Saturday, July 25, 2009

sustainable Dublin

Eu countries are making serious efforts to become sustainable. When one checks into a hotel, the electronic key card must be inserted into a utility slot to operate the electricity, ensuring no lights or lamps are left on when one leaves the room. Very sensible. This same system was also used at the very pleasant hotel in Edinburgh, Apex European on Haymarket and elsewhere throughout the EU, Hamburg, Berlin, Stockholm, Helsinki, Tallinn, among other cities. Of course every hotel in the EU has encouraged guests to re-use linens for the past 11 years.

An online Free Trade service is offered by Dublin’s waste management department, and allows one to pass on or pick up unwanted goods free of charge. The online database allows one to browse for a specific item or list unwanted furniture, etc. that includes a description and photograph of item. What a fabulous idea, it’s so simple and logical. This service certainly eliminates some waste, how often does one feel guilty about adding clothes or whatever to recycling.

Historic preservation, another sustainable building practice, is evident in Dublin. Newly developed neighborhoods such as Ballymun are experimenting with various green projects. Ballymun earned the national title as ‘Green Community’ in 2008. The program also focused on resource recovery, featuring recycled furniture and fashion. 

There is a sustainable fashion venue Summer ’09 according to one of the planners, the brilliant designer, Lisa Shawgi, who has also been instrumental in managing The Loft, where she, Matt Doody, and other Dublin designers have a retail venue.

More and more designers are becoming committed to fair trade by supporting  workers in their own countries, instead of searching for the cheapest labor abroad. Shawgi is training women in a community center to learn hand loomed machine knitting to produce her knitwear.

In terms of fashion, Dublin, and Ireland in general, continue to produce hand knit aran sweaters made by Irish knitters, also providing employment and maintaining their cultural heritage.,com_estateagent/Itemid,0/act,object/task,showEO/id,177/

To combat litter,  Dublin Waste Management  has set a recycling target of 60% for the region  which may be feasible because of another concept, Bring Banks. Households may bring objects that are not collected in green refuse collection, such as glass and textiles, and BATTERIES! 

The digital bane of ecomodista’s existence, especially using an external flash for two digital cameras, the Canon 5d II and a G10 is batteries. The amount of energy spent will be calculated in several months, but between these, the flash, the laptop, and the cell phone, one clearly uses more energy, not less going digital versus analog. ecomodista was disappointed upon discovering the digital Hasselblad had an effective ISO 100, clearly not designed for location work. 

copyright carla breeze 2009

Friday, March 6, 2009

sustainable photography + slow clothing

For those who noted there is practically a year missing on this blog, a year of familial illness and death was the primary contributing factor. 

ecomodista will be on location during april, may, and june in the EU working on a new project that will be published by Stewart Tabori Chang: hand knitting. Numerous devotees of ecomodista will find this unbelievable, however, the construction of clothing is simply architecture on a smaller scale. In fact, one of ecomodista’s projects is to produce hand knit wool yurts for the homeless. Hand knitting also produces extremely warm garments, encouraging less dependency on heating in the winter and cooling in the summer. Yes, you may have heard me scoff about the use of summer cashmeres, but the insulating quality of wool or cashmere works for warm and cold seasons.

Wondering whether analog images create a greater carbon footprint than digital, ecomodista will keep a log of energy consumption comparisons. To decrease the carbon footprint of travel, eomodista will fly from NYC to Dublin and thereafter travel only by train through out the EU.

Sustainable fashion responds to the insanity of “throw away” garments, and is fair trade, organic and less water intensive, recycled, and aware of how to reduce environmental side effects of manufacturing fibers, textiles, and clothing. ecomodista will interview knitters, hand knit designers, and groups that are creating new industries in their own countries as a result of fair trade ethics. As President Obama has stated, we must again produce; ecomodista assumes he is referring to objects, not services--how many more day spas and nail bars does a country need?

The UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) estimates that, annually, the clothing and textiles sector in the UK alone produces around:
3.1 million tons of CO2
Two million tons of waste
70 million tons of wastewater
1.5 million tons of unwanted clothing being landfilled

Imagine what the statistics must be in India, Asia, and the Americas. Hand knitting has often provided the only affordable means of producing stylish clothing, to such an extent that during the 1930’s & 1940’s knitters would unravel a previous season’ sweater to re-knit in a current style.

Influenced by her editor at STC, Melanie Falick, a well known knitter and editor, ecomodista will explore knitting traditions, old and new, in the UK, EU,Scandanavia, the Baltic, and the Eastern EU. Out takes, and other documents tracing the creation of this work will be posted on ecomodista’s blog whenever possible. see

construction detail of michael reynolds earthship