Click on the images for more detail… all photos by my wonder-fabulous husband, Nick Coghlan.
- Ming-Zhu. xx
Click on the images for more detail… all photos by my wonder-fabulous husband, Nick Coghlan.
- Ming-Zhu. xx
Are you doing the 30 Day Vegan Easy Challenge? (I know quite a few people who are, and this blog post is my way of giving you all a massive a cuddle – nice work, peeps!)
The 30 Day Vegan Easy Challenge “officially” started on the 1st of November, but they’re running a one-off special for registrations taken on World Vegan Day at the ridiculously exciting event coming up at the Abbotsford Convent this Sunday (6th November).
It runs from 10am – 5pm, and boasts a delish-tacular lineup of guests, stallholders and supporters. I’ve spoken to a few businesses who are going to be representin’, and they’re all get-out-of-town giddy about this gathering of compassionate and enthusiastic like-minds. It’s going to be an incredible day. I’ll be there, wandering around in the morning – so if you see me, grab me and let’s chat!
And just in case you need any further cajoling to try vegan on for size, here’s a video from veganeasy.org to get you all inspired:
See you on Sunday at the Convent!
- Ming-Zhu. xx
But in keeping with the best intentions we did our darndest to buy only local and ethical… BODY by Dainy Sawatzky ticked both these boxes, but failed our abstinence terribly.
I was window shopping on a stroll down Centre Place (off Flinders Lane) a few weeks ago when I stopped to properly notice the little Body boutique for the first time.
The label’s obvious wearability caught my eye – delicate (in a non-princessy kind of way), yet functional and complemented by a clean, no-fuss store layout. This was clearly speaking to my delicate-yet-functional-and-no-fuss-layout fashion smarts.
Upon entering, I was swept off my feet by the savvy and incredibly charming Elena as I tried on and soon fell for a gorgeous 3/4 length wide leg pant – the perfect crop length for my shorty-legs.
I was easily sold on the quality of the garments before Elena informed me the label is all made in Melbourne with a sustainable production ethos. Now, we were really getting somewhere. My recent commitment to investing only in good quality, long lasting staples meant this was the calibre of clothing I was now willing to commit to. In any case, it feels pretty grown up and in the direction I want to be heading, sartorially speaking. Come pay day, I knew where I was getting my next pieces.
Anyhow, I never mentioned a word of this to anyone, when last week Ming-Zhu confessed a little splurge… at the same freaking store! She what!? Read my mind, apparently! Which was both hilarious if not potentially freaky. Of all the stores in Melbourne…! I went back this week to pick up a couple of pieces myself. Not the same items though – thank whatever sartorial god is up there – or Prom Night could have been really awkward…
Body is designed by Dainy Sawatzky who is actually a former dancer, and the pieces are all inspired by the fluid, artful and practical versatility of classical studio dance wear.
It’s designed and made in Melbourne with a serious emphasis on functional separates and limited edition wardrobe staples – avoiding the need for mass production runs and offshore manufacturing. Body is a leader among the growing charge of local Melbourne designers who’ve implemented ethical and sustainable fashion production standards as matter of course across all their business ops without needing to shout it all over their labeling.
The summer collection features garments made from materials including recycled cottons and reclaimed fabrics, and is now in store. Body also stock a permanent staple collection (which includes the 3/4 length pants I bought. Shorty-legs yay!).
Oh, and at the moment, there’s 30% off all Spring stock. So, ya know…
Body Melbourne: 19 Centre Place (off Flinders Lane).
South Yarra pop-up: Shop 2, 566 Chapel Street (on Oxford St)
I’m going to begin this article that focuses on the very important issue of fashion, by talking briefly about another very important issue: chocolate.
My absolute favourite chocolate in the world (yes, folks – in the world) is Conscious Chocolate. It’s raw, certified organic and handmade very, very locally. It’s vegan, gluten free and only uses the absolute highest quality organic ingredients. It’s rich, creamy, indulgent and wildly moreish. It’s also $6.65 for a 45g block. It’s owned by the dude who makes it, in Port Melbourne.
“45 grams!?” I hear you say, “How the bloody hell
much little is that!?”
Well, your standard Green & Black’s block of chocolate is 100 grams, and you can buy that from Coles for $4.27. It’s fair trade, bears the UK’s Organic Soil certification, and is owned by Cadbury Schweppes who is owned by Kraft (correction: not the other way around). If you want to just get the good ol’ budget Cadbury Old Gold dark chocolate, Coles has that going for $5.87 for a 350g block. Their website has conveniently done the maths for me and tells me that this price equates to the chocolate costing $1.68 p/100 grams. For the same amount of choccie that’s in a block of Conscious Chocolate, Old Gold (and please don’t read the ingredients unless you actually want to give yourself a coronary) costs $0.75.
Conscious Chocolate is 9 times the cost of the Cadbury. Nine times.
Is it worth it? Hell yes to the are-you-shitting-me it is. Now that I have the information about:
there is absolutely no question whatsoever that I will forever more continue to pay up to nine times more for my chocolate than I would if I were succumbing to the standard fare available on supermarket shelves. When I can’t afford it, I simply won’t buy chocolate (or alternatively, I’ll make my own – recipe to come…). Not only is it better for the world (on pretty much every level that chocolate can be), but it’s far, far, far more beneficial for my body. And it’s certainly the kind of food that I would be more than happy to offer my loved ones for both pleasure and nourishment.
But what the flaming heck has any of this got to do with fashion? Well, in the local broadsheet (The Age) this weekend was published an article on the subject of local green – or ethical – fashion. Written by Janice Breen Burns, Style and Sustainability is a timely, solid and gripping piece that explores the “challenges” that the conscious consumer faces when it comes to choosing ethical fashion (namely, the price), as they relate to the many and often heartbreaking challenges that designers and producers face in trying to get ethical fashion both on the rack and out the door.
It’s a disposable market modeled on free trade and all of free trade’s hidden implications. We’re a Target, K-mart, Zara culture that is dangerously in love with unconscious spending, bargains and “the latest thing”. This behaviour is so stitched in (pun intended) to the fabric of our society that we often look at the status quo, and the alternative, and feel that we have no choice but to continue on perpetuating the violence upon the earth and product manufacturers that is blind bargain hunting.
But the thing is, we do. You and I have a choice. An excellent one. We can choose to spend the extra, buying fewer pieces that yield not only garments of a higher quality (and therefore maximum longevity), but ones that don’t weigh either heavy on our conscience, or the future of our planet and humanity. This is so much more important than we often give pause to consider.
As Janice Breen Burns writes in her article, on a “cost-per-wear” basis, the more ethical and sustainable choices end up making more financial sense than our fast-fash disposable options. We simply have to begin to think about our sartorial investments differently.
From Wednesday, Superéthique is going to begin featuring locally manufactured fashion labels who spin ethical and sustainable garments from the yarn of their business. We’re not going to harp on any further about the benefits and costs (I’ve done more than enough of that here!) – we’re just going to show you how goshdarned sexy, and timelessly classy truly good fashion can be.
- Ming-Zhu. xx
We had a night off and very empty stomachs on Tuesday, so at 6pm, I decided it would be time to finally make the 5k trek over to Bridge Road Richmond to experience (and attempt to savour) a veritable Melbourne institution: Tofu Shop International.
These guys have been making tofu since the early 80′s, way back before vego had left the teepee villages. They still make all their tofu fresh on-site, and even have their own brand of the creamy-white gold called “Five Seasons” (oh yeah, we absolutely had to buy some to take home with us).
I’d been to Tofu Shop a few times before, but years and years ago, and never at peak hour, so my memory of the atmosphere was a little different to Tuesday evening’s experience (it was crazy-busy) – but not the food – the food was… how can I put it? Earth-shatteringly moreish. As expected.
We ordered a “large” eat-in plate and asked the lovely person serving us to make the combo up herself. We were spoiled rotten with a mountain of different delights, including a braised ginger tofu, a deep fried tofu curry, a zucchini curry, two deliciously different bean-y stews, red cabbage salad, and a pickled carrot salad, topped off with their famous creamy tofu dip and two wickedly addictive hash-brown-style potato balls. We enjoyed all three condiments: pickled ginger, olives, and chilli paste.
We were also given little gifts of both freshly brewed genmai cha and their own in-house, Spirulina Soy Soft-Serve ice cream. Don’t laugh. This shit’s to die for. The flavour was a kind of cross between green tea and red-bean ice cream – sweet, musky and earthy all at once. If it’s on when you’re there, don’t hold back for a second. Green superfood in an ice cream – it can be done folks, and Tofu Shop have done it well, indeed.
Now, just for the record, we weren’t still hungry, but we were being gutsas because the food was so incredible, so we grabbed a takeaway of salads for seconds, and one of their signature tofu slices (this one, coconut and mango with toasted coconut threads on top – yum!). By 8.30pm we were home, on the couch in front of some good, decent veg-out TV with our veg-out veggie treats, happy, relaxed and incredibly well fed.
- Ming-Zhu. x
Tofu Shop International is located at 78 Bridge Road Richmond, Victoria. They’re open Monday – Friday 12-8pm & Saturday 12-5pm.
This round-up of Ethical Web Love has us linking all over the proverbial shop – for buying less, sharing more, even buying nothing at all. Let’s get to it.
#1. It’s Buy Nothing New month in Oz this October. You can pledge, if that helps keep you honest – to beg, swap, barter or borrow so long as it’s been used before. I know some of the cynics among us like to dismiss the whole ‘awareness month’ thing as no substitute for lifestyle – but the buying nothing new movement has come a massively long way from being the shock/horror proposition it was when it started over in Vancouver, Canada as Buy Nothing New Day, circa 1992. Celebration, y’all!
This year, the team at Buy Nothing New have even got $5,ooo up for grabs for folks sharing their stories on how they do it, and they’re getting serious with their supporters to promote second-hand clothing trades. Check their blog for some favourited second hand stalls about Melbourne and Sydney. Like Like Like.
#2 is 1 Million Women. This site’s been increasingly pop up in side bars and twitter feed to the point of ubiquity, and now all of a sudden, it has my full attention. The goal is 1 million Australian women signed up to get on with climate action, leading by example and pledging to cut a minimum of 1 tonne of carbon dioxide from daily living over the course of a year. Easy Peasy. There’s nothing like a critical mass to make something cool for the masses. Get on board.
I signed up to the pledge on the spot, and by selecting from the list of basic habits on the site’s activity centre, I’ve realised that the actions I’m doing now already mean I’m putting 3 tonnes less CO2 in the atmosphere than I was, say 3 years ago. Woo! We all know that consuming less energy, reducing food waste and cutting back on transport are the bare minimum necessary for reducing our impact on the climate. From these basic actions, radical cuts to CO2 must follow. If I can help build momentum for making that seem normal, then 1 Million Women doing it will be freaking inspirational.
#3. Wardrobe Wonderland. I actually came across this kick-ass site via Buy Nothing New, and spent a good while perusing the reading material brought to us by up Melbourne-based writer Lara McPherson.
It’s always great to find quality critique and dialogue on the ethics of mass produced clothing, and understanding how integral fashion itself is to our mass consumer culture. Lara’s site is dedicated to all kinds of dialogue around creating the future of sustainable fashion industries right now. She tweets tirelessly on these issues, too. I’m also putting it out there that I can’t wait to bump into her in public one day and give her a giant pat on the back for all her work. She’s rocking my internets of late, this lady.
#4 continues riding on the good theme of attire, because… National Swap Day is coming up on Monday 24th October! Gee damn, there are some excellent ethical consumer initiatives bouncing around town this month!
Ethical Clothing Australia has details on their site about the National Clothing Swap Day, held in collaboration with The Clothing Exchange. Details about specific Clothing Exchange Events can be found on these sites, including some serious sartorial swapping taking place at Fed Square this coming Monday 17th October. (I must flag that both these sites share some confusion about the actual date of National Swap Day- Monday in October has to be the 25th!)
And before I absolutely wrap up – I wanna SHOUT OUT that we have a Giveaway goin’ on and we want your thoughts! Our friends at Suvana are helping us help you to a tube of their delicious, organic honey and paw paw balm. Seriously petrochemical free. We have 2 up for grabs, guys!
Just tell us – either below, on our Facebook Page, or on Twitter: Where are your ethical values at the moment? What’s on your consumer-conscious mind? What aspects of life (and shopping) are your no-compromise zones? What’s your ethical line in the sand? Are you buying nothing new?
We want to hear from you! And if you want to stay in touch, please sign on up to our newsletter. It’s a weekly wrap up of Superéthique news and happenings. Keepin’ it simple! Mwah (xx).