Five questions to Amanda Munz, Founder of The Fashion Foundation, who is making a difference by giving back to students in need by selling donated samples or reused fashion items. By Mathilde Bach Stougaard.

Not often do we connect fashion with education but in this blog post, you will find out how these two things can be connected – and how it’s improving lives for those in need! I come from a country where education is free and despite social aspects etc. at least people have an equal right to education if they wish to pursue it. That I’m thankful for but let’s not forget that in some countries education is a privilige and whether it’s a third world country or not, every aspect that might help in one way or another, I think is worth celebrating – therefore, I feel honoured to be able to let you all know about The Fashion Foundation out of New York.

1) Tell us briefly what The Fashion Foundation is and what the core of what you do is?

The Fashion Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit organization (meaning “has been approved by the Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt, charitable organization”) that serves as a platform for the fashion industry to donate samples and merchandise they no longer need. By using that merchandise to raise money on our online store, New York showroom, fundraisers and donations, we provide underprivileged students in New York with educational tools.  

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2) How did you come up with the idea?

I started The Fashion Foundation when I was 23 years old in 2013. I was in the fashion industry and constantly saw brands with samples that they didn’t know what to do with so I thought to start a charity that would make it easy for the fashion industry to donate to. I didn’t start this organization thinking about sustainable fashion or helping children, I simply saw a problem in the fashion industry and wanted to change it and put samples to good use.

3) How do you actually help students in practical terms? What’s the process from someone donating to you or buying from your site to a student who actually benefits from your amazing initiative?

When someone donates a product we either sell it on our online shop, in person at our showroom or use them for auction items.

For the education side, we work directly with elementary, middle and high schools in New York. We never hand a school a check, we actually work with the staff to figure out what their students need to succeed in school and then send those exact supplies to them so we know our efforts are going right into the student’s hands. So when you shop on our site, you are directly benefiting a student because those funds help us provide these tools to students.

We donate anything a student needs – clean uniforms, pencils, notebooks, backpacks, art supplies, gym equipment and more. We’ve impacted over 7,000 students in the New York area. We recently helped build a school library in Brooklyn and put over $10,000 worth of brand new books into this library for kids to have access to books.

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4) Can people from all over the world help by donating products, or would it be better to donate money in some cases?

We accept product donations from all over thew world as long as the company can cover shipping to us (startup charity life!) or we are happy to pick up donations from companies in the New York area. We do ship orders from our website all over the world and sometimes it’s easier and more cost effective for someone to just make a monetary donation on our site with their credit card or through PayPal. We’re a small non-profit organization so any donation amount big or small truly helps us!!

5) Where do you see The Fashion Foundation in 5 years’ time and what role do you play?

I see The Fashion Foundation being the “go to” charity for the fashion industry to donate products to. There is always going to be samples left over so if we can get more designers and brands to support us, this organization can grow tremendously.  This is my baby, I built it from the ground up with nothing and I can’t wait to grow with it.

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Wow, I must admit that in a world of fast fashion and with a focus on child labour and ethical processes, this is such an enlightening initiative and what a great idea – a business with meaning which truly can make a difference for a child’s education and life. Check The Fashion Foundation’s website here, where you can also read more about donations if you are interested. Or if you want to read about when the business was featured in The New York Times, click here.

AUTHOR’S NOTE:
Mathilde Bach Stougaard is the Founder and Creative Director of FID.

DIRECTORY:
https://fashionindustrydatabase.com/directory/the-fashion-foundation/

Swedish Stockings – YES, REALLY – you can get Stockings that are Environmental and Sustainable! By Mathilde Bach Stougaard

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With a love for dresses, hosiery (and especially stockings) can quickly become a basic item in the wardrobe! And don’t miss out on our special discount offer, which you can find at the end of the article.

For a start, enjoy this simple informative intro to Swedish Stockings,


When it comes to stockings, I have all kind of brands and patterns. One of my absolute favourite brands is Wolford, however this blog post is going to be with a different focus because it is now possible to get hosiery from the brand Swedish Stockings that are sustainable. In fact, “Swedish Stockings is the only sustainable brand of hosiery worldwide”.

I like to wear pairs that are sometimes a bit different as I tend to get bored with black and skin coloured ones. This is especially if I wear black as a block colour, which I would often do for a dress (however, my style has changed after becoming a mum). I also have some with stripes, kind of like tiger stripes on my legs, which are fun to wear because people REALLY notice them. I have had so many comments and questions about them, for example: What is that? Nice stockings! I thought those were tattoos. Argh, you are the one with those stockings – not sure if the last comment is good or bad, haha…

That said, that’s also partly why I don’t wear them too often and I need my basics more than anything else. And of course it’s good with some general pairs so why not buy with sustainability in mind when we actually can do that now, yay!

Here are a few quick facts about Swedish Stockings that I have tested out (and you can see the two styles below) – oh, and we like their mission statement too!

“OUR MISSION IS TO INFLUENCE AND CHANGE THE ENTIRE HOSIERY INDUSTRY, WE PRESENT THE LUXURY OF THE PAST BY APPLYING THE TECHNIQUES OF TOMORROW.

Swedish Stockings - Socks

FACTS AND THINGS WE LIKE

  • The hosiery is produced from recycled yarn and this idea and business was developed by two female founders, Linn Frisinger and Nadja Forsberg from Sweden.
  • There is a guide to how you can best take care of your hosiery, for example, give them a stretch and avoid fabric softener (more here).
  • They really are sustainable and the whole process is thought through from start to end, which you can see here. In fact, they use “87.6% less energy” as they state as well as using solar power.
  • You can join their recycling club and help tidy up the industry, which is pretty awesome – read more here. (I NEED TO TRY THIS, especially as I normally just throw my old torn stockings in the bin. Or I should now say, I used to…).
Production facts
Swedish Stockings #4

And did you know that ‘normal’ nylons take 30-40 years to decompose in landfill sites? I don’t think many of us think of that – or used to – when buying hosiery (Down2Earth).

Here are a few pictures I have taken with the stockings for the purpose of this post so I made sure to have a bit of fun at the same time!

Images showcasing the OLIVIA TIGHTS, 60 DENIER.


So, what’s my opinion about them?

I would have to wear them many more times to say how they last compared with the other brands I have, however I already have an impression at this stage.

Top three ‘LOVING THEM’ features:

  1. I must admit, I was a bit sceptical at first as I thought the quality might have been compromised as it is all produced from recycled material. However, to my surprise, they are very comfortable, also around the waistline (this I always pay attention to).
  2. Great variety of styles regarding denier – in this case 2 different black styles, 20 and 60 denier (see definition below).
  3. I’m so thrilled that this brand exists! In the future, I will definitely check out their range before browsing for any other brands. If I can find what I need here, then I will get it rather than looking elsewhere first…

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So, if you are part of the tribe that wants to be more sustainable and have a more positive impact on our environment, this brand is a must-have. I LOVE THEM! And next time I need to get dotted ones, that style is definitely going to be trialled from Swedish Stockings. Hit me up if you want to know what I think about those later on…

How amazing is this? I truly hope I have inspired some of you out there to buy more sustainable pairs when it comes to stockings. What can I say – try it now! I’m loving it.

Swedish Stockings, Denier 20 (by Mathilde)

Images showcasing the ELIN TIGHTS, 20 DENIER.

In case you still aren’t convinced to try this brand, here is a quick sum up…

“​Swedish Stockings produce pantyhose from regenerated and recycled nylon, or natural fibres, in a solar powered, zero-waste facility, with water purification and reuse systems in place. We are very proud to present our products as the first eco-friendly stockings while at the same time being stylish and durable.”

And if you want to help us build up the FID directory, we would love for you to write a review on their FID profile once you have tried yours (link below…).

Don’t miss out on this special offers for FID readers.
Get 10% off with the code FID10 with any purchase(s) from Sustainable Hosiery *. 

* “Susan Hogan Agencies is the exclusive distributor for this world-first premium product in Australia.” Order your stockings online from Sustainable Hosiery Australia (to visit the Instagram account, click here) or go to the Swedish Stockings website if you are based elsewhere.

Sustainable Hosiery Australia

AUTHOR’S NOTE:
Mathilde Bach Stougaard is the Founder and Creative Director of FID.

DIRECTORY:
https://fashionindustrydatabase.com/directory/sustainable-hosiery-australia
https://fashionindustrydatabase.com/directory/swedish-stockings

DEVOTION & DESIGN: ON SET WITH KORTNI PORTIA – By Samantha Haran

Devotion.
Sometimes defined as love, sometimes loyalty. Sometimes, it’s worship.
Either way, it is powerful.
Decadent.
Indulgent.
The fitting name for local designer Kortni Portia’s new luxury collection.

In the early days of February, I spent a Saturday on shoot with Kortni and her team. In my business as a fashion creative consultant, I have been working on-and-off with Kortni since the early days of her brand, and seize any opportunity to be involved with her creative process. She’s incredible to watch. A true artist, with a background in fashion styling and a spiritual mind, she radiates the kind of energy you would expect to encounter on the set of a Vogue shoot, or backstage at Paris Fashion Week.

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The day began with a beautiful morning drive from inner city Brisbane to the shoot location – Kortni’s own gorgeous home in Little Mountain, Caloundra. I caught a lift with Natalie Skoric, talented freelance photographer based in Brisbane. Both Kortni and I have had the pleasure of working with Nat before and we never cease to re-book. We love her style, her talent, her eye for detail and the vibrance she brings to the set. When we arrived on set, Natalie, Kortni and I began re-arranging Kortni’s living room. The couches and rugs were pushed out of the way and Natalie and I set up her photography equipment, including a white background. The focus of the shoot was product photography. That is, simple, gorgeous photos that could be used on Kortni’s new e-commerce store, in preparation for her debut at the Melbourne Trades Show later that month (click here to see the final pictures on her website).

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When the model and makeup artist arrived, it was time to begin shooting. The model quickly changed into the first look and stepped into our makeshift-studio. Sunlight filtered through the window, creating the perfect glow. As we worked through the styling and outfits, Kortni shared insight into her process with the collection. Over the past few weeks she had spent enormous amounts of time in the studio, putting everything together by hand.

“It’s crazy to see it all come to life,” she mused.

And it indeed it was. The collection was breathtaking – her best to date. A palette of luxurious blacks, blues and reds. A gorgeous array of materials. A new focus on the shape of the garments. Heavier fabrics than Kortni had ever used before.

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Kortni’s lookbook describes the inspiration behind the phenomenal collection:

“Devotion A/W 19 collection is inspired by a trans-formative [sic] point of time in ones [sic] life. A moment of realization and awakening to inner strength and personal determination. ‘Devotion’ represents a women [sic] who embraces her sexuality, power and elegance. A women [sic] who knows what she wants out of life and is whole heartedly [sic] devoted to achieving it.

This collection provides a range of balanced sophistication for the fashion conscious woman on the go. Relaxed effortless styles, cocktail dresses with structured clean lines, bedazzled appliqué’s [sic] and floral lace.

Many styles feature in a variety of color [sic] and style options. All materials are hand selected by the designer from local and international wholesalers ensuring originality, durability and quality.”

As the lookbook describes, it really is a stunning collection. Decadent, luxurious, rich – a true manifestation of the concept of devotion..

You can purchase Kortni’s Devotion collection now on her website, as of the 10th of March 2019.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: 
Samantha Haran is the founder of her namesake freelance fashion creative consultancy agency, and current Ambassador for Fashion Industry Database (FID). She attends events and networks with local companies on behalf of FID, and assists the database behind-the-scenes with social media and blogging.

DIRECTORY:
https://fashionindustrydatabase.com/directory/kortni-portia.

Ri Fashion Studio – Finally, I’m having my old cardigan repaired! By Mathilde Bach Stougaard

We live in a buy-and-get–rid-of society so what happens with getting something repaired? Is it really cheaper and easier to buy something new rather than having it fixed by an alterationist?

I decided to find out and I must admit I have had a hole in the sleeve on my cardigan for much longer than I should have. I didn’t stop wearing it though (except sometimes…). It was still valuable for me, however my plan was to buy a new cardigan but now, I don’t have to quite yet (and this one has lasted me for years – only place I could find it browsing in the city at that time was David Jones, yes).

Perhaps I should start asking, why didn’t I get it fixed a long time ago? That’s a good question and while I can find a few excuses, it probably came down to it not being visible enough for me to do something about it quickly – however, I always felt annoyed that I hadn’t found the time for doing it when putting it on.

So, finally I really wanted to take it to an alterationist and I wanted to go to a small place rather than a big chain. I don’t live too far from Indooroopilly Shopping Centre in Brisbane so I decided to check out the options there. There is a place called LookSmart Alterations with around 20 different locations and then there is also place called Ri Fashion Studio, which I have passed several times whereas the other one is a bit hidden, I think. Anyway, I decided to give Ri Fashion a go, and even LookSmart Alterations has a good online appearance while Ri Fashion Studio could probably improve on that front in various ways, I decided to still give them a go.

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Photo credit: Ri Fashion Studio

I rocked up wearing my cardigan and was met with a smiling and friendly staff member, who quickly consulted with a colleague about my options. I wanted to add an edgy detail on all the borders but that wasn’t recommended, as that would be tricky to do. A couple of times I didn’t understand what was being said as they did consult in a different language but as long as they explained it to me in English afterwards, I didn’t mind. I was in doubt if they understood my requests fully though at first but at the end I felt confident that they understood me.

So we decided to make the sleeves a bit shorter, move the original sleeve edge up and that way would also cover the hole. And who would had thought, we then suddenly realised the other sleeve was slightly broken on the edge but nothing major though. I decided to get it all fixed up.

Quickly I put it on, decided the length and was told to pick it up around a week later.

When picking it up, I was met by a different staff member who was also friendly and helpful. As I had already paid for the service ($35) when I handed it in, it was just a quick in and out this time.

I got home but then realised that the sleeves weren’t sewed the same way for some reason. One was stretchy and the other one was stiff. That was no good, so I decided to take it in again. It is a woollen cardigan and it’s a bit stretchy so having no stretch in one sleeve didn’t work well and I guess it should have been the same for both sleeves no matter how it was done.

This time I was also meet by the friendly staff and there weren’t any problems. The lady at the counter accepted the return as she understood the issue.

The next pick up went well and I checked the cardigan while in the store (which I should have done the first time) before going home. After a wash I checked again and it is all good now.

I have always washed my woollen cardigan in the washing machine on the wool setting and on cold wash. Ideally, I should hand wash or hang it out but I like it to be washed properly compared with my hand washing – but it does mean that is has shrunken over the years but I don’t mind as long as it still looks okay (not like turning into a baby cardigan if it has been washed on warm). And it seems to keep the size now and has for a long time.

The cardi is repaired and sleeve looking good!

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Flay lay by Mathilde Bach Stougaard

Even though the cardigan wasn’t done properly the first time, I would probably go back as the service was good and they quickly made up for their mistake. I will try another alterationist in Brisbane in the future as part of blogging about my experiences but I would still choose Ri Fashion over another big chain to support small businesses.

If you have ever used them, please feel free to write a review on their FID profile. I also want to add that the first time I visited them, another customer started talking to me about how good they were and that she always used them for everything (they do more than just alterations, anything from alterations to made to measure). I think I was just a bit unlucky with my first visit but only a second visit can tell, right? I did mention I wanted to write a blog the first time I visited, which the lady there was happy about…

I was planning to get a new cardigan and had already been browsing online to know about my options but that’s’ for another time now. And I’m just saying, it’s not easy to find from a small or local business! Would love to hear from anyone who knows of other places…

If you are looking for one, you might find my research useful before making a purchase.

I was mainly looking for one with round or v-neck, middle length, buttons and semi or long sleeves – did a quick search and found the following, see links below.

Psst, this is my favourite purely from the look! Next time I buy a cardigan, this is it – just need to try it on first…

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Photo credit: Scanlan Theodore

Recommendations from FID community
Scanlan Theodore
EKSEMPEL
By Malene Birger
Country Road

Google “Black Cardigan” / images / womens (also tried ‘shopping rather than images but looked like the same stuff more or less)
WoolOvers #1
WoolOvers #2
WoolOvers #3
Black Pepper

Instagram search
Miranda Murphy

MERAKI: A FABULOUS EVENING OF FASHION. By Samantha Haran

Last month, I was lucky enough to attend The Meraki Fashion Show as Ambassador for Fashion Industry Database (FID). Held at The Met in Brisbane, the decadent runway show had the electric feel of an Alexander Wang New York runway – dark lighting, loud music, free-flowing champagne and elite guests, all dressed to the nines.

Designer Q

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We arrived early to a gorgeous red carpet setting along Wickham Street. After embracing the opportunity to grab a few photos, we spent the rest of the lead-up to the show in the exclusive VIP area. Here, there were drinks flowing and gorgeous cakes and treats embellished with Luxe Agncy, the promoters of the event (and yes, it’s agncy) and What’s Hot TV production and events. This was a lovely opportunity to meet, socialize and network with influencers and creatives in the local Brisbane fashion community.

Bec McMillan


Before long, it was time for the Meraki show to begin. ‘Meraki’ is a Greek word used to describe doing something ‘with soul, creativity or love’ – when you put ‘something of yourself’ into what you’re doing. And that is exactly what was delivered. The celebrity MC of the night, Bec McMillan, brought an incredible energy to the show; pumping up the crowd throughout the night. The designs were gorgeous, the crowd was enlivened; but most importantly, the message behind the show was beautiful. Meraki set out to improve representation for people with disabilities in an industry where that almost ceases to exist; to ‘bring visibility to disability’. The show featured models with disabilities, including award-winning writer, presenter and consultant Lisa Cox. The evening wrapped up with an auction of pieces and other gifts, with all proceeds going to charity in support of Red Nose Australia in honour of Jayce Michael McMillan, son of Bec McMillan. All in all, it was an incredible presentation, and a night to remember.

Keep scrolling to see some of my favourite looks from the show…

AUTHOR’S NOTE: 
Samantha Haran is the founder of her namesake freelance fashion creative consultancy agency, and current Ambassador for Fashion Industry Database (FID). She attends events and networks with local companies on behalf of FID, and assists the database behind-the-scenes with social media and blogging.