, owner of Bella Lulu Ink won me over with her brilliant designs and vibrant personality. It's very rare you can feel kindness though a computer screen but this gal had a warmth that could rival a good hug and her genuine goodness was engaging.

She happily and patiently helped me customise the template I had chosen to ensure all aligned with my brand and aesthetic choices. To add to the personal touch she has awesome customer support and a slew of clear and concise tutorials for instillation and clarifications.

The whole experience left me feeling blessed and inspired to ensure my daily interactions embody as much genuine interest, investment and sincerity as Chelsea lent to me on what was essentially a business-to-business transaction which went well above and beyond the call of duty on all levels.

Should you need any bloglovin' design, you'll find BELLA LULU INK HERE or on ETSY.

10 April 2015

NEW IN: Palo Santo




Palo Santo ('Holy Wood') has only been on my radar for a few months - like a serendipitous stranger it snuck up so sweetly, I invited it to stay.

It was first pointed out to my partner and I while watching a music documentary in which T Bone Burnett was seen wafting it through the studio sessions. Curious of it's name, I asked around, but nobody knew. A few months later, while on Willie Nelson's Ranch, we were drawn into one of the buildings and low and behold there it was. With one inhalation of it's sweet scent, we were instantly converted to one of it's disciples.

Palo Santo grows on the coast of South America and has been used by the Incas and indigenous people of the Andes for centuries. It is used for energy cleansing and healing in a similar way to Sage and is often used by shamans in sacred plant spirit ceremonies such as Ayahuasca.

The smoke omitted from this natural aromatic wood enhances creativity and prepares you for meditation, it is traditionally used for relieving common colds, flu, stress, asthma, headaches, anxiety, depression, inflammation, and emotional pain. It also has the added bonus of keeping away mosquitoes!

It is sustainably wild harvested by a family that has planted over 30,000 trees back into the area over the last 10 years. The wood comes from naturally fallen tree branches which lie dead for 4-10 years before they are harvested.  

Unlike incense, Palo Santo can be re-lit numerous times and can be burnt or simmered in hot water and drank as tea, which can be great for calming the immune and nervous systems for faster recovery of illness.

Even in it's natural state it has a beautiful smell which can fill a room with wafts of wonders.

Since finding it at Willie Nelson's ranch, we looked for and eventually found a supplier so Leotie Lovely could spread the gospel that's been so good to us, which we wrapped in friendship bracelets (for barbie sized wrists), with Love, for you. http://www.leotielovely.com/product/palo-santo



2 April 2015

INSDIE OUT


We brought the inside out for my sister-friend's birthday party a few weeks back and it was rather magical indeed. Complete with fairy lights, bed, projector, nature documentary, and fire pit, we were comfy and cosy the whole night through.


1 April 2015

3 FAV NEW FINDS FROM SXSW

Willie Nelson's Ranch - photo Shane Woodward

SXSW was drenched in good music, but none sparked me sweeter than those I never knew. Many of the fresh faces were lovely live but became lost in translation with over produced recorded sessions turning something soulful to something soulless.

My partner and I slept on the sidewalk each morning to make it in to hear free fine finds at KGSR's live shows, rode the coat tales of my friend Elle into Willie Nelson's Ranch, walked up and down south congress sniffing out tunes with our ear-strils, and snuck, by way of someone else's vomit, into Communion's show at Saint David's church.

We saw some spectacular old favourites, but these three thunderbirds got us good and made us grateful both live and online:

ONE

Ryley Walker – Photo by Dusdin Condren
RYLEY WALKER
Slinging strum skills from yesteryears dressed in the sly eyes and a mischievous smile of a cheeky child, this heartbreakingly hungover crooner charmed the room of early risers at KGSR’s morning show despite keeping speaking and singing to a minimum.
hear Ryley here

TWO
The Band Joseph - Photo by http://thebandjoseph.com/

Amongst the big wigs of Willie’s Ranch these sweet sisters stood out. Serenading with soulful stories. Satiating the senses in song.
hear Joseph here

THREE
Foreign Fields - photo http://www.foreignfields.net/

Wrapped in the wondrous acoustics of Saint David’s Church these fine fellows found new fans with their fantastical flow and healthy harmony.  
hear Foreign Fields here