Sustainable Sequins

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Sequins are great. The way they are made, however, is not so great. Before reading a super interesting article on Sleek Magazine about designer Rahel Guiragossian’s pioneering work with sequins I hadn’t really given much thought to the fabrication of these shiny embellishments. After doing a bit more research, it turns out that vintage sequins from the 30s or so were often made from gelatin, which replaced the frequent use of thin, but still rather weighty, metal disks before then. As expected, today’s sequins are made from plastic materials and a questionable concoction of chemicals. It was actually Guiragossian’s mother’s allergy to sequins that initially provoked her to mistrust the material.

With the ever increasing demand for fast fashion it isn’t at all surprising that the detrimental environmental impact is overlooked. It predominantly is in the fashion industry. Thankfully there are designers, like Rahel Guiragossian, who are changing that. In creating a biodegradable alternative that eliminates the use of dubious chemicals, sequins become totally environmentally, and people, friendly from the initial production stage until the garment is discarded (if necessary). This provides a complete contrast to the hundreds of years that sequins take to decompose in their current form.

As a major fan of sequins, Guiragossian’s development of sustainable sequins is something I will definitely be following closely and hope to see spreading further into the fashion industry! I highly recommend reading the original article Sleek Magazine, where you can also see pictures of Guiragossian’s beautiful, sequin-studded creations: http://www.sleek-mag.com/fashion-2/2014/11/not-so-superfluous-sequins-go-sustainable/

Berlin

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The perfect city for wandering, Berlin is full of cafés, bars, and beautiful shops to browse with photo booths dotted around and no shortage of second hand offerings. Even just walking to our nearest station in Friedrichshain, where we stayed, there were plenty of thrift stores and antique shops to browse!

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After visiting the Bauhaus Archiv museum (which I recommend, especially if you can catch the Vassily Kandinksy exhibition they have currently) we came across Garage, a sizeable retro shop where we easily whiled away a good hour or so. With a kilo sale section, this is the place to go for an impressive range of 60s through to 90s clothing and accessories in all patterns imaginable at a reasonable price.

Wandering around Neukölln particular highlights were Aura, which had the most beautiful collection of vintage kimonos I have ever seen, and Sing Blackbird, a vintage boutique and café. Both on Sanderstrasse, these shops were well laid out with a carefully selected array of items and I got myself a lovely little 80s tapestry handbag in Sing Blackbird.

We dedicated our last day in Berlin to shopping in the Prenzlauer Berg/ Mitte area. Made in Berlin had some great garments and my friend got a wonderfully colourful 80s jacket. We also found the most beautiful white dress with embroidered fruits and vegetables on the bodice…I would have totally bought it had it not been, unfortunately, slightly out of my price range! I am definitely going to jazz up some of my clothes with little embroidered fruity delights.

Around the corner from Made in Berlin there was an Urban Outfitters which I can never resist popping in, and I got a new eye ring in their sale (I have a bit of a collection of such jewellery!).

A little further on was Garments, a very high end vintage boutique with beautiful clothing and lots of lovely shoes. There was a particularly eye catching multi-coloured sequin number on display at the front which initially enticed us into the shop.

Aside from vintage, Berlin is full of beautiful boutiques and independent designer shops such as Potipoti which had some fabulous watermelon knitted dresses in the window.

Urban Outfitters ring

With such a wealth of thrift stores, vintage shops, and flea markets to explore I will definitely be returning to Berlin as soon as possible!