Friday, 10 June 2016

Rae Of Light

The inspiration behind DCA’s AW16 Rae of Light print collection stems from artist Fiona Rae's 2003 selection of paintings called Hong Kong Garden. From the moment I clapped eyes on these beauties I fell in love with her work. 

Layers of an inter-galactic storms; spraying constellations of toxic colour; stencilled letters; graffiti, smudgy brushstrokes and comic book patterns jostle for the eye in each canvas.

Jennifer Higgie art critic perfectly sums up Hong Kong Garden “Despite their appearance of breezy clarity, these are slow paintings, slow to make and slow to really see”.  Although just a tiny fragment of Jennifer Higgies’ review, these words resonated with DCA, the embodiment of what we feel about slow fashion and its evolution. We love creating meaning and the story behind the clothes is as important to us as the clothes.  So when Jennifer Higgie said;  “Fiona Rae’s recent paintings embody this mix of depletion and possibility; they’re confusing and complicated and yet full of hope”; we knew we had to create a print of hope! Hope that the future of fashion adopts the circular economy in full – which means make – use – re-use. 
DCA's favourite piece in the Hong Kong Garden collection is 'Tsunami' as seen below.

Fiona Rae - segment of 'Tsunami' - part of the Hong Kong Garden collection

Deborah Campbell Rae Of Light Dress

Deborah Campbell Rae Of Light V Neck Dress

Deborah Campbell Rae Of Light Tee Top 

Our Rae Of Light Collection will be available for pre-order in Mid June at our website

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Soulful Shopping - A Fashion Revolution?

Holly Top

While catching up on some Huffington Post features last week I came across an article by Diane Osgood "Shop Like You Mean It - Why Ethical Fashion Matters."

She talked about "the soulful economy already being here and that its driven by the belief, that we can evolve to an economy that champions the importance of self, rather than the principles of selfishness."

Saying "research shows that an individuals happiness increases when they connect, contribute, give, create and share".

So does making authentic purchases from brands that have a strong story; whether it be about who made the clothes, the charity they are affiliated to, how the item was made or what techniques are used to make the item sustainable; really make the consumer happier?

At DCA we believe it does and agree with Diane Osgood. And during Fashion Revolution week this week, it is even more pertinent to ask "who made my clothes". Fashion Revolution was founded by Orsola de Castro and Carry Somers a not for profit organisation set up to ask the question to brands "who made my clothes" to raise awareness of the dangers of producing cheap fast fashion in the wake of the Rana Plaza factory collapse on the 24th April in 2013 killing 1134 people and injuring 2500 people.

However Rome was not built in a day and patience and persistence are needed for brands like (DCA) who are endeavouring to be the change. And what do fledgling brands need to do to encourage change? A brand needs early adopters that know buying into throw away fashion is not sustainable on many levels. The knowledge of what is best practice being passed through to early adopter consumers enables them to make valued authentic choices and then pass it on to their friends.

There are so many reasons why practices are not sustainable such as the impact on women's lives who make cheap fashion, wages are very low, hours worked are long and in some cases poor dangerous working conditions are the norm, this is no way to treat a fellow human.

The planet is suffering due to excessive water consumption needed to produce garments especially those containing cotton. Chemicals are used in dying and printing that pollute rivers and the surrounding countryside in the countries where the majority of the worlds clothes are made. Is this acceptable?

We can turn our heads and say, "oh well I cant do anything to help, it's just the way it is". By choosing this path we are fooling ourselves and making it very tough for future generations. We have a duty to stop how we consume and create a better way. The circular economy is here, we must develop new ways of making, using and recycling or re-using. We have no choice as we cannot continue to plunder the planets resources and treat people with the indignity of working like slaves.

Authentic purchase and the soulful economy are here to stay, lets be the change we wish to see in the

10% OFF Our Bee The Change Tees use code BEE16 at checkout.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Top Picks

Championing brands doing great work in the sustainable fashion arena, is our mission.

First up is Veja! We love Veja, they are 10 years old this year and are at the forefront of sustainable design. Innovative leather such as fish leather tanned with vegetables is just one of the sustainable materials they use. Fish leather is a bi-product of the fishing industry.

Gather and See is an online store, showcasing a variety of sustainable brands, we have chosen Maska, their brush stroke top is gorgeous.

And finally we love Louise Gardiner's silk print scarfs. Louise is an embroider. Check out her website to discover the inspiration behind these scarfs and watch the video of how she creates them.

Veja decline holiday low top in Tilapia leather

Maska Vega Print Silk Top 

Electric Blossom Scarf - Louise Gardiner

Monday, 7 March 2016

Buy Less - Care More?

An article in the Guardian "Less Is More" by Michelle McGagh, got me thinking last week. 
It seems there is a trend in Britain that consumers are in fact buying less. So are we slowly beginning to realise that less is more?

As Michelle McGagh says it may not be what chancellor George Osborne wants to hear, after all consumption is king when your're trying to balance the books. And there in lies the challenge.

And facts have to be faced for all businesses trying to sell products, surely buying less is not something that is promoted in said business plans? Well it's part of what we believe in at DCA, commercial suicide perhaps? Any investor or savvy business owner would certainly question that point and try and shoot DCA's business model down in flames. But our philosophy is to offer our customer key products that span seasons and not end up thrown out, destined for landfill. We care about the usage per wear and strive to give customers a chance to buy better rather more with our collection.

If in doubt about why we should change our buying habits then watch this video by Eve Andrews from Grist. I love her Donald Trump comparison at the end! 

It would be great to see brands and retailers thinking more strategically about the size of their collections and being responsible about the amount they produce because many items will be discarded by consumers and headed straight for landfill. And what of the brands who have stock that does not sell after sales are over. Interestingly I have heard excess stock is burnt. Surely there is a duty to look at the design and product development process and ensure it becomes leaner and more efficient? 

As for whether the consumer is really buying less, well we have our doubts at DCA. Granted certain consumer product categories may well be on the decline, but we believe fashion is not on the radar yet.
May be if more people understood the impact that the current fashion system has on the planet and fashion workers health, then we may see change? Ultimately fashion consumers want newness, they want to look good and buy what they love first and think if at all where it has come from second. An immediate way to see the impact of the current state of fashion is to watch the movie documentary, The True Cost

And taking the moral high ground does not make us feel any better at DCA, we advocate change because we feel it will saves lives and help preserve the planets resources for future generations. Imagine if our children are stood in the future looking back at us, the generation that had the power to do something and say 'why did they do nothing'?? 

We cannot do nothing we have to act now. Be the change, do buy better, do demand better, do demand change. 

Monday, 29 February 2016

Top Picks

Style Industries new feature is to share our top picks each week from other brands doing great work.

This week we are super excited to see the Christopher Raeburn Clarks collaboration launching today!

Sabah Trail Trainer

We love London brand 'One We Made Earlier', their necklaces are super cool and very versatile. Reminding us of abstract cubism.

Chika Shirt Dress

London Label Beautiful Soul offer gorgeous dresses, their signature floral prints are a winning combo. 

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Fashion's New Era

Julianne Moore In Tom Ford

There is a buzz about at the moment, citing “The Fashion System is broken”  and mega brands and young designer disrupters are trying to fix it, as reported by The Business Of Fashion earlier this month.

The key message coming through is that designer fashion needs to slow down, there was once a time when collections came out twice a year from design houses, these days they can produce up to 6 collections a year! I have reported on the overload of the fashion calendar before and questioned how financially sustainable producing so many collections is. And I am not certain it is.

High street fast fashion must shoulder some of the responsibility for high end designers producing so many collections, the fast fashion market is bursting with newness on a weekly basis.  And perhaps this is why big brands feel the need to keep up. And as many of you know this is not a practice I believe in. We are overloaded with stuff, and we really don’t need more!

Tom Ford and more recently Paul Smith plan to change their business models. Ford is showing his AW16 collection in September 16 when it will be readily available to buy there and then, so no usual February 16 show for Ford. Paul Smith has decided to combine his mens and womens collection creating two per year with four drops and collapse his many diffusion lines as well as reduce his wholesale accounts. Bold moves by both and if other designers follow suit we may just see a healthier fashion system.

However one could argue that Tom Ford is aligning himself with the very nature of fast fashion by showing his collection in the current season in order to create a sense of being fast to the market rather than let the consumer wait 6 months to buy. It's certainly a riskier strategy as Ford will have to make buying decisions in house as store buyers will not get the chance to buy the collection in the usual fashion week schedules. Somehow I feel Ford's decision is intuitive to his customers needs, and rather than pander to a faster market and buyers demands, Ford is slowing down, creating collections that he knows will sell. 

But what of fast fashion? Will high street retailers stop and re-think the amount of collections they create? Will there be a disrupter to set the trend? And if more high end designers adopt Fords approach it will make catwalk copying by high street brands a whole lot harder and slower! Imagine that! Perhaps it's just what the industry needs a big shake up to disrupt the flow and prevent stores over producing and looking the same!

And what of small sustainable brands like DCA, trying to carve out a name for them selves in a crowded market.  Does this shift have an impact? I think the more awareness around slowing down and streamlining ranges to improve financial sustainability has to be a good thing, the idea that fewer collections are needed and a more focused approach is refreshing to say the least.

DCA Bee The Change Tee

This slow down in mentality may give brands and consumers time to see that overconsumption is leaving the planet impoverished for future generations and we must act now to begin the change.  I hope the growing concern for how fashion is currently produced will be the driving force behind change, because where we are now is destroying our natural resources and polluting our waterways.  

Lets be the change we wish to see and buy better!

Friday, 4 December 2015

DCA - Turning Waste Into Fashion

DCA Izzy Recycled Dress Coming soon SS16

At Deborah Campbell Atelier, we have a story to tell, we want to shape the world we live in for tomorrow. Our story is to create fashion that is sustainable, accessible and the norm.  One way we are doing this is through the launch  of dresses and tops made from Newlife fabric, an Italian yarn manufactured from recycled plastic bottles.

This pioneering technology is relatively unknown. The fabric is soft to touch, has a satin finish and drapes well. But is the consumer ready for garments made from recycled plastic?

Is recycled fashion a thing of our future? A sustainable circular economy is certainly a no brainer, right?

Well may be? But do people really care?  Are there too many barriers to buying fashion made of recycled plastic? Barriers such as higher price, feel and aesthetics? At DCA we are on a mission to find out.

Firstly lets answer the question what does sustainability mean?
'Using resources in a way that does not impoverish our planet for future generations'. DCA care passionately about being responsible for how we make our clothes. Best practice is at the heart of what we do.

Recycled Isabelle  Indigo Dress £155

An independent boutique owner I spoke to recently said “customers like to think they care about sustainability but when it comes down to it they buy what they like with little regard for how or where it has been made”. And a friend commented, “I don’t care about sustainable practice because I cant afford to care” Indeed a few friends have been surprised to hear that clothes are not made by automated machines.  When I explain that a person usually a woman hand operates a sewing machine to make our clothes, they are quite amazed.  It is a highly labour intensive industry as well as the 2nd highest polluting after oil,with little regulation and welfare for the workforce.

In general I imagine most consumers do not think beyond the rail of garments they see in stores, and I appreciate that view, because at some point I am sure we are all guilty of not thinking beyond how our products arrive in stores, take computers and phones as an example. And this is part of the problem.  I became more informed and started to care about who makes the products I buy, about 5 years ago, but I don’t know where or how all the products I buy are made. Can I imagine a future where what I buy has a transparent supply chain? I hope so.

DCA Isabelle Recycled Top £125

At DCA we have 3 rules of best practice.

  •          We design from the heart, we focus on what we love and gently nod toward trends. We fuse modern art with fashion to create our prints. Our belief in individual design and offering styles that cannot easily be replicated drove us to create our signature indigo print. This print is cut so each dress or top is individual and customized. So no dress or top are the same.  

  • Made in Britain. We love to support our economy and are proud to work with local businesses and communities. 

  • DCA is a sustainable business, our best practice is to design and make responsibly. We do this by making locally to save on carbon footprint and support the UK economy. We buy fabrics that are biodegradable, recycled and organic. We print digitally using inks free from hazardous chemicals and a method which saves significant amounts of water, energy and materials.

Designing responsibly and sustainably is harder than traditional ways of working in fast fashion where best practice is difficult to monitor. AT DCA we know the people who make our clothes and we know where our fabrics are produced.  We are not perfect, and believe we can still improve.

Can the consumer really be held to account for buying without concern? Is it up to the industry to inform the consumer of best practice? You would think this is a valid point, yet so many retailers shy away from informing the consumer of their best practices, fearful that they may be accused of “green washing” using best practice as a marketing tool. So damned if they do and damned if they don’t, how has it come to this? “Surely we can do better”

The film the True Cost which I backed on Kickstarter, is a must watch if you are in any doubt about what is written here. The key to best practice is to first understand the challenges of the industry and the True Cost identifies many reasons why we must act now. Watch the trailer here now.

Buy the True Cost movie on Itunes

Help us at DCA be part of the change, support our small British business by telling us your views on recycled fabric and our range. We would love to hear from you.