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Emma Watson, Bioscience and the Future of Fashion

Intro

Remember this moment.

What do Emma Watson, BioScience and the Future of Fashion have in common? Let’s find out. The new golden age of sustainable fashion innovation is upon us. A  time of awe-inspiring ideas and material revolution. A  renaissance that is as exciting, spellbinding, breathtaking and profoundly important as the introduction of James Hargreaves Spinning Jenny in 1764.

This time, it is all about sustainability and the circular economy and the idea of an ingenious marriage between fashion, nature, science, and alchemy.

Emma Watson – The Ethical Poster Girl for a Generation

Emma Watson at the Met Gala in a Sustainable Calvin Klein Gown

If ever there was an eloquent spokeswoman for a generation, it is the film icon, Emma Watson. Emma was one of the first A-list film stars to wear sustainable fashion on the red carpet.

“I want to look good, feel good, and do good – that to me is a luxury,” she says simply. That statement is enough to empower an entire generation of millennial consumers to change everything, especially fashion. Emma is not alone. Natalie Portman wears an ethical wedding band, fashioned from recycled gold; Rosario Dawson runs her own Fair-trade company in Africa; and Will I Am, the Leonardo of the music world, and a budding ethical fashion entrepreneur, has teamed up with Coca-Cola to launch hip street clothing EkoCycle and make all sorts of weird and wonderful futuristic street fashion, luggage and bicycles from recycled aluminum. All of this would have been unthinkable just a decade ago when I first started to write about sustainable fashion.

Sustainable luxury fashion has finally come of age. The collections are covetable, exciting, luxurious and good enough to succeed on merit, not out of necessity, although of course, that is a critical side effect. Sustainable fashion has become the zeitgeist because fashion’s brightest stars from the designers to the manufacturers of fabric are literally reinventing how to do fashion well in the 21st century.

Orange Fiber Top by Salvatore Ferragamo

We now live an in age where citrus food waste can be transformed into fibre by isolating a polymer, mixing it with silk and transforming it into a sublime, sensuous fabric called Orange Fiber, which becomes a fashion poem in print to Sicily for Salvatore Ferragamo; where a bespoke jacket can be grown like spider’s lace in the lab from magical mushroom fibre; where Stella McCartney introduces her beautifully fleet of foot, glue-less, recyclable sports shoe the Loop; where fast fashion is becoming slow, fair-trade, artisan fashion that protects garment workers and centuries-old craft skills People Tree and Mata Traders ; and a time when forgotten women in prison get a new start in life by producing timeless, alpaca capsule collections in Peru for label to know, love and adopt – Carcel.

Carcel Sustainable Knitwear Made in Prisons

Hold the Front Page

Hold the front page. Welcome to the fashion revolution, there is so much to talk about.

Impressed? Seduced? Intrigued? Go ahead. At last, our throwaway, careless society is being replaced by something altogether more enlightened, mindful, clever, altruistic and smarter – the only limit to all this innovation is our collective imagination.

Dress by Vegea, made from grape waste from the wine industry

So, imagine that your next, lust-worthy, stop the traffic evening gown could be fashioned from Vegea’s award-winning, UN 20 20, grape fabric (food waste fibre) – and go and covet their fluid, Tina Turner, rock ‘n’ roll, diva-worthy gown in the V&A Fashioned from Nature Exhibition…. it’s the hottest ticket in town to understand the last four hundred years of fashion craftsmanship, ravishing spectacle, innovation, and excess, and then get inspired to upcycle your fashion persona, with state of the art green and sexy, circular aplomb. And while you are there, salute the work of designer Stella McCartney – from designer activist to the trailblazing crown princess of sustainable material innovation.

Stella McCartney Makes Nature Iconic

I could lose myself in a fashion reverie when I stand and gaze at Stella’s love letter to her mother Linda’s passion for Appaloosa horses and wild nature. McCartney makes nature iconic with her thundering horses’ trouser suit, digitally printed on sustainable viscose – it’s the next best thing to going for a wind in the hair gallop. It’s pure, lust-worthy fashion that also happens to be good fashion. But you wouldn’t know and that is the point. Sustainability doesn’t have to be screamed about, it simply needs to be fabulous, mainstream and effortless for you the consumer to make earth-friendly, green is the new black choices.

Stella McCartney Running Horses Print

Certainly, Stella is blazing an emerald style trail. No iconic designer has done more to lead the charge for state of the art fabric innovation while wowing the catwalk with her masculine meets feminine aesthetic.

Fashion is All About Bio Science Now

Welcome to the age of smart, good, sustainable fashion. This is the moment where fashion, nature, and bioscience rule the roost and all the fashion powerhouses from Salvatore Ferragamo to Hugo Boss are busy burnishing their collections with organic cotton and Alice-in-Wonderland circular fibres from Mycotex to Vegea, Pinatex, and Orange Fiber whilst displaying their greenage, sustainable plumage like so many peacocks strutting in the gardens of Versailles.

Now, let’s talk about water. Did you know that the global fashion industry consumes six trillion litres of water a year to dye fabrics for new fashion garments? Yes, it is eye-watering; it is also a big problem. What if they simply run out of water? Colorifix could be the answer. The company behind this green tech company has pioneered a new method of applying pigment to fabric using biology. The good news is that it uses ten times less water, doesn’t require harsh solvents and chemicals that pollute our rivers, and could really help to clean up the fashion industry which has been polluting watercourses since the introduction of aniline dyes in the industrial revolution.

Change the Way We Produce Fashion, Not Our Desire for It

The future of luxury is all about a new virtuous circular of consumption and right now it is the Holy Grail in fashion. Of course, it is necessary and pragmatic. Necessity is definitely the mother of invention and fashion has always been the great innovator. There are seven billion people on this crowded planet earth, and we will simply run of resources and new clothes if we don’t find a better way to adorn our bodies and experience fashion that makes us want to reach for our credit card in a heartbeat. So as Aniela Hoitink the founder of Mycotex declares,   “Fast fashion represents an incredible opportunity. There is now an entire generation of people who expect to own a garment for a year, maybe two, before disposing of it to buy something new. With the right materials, we can meet this life cycle from cradle to cradle. Let’s change the way we produce fashion, not the habits of 7 billion people – it is far more realistic.”

Mycotex Fabric Swatches

With this brave new world of green and sexy pragmatism, how would you like to grow your own bespoke, gossamer, work of art evening jacket, fashioned from Mycotex mushroom fibre in a lab that is now the atelier of the future? It looks like lace, with zero waste, and zero water consumption and don’t worry; it won’t smell like you after three days at Glastonbury! It also comes with anti-microbial properties and simplifies the manufacturing process, as weaving becomes redundant. When you have tired of wearing it and long for something new, you can just put your magic mushroom garment in the recycle bin to turn it into compost with zero guilt and start dreaming of your fashion acquisition.

Gold Pintatex Biker Jacket by Altiir

Or you could pay homage to Marlon Brando as the motorcycle kid in the Wild One, and invest in Altiir’s inky, super luxurious black biker jacket that looks like leather, ages gracefully like leather, and yet it is cleverly fashioned from a new luxe pineapple leaf fibre fabric, called Pinatex, a remarkable by-product of the fruit industry, that has taken RCA alumnus, Dr. Carmen Hijosa, just over a decade to perfect, from pineapple farm to hanger.

Oh, and if you want to emulate your rock n roll heroes – David Bowie or Jimi Hendrix, you could go for the gold or silver versions of the biker jacket. I can’t wait to see Madonna, Will I Am, or perhaps Elon Musk, wearing one of these gleaming, out this world jackets to tap into our renewed love affair with exploring brave new worlds, on the catwalk, and in a galaxy far beyond planet earth.

Fashion has to be Great to Be Revolutionary

There was a time when the idea of sustainable fashion was dirty a word on the catwalk, a word consigned to the outer reaches of the fashion firmament. At the time, it deserved its outcast label. The first examples of sustainable fashion back in the late nineties and early noughties were more about ideals and a form of protest than sex appeal and desirability. Fashion has to be great to be influential, to change everything. It has to break your heart to smithereens with beauty, ingenuity, craftsmanship, and novelty that can work at scale. Bad fashion with ethics is still bad fashion.

Now it is the zeitgeist because the world of luxury fashion has decided to embrace sustainability and put its weight behind the science of innovation. This is good news. What happens at the top of fashion affects the entire fashion chain from slow to fast fashion. When high fashion sets the agenda, everyone else follows.

Sustainability is the new luxury and that is a very good thing.

Why, even Star Wars is embracing sustainability as Ray and Finn wear out of this world stellar boots designed by creative director Sven Segal for Po-Zu, who is also working with Pinatex.

The fact that Lucas Films chose a sustainable British shoe company to award their first footwear franchise is a bold and exciting move. It demonstrates that good fashion and circular economy ideas are becoming mainstream and highly desirable to iconic brands like the Star Wars franchise.

Next time you eat a pineapple or drink a very fine glass of Bordeaux think about the ingenious idea of fruity fashion! As Edwina Ehrman, the curator behind the V&A’s groundbreaking Fashioned from Nature says, “Fashion from food waste really does have the power to capture the public imagination – because they can understand it.”

The same applies to celebrity star power. While Emma Watson has used hers to declare she will only wear sustainable fashion on the red carpet, Olivia Wilde worked with H&M on the Conscious Exclusive Collection in 2015 and boldly said, “Ethical fashion isn’t a fashion fantasy, it’s an attainable reality. I think this is how all fashion should be. Great style that is naturally more sustainable.”

So fear not. All the beauty, artistry and craftsmanship of haute fashion which sets hearts on fire is alive and flourishing as this is a revolution driven by the icons of fashion, along with cutting-edge science and innovation, and a new age of ingenious thrift, which has always been the bedfellow of luxury.

The Queen of Couture Thrift

Her Majesty The Queen recording her Christmas message to the nation and the Commonwealth in 2017.

No one sets a better example of luxurious thrift than the queen of England, Queen Elisabeth the second. Her couture and bespoke outfits are always fashioned to last and last, to be treated as precious heirlooms, to be lovingly reworked, updated and upcycled. There is no doubt that she is inspiring the new generation of royals to follow her thoughtful, thrifty example. Catherine Duchess of Cambridge, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, have both been seen wearing the same outfits in public, thus following in the considered, elegant footsteps of her majesty and setting an example that we should all love and cherish the clothes we have and take great care of them. Now, it would be great to see the Kate and Meghan wearing the crème de la crème of conscious, sustainable fashion garments. I can certainly see the more adventurous Meghan Markle wearing a slow, whimsical, made in Britain, fashion work of art by the label to know Klements or a fluttering gown in lustrous peace silk, embellished with banana fibre, by conscious couturier Lucy Tammam – the Catherine Walker of ethical haute couture.

After seventy years of throwaway culture, we are moving to an age of circular fashion and the increasingly popular idea of also renting designer fashion, which also democratises it too. How on earth did we live before the circular economy advanced into our lives? In the future, we will look back on the years following WW2 as a sort of primitive, mini dark ages, when we failed to protect the very thing that so inspires and captivates us – nature in all her infinite variety.

Buy Better Fashion, Change the World

Let’s hope this truly is a new golden age in fashion, where the natural world and our boundless desire to capture nature on a gown, on a beautiful embellished shoe or fabulous handbag is just the beginning of a beautiful, awe-inspiring, super duper sustainable relationship. A time when our obsession and passion to express who we really our does become a thing of beauty inside and out. The last word goes to Emma Watson, “ As consumers, we have so much power to change the world by just being careful in what we buy.”

Alison Jane Reid Copyright November 2018. This Fashion Feature is supported by C&A Foundation

Images courtesy of the V&A, Po-Zu Shoes, Klements, Mycotex, Altiir.

When AJ Met Edwina at the V&A Museum

Reader, imagine a world where there is no intoxicating, beguiling nature left to plunder, adorn and inspire our collective, never-ending appetite for new clothes.

In this documentary fashion interview, I examine the future of fashion and ingenious, state of the art, circular and sustainable fashion and textile innovation with Edwina Ehrman, historian, and curator of Fashioned from Nature at the V & A Museum.

The exhibition asks an important question of our time. How can we continue to enjoy our passion for fashion and adorn ourselves in new clothing, without destroying the beauty and infinite variety of nature? Can icons like Emma Watson, Sienna Miller and Leonardo di Caprio influence a generation to change the way they think about fashion?

Since the very beginnings of civilization, we have looked to nature to adorn ourselves, keep us warm and to captivate the senses; but that is also the problem. Encouraged by the idea of novelty, and the desire for greater, and greater profits, the fashion industry has run rampant. Polluting it’s way from the grim Victorian cotton mills – to the glittering contemporary catwalks of Paris, London, Milan and New York, with a twinkling, never-ending mirage of newness, novelty, excess, and celebrity razzmatazz to hide the dirty truth. And the truth is this. The fashion industry exploits both people and planet and resources, in order to fuel the idea that we have nothing to wear. But those resources are finite.

It is also true that fashion is a genius at innovation, and that is where the solution lies. We need to find a better way to enjoy and experience fashion, and perhaps, in the near future, it will be more about the experience than ownership or a marriage between the two.

Of course fashion matters. It is one of the highest forms of self-expression and of creativity and the imagination. Where would be if we couldn’t continue to immerse ourselves in art, beauty, ideas and the desire to captivate? It is what makes us human. The good news is that we are moving on from sixty years of throwaway fashion, and the idea that we have never had it so good – to a smart circular age, where waste becomes the new gold, and we innovate to transform our post-consumer goods and waste into beautiful and remarkable new goods. This is where all the excitement lies in the fashion of the future – it’s all about reinvention and the circular economy.

Pioneering Ethical Fashion Journalism at You Magazine

When I first started to ask this question as a feature writer and fashion editor, I was working for Sue Peart the former editor of You Magazine between 2004-6. At the time, the magazine was a great supporter of organic food and farming, and I proposed a series of ethical fashion features, that would use icons to question how we make and consume fashion and look at new, more sustainable ways to be fashionable. I wondered if we could embrace a renewed spirit of thrift, ingenuity and make do and mend in a way our grandmothers and great-grandmothers learned how to do so well between the two great wars of the 20th Century.

Sienna Miller, star of Alfie, Factory Girl, and Cabaret, kindly agreed to be my muse for a feature with People Tree, the pioneering Fair-trade Fashion house. After a flurry of calls and a great deal of planning, we took off a to an exquisite Victorian garden in Surrey, with top fashion lensman, Mike Owen, to photograph Sienna in Fair-trade, organic velvet mini dresses, gauzy, handcrafted, Stevie Nicks knitwear and twinkling, boho Gatsby cloches, made by my Danish archaeologist friend Anna, who works on a loom in her sitting room. Little to did Anna know what she was letting herself in for, but more of that later!

Sienna Miller Tells the World to Buy Organic Knickers

I am now going to make a confession to you. Directing a sustainable fashion story at this time wasn’t easy. Sienna and I had to get seriously creative with a far too long velvet skirt, which we turned into a mini boob tube dress, and teamed with a gorgeous pair of Sienna’s supine, boho suede boots. Yes, this was in the very early days of ethical fashion, and a whole lot of customization had to happen. Of course, that is what fashion is all about. Sienna really believed in the story and she was absolutely brilliant about mucking in and making the clothes look amazing. She also told me to tell You Magazine readers to ‘buy organic knickers and change the world’ and that really started something!

People Tree Goes to Top Shop

The day after the feature came out on a Sunday, You magazine received hundreds of phone calls from readers wanting to know where they could buy the clothes, and People Tree was invited to sell in Top Top. Anna’s pale gold cloche, shot with glitter was a huge hit, and my poor friend was both delighted and bemused by the reaction, which included enough inquiries for twenties hand knitted Sienna cloches to swap archaeology for fashion. The story and interview with Sienna really helped to ignite interest in the fledgling sustainable fashion industry and in a love of upcycling and reinventing our existing clothes into exciting new clothes. The seeds had been sown.

Based on the success of the Sienna Miller feature, Sue commissioned me to do a second sustainable fashion feature. This time, I took the daughters of British rock ‘n’ royal royalty to a waste recycling centre, outside London and photographed them in experimental, upcycled couture evening gowns, against a colourful backdrop of bales of rather stinky recycled newspaper! It was just as well it was the middle of winter. Fortunately for me, our lovely rock muses firmly wanted to help save the planet and put sustainable fashion on the front page and not one of them complained about the location or the freezing temperatures.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Green Fashionistas 

Fast forward to 2018, and what a long, long way we have come. Back in 2006, it took me months of detective work and dogged journalistic inquiry, to track down designers who were beginning to make elegant up-cycled fashion worthy of the rock glitterati. There was a lot of very, very bad ethical fashion around at the time and it was ugly, primitive and unwearable. Two designers who really stood out, and they are still doing exciting work today are From Somewhere and Victim London. Both were featured in this early fashion feature with David Gilmour’s daughter Sarah, Sting’s daughter Mickey and Leah Wood, the daughter of Ronnie Wood.

It is exciting to see how sustainable fashion has grown up, become a movement in the last decade, and attracted the brightest stars from our fashion universities. For make no mistake, it is great fashion that will change the world and protect our blue planet. Not bad fashion that is dull but worthy.

Fashioned from Nature proves this point. As Edwina Ehrman says, ‘we are showing good fashion here’. I would go further, and say that the fashion innovation on show at the V & A is as exciting as Dior’s New Look at the end of World War Two and the glittering 18th century manteau court dress, embroidered like a tapestry with flowers, butterflies and leaves in such intricacy and realism, it is as if the natural world has colonized the dress.

Go and see the exhibition. Look at the star sustainable pieces and marvel at the couture craftsmanship and skill of fashion. In 1997, the mercurially brilliant Jean Paul Gaultier showed that you don’t need to kill an animal for its fur to drape oneself in its iconic beauty. You can recreate the beauty and miracle of evolution in his witty leopard gown, which fools everyone into thinking it’s real!

Jean Paul’s Gaultier’s Leopard Couture Masterpiece

In fact, it is handcrafted to reveal all the light and shade and texture of the leopard in a thousand hours of astonishing beadwork. Then, look at Ferragamo’s orange fiber skirt and blouse, which captures the fruitfulness of Sicily, with a print of tiny oranges and figures is an innovative delight, whilst saving 600,000 tonnes of citrus waste from the fruit industry every year. While leather gets an animal-friendly makeover in the fluid, tactile beauty and movement achieved, with Mycelium mushroom leather. Your brave new world of smart, sustainable and utterly covetable fashion starts here.

Seven years ago, when I interviewed Sir David Attenborough for the launch of Frozen Planet, he told me that he was optimistic about the future, despite the challenges we face. ‘Human beings are the smartest mammals on the planet. I hope that we will innovate our way out of trouble’, he said. It seems that he was right.

Unless we want to get in a spaceship with Elon Musk and move to Mars, it is time to use our imaginations to dream up and create a super sustainable world, where nature is all around us, not a thing apart. The Fashioned from Nature exhibition proves this point. It is full of extraordinary and ingenious ideas for creating new, luxurious fibres from mushrooms to citrus waste and even clothes made from recyclable paper and Emma Watson’s super sustainable Met Gala gown, made a new polyester yarn spun from recycled plastic bottles in Italy.

The Future is Circular

In the near future, I have no doubt that the idea of sending a barely worn garment to landfill will be considered primitive and wasteful and those circular economy ideas will rule the roost not just in our wardrobes, but in every aspect of our lives, and our the throwaway society gives way to a new greenage of alchemy, pillar box red lipstick, and glorious reinvention.

Copyright Alison Jane Reid/Ethical Hedonist Magazine. All Rights Reserved June 2018.

Alison Jane Reid’ Fashion Documentary and this article are made possible by  C&A Foundation. Support more exciting sustainable fashion journalism by sharing this article and backing our new crowdfunding project and get involved today on @Patreon here –  Ethical Hedonist on Patreon

Follow us on Twitter @ethicalhedmag please share using the hashtag   #EHFashfromNatureDoc

Images Copyright the V & A Museum and Alison Jane Reid/EthicalHedonistMagazine 2018. 

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I am very proud to share some important and exciting news! Ethical Hedonist Magazine has been awarded social enterprise status by Social Enterprise UK. We are now a social enterprise media business for the work we do as an organic and sustainable magazine to inspire an exciting world of sustainable cities and local, organic and biodynamic communities and to champion the arts and creative industries for people and the health of our planet.

Good Journalism for People and Planet

We do this through the power of #goodjournalism, storytelling and the craft of long-form feature writing – because good storytelling never goes out of fashion. We have also been awarded social enterprise status for the mentoring and internship programme we have run since the start for university students studying for a degree in journalism, with a special interest in mental health and wellbeing at university. We are now forging a relationship with the school of journalism and communications @KingstonUniversity and we have also worked with students from Winchester School of Art, Birmingham University and Cambridge University.

Our Goal is to Inspire More Organic, Biodynamic and Fair-trade Consumption

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The vineyard at Palazzo Tronconi

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The time is right for a fair, renewable energy revolution. Given this government’s complete failure to reign in the energy big six, who continue to offer a minefield of confusing, widely different tariffs, treating their customers with disdain, and charging the poorest in society, more to heat their homes, it’s time for some healthy, ethical, renewable energy competition. So, it is exciting to report that the ethical, low carbon energy revolution is very much underway.

Affordable, Fair, Renewable Energy for All

Do you treat your energy company like your bank, and want to switch, but never quite get around to it. Switching doesn’t have to be difficult, and the good news is that prices have come down, and are now very competitive with conventional energy, and even better.  Take a look at Bulb        renewable energy the new kids in sustainable, renewable energy. Bulb is the brainchild of two friends, Hayden and Amit, who met whilst working in the energy sector, and felt they could champion low carbon energy, and offer fair, affordable, renewable energy to all.

Switching is easy, Bulb does all the work.  When more of us make the switch, the lower renewable energy will cost us,  creating affordable, clean energy for all. As a result, this will lead to reduced carbon emissions into the atmosphere, which contributes to climate change. Fair energy prices will also do much to end fuel poverty which leads to misery during the winter.

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Energy Saving Tip  – Before you consider spending money on insulation for your home. Go round and check for any draughts from doors, windows and letterboxes.  Fix these first. 25% of energy loss happens through doors and windows that are not airtight. It’s amazing what a difference this can make to comfort and warmth levels in your home.

 

A wall of reishi mushrooms growing

This week’s guest natural health column is written by Richard Enion,  the founder of  Enrich’d natural and organic superfoods. Richard is a coach, speaker, former Dragon’s Den contestant and author with an interest in how to optimise health through the power of food as medicine. Here he writes about the scientifically proven cognitive health benefits of eating medicinal mushrooms. Mushrooms have been revered in traditional medicine for centuries for their ability to revitalise the mind and promote longevity.

Richard’s Story – How He Became a Convert to Reishi and Lions’s Mane Medicinal Mushrooms

 

I first encountered Reishi, known as the mushroom of immortality whilst working  (what a cool nickname!) in LA.

When I was living there I went to a Tea art show on Melrose in Hollywood, and there were a couple of amigos outside putting drops of something under their tongues.
They didn’t tell me what it was at the time, though smirkingly offered it to me because they could tell I was somewhat nervous about the whole situation. I didn’t try it then because quite frankly I thought it was acid, but I later discovered that it was a “Reishi Tincture” which is an alcohol extract of the Reishi mushroom. What’s a Reishi tincture? It’s Reishi mushroom that has been soaking in alcohol for a number of months, if not years, as a means of extracting the alcohol soluble compounds from the mushroom. Fascinating right?
Basket of foraged wild mushrooms
Fast forward 6 years and I’m a huge fan of medicinal mushrooms, especially Reishi Mushroom and also Lions Mane mushroom, and you’re about to find out why!
Thousands of Years of Traditional Medicine 
When I say that I drink “medicinal mushrooms” many people begin thinking about the 1960’s and mushroom trips. But that’s not what we are dealing with here. These mushrooms have been used for 1000’s of years in traditional medicine, are not psychoactive and are actually some of the most well studied foods/herbs on the plant!
Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) is perhaps the most respected of medicinal mushrooms and has been used and enjoyed for 1000’s of years.
Known as “Ling Zhi” in traditional medicine, Reishi is also thought of as the “Mushroom of Immortality” because of its reputation for promoting vitality and longevity of humans. IMMORTALITY! Sure, that could be a little hard to believe for some, but I think living really well for longer than you might have is a pretty almighty positive side-effect of going for immortality…
Reishi is fascinating to look at too, it’s a deep reddish brown colour and kind of shaped like a spaceship (depending on the variety), it grows on a range of different trees, though are most often found on hardwood trees like oak and plum trees.
Mushrooms growing on wood by Ksenia Makagonova
If you’d like to try it, when you select your Reishi there are a couple things to know about how it grows… There is non-organic which is grown using agrochemicals (not desirable in my book), organic Reishi which is grow on oats or rice in a plastic bag, and then there is Reishi that is grown organically on the right kind of wood. Wood-grown Reishi is the one I prefer and have chosen to share with the World in my independent shop Enrichd Superfoods because when Reishi grows on wood it is a more potent! It makes sense because this is how the Reishi Mushroom would grow in the wild – on trees.
Why drink it? That’s a whole other article itself so I will leave with the 4 major reasons I love Reishi – 1) Immune system support 2) Calming / de-stress in nature 3) Anti-cancer 4) Spirit tonic (Shen tonic).
Lion’s Mane Mushrooms for Cognitive Health
Now for a little Lions Mane. No, not the hair of a lion. Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus) is a mushroom too, reputed and studied for supporting cognitive function.
It has a very striking and particular appearance, like something out of a sci-fi movie – it has kind of thick dangling hairs, like a lion’s mane and one would be forgiven for thinking it were the back of a cartoon characters head.
Even though lion’s mane has gained notoriety in the health world recently, it too has actually been used and enjoyed by humans, particularly in the East, for thousands of years.
It’s most commonly used in Traditional Chinese Medicine but can also be found in North America and Europe.
A Breakthrough for Dementia and Alzheimers?
Mushrooms growing in the forest by Jako Creutz at Unsplash
Like Reishi, Lions Mane has gained much attention because of its medicinal potential, and the studies  look good!
There are a number of studies exploring the neurotrophic potential of Lion’s Mane. What does that mean? In layman terms, they’re finding that it may support the connectivity in the brain – very important of course. And, that it may also be a potential natural support in the treatment of cognitive diseases, even delaying the onset of Alzheimers or dementia symptoms.
“Hericium erinaceus, an edible and medicinal mushroom, displays various pharmacological activities in the prevention of dementia in conditions such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.”
Drink It
How to drink it? I drink (and offer) the extract because it potent and it’s easiest to consume. Ideally drink it in hot water, coffee, hot chocolate or soap because the warm liquids will help drive the compounds of the Lion’s Mane into the body – that’s a common practice with many herbs in traditional medicine .
I’ve personally found that drinking Lions Mane on it’s own in hot what is kind of malty, slightly bitter if left to sit for a few minutes, and, if you add it to smoothies (which is possible with extracts), then it gives a kind of smoky taste.  Though secondary to its benefits, it’s a very interesting flavour to play around with, so much so that there is a restaurant in London using our Lion’s Mane in their desserts.
A basket of wild mushrooms by Andrew Ridley at Unsplash
Top 4 reasons I love Lions Mane Mushroom?
  1. Supports Brain Function
  2. Reduces Inflammation
3.  Reconnects neurons in the brain.

4.  Might make my brain super awesome.

As a final note and reminder, it’s important to keep in mind that Reishi and Lion’s Mane extracts are available from different farming methods, and each is quite different:

Non-organic-

Use of agrochemicals which are completely undesirable.

Organic-

Cultivated in plastic grow bags which may be clean of agrochemicals the extract made from these fungi will probably lack the strength.

Wood-grown or Wild-

Lion’s mane usually grow on fallen rotten trees. And so when you can forage your own wild mushroom – fantastic! Otherwise find organically wood grown mushrooms.
Learn more on EnrichdSuperfoods.com. Use the Code EH 10 at the checkout for a 10% Discount.

Images Credits –   Picture of a basket of mushrooms –  Courtesy of Valeria Boltneva from Pexels

Mushrooms growing on a wooden log,  Ksenia Makagonova; basket of wild mushrooms, Andrew Ridley; both courtesy of Unsplash

Ethical Hedonist astrology

Horoscope by Victor Olliver

November 2018

Visit Victor’s website for a list of astro-services and fees: www.victorolliver.com

 

Aries

Aries

March 21-April 20

A cosmic fandango is up there competing with Strictly Come Dancing, with planets about-turning and waltzing into new zones – and into old ones. For instance, wild old Uranus is back in Aries this month till March 2019, reviving an old rebellion in you or an enhanced need to go it alone or independently. This foxtrots rather well with the new Jupiter which for one year moves through the chart terrain of Jupiter, bringing more chances to travel, expand your horizons and fill your mind with enlightenment – be this a specialist subject or philosophical. If you’re feeling tied down, the desire to do a runner will feel most intense. And if you’re up for a major fresh life challenge, you couldn’t have better stars. A new relationship, or a seasoned one that’s fallen on barren times, demands your time as Venus moves direct after an age in retrograde. All in all, Aries is on the move.

 

Taurus

Taurus

April 21-May 21

Rebellious Uranus may be leaving your sign this month – but in reverse. So, at some point (OK, early March 2019) it returns to Uranus. Are you supposed to twiddle your thumbs in the meantime? Not in the least. Uranus’ effects remain – and there will be some life department where you have already been freed up and you’re dealing with the consequences. A job change, a startling announcement made to the family, a change of mind – one of these will have featured in recent months. You’ve started now, you may as well finish. Ruler Venus has focused attention on health, colleagues or lifestyle adaptations: mid-month it alters direction and the sense grows that you must commit to a course of action for the benefit of all. The new Jupiter, in its own sign from this month on, will bring financial and emotional benefits over the coming twelve or so months, but only if you’re willing to let something go (or be pruned) to allow something else to grow in its place.

 

Gemini

Gemini

May 22-June 21

Relationships with lovers, partners, agents, representatives, lawyers and even the people you call to repair your plumbing (or whatever domestically) are the subject of complex goings-on. The great news is that from the 8th, Jupiter brings his Santa-like munificence to dealings with other people – now and over the next year. In some way, shape or form, there is growth ahead in your social circle – after a period ‘locked’ away, you’re out there again in the world finding new people to play and work with. But ruler Mercury goes retrograde this month, affecting these very same bonds for much of the rest of 2018. In effect this requires you to approach many interactions with caution and a degree of critical inquiry. Take little for granted, be ready to step out of any encounter that’s failing to measure up. Even so, personal popularity should grow if you’re not a raving sociopath.

 

Cancer

Cancer

June 22-July 22

Venus’ return to your home and family chart area will have extended the time you have to turn house ordinaire into house beautiful. You don’t live in a house? Trailer, then. Or apartment. Or log cabin. Don’t get picky, you know what I mean. This influence also covers family bonds, so don’t be surprised if you’re spending more time on clan social events or reassuring an injured egotist that life really isn’t against them. Uranus’ return to your status and career area is a reminder that you’re not out of the woods yet if you feel unsteadiness at work or socially. While this seems alarming, take the view that change is as good as a rest – it could even be better. Much more to your liking is Jupiter’s transit into your chart area of health and work: this is not just for November or even Christmas, but an influence lasting up to December 2019. In this phase, wellbeing improves (with help) and work ought to become a lot more enjoyable for reasons yet to be determined.

 

Leo

Leo

July 23-August 23

Who have you been flattering lately (less charitable types might say ‘sucking up to’)? It’s so unlike proud Leo. Oh, but look, you have an agenda. You’re up to something and out for something, and there’s nothing wrong in that. In principle. The thing to watch is the distance between the sweetness of your words, which might generate a false sense of security, and what you have in mind (which could be bold if not challenging). Venus turning direct this month is an opportunity to align words with your actual meaning or face some unintended consequences. Jupiter’s move into the 5th house is so good for you – for the 5th is your terrain. Creative projects, romance, hobbies, sport and the pursuit of all passionate causes are blessed for a year or so. You love to be noticed. Prepare to be photo-bombed and revered. Oh, and sex life is looking spicy.

 

Virgo

Virgo

August 24-September 22

It’s not that you’re not gainfully employed but you’re still wondering: Whatever happened to my career? So much has dropped off in recent times, and in all likelihood other things have come along to replace. But where is the glory, the esteem, the laurel leaf crown? Never mind about that. Life is affording you a chance to put more work into the home and family relationships, if you can bear it. Jupiter this month promises growth under the floorboards, and I don’t mean rising damp. This trend is a one-year one so look for increased numbers of loved ones, a bigger home structure or a better neighbourhood. A few of you could very well be moving. In November you’d be wise, however, to consider your options but not make any decision – with a Mercury retrograde about, tread carefully. There is volatility in finances at this time, so stay flexible and make as few promises as possible. With Mars opposite your sign, life is looking distinctly lively and noisy.

 

Libra

September 23-October 23

The preener of the zodiac is preening again what with ruler Venus changing direction in Libra mid-month in your chart house of Number One (that’s you). This is a cosmic gift to win something through charm, extraordinary pulchritude or negotiation (especially something that you had thought lost already) – and your gleaming image will play no small part in all this. It’s true that there one or two excitable types in your life, and their effect can be to leave you agitated or jittery; but remember that your Venus this month is in super-mode because of its Libra home, so there’s no need to be flustered. Jupiter on the 8th moves into the chart house of communications and sales, staying there for thirteen months or so, and is most welcome to business and schmoozing exercises. This gives you a chance to learn new tricks and skills and enlarge your customer base through marketing. For November, you’d be wise to be extra careful about what you commit to paper or promises made: when in doubt, play for time.

 

Scorpio

October 23-November 22

Jupiter enters one of your favourite chart zones – that of money. Jupiter, once Jove, is an enricher, a bringer of good fortune – and weight-gain if you’re not careful. Jove can be extravagant. Jupiter’s occupation of your solar 2nd chart house lasts over a year and in this period there’s raised likelihood of an income raise and of opportunity to develop the means to make more money. If you’re wise you’ll base this growth on your moral values and not try to make a fast buck at any cost. Jove hates that. In November particularly, though the underlying material trend is favourable, the Mercury retrograde grants you more time to work out a tricky cash deal. Check small print, check bona fides of business partners or anyone wanting to do business with you.

 

Sagittarius

Sagitarius

November 23-December 21

That sigh of relief we can all hear is just about every Sagittarian welcoming the arrival of Jupiter in their sign, on the 8th to be precise. Why so? Jupiter is the planet associated with Sagittarius, and in this sign, the planet is at its most powerful – generous and well-informed. The past year will have felt as if you were in purdah, not your usual ebullient self; more likely to have been contemplative if not somewhat introverted. Now it’s all change. Whatever your lifestyle choice, there’s every chance to grow beyond limits, to break into new territory, to travel and learn so much more. All this will change life direction if that’s what you want. Because Uranus is back again in Aries and Venus back in Libra, a certain crankiness may still be present in you which some people find off-putting. Never mind. Use this maverick energy to solve a specific project problem which needs blue-sky thinking. Cranks at least are not bound by tradition or cliched thoughts, necessarily.

 

Capricorn

Capricorn

December 22-January 20

Exciting developments should be expected in this time – especially in career and/or the family area. Not every ‘development’ will be welcome: one or two may look challenging. Yet the overall purpose is to get you to shift. You can’t stay where you are, wherever ‘there’ is – and I’m not just thinking about job or residency. Sometimes a change in mindset is required – and this is where Jupiter will come in useful. This month it starts its year-long residency in that part of your chart that rules the past, the subconscious and any situation that feels imprisoning. Jupiter is a releaser; it helps us to grow though knowledge and travel. In your case, Jupiter will bring events into your life which enable you to tackle bad memories and perhaps exorcise their power, and to enlarge your awareness through spiritual or psychological explorations. The serious mood remains but have no doubt: you are not stuck.

 

Aquarius

Aquarius

January 21-February 19

There’s a distinct sense of déjà vu as you return to a controversial issue that everyone thought was done. The upshot of this is that you’re making a noise and quite probably upsetting the status quo. If this loses you a few friends in high places, well not to worry. Jupiter is entering the chart region of ‘friends’, ideals and business profits. This is not a flying visit. It’s here now for over one year, urging you to make new alliances, to actively reach out for support from the like-minded and, in some instances, boosting your desire to help others in the impersonal sense. It’s likely that just as you join forces with exciting new people, you also lose a few of the once tried and trusted. The Mercury retrograde in November and December does put you on a collision course with the dust-laden: I’d like to say that this month is all peace and honey, but the truth is it will be more like War and Peace (but with happy endings, eventually).

 

Pisces

Pisces

February 20-March 20

The great Jupiter shift into a new sign is a herald of improvements in your career and/or standing – Jupiter is actually co-ruler of Pisces, so there’s an extra boost to your fortunes over the next year or so. This month however this happy arrival is challenged by Mars – the thing to look out for is your own impatience or over-eagerness for life to cough up what you want now. I’m afraid that Jupiter’s magic tends to work a little on the slow side and has a moral dimension. Making selfish demands won’t do at all. Play a cleverer gamed and bide your time – after all, if the cosmos favours you, all good things come in their time. In November, use the Mercury retrograde to look again at any plans or projects related to career or status – consider options, think outside of boxes, focus on what’s possible and not on what stands in your way. Accentuating the positive will have the effect of infusing life with a brighter light. And who benefits? You.

 

Victor Olliver is editor of The Astrological Journal, flagship magazine of the Astrological Association. He can be contacted via: Volliver5@gmail.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Intro

Welcome to our mental health wellbeing column. A life-affirming place full of simple, inspiring mindfulness and wellbeing tips to restore and burnish your mental health. Think of us as catnip for the brain!

A Broken Brain

As I rushed around at life, being a successful feature writer and fashion editor on national newspapers, I never gave much thought to my mental health until one day I lost my shining, upbeat, insanely positive outlook on life, following a profound and drawn-out personal trauma that would change my life and rob me of my peace of mind. At the time, I just ignored the feelings of fear and devastation and kept on going until a series of burnouts left me with a broken mind.

The Challenge of a Correct PTSD Diagnosis

That was when my real problems started. It took years for me to get a correct diagnosis of PTSD, instead of being told I was simply suffering from severe stress. I will write soon in more depth about PTSD, the stigma that still surrounds gaining access to diagnosis and treatment on the NHS and what can be done to improve outcomes.

A Foxhole in the Mind

But for the moment, I want this to be a calm and inspiring port in the storm. A “foxhole in the mind” as the wartime president Harry Truman described his way of dealing with the war. The president coped by creating a safe haven where he could retreat, for mindful rest, protection and recuperation. As a result, the commentators of the day remarked on how he didn’t appear to age and preserved his vitality in a time of great adversity. Think of us as your Ethical Hedonist foxhole. A good and safe place, where you can discover simple, life-affirming self-help tools used by me and our journalist intern Gwynnie who also has PTSD. Join us in nurturing your mental health and wellbeing. We want help you to feel stronger, to start the journey to better mental health and to feel that you are not alone; you are now part of our incredible magazine community.

Max is the father of the self-help movement. He has written the most detailed and scientific book on how to change your mindset in 21 days. This is the time it takes to change stuck patterns of behaviour or experiences, including trauma, and tap into your own positive past.

Pyscho Cybernetics is a book written by Dr. Maxwell Maltz.

From Plastic Surgeon to the Father of Self Help

Where Max leads, all others follow. Max was a top plastic surgeon in New York, who became fascinated by his patient’s reaction to trauma and how each and every one of us is wired for success, we just need to know how to operate our own server mechanism. Psycho Cybernetics has sold 35 million copies since it was first published in 1960. Everyone should read this book and then refer to it whenever you need to reboot. It’s the perfect book for any stuck or frustrated go getter.

Use Your Success Stories to Retrain Your Brain

Max, who feels like my best friend now is helping me to retrain my brain to replace trauma with all the positive stories of my life and career. Psycho Cybernetics is one of one of the most inspirational, intelligent and scholarly books I have ever read on any topic, yes it is that good! Read it, set your goals, change your life and fly!

AJ’s  Good Mental Health Practices

AJ

Smile

I recently discovered the power of consciously smiling. It’s amazing how it diffuses stress and angry, anxious thoughts. Try it now. Do you notice how you feel instantly better and more relaxed? Make a commitment to smile spontaneously, throughout your day. Try smiling more at friends, loved ones and people you meet during the course of your day.  It’s a great way to create a sense of calm and cultivate a sense of joy.

Listen to Mozart

I will always be a rock chick. I love to dance around the house to Tina Turner, Tom Petty, and The Rolling Stones. But now, as I gain greater understanding and awareness of my PTSD, and how it affects me, I crave ways to reduce stress and negative thoughts and to soothe my heart, mind, and soul. I find classical music a great side effect free tranquilliser. It is also excellent for restoring focus and equilibrium. Anything by Mozart is particularly good. Scheherazade, composted by Rimsky K is another great favourite, along with a piece of music I could listen to all day –There is No Peace in the World- Sung by Hildegard Bingen. Music therapy was successfully used to help 7,000 families who survived the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers in New York in 2001.

Journalist Alison Jane Reid at the Green Gym

My Green Gym

Launching an ethical luxury arts, food and fashion magazine from scratch is hard, especially with PTSD, as I often find it hard to stop and switch off and recharge. I spend far too much time in front of my computer screen, for hours on end, which is not healthy – as I said last year, sitting is the new smoking! So I made a commitment for my health and mental health to take more breaks and to go to the gym. But not just any gym. I have the best gym in the whole world! I go to my local green gym, paid for by lottery money. My green gym is free, it never closes, and it is completely immersed in nature. I get to work out on the cross trainer, whilst gazing at birds of prey and looking at the sea – now this makes me smile each time I swing higher and higher whilst admiring the view!

Walk in Nature, Bathe in Trees

Going for a walk surrounded by the sights, sounds, and activities of nature, trees, and wildlife is wonderful for your wellbeing. It works an instant tranquilliser. I try and go for a walk every day, even if it is raining. There’s a very beautiful park about 15 minutes away from my home. I enjoy the walk, and then sit on a park bench, surrounded by ancient, majestic trees and just breathe, empty the chatter in my mind, watch the congregation of ducks crash landing into the pond and give thanks for the miracle of nature. I smile all the way home.

Sun streams through a gap in the leaves.

Cook More

Try and cook more from scratch and enjoy the whole process of gathering good organic ingredients. Cooking is very soothing, heart warming and therapeutic. If you are not a natural in the kitchen, start by making simple, nourishing soups and one-pot dishes. You will notice a difference almost immediately. Your mood will improve, your food will sustain you more and you won’t experience those awful mean, crashing lows, where you suddenly finding yourself snacking on chocolate, biscuits or whatever you can find in flash! Try my simple, seasonal organic broccoli and chestnut soup recipe the ideal winter comfort food in a bowl –  recipe to follow.

Gwynnie’s  Self-Care Practices

Gwynnie

Calming Essential Oils

Aromatherapy is an ancient practice that has been used by civilisations such as the Romans, Egyptians, and Greeks and has brought countless health benefits to this day. A study from the Medicinal Plant Research Centre, a partnership from the Universities of Newcastle and Northumbria, corroborates that aromatherapy is useful in managing chronic pain conditions, anxiety, and insomnia. While there are many essential oils you can use to help improve your mental health, one of our favourites is pure lavender oil. Known for its calming scent, the lavender plant can be incorporated into your life in many ways. Before you tuck yourself in for the night, a few drops of lavender oil on your temples will help reduce stress and tension headaches as well as act as a natural sleep aid. The science behind lavender suggest that it releases the terpenoids linalool and linalyl acetate which present anxiolytic, or anxiety fighting,  properties. Add some to your bath for an extra special treat!

Lavender has many health benefits.

Upbeat Netflix Series

With the digital age rapidly consuming our culture, it can be easy to think it’s impossible to use it for your own benefit. Sometimes, you need to turn the power on in order to turn off your brain and recharge. At the end of your day, take some time to cosy up in front of your TV or laptop and binge watch your favourite series. What we suggest? Go for a comedy so you can’t stop laughing or a documentary on a subject you’re interested in- the distraction of learning new things will enable you to wipe the slate clean and help you focus on what makes you happy!

Soothing Guided Imagery

Sometimes, we all need a little help re-centring during a hectic day. Take a few moments to meditate and realign using guided imagery. Through basic symbols, sensations, and metaphors, it creates a relaxing whole body experience through encoded messages of positivity, healing, and motivation. Guided imagery lowers anxiety and pain by using your subconscious as an aid to begin healing your conscious intents through catalysing consistent change, giving you the subtle reminders throughout your day needed to reinforce positive thoughts and feelings. Want to give it a go? Lie back and listen to this sample of Guided Meditations to Relieve Stress from healthjourneys.

A cup of relaxing mint tea.

Cup of Fresh Mint Tea

Feeling a bit tired and blue? Then brew a cup of fresh mint tea. The warmth of the tea will help relax your nerves and muscles while the fresh mint acts as a natural stimulant that relieves fatigue and depression. Plus, taking a moment to enjoy yourself with something simple will give you that extra boost of motivation to reach your goals each day. The benefits of fresh mint tea continue as an anti-inflammatory that can be used to treat headaches and alleviate symptoms of the common cold and flu. Like to sip your tea with a bit of sweetness? A touch of raw organic honey from a bee keeper near you.

Daily Yoga

Ranging from clinical depression or anxiety to just feeling in funk, exercise is one of the best ways to boost your mood through the release of happy chemicals in your brain called serotonin and by normalising your sleeping patterns. It is important to make sure you prioritise breathing from deep in your belly, rather than shallow breaths, so that you can feel your belly rise and fall, and your ribcage expanding with each inhale and exhale. By focusing on your breath during your entire practice, it will free your mind and cause your heartbeat to relax. Even just a couple of 30 minutes of exercise a week has been proven to uplift your state of mind long-term according to the American Psychological Association.

Take 10 minutes, a few times a day, to ground yourself with some easy poses. Here are a few you can try out by yourself. Don’t worry, all-levels of yogis can do these poses!

Use ‘Child’s Pose (Balasana) to release tension in your lower back.

Use Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana) to open up your hips and chest.

UseCow Face Pose (Gomukhasana) to stretch out your shoulder blades and feel the deepness of your belly breaths.

UseBig Toe Pose’ (Padangusthasana) to loosen your hamstrings and lengthen your spine.

 

Helpful Numbers and Resources:

 

UK:

 

  • MIND: Call 0300 123 3393, text 86463, or surf online at www.mind.org.uk for information on types of mental health problems, where to get help, medication and alternative treatments, and mental health advocacy.
  • Samaritans: Call them at 116 123 for FREE advice, whatever you’re going through, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Alternatively, you can visit them at your local branch or their website, www.samaritans.org.
  • Rethink Mental Illness: As an organisation run by people with mental illness, this service provides advice on different types of therapy and medication, concerns with police, courts and prison, and your rights under the Mental Health Act and other laws by calling 0300 5000 927 as well as online chatting via their website, www.rethink.org.
  • PTSD UK: As of now, the charity is unable to run support lines, support groups or treatment funding but is a great source for more information on PTSD and its symptoms/ treatments. Visit their website, www.ptsduk.org, to learn more.
  • If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, you should call 999.

 US:

  • Crisis Text Line – This resource connects the texter to a live, trained crisis counselor 24/7 by texting 741-741.
  • Suicide Prevention Lifeline: A 24/7 telephone support line that routes the caller to a nearby crisis centre. Dial 1‐800‐273‐TALK (8255) for help now.
  • Treatment Advocacy Center: An organisation that provides resources for the family, loved ones and advocates of those dealing with mental health issues as well as policymakers. For help in a mobile psychiatric crisis, open this link on your smartphone or visit their website, http://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org.
  • If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, you should call 911.

Neapolitan commode with images of orchids

Antique furniture is firmly back in the spotlight and it’s about time, because it is height of eco-conscious, sustainable chic and ethical luxury and a brilliant form of recycling. No one could be more delighted to tell you that than me! I can remember the thrill of buying my first Victorian button back antique sofa at the Criterion Auction House in the Essex Road, Islington. Nothing in IKEA could ever compete for my attention. My flamboyant, sensuous sofa exuded personality, beauty and a past, and I loved to wonder who had owned this handsome piece of history before me. Just imagine if furniture could talk!

Now a new wave of eco-conscious consumer is discovering the same thrill, excitement and pleasure of owning a handcrafted, one of a kind piece of furniture made by talented artisans and oozing beauty, individuality and glamour.

Brown Furniture Offers Beauty, Craftsmanship and Heritage

As we move from being a throwaway society, to a new ethical age, there is a renewed interest in antique brown furniture as homeowners look for stunning design, craftsmanship and provenance to make their interiors stand out from the crowd.

Reader, let me tell you nothing beats the thrill and pleasure of the chase! Of heading off to an antique fair, auction house or gallery to see what antique treasures await!

Mary Claire Boyd, Director at The Winter Art & Antiques Fair Olympia, which takes place in London on Monday 29th October until Sunday 4th November says: “Brown furniture was more synonymous with large, period properties but increasingly we’ve seen shoppers of all ages gravitate towards 17th, 18th and 19th century English furniture.

“Savvy, in-the-know buyers are bored with the same product being reproduced time and time again and are looking for individuality. Georgian tallboys, Regency centre tables and 19th century gilt mirrors are just some examples of classic antique pieces that not only make a space incredibly stylish but also provide a one of a kind talking point. Clever decorators mix them with contemporary pieces with sometimes just one statement piece. This combination of new and old creates a real wow factor and adds texture, exquisite craftsmanship and heritage into a room.

Buy What You Love

“Critically, when buying antique furniture, buy only what you truly love and you may be lucky and be able to hand on to future generations something that increases in value.”

Experts believe that brown furniture is firmly back in the spotlight. Interior designer, founder of eliská design associates ltd and member of the British Institute of Interior Design (BIID), Eliská Sapera says: “Brown furniture is back! Beautifully made brown furniture mixed with contemporary pieces, make a room ‘pop’. The patina of wood against colour is spectacular and inviting. My advice would be to always buy the best quality you can afford.”

Antique Cabinet with Inlaid Marquetry

Brown furniture has begun to appeal to homeowners of all ages – those who have just made it onto the property ladder, as well as the baby boomers looking for that investment to pass down to their families.

Robbie Timms of S&S Timms Antiques, fourth generation antique dealers says: “We’ve seen a big rise in interest in brown furniture because it is so special and appeals to the younger generation as well as those empty nesters. For example, I recently sold an 18th century elm dresser at The Art & Antiques Fair Olympia for £4,000 to a young couple in their mid-thirties renovating a house in the Cotswolds. This was their first foray into antiques.

Antique Furniture is Eco-Chic

Drawing of a greyhound and antique side table

“Antique furniture is now appealing to the eco-conscious amongst us as it is a method of recycling furniture. People are increasingly appreciating the fact that it is handmade by skilled craftsmen, the equivalent of which just doesn’t even really exist anymore. Because of this, each and every piece is unique as well as representing a small part of history.

“Buyers are appreciating the great value that comes with antique furniture, especially when you consider that the resale value remains high and over a long period of time will almost certainly go up – the same of which cannot be said for much, if any, modern day furniture.

Every Piece of Furniture Has its Own Story

“I’m a big believer in the idea that every piece has its own history and could tell so many tales. For example, imagine a dining table that people have sat around and entertained friends and family through the generations for hundreds of years – imagine the scenes of joy, despair and celebration that these items have witnessed over so many years.”

Painted Secretaire

The Winter Art & Antiques Fair Olympia returns from 29th October until 4th November where 70 of the UK’s top dealers will be selling everything from diamonds to dining tables, clocks to ceramics. Visitors can buy truly one-off pieces from famous names such as Lalique, Matisse, Meissen, Cartier and Asprey. There will be furniture dating from the 16th to 20th century as well as Art Deco furniture and objects, Asian antiques, textiles and carpets, glass, mirrors, silver and art from old masters to contemporary. Every piece for sale is checked by a team of trade experts before the fair opens to ensure authenticity so new buyers can shop with confidence.

Amongst the exhibitors are 70 experts in their individual fields, all with many years’ experience and able to bring the pieces alive and tell the wonderful stories about them.

For more information visit www.olympia-antiques.com.

Tickets are priced at £15 in advance and £20 on the door and £35 on Preview day*.

Introducing Kiko

Ethical model Kiko on the catwalk

 

INTRO

This is the heartbreaking story of the ethical model Kiko and her experience of life-threatening anorexia triggered by a cruel, troubled fashion industry that continues to exploit, manipulate and shame young women  into thinking that they are simply not thin or perfect enough for the glittering world of catwalk modelling and the allure of an international fashion career.

It is deeply disturbing to learn that the fashion world is still only paying lip service to the idea of diversity. That it still hasn’t cleaned up its act when it comes to bullying, gaslighting and coercing very impressionable young women and men to lose a dangerous amount of weight in pursuit of a distorted, ugly idea of beauty and the ideal body shape. Or to tell a seventeen-year-old girl she needs plastic surgery because her nose isn’t ‘slim’ or ‘delicate’ enough, or her teeth not quite straight enough, for the glare of the runway and a thousand flashbulbs. Only this week, Kiko tells me on the phone from Paris, about the top fashion designer she went to see on a casting who told her, ‘ your bum doesn’t look good enough for me’.

Kiko struts down the catwalk in feathers and gold.

Your Bum isn’t Good Enough.’

This is the daily diet of misery, put-downs, and insults many young models face in the brutal, insecure search for work in the fashion industry.

A world where money, power and the pursuit of fame, warps people’s view of themselves and affects their moral judgment and behaviour and allows them to play god. These people simply think they are entitled and invincible, and in any case, the fashion industry is much like like the film world. It is full of rich, silly, spoiled and pampered people, who have lost all touch with reality. Powerful people behave badly because they can. In fact, it is encouraged and expected. I will never forget a very young model confiding in me that she was terrified her model agency would keep trying to ‘feed’ her to rich old playboys, by sending her to their debauched parties.

Vanity Fair – Chasing a World Not Worth Having

Until this behaviour is exposed and becomes unacceptable, it will not stop and more young women and men will be seriously harmed and may even die in pursuit of a dream that is an illusion, rather like the story of Becky Sharp in Vanity Fair – ‘Welcome to Vanity Fair – a place where everyone is busy pursuing what is not worth having’.

The Problem with Social Media and Eating Disorders

Ethical Model Kiko in full-length tulle gown

Of course, the fashion industry is also responding to the relentless march of social media and celebrity culture, which pervades our lives like cancer. Teenagers have never faced more pressure to conform to some unrealistic idea of perfection which is peddled ruthlessly by global brands, using so-called real ‘influencers’ who are paid or gifted products to talk about their perfect diets and their perfect bodies using Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. As a result, we are becoming a world filled with vain, self-obsessed, deeply unhappy, troubled narcissists who endlessly compare ourselves to others. This is the perfect breeding ground for the rise in eating disorders, with new anorexia cases in teenagers doubling in just three years.

Into this world came Kiko, a beautiful young Japanese woman, who tells me that she was different from the classmates at school. ” I was very ambitious. I wanted to travel and learn English  and my dream was to become an international catwalk model.”

Kiko in 2015 and now healthy in 2018.

Dying to Be Thin for the Catwalk

Here she tells her chilling story of how a model manager at leading model agency in Canada told her she needed to quickly lose 5 kilos in order to meet the fashion world’s idea of model perfection on the runway. At the time, and by any normal and common sense standards, Kiko was thin, but still, fit and healthy for her willowy five foot eleven frame. That would soon change. Kiko tells me that she felt ‘ugly, ‘fat’ and ‘ashamed’  that she wasn’t ‘thin’ or perfect enough to pursue her modelling dream. As a result, she hatched an irrational plan to eat almost nothing apart from one apple and a few salad leaves each day and to exercise more. The consequences of that desperate decision would become life-threatening. Kiko became severely anorexic, placing a terrible strain on her heart, by almost starving to death, in pursuit of a distorted dangerous fashion cult to be thin.

Recovery, Happiness and Wellbeing

Fortunately, after landing up in hospital, and having friends and doctors plead with her to stop, Kiko pulled herself back from the brink of death and recovered. Today, alongside her ethical modelling career, she also works as a well-being coach and she is training to be a nutritionist so that she can help others to see that eating well and looking after ourselves is the foundation of vibrant health, good mental health, happiness and to be at peace with ourselves.

This is her story, in her own words.

Kiko wears a blue dress in a blue urban area.
Compilation of photos with Kiko modelling.

“…My dream at the time was to become an international model and walk the international catwalks of London, Paris, New York, and Milan for the world’s leading fashion designers.”

Kiko’s Story of Modelling, Anorexia, and Recovery

I became a model when I got scouted on the streets of Tokyo at the age of 13. However, I did not work until  I turned 16 because my parents and I agreed that I needed to complete my education first.  Before turning 17, I decided to go and study abroad in Canada for a year, because my dream at the time was to become an international model and walk the international catwalks of London, Paris, New York, and Milan for the world’s leading fashion designers.

I Felt Fat, Ugly and Not Good Enough to Be a Model

I knew in order to become a top model, I had to learn how to speak English. In Canada, through connections, I got involved in the international modeling world. I did Fashion Week and got signed to two agencies there. At the first agency, my model manager told me to lose about 5kg (10lbs) as quickly as possible in order to look like a “perfect” runway model even though growing up, I was always naturally skinny. I strongly remember the moment after the meeting, when I was alone in the elevator. I was swearing to myself I MUST go on a strict diet and lose a lot of weight because I saw myself in a mirror and felt ugly and fat. After that meeting with my booker, I felt not “good” enough, not “perfect” enough for the fashion industry. I wanted to impress them by how thin I could be and how serious I was about my modeling career.

“I was swearing to myself I MUST go on a strict diet and lose a lot of weight because I saw myself in a mirror and felt ugly and fat.”

Since I had almost no knowledge of nutrition, I took extreme measures to lose weight. I went from eating a normal amount of food each day to skipping meals and only eating an apple and raw leafy greens with no dressing every day. I thought I would be ok. In addition to eating less, I also started working out more (more like burning calories in my head). Every day after school in Canada, I would spend two hours on cardio and over one-hour swimming at the gym. I wanted to find a reason to skip dinner with my host family. I kept doing it for about one month and a half and I lost an insane amount of weight in a very short period of time.

Your Nose Could Be a Problem

After losing weight, I got signed to the second agency, which is one of the top international modeling agencies in the world.  After the first meeting there, I received an email from my manager saying “I showed your photos to the Top Manager for Asian models. He said to me that he feels your nose will be a problem. For the fashion industry, they like the nose to look slimmer and more delicate. He is wondering if you would do plastic surgery to change it..?”

The anorexia statistics for the UK and US.

They also told me “Some girls can never model because they cannot change their height or their body shape to fit the world of catwalk modelling. In your case, this may be something you want to consider as well as doing Invisalign for your teeth to straighten them. I will show you one of your snapshots so you can see.” They sent me some photos of other models as examples. As a result of all these comments, I started feeling ashamed about my face as well as my body.

I was at Risk of Having a Heart Attack

As a result of my work, and the pressure to conform to these dictates of beauty, I developed a severe eating disorder, other mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, body image, and low self-esteem. My strict diet and exercise regime eventually led me to the emergency room. I was so weak that my doctor told me I was at risk of having a heart attack; my heart rate was 38bpm, and I weighed only 45kg (99lbs) at 180cm (5’11) tall. I was so weak that I could barely stand, and I was too cold to fall asleep.

“This was the turning point where I decided to live my life, not the life that they wanted me to live for them.  Today, I’m at peace. I am happy and healthy again.”

Kiko in a tulle dress, on a catwalk, and in a forest.

This was the turning point where I decided to live my life, not the life that they wanted me to live for them.  Today, I’m at peace. I am happy and healthy again. Although it was not easy, I’m thankful for what I had to go through as a fashion model because it has shaped me into the person who I am today. It has helped me find my true passion in life which is to find ways to work as an ethical model, for sustainable fashion houses and to help women all over the world to build a healthy relationship with food and themselves with passion as an integrative health and nutrition coach.  You can read more about me and my story on my website and find resources, tips and my coaching programme on my website.

My Wellbeing Tips

1. Love Yourself

What Helped Me Recover  People always ask me what helped me recover. My answer was to learn to love myself. When I was ill, I thought that if I followed advice from people in the industry, I would be happy. But this pursuit of success only made me feel insecure. It took me a while, but I eventually realised that true happiness comes from within. I learned to appreciate what I had, and not look outside of myself for validation. But self-love means more than just loving yourself mentally. It also means loving your body. I adopted a Plant-based lifestyle: a diet based on foods derived from plants, including vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and fruits, but with few or no animal products. When you cook from scratch you will naturally cut out processed foods, unhealthy items like added sugar, and refined grains and you will know what is in your food. Instead, you’ll eat more whole foods that truly nourish your body and your mind.
How to Live a Mindful Life  I always try to live in the moment, not in the past or future. I don’t let the past steal my present and there is no point in being anxious about the future. In order to learn from your past and also to lead your future goals, then being in the present moment and focusing on what you do on that particular second is very important. In order to be present and happy, it is so important for me to appreciate little things that really matter in life. I believe gratitude is a key to true happiness. Every morning, after yoga or at the end of my meditation practices, I close my eyes, take a deep breath and think of 5 things I’m so grateful that day. Health is always at the top of my gratitude list because health is wellness. Without health, you cannot do anything. It is very important to have a healthy body to do all the things that you want to achieve in life.

2. Vitamin L – Love

How to Nourish the Mind and Body with Vitamin L –  I eat a diet rich in plant-based, whole foods diet because these foods may help to reduce my risk of developing heart disease, certain cancers, cognitive decline, and diabetes. In addition, many studies have shown that populations with mostly plant-based diets have long lifespans.  Since I adapted the diet (4 years ago), I started cooking more. Eating home-cooked food is very important for everyone because we eat to feed our bodies as well as our souls. You cannot always nourish your soul well with processed or market packaged food because you need Vitamin L in your diet, which is Love. Whilst studying nutrition, I learned that people who eat home-cooked meals on a regular basis tend to be happier and healthier and consume less sugar and processed foods, which can result in higher energy levels and better mental health. I believe putting Vitamin L into your food on a daily basis is as important as getting your vitamins and minerals through diet.

[Super Easy Pumpkin Soup Recipe (5 ingredients!)] [/ezcol_1half_end]

3. Super Easy Pumpkin Soup
A super easy pumpkin soup recipe.
4. Ethical Modelling
Today, I’m signed with an ethical modelling agency, Role Models Management; I call myself an “Ethical Model”. I want to empower other women to love their bodies and themselves. As a model, I don’t want to be just looked at, I want to be looked into.  I am an ethical model because I seek to work for fashion brands and companies that are more ethical, sustainable, slow and fair trade. Ethical fashion brands that do right by their society, environment, employees, and customers.
Disclaimer – Always talk to your GP, general practitioner or health professional before cutting out major food groups from your diet.  This article should be viewed as a ‘real life personal piece’ and not health advice. For science-backed nutrition advice please visit the World Health Organisation Report on diet and nutrition for the recommended healthy intake of key food groups –   Who Diet Facts
Written and edited by Alison Jane Reid. Kiko’s story in her own words, as told to Alison Jane Reid. Layout design by Gwyneth Duesbury.

 

The Tree Conference

The work of artist Natalia Rak

Can we save the environment before it’s too late? The Tree Conference 2018 certainly thinks so and is full of practical and inspiring ways in which we can work together to preserve and renew our trees and forests.

Taking place at the Merlin Theatre in Frome on Sunday 21 October (10am-5pm), The Tree Conference 2018 will renew its efforts to support the reforestation of our planet, regenerate habitats for wildlife, and halt deforestation.

Speakers at The Tree Conference include Isabella Tree, bestselling author of Wilding; Peter Macfayden, author of Flatpack Democracy; Ayana Young, host of the For the Wild podcast; and Miriam Cisnoros, world expert on the Rights of Nature.

Author Isabella Tree

The Conference will also be attended by forestry experts from the Royal Forestry Society, conservationists from the Woodland Trust, food sovereignty representatives from the Gaia Foundation, global reforestation activists from TreeSisters, forest-defender filmmakers from If Not Us Then Who?, leaders from local tree planting projects and millenial podcasters.

 

Our personal pick is Dr Martin Bidartondo, a scientist who has previously worked at the University of California, Berkeley, Imperial College and Kew Gardens. Scientific observations are at the heart of gaining a firm understanding of climate change, and Martin’s talk will focus on his environmental studies and findings over the last ten years. He will be discussing the effects of excess nitrogen pollution on soil fungi and tree health, and it promises to be an interesting and informative talk for all levels.

People Who Love Trees

A woodland grove

Andy Egan, CEO of International Tree Foundation, who will be talking at the event, says: “The inaugural conference in 2017 was a truly inspiring event bringing together a diverse group of people who love trees and appreciate their importance for the wellbeing of all life on Earth. The 2018 event will be a great opportunity to learn new things about trees, to be inspired by the efforts of tree defenders, and to create new collaborative initiatives to increase awareness and restore tree cover.”

Tickets for The Tree Conference on Sunday 21 October are selling fast, so book your ticket soon to secure your seat!

 

To get a feel for the conference, have a look at this short video which has some great clips from last year’s event: https://youtu.be/NhsmJcyAGCA

Winter Antique and Fine Arts Fair

The Winter FIne Art and Antiques Fair London

This November, we’re particularly excited for all of the fine art and antique fairs happening all over London. It’s the perfect chance to start stocking up on some special and unique Christmas presents (or just to spoil yourself, of course!)

Robilant +Voena, LAW Winter 18, Santi di Tito, Ritratto di Francesca Gambereschi Baldovinetti
  • London Art Week is held twice a year, and showcases the best pre-contemporary art, from Ancient works of art to post-Impressionist paintings. The event is suited for both seasoned collectors and casual art enthusiasts, with dealers on hand to provide expertise.

 

The winter event will be from 12-8pm on Thursday 29th November to 7th December. There are also talks and events on. Have a look at  London Art Week  to find out more.

Ongpin, Stephen Ongpin Fine Arts, LAW Winter 18, Erte, Sports dHiver A Cover Illustration for Harpers Bazaar Magazine
  • Known as one of the world’s leading auctioneers, Summers Place Auctions are known for the diverse and unique pieces they offer. They hold an annual Evolution sale, including taxidermy, natural history, and fossils. Previous pieces include a 150 million-year-old Diplodocus, which was sold in 2013 for a whopping £500,000 to the Danish Natural History Museum. This year’s event will be held on Tuesday 20th November at 1 pm. More details can be found at Summer Place Auctions 

 

  • A new independent art fair called Connect has just started up, run by art dealers and promising an eclectic range which will connect directly to the art buyer. Galleries will be focusing on 19th century to contemporary art and will be open from 29th January – 2nd February 2019, at Mall Galleries, St James’s, London.

Check out more details here:  Connect Art Fair 

  • The Book Collector is a literary journal for bibliophiles, set up by Ian Fleming in year he wrote Casino Royale. The current issue is a special Polar issue, including an interview with Titus Oates’s great-nephew, as well as articles on Frankenstein and the arctic narratives of John Murray. It really seems a worthy and inspiring resource to support, not to mention the fact that the Spring 2019 issue will be a celebration of female writers and collectors. A year’s subscription costs just £60, for which you receive four printed issues and digital access to every single issue since 1952.

 

A subscription can be purchased by heading to the website: The Book Collector

  • The Afridi Gallery focus on carpets and textiles, furniture, lighting, pictures, and photography. Next year they will be holding two exhibitions focusing on textile art by two well-known female textile designers, this exhibition will focus on the art element of their work.

Halloween Fun at ZSL London Zoo

  • And finally, if you’re looking for some half-term events to keep your kids busy, head straight to the ZSL London Zoo!  The resident lions are getting excited with their own spicy pumpkin leaves to play and lounge around in! Gruesome Nature Live is an interactive musical show, with original songs and lots of educational and grisly fun animal facts, themed for Halloween. Guaranteed to enthral your kids, and make them laugh, learn and groan in equal measure! It is on every day from 20th-28th October, and the ticket is free with Zoo entry.

 

For more information have a look at their website:   London ZSL Zoo  

Written and compiled by Intern Alex Klein.