Latest Pure Design Posts

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Vote for an idea that will change the world!

Tweet this Post Watch Elaine pitch her idea for ethical eco design and fashion to the CNBC dragons. The closing date is 31st July, so share your comments of support and votes now - they will make a difference.

If you want to see the design and fashion industry change for the better - please support Elaine's pitch.

“Anita Roddick is my inspiration. I want Pure Design to be to the design world, what The Body Shop is to the beauty industry”

If you haven't watched Elaine's "Pure Design - Ethical design retailer" pitch watch it now.

The individual named “The Good Entrepreneur of 2009” will receive a prize package valued at more than €250,000 in support of their ‘good idea’. The package includes exposure on CNBC as well as comprehensive business support from Allianz.

The finalists will then be filmed to feature in a four-part televised series on CNBC, documenting the progress of each person. In the series finale, a panel of high profile judges will reveal the winner of the competition. The series will be broadcast across Europe, the Middle East and Africa and in Asia during the autumn of 2009.

Watch Elaine's pitch for a more ethical and eco design industry now.Tweet the Post

Sunday, 12 July 2009

New Designers 2009 - I spy with my little eco eye...

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2009 New Designers in Islington opened its doors to the public this Thursday, and for the fourth year running I was there to see what promising new graduate talents are in store for the UK design industry, and of course my radar was set to sustainable!

What is special about this design trade show?

With over 3,500 of the best new design graduates represented for the two weeks the show runs, New Designers is definitely one of the highlights of my design calendar. Not only is the quality of the work on show fantastic, the buzz about the place is great, and the designers are overwhelmingly positive and all eager to talk about their work. Week one exhibitors include contemporary applied arts, ceramics and glass, jewellery and precious metalwork graduates, and the ‘One Year On’ exhibit tracks award winners from the year before. Week two includes product & furniture design, visual communications and spatial design, and as above ‘One Year On’ of award winners from 2008 in these disciplines.

How to spot the green goods?
The irony when searching for new eco design products and talents for Pure Design online boutique, gallery and gift shop, is that Pure Design is a design-led sustainable company – so we don’t go looking for accessories that look green we go looking for design pieces that have the ‘ah’ factor and then we ask the designer the deal breaker “are your products eco or ethical?” So it is actually quite hard to ‘spot’ eco products in a way. In my view the best eco design does not scream out “I’m green and good, pick me, pick me” – it is quietly and confidently stylish and doesn’t need to flaunt its virtues to be noticed.

Over the past few years of visiting design fairs and exhibitions and interviewing designers, I have learnt which disciplines of craft and design tend to score high and low on the eco scale. There is often little eco joy to be found in acrylic - although I have met several designers trying to reduce, reuse or replace the use of plastic, for example opting to use plant based bio-resin alternatives. Ceramics and glass are usually not particularly eco, and sadly many of the textile designers I speak to do not use natural or non-toxic dyes. However, I have been pleasantly surprised when I have been proven wrong and a designer has pointed out that they have found a way to turn a material on its head.

This year, with limited time and a few hundred stalls to get round I decided to try the top to bottom approach, so duly started on the top floor and set off into the world of ceramics….

Now I have to admit I do usually move quite swiftly through this section as to date, with the exception of Sarah Jerath of Sustain Ceramics who incorporates recycled car window glass and reclaimed china in her work, I haven’t encountered much in the way of eco ceramics. However, I am ever hopeful and would be delighted to be proven wrong, so answers on a postcard please if you have any tips on eco ceramics!

Tomorrow’s News Jewellery

Having exhausted the ceramics section quite quickly I moved into the contemporary applied arts section and immediately spotted some jewellery that intrigued me. Sidling up to the cabinet for a closer look and to read the designers statement, I saw the magic words ‘eco range’ – bingo! I am pleased to say Julie Linn the designer was also nearby and having spotted my obvious interest she very kindly chatted through her range, ideas and ambition of creating a fully recyclable range of recycled paper jewellery. Julie’s range recognises the transient nature of fashion and offers an affordable and sustainable product that can reinvent and recycle itself with every new season. In my opinion a great alternative to the endless new ranges of bright plastic or cheap metal jewellery the high street retailers seem to be awash with at the moment.

Intrigue & Attics
I had also received an inside tip from an ex-colleague (from crafts charity The Making) that there were some intriguing flying light bulbs at the Falmouth college stall which I couldn’t resist seeking out and am very glad I did.

Curious, intriguing, humorous and a little Tim Burtonesque are just some of the adjectives I would pick. Luckily before I had a chance to meddle and break the delicate workings of these automata pieces, Richard Hackney the designer came over and explained that all of the parts were salvaged treasures from his grandfather’s loft. As a self-confessed attic/second hand /antique shop addict, I found these little reclaimed sculptures instantly likeable and how great that they were the result of a dusty rummage through family treasures.

I then descended onto the main floor of the centre – awash with textile swatches, banners of printed paper draped floor to ceiling, upholstered gilded armchairs in bespoke textiles and eye-catching screen printed dresses and fashion designs.

Amongst the sea of textiles, the next promising designer I met was Jenny Clarke a graduate from Nottingham Trent University. Jenny carries out intricate hand embroidery on reclaimed textiles and second hand clothes and unlike one of her chosen subject matters ‘Marmite’ I didn’t think it was a love or hate affair. I really liked Jenny’s work – the concept was simple but the application of her craftsmanship and creativity inspiring, and I am sure her work would appeal to a wide range of audiences. And amongst all the super modern technologies, trends and textiles, Jenny’s work showed that even the very traditional applied crafts such as embroidery have a place and a market in our style obsessed but eco 21st century world.

Elaine Dutton is the founder and Director of Pure Design, contemporary ethical design online, and an award-winning social entrepreneur.

Pure Design sell beautifully designed and made environmentally friendly gifts, eco fashion and contemporary jewellery, and decorative arts and accessories for you and your home. And because Pure Design only sell products that are ethically and ecologically sourced you can feel good about shopping with us too.

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Thursday, 2 July 2009

Go Green Team! 10th July Green Britain Day is almost here...

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10th July 2009 - "Green Britain Day" marks the launch of Team Green Britain. The aim is to have London leading the world on climate change by 2012. Whether you're an eco-beginner or an eco-warrior, you can get involved.

And we will be doing our bit by hosting a special ‘Pure Design Team’ and would love it if you joined us. In fact we are also looking for a great team name so please email us your ideas. ‘Eco Angels’ is the current winner! We’ll be having a ‘swishing party or two’ (swopping clothes) as I have my eye on Victoria Pendleton’s fabulous Wayne Hemingway dress! Watch a video on Victoria and Wayne Hemmingway on our YouTube Favourites. We will also be getting involved in lots of green activities and sharing everything we learn about how to lead a greener life with you. It's also a great way to meet like-minded people, so don't be shy - get involved and help us make the most of our team!

As part of my personal commitment to a greener life I am turning veggie for a week in the run up to Green Britain Day. Which is no mean feat for a BBQ and bacon butty loving girl!

Did you know The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation has estimated that meat production accounts for nearly a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions? And I recently read in The Guardian that vegetarians are less likely to develop cancer than meat eaters; so hopefully my week will do my body some good too. And as I tend to do all the cooking, my husband (who is Dutch - which equals carnivore) will involuntarily be vegging out with me. So that's two people living a greener life already!

If you do want to get involved all you have to do is first sign up on the Green Team website, and let us know that you'd like to be part of our team by dropping us an email, or by subscribing to our newsletter and opting in to receive our news and updates and to be a member of our Green Team when prompted. Subscribe now!

In a few weeks time we will be in touch with more information about the team and how you can get more involved.

And as a wider member of Team Green Britain, you'll also get the opportunity to win a day at the London 2012 games....

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