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1
Aug

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Whoever said knits are only for winter obviously hadn’t set eyes on The Carmen, a limited edition Merino dress created by designers Kaylene Milner and Carmen Hamilton. ”Slow-fashion means I can create artisanal garments, designed to be worn and cherished year after year. I love how a single yarn can create a beautiful garment,” Kaylene says of her first foray into ethically minded design. Looking right at home in your summer wardrobe or as a layer piece for autumn and spring, The Carmen might set you back a pretty penny, but that’s only because it’s crafted to order in Kaylene’s Sydney studio on a specialty zero-waste knitting machine.

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30
Jul

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As we count down the final days of Plastic Free July, it’s time for anyone who accepted this year’s challenge to reflect on the triumphs and dilemmas of a life without the often-hard-to-avoid conveniences of shopping bags, cling wrap and disposable packaging. If you didn’t take the pledge, remember there’s always a great wealth of information and tools available online to help you live plastic free year-round. For those of you who call the coastal community of Fremantle home, you might find these tips particularly handy because a life without plastic bags is now a sure thing. Last week, this local WA government became the first in Australia to outlaw single-use plastic bags, introducing a $150 fine for any shop owner who ignores the ban. It’s a step towards a state-wide elimination of lightweight plastics (similar to bans already in place in Tasmania, South Australia, the NT and ACT) and considering WA’s biodiversity, a top effort to help restore the state’s waterways and ecosystems back to plastic-free health.

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28
Jul

Image courtesy of QUT Creative Enterprise Fund and Fame & Partners

If you’re a creative type with a smashing idea for a startup, it’s time to polish your pitch and enter it in this year’s Creative3 Pitch for your chance to secure funding and transform your dreams into reality. Creative3 Pitch, the brainchild of River City Labs and QUT Creative Enterprise Australia, is a breakfast event where finalists can pitch their startup idea to a roomful of investors, including Australia’s only dedicated Creative Enterprise Fund. It’s a fantastic opportunity to either get your business off the ground or take it to the next level, and it’s the only event in Australia that’s dedicated to connecting creative ventures to investors.

And if that isn’t enough to encourage your entry, here are some success stories: online made-to-order formal dress store Fame & Partners recently secured funding from the Creative Enterprise Fund and are now spreading their style-savvy inspiration far and wide as they sew up a storm of fabulous frocks. Two of the five finalists who pitched at last year’s Creative3 RiverPitch, See-Out and SwipeAds, have also gone on to secure early stage investment.

If you want the opportunity to pitch your idea for a profitable creative sector startup, apply through Creative3 Pitch today! Go here for eligibility and application information and to get those creative juices flowing. Applications close on 4 August, so get in quick!

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25
Jul

Colour Box Studio

If you’re ready to kick the winter blues and say hello to craft season, you don’t have long to wait! There’s only one week until Craft Victoria’s annual Craft Cubed festival kicks off in Melbourne with exhibitions, installations, open studios, workshops and events happening all over the city. We love the sound of this terrarium, concrete pot and macrame hanger all-in-one mega workshop, hosted by Colour Box Studio with help from local artisans Ms Murphy Flowers and Kirri-MaDe on August 24. Tickets for this DIY session and other keynote events are selling fast, so remember to check out the full Craft Cubed program and find an event that tickles your fancy!

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24
Jul

SOURCESummit_July14_rachelmanns_PEPPERMINT_1‘Without exception, everyone in this room is doing something inspiring,’ Tamsin Lejeune tells us. This is an opening gambit that we’ve all heard before at one networking event or another. Only this time, the buzz in the room was palpable because when you’re at the ethical fashion forum’s Source Summit, this kind of statement doesn’t feel disingenuous. The make up of the first panel (Jo Confino – Editorial Director of Guardian Sustainable Business, Ed Gillespie – Co Founder of Futerra and Ben Ramsden – Founder of Pants to Poverty and Pi Foundation) only further served to reinforce the idea that getting to know the rest of the people attending this event was going to be exciting!

SOURCESummit_July14_rachelmanns_PEPPERMINT_2Business leaders, designers and ethical and sustainable fashion start ups gathered to listen, to talk and to learn about everything from the finer details of the production line to Pi 3D – an alternate value system that looks to redefine return on investment to represent social and environmental as well as financial profits. The first speaker of the day was a fountain of sustainability knowledge – Source Intelligence Editor Sarah Ditty. She told us ‘we all have the power to shape the world we live in.’ And over the course of her talk we were reminded that companies tackling waste impacts are noted for producing higher profit margins on average and for having higher investment returns than their less resource-efficient rivals. I’m sure that for many, the idea that companies with strong ethical conviction are more successful was encouraging. It was great to know that 21% of CEOs believe that sustainability effects quarterly performance and that tackling these issues sets you up for future perception of success. There is even compelling evidence to suggest that consumers DO care. Not quite so positively, this was closely followed by the fact that companies freely admit that they are not doing enough to address sustainability concerns. {continue reading…}

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24
Jul

965366_10151737504292436_1803888135_oAre you heading to Splendour this weekend? The grass is certainly looking greener for the event after it became one of only three Australian festivals to receive the highest possible result in last year’s ‘Greener Festival Awards’. Festival-goers will notice a few new eco additions around the beautiful North Byron Parklands site, including waterless composting loos (which are also odourless, thankfully), new three-bin waste systems (for general rubbish, recycling and food waste – later fed to some lucky local pigs) and a special camping area, Camp Little-foot Print, where you can bed down for the night in sustainable style. And for those of us that fancy a break from the festival craziness, there’s the chance to get back to nature and get your hands dirty during native tree-planting sessions, with organisers aiming to plant over 2000 trees over the course of the festival. Being green has never sounded so good!

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23
Jul

Eat With

Nothing beats a healthy home-cooked meal shared with friends – but what about sitting down to dinner with a table full of strangers? The Airbnb of the culinary world, EatWith is a new social networking site built on the idea that communal dining can be a great way to learn about a new place, experience a different culture and meet like-minded people. Amateur and professional cooks alike can use the site to host informal ‘roving restaurants’ by designing their own menu, opening up their home and laying the table for a select number of guests, while diners use EatWith to track down events in their local area and RSVP online. Exchange a suggested donation directly with your host and you’ll be treated to one unique meal. Focused on promoting small scale, low-impact eating and making dining a social experience, since launching in Europe, EatWith has spread its network to the US, aiming to foster a global community linked by a love of good foodWhile we wait for EatWith to reach Australian shores, why not try linking up a home-cooked meal next time you’re travelling!

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22
Jul

Image courtesy of creativecollectives.org

Those enterprising folks at Creative Collectives, who describe themselves as ‘Australia’s self-sufficiency and community living network’, have just launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to help expand their innovative School of Self-Sufficiency. The School, which is based in Victoria, aims to show people how they can become ‘self-sufficient dynamos’ – every month, they run three-day workshops that cover all kinds of practical skills and eco-knowledge, from homesteading and hand crafts to permaculture and community living.

To continue its wonderful work, the School needs more land – but first, they need your help. Their crowdfunding campaign is to raise funds for them to buy a farm property in Eldorado that will become the base for all their programs and activities and allow them to continue educating people about simple, sustainable, natural living. Any support you’re able to give, from donations to social media shares, is welcome, so muck in if you can!

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21
Jul

bg2The tropical city of Cairns will become a colourful hub of art, culture, fashion and design this week, with the return of the annual Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF). Kicking off on Thursday with an opening night party, the three-day program includes dance, music, exhibitions and cultural activities, alongside a dynamic arts market featuring some of Australia’s most successful and emerging art centres and galleries. Some of this year’s highlights include a choreographed fashion performance by local designer Grace Lillian Lee (who participated in Australia’s first Indigenous Fashion Week earlier this year), an exhibition of Queensland contemporary Indigenous sculpture and the first solo exhibition by senior Torres Strait Island artist Segar Passi.  {continue reading…}

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18
Jul

ClimateChange

Australia is making global headlines for all the wrong reasons by becoming the only country to reverse its action on climate change. While many other nations, including the UK, New Zealand, France and Canada have some form of carbon pricing in place to try and tackle the global effects of climate change, the Australian Senate yesterday voted in favour of repealing our carbon tax – leaving the country without any legislated policy to achieve even the minimum 5% greenhouse emissions reduction target. Talking to ABC News, Tony Abbott said households will benefit on average by $550 a year from the repeal, and that the “useless, destructive tax, which damaged jobs, which hurt families’ cost of living and which didn’t actually help the environment, is finally gone.” But that doesn’t change the reality of climate change, and the fact that as a country that’s already feeling the effects of extreme floods, droughts and fires, both the environmental and economic costs from a lack of direct action on emissions could be major. The scrapped carbon tax will also cost the budget around $7bn over the next four years as many businesses, including energy companies, no longer have to pay the tax. Naturally, Labor and the Greens are dismayed by the move, with Greens leader Christine Milne saying “the repeal of the price on pollution is intergenerational theft. Tony Abbott has delivered a massive blow to jobs, a massive blow to clean solar and wind energy, and a massive blow to our kids and grandkids who will live on a planet permanently changed by global warming.” On this sad day for the environment, the controversial decision has left Australia out of step with the international community and means that future direct action on climate change may be a long way off for ‘the lucky country’.

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