Shopping Ethical Menswear: Atelier Akeef in Berlin

Atelier Akeef Berlin

Berlin is enriched by another hotspot for ethical fashion: the Atelier Akeef. Founded in September 2013 by Alan Sommerville and Michael Ashley, it is one of the first in its kind that is specialized on menswear from socially and ecologically sustainable fashion brands. In many ethical fashion stores, menswear is still taking the lesser part, but the offer of good, ethical menswear is rapidly getting better and this is a welcome new retail initiative that will hopefully see more menswear ethical fashion concept stores in other cities around the world..

Atelier Akeef runs a very nice selection of ethically sound brands, with as jeans from Kings of Indigo, bags from Elvis and Kresse, shoes from Ekin Footwear and Veja, and shirts from Knowledge Cotton, Two Thirds and Atelier Awash.

While they might not follow the most critical standards for their selection of products (some products are of conventional, non-ecological materials), they have their own score cards on the products showing in what way the product is sustainable. The store has a contemporary, authentic look with many wooden and some recycled and retro elements and is located in Berlin-Mitte.

Male model Andrej Pejic for bra campaign

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To promote it’s push-up bras, the dutch department store HEMA have choosen the androgynous male supermodel Andrej Pejic to be the face of their new lingerie campaign. The campaign became a huge success within hours and the news has made its round through international press with the speed of light.

Andrej Pejic is celebrated as a superstar model in the fashion scene, still the campaign is brilliant as it is nothing more then, well, just a normal bra ad. While in the fashion world the influence of androgynous styles and gender ambiguity is totally en vogue, the average consumer might still find it a little unusual.

“It’s revolutionary” Pejic’s agent Chadwick’s Joseph Tenni told frockwriter. “I’ve never known a man to do a women’s lingerie campaign before”. Of course the message is clear: even men can wear HEMA’s push-up bras.

Do we see here the mainstreaming of queer and androgynous role models into a lifestyle (the average HEMA consumer is rather traditional) or just a successful ad campaign that even in 2011 finds a way to provoke by using gender issues?

This article was earlier published on Beyond Berlin.

The IOU Project – producers meet consumers

Last year at the Beyond Fashion Summit, we had a virtual encounter with Kavita Parmar, founder and creative director of The IOU Project. Kavita Parmar is a designer, serial entrepreneur and a passionate advocate for change in the fashion industry. She was born in India and was educated in India and England.

At the age of 18 while attending university, she started her own studio working as a freelance designer for various international clothing brands. After building up and running several successful clothing brands, she founded the IOU Project in 2011, her most ambitious project to date.

The IOU Project is an e-commerce social networking platform that manufactures and retails one-of-a-kind handmade clothes. It seeks to empower the artisan, celebrate uniqueness, re-vindicate the right to transparency and believes that technology can make it happen. Consumers can see the people who where producing the item, and when consumers upload a picture after purchase, the producers also see who is wearing it..

See a short, inspiring video about The IOU Project here:

For more information on Kavita Parmar, also see the recent interview by Summer Rayne Oaks.

This article was published in an earlier form on Beyond Berlin.

Join the Non Toxic Revolution!

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Choose to revolt! Join the NON TOXIC REVOLUTION!

With all the awareness for health and environment and after years of cradle-to-cradle hype I wonder why the topic of toxics is still so small among consumers. This wonderful and provoking campaign by the NGO Keep A Breast just launched in Berlin.The artwork is done by the renown street-artist Stepard Fairey aka Obey the Giant, also known for his genius “HOPE” poster for the Obama Campaign.

The posters already hang in the Berlin streets, at least here in Kreuzberg. On the 5th of July 2012 Strychin Galerie in Berlin-Friedrichshain holds a vernissage where the motives will be sold. Next to that, also the Berlin artists Patrick O’Dell, Seymour, Mimi S., Harry Brack, Christian Rotenhagen, Luisa Catucci and Pisa73 show their interpretations of the images by Fairey. So for those who still find time between all the other events taking place during Berlin Fashion Week, check it out!

One big minus point of the campaign: they forgot the clothing! Would that be because Fairey runs is own, non-organic clothing line Obey Clothing?

See more of the posters at Kalinkakalinka.

This article was earlier published on Beyond Berlin.

Banksy’s ironic attacks on consumer culture

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Recently, a few new, consume-critical works by the famous street-artist Banksy popped up in the streets. With a mix of smooth irony and dark sarcasm, he’s irritating the consumer masses and those who are persuading them.. “Sorry, the lifestyle that you ordered is currently out of stock”.

Meanwhile, Banksy has become one of the most popular contemporary artists, his works are sold for hundred thousands of euros and his stencil icons used or copied in advertising, fashion and trend forecast blogs.

We’re living in a time where critical consumerism is an integral part of an urban intellectual creative socially-aware hipster lifestyle in which we like a consumer-bashing Banksy artwork on facebook and next day go shopping some cool new must-have-trousers. Where we support #occupywallstreet with our tweets and meanwhile keep our money flowing at the same old banks (yes, you can change that). Also, a time where we’re dreaming of a post-consumer-era where smart consumers reclaim power over their products again.

Maybe Banksy actually means the global mind of crisis is pushing some of the most posh swimming-pool-on-my-rooftop lifestyles to be out, out, out…

Or maybe he just provoked: “even my well-receipted radical punk-ass got sold on auctions, but as long as walls eat my graffiti people buy my art and I keep getting more famous.” It’s nothing more then the best pop-art artists like Andy Warhol have created us: a post-consumer consumer-culture built on it’s own ironic icons. That’s in line with the Kate Moss portrait by Banksy in Warhol-style. And it might just be in your digital shopping wagon tomorrow!

Happy Christmas shopping!

Via: Artschoolvets via Highsnobiety via Wooster.

More about Banksy on wikipedia, or just go shopping.

This article was earlier published on Beyond Berlin.