Wednesday, November 3, 2010

@SURevolution is visiting SIAO (Salon International De L’Artisanat de Ouagadougou), the world’s largest African handcrafts fair Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

With 6000 exhibitors from all over Africa and a theme around African handcrafts, youth and employment, this bi-annual show is curated around the issues of quality of the products and creativity. Handcrafts are crucial for African economies. In Burkina Faso alone, it constitutes 30% of GDP, one million people work in the sector and 500,000 are women. 

Click here to preview some of the participants:

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Shop for Luxurious Yak Products from the Tibetan Plateau. Aesthetics + Ethics @ SURevolution

Natalie Chanin from Alabama Chanin says,”Products today have to be sustainable and they have to be beautiful.”

In the words of Paulette Cole, CEO of ABC Carpet and Home, “Beauty is the spoonful of sugar which allows you to become aware of the need for service in the world. We all need beauty, and we can satisfy that need while creating beauty and planetary health for others, too.” Or as Gandhi said: “There is no beauty in the finest cloth if it makes hunger and unhappiness.”

“Desirability is sustainability in fashion,” explains Ali Hewson from Edun. “There is no point in having well-meaning principles if you can’t deliver on that,” especially when dealing with the consumers focused on ‘wanting’ instead of ‘needing.’

Quality now has become a bigger word which encompasses the quality of the terms of how goods are made, where they are made, who makes them and under what circumstances. Thus value embraces many more qualities beyond price redefining the world map with new players. This explains why South America is now the new hip destination. It also explains why heritage, authenticity and tradition are very much appreciated today.

The mantra is: “live wisely and responsible for you and for the generations to come.” The consumer as citizen is the new definition and this involves participation, conversation, input, exchange of opinion. A good citizen is aware and constantly confronts and validates prices as related to quality and brand promise. Price is what people are willing to pay for something while value relates to the intrinsic worth. These two concepts are in sync more than ever.

1. Featured Aeshetics+Ethics concept

Yak is the future of luxury fabrics and a great present and future for the Tibetan Plateau.

The philosophy behind Norlha is to provide a sustainable development model around yak fiber. The herdsmen on the Tibetan Plateau need to diversify their income and develop employment opportunities. This can be easily achieved by using their own, underused raw materials, in this case, yak fiber. Nomads are practical people who have little time for finery. In the old days, they made everything they needed, but now, they buy most of it. Spinning and weaving for everyday use were widespread, though the new generation had little or never practiced it. Through the production and commercialization of beautiful scarves and throws, Norlha merges nomadic culture with the resources from the area to achieve a sustainable model where luxury and development converse.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Fabolous Fabiola Beracasa tells us about why consciousness is fashion's new frontier

Marcella Echavarría (ME): You take sustainability personally... can you please tell us about your approach?

Fabiola Beracasa (FB): Yes, I take sustainability very seriously.  I am a big believer in "voting with my wallet", which means I'm very conscious of the types of businesses that I put my money into, and by default who I support.  Whether it be clothing, furniture, or food I try to purchase only from companies who are conscious about the effects of their actions and who have an interest in the greater good as well.  That is one of the reasons I love to shop at SURevolution.

ME: What conneccts you to SURevolution?

FB: The first thing that connects me to SURevolution is it is inline with my belief system and how I wish more businesses would operate.  The second thing that connects me to SURevolution is its passion for craftsmanship and artisan culture along with the tasteful and chic merchandise that it provides.  I feel that by shopping on SURevolution, I don't have to compromise my beliefs or my taste.
ME: you are a collector of beautiful clothes and you own a yak scarf..can you tell us about it

Yes, I have been collecting beautiful clothes, couture and vintage, for many years.  The yak scarf is one of my favorite pieces.  I wear it as a shawl, as a cape, and as a scarf.  I have even on one occasion when I had torn my pants, worn it as a skirt!  It always keeps me warm, and it's incredibly stylish, understated, and timeless.  

About Fabiola Beracasa:

Fabiola Beracasa is a personality and expert on fashion, style and home décor -- a true insider among insiders, she lives and breathes her passion for artisnal crafts.   She is currently the face of the new (launching 09/2010) and has developed a new program for the Foundation called SNAP-X.

This dynamic 34 year-old New Yorker was born in Venezuela, raised in Manhattan until she was 12 and then spent her formative years at boarding school in Switzerland.  During her high school years, she did a series of internships at Chanel with the couture department, working directly with Karl Lagerfeld, and then moved on to undergraduate studies at Boston College.  Shortly after school, Fabiola took a consulting position at the House of Dior.  After cutting her teeth at this venerable fashion house, she consulted for a number of well-known fashion brands before landing as the Creative Director of Circa Jewelry where she helped enliven and reposition the brand to its current chic status.  From design to ad campaigns to building partnerships, she does it all with grace and style.

In recent years, Fabiola has been seen on the other side of the industry as one of the faces of New York Magazine and AOL Stylelist, hosting many of their video segments and currently as an ongoing contributor to the new Interview Magazine.  

When not working, she also donates time to a number of causes and charities close to her heart. Her charity interests include the Costume Institute of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, ARTrx and AIDS for AIDS, founded by a follow Venezuelan.  In addition, Fabiola is known for her work with grass-roots organizations like and   She continues to be a huge animal lover, working with her new program, SNAP-X to help prevent animal over-population and promoting adoption. A conscious consumer, Fabiola practices what she preaches, between composting at home and choosing sustainable living practices, focusing on vintage clothing and buying from brands known for their good humanitarian practices at home and abroad.

A self proclaimed vintage and couture fanatic and fashion classics collector from the 80’s and 90’s, she has grown into a connoisseur of fine indigenous and artisan crafts from around the world.  Whether textiles from India or jewelry from Native American communities, Fabiola has a love and respect for all master craftsman and their work in an age where the speed of consumerism drives most spending habits.

Beyond the fashion front rows, the next logical step for Fabiola is to explore the medium of television, where she will guide viewers inside local cultures and bring them never before seen access to master craftspeople -- from the ateliers of Paris to local artisans in Thailand to the best flea markets in London.   The viewer will be along for the adventure and discover their amazing talents right along with her.

Fabiola’s evolution brings together all her loves:  highlighting what she is most passionate about and helping artisnal craftsman thrive through promoting their work and exposing them to a wider audience.

Please see Fabiola's recent coverage for Elle: 


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Zöe Melo talks to SURevolution about “Uniendo Puntos”, Valencia Design Week and South American Design on the forefront of universal ideas

Zoë is a co-founder of TOUCH, a brand that develops, markets and promotes social and sustainable design projects. She also consults designers and brands on a variety of projects worldwide. Over her career, Zoë has collaborated with some of the most talented and renowned designers, photographers and art directors in fashion, art and product design. Her work has received worldwide attention and media coverage. In 2008 Dwell magazine recognized Zoë as a Nice Modernist for her work in social and sustainable design. She has organized and curated important design events and exhibits, such as Inter-Connected, a showcase of Portuguese and Brazilian design during New York Design Week.  And most recently, collaborated in the exhibition "Uniendo Puntos" which was organized by Spanish designer Luis Eslava during Valencia Design Week. She will also be speaking at the TEDx Amazonia conference next November.

Marcella Echavarría (ME): What is Valencia Design Week? 

Zöe Melo (ZM): Valencia Design Week includes a series of exhibitions, presentations, showrooms, discussions, workshops, meetings, markets and parties. The purpose is to promote design within society, and make design a part of daily life for the general public. Along with this, VDW shows innovative projects, fresh ideas that evoke new alternatives and the huge array of disciplines that represent the profession. 

ME: What is the concept behind " Uniendo Puntos" 

ZM:The concept behind “Uniendo Puntos”, which literally means “Connecting Dots,” started with showcasing craft and talent from a range of designers that span the Spanish speaking world. However, because definition excluded Brazil, we wanted to expand the exhibition to more than just the Spanish speaking countries. This exhibition is intended to set up a creative network of designers from Spain, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia and El Salvador. “Uniendo Puntos” paves the way to consolidate this collaboration between Latin American and Spanish designers. This diverse collection of products and designers flawlessly comes together in the name of collaboration and beautiful design.

ME: What was your criteria for selecting the products and designers 

ZM: For this exhibition the criteria were based in the materials and craft techniques used by the designers that expressed the cultural and social aspects of each region where the product was made. Most of the designers have been long time collaborators of TOUCH with the exception of few that I wanted to collaborate with for a while and thought this was a great opportunity to bring them together. The aim was for each designer to emphasize the social and environmental issues of each country. 

ME: How do you see the interaction between South America and Spain? 

ZM: I believe that “Uniendo Puntos” is a great initiative of ADCV (Association of designers of the community of Valencia) under the coordination of Spanish designer Luis Eslava who brought us together. The exhibition made it possible to enact an ongoing dialogue and a cultural exchange between designers and curators from different backgrounds.

ME: What were some of the surprises you found while curating the exhibition? 

ZM:There were not many surprises while curating, I knew exactly what I wanted and everything came together smoothly since most of the products were already at our studio. I would say that the surprise came after I arrived in Valencia, when I saw the actual exhibition installed. Then I realized that while we curated the work independently from each other, our individual selections complemented each other pieces extremely well and translated the concept of the exhibition perfectly into a complete show.

ME: How did the public react? 

ZM: The public were genuinely interested in learning and understanding about the designers, products and the cultural aspects that connect Spain and Latin America.

Two products represented by SURevolution were selected for this exhibition:

The hand dipped silver leaves by Clara Saldarriaga-Colombia and the hand blown glass pumpkin collection from Kirah Design 

Clara Saldarriaga's Gold Leaves made in Colombia

Hand-dipped leaves process

Kirah Design hand blown pumpkin