Daniela Groza: Carving a Sustainable Future in Jewellery Design

IMG_9656

One of Daniela Groza’s designs. (Credit: Theodor Mihalcea-Simoiu)

Independent jewellery designer and co-founder of the R Sustainable Fashion Show; Daniela Groza is the perfect example of how the younger generation is grasping at the potential of an increasingly sustainable future.

Currently a third year Jewellery Design student at the Edinburgh College of Art, Daniela is passionate about sustainability and conscious clothing, often repurposing her old items into new jewellery pieces.

Through combining her creative skills and knowledge of both design and science, the inspiring student is hoping to propose solutions and raise awareness of the environmental and social implications of our fast fashion and consumerist based tendencies.

For Daniela, jewellery has always been a passion. From making duct tape wallets at the age of 10, her abilities soon developed towards taking bead-work and wire-work jewellery classes near her home in Romania. Leading to her selling her own designs over Facebook at the age of 14.

Back then she was young and unaware of the negative implications behind the Textile and Mining Industries.

“It was only when I came to Edinburgh University that I started to learn about sustainability within fashion. By taking part in a Sustainable Fashion Show, organised by the student association, I got to experiment with waste materials such as polystyrene, phone cables, cardboard, by turning them into sculptural pieces of jewellery for the runway show,” she explains.

Since then, Daniela has been elected by the ECA to be a student Ambassador for the Ethical Making Pledge, raising awareness of the importance of using recycled metals and natural dyes as a practicing jeweller.

Her role is to make the workshop a safer and more eco-friendly environment by implementing natural substitutes for the chemical-based solutions that we use in jewellery making.

“AEON is my latest collection of jewellery, released right before Christmas 2018. Inspired by Architecture, the concept behind it was the idea of preserving ancient artefacts through incorporating modern features, by using the process of digital fabrication and 3D printing.  I created a series of architectural landscapes to be adorned on the body, giving life to unique fashion statements.

“I have begun to turn towards a more ethical and conscious practice, using recycled silver and natural dyes. For this collection, I used silver dust and scrap that I had gathered in a jar since my 1st year of University.

“Another process used is called Electro-forming, which is growing a layer of metal onto a surface, using electricity. Using this technique, I grew copper textures onto my 3D printed objects, giving them an antique finish. I also used natural dyes such as Charcoal,” she says.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Daniela’s university career has been busy – not that she minds. When she’s not designing new pieces for future collections, she’s simultaneously running her online shop and arranging future events to follow last years hugely successful show and exhibition – R Sustainable Fashion Show.

“I am very lucky to have found my passion from a young age, therefore I decided to turn it into a career by joining the Jewellery and Silversmithing programme at Edinburgh College of Art.

“Currently in year 3, the collections I create are both for my course and for my online store, this way I combine my studies with my personal business,” she says.

The R Sustainable Fashion Show is a professional platform through which student designers and artists can engage with the wider audience on matters related to sustainability, by presenting their work publicly.

“We are constantly working towards the R Sustainable Fashion Show 2019 and so we will be doubling the number of attendants for this year’s event and are aiming for an audience of at least 400 people. The event will take place on March 24th at the Jam House, Edinburgh,” Daniela explains.

This years event is a chance to fundraise for One Cherry, a local startup that digitalises local charity shops by implementing an online platform for their products to be advertised, encouraging online charity shopping.

The event consists of a runway show including student designers, and will end with a preview of “the best of” One Cherry charity shop outfits.

Amidst all this planning, Daniela is learning Japanese ahead of her study abroad term in Osaka this April.

“I chose Japan because I want to travel to a place where I have never been to experience and taste a new culture. I think it’s a cool language and I am very excited to meet people, share ideas, explore new approaches to design, and learn new skills!” she says.

With new ventures on the horizon Daniela is undoubtedly acing the student come business women act, successfully creating an authentic and unique business model based on renewable principles.

“There is always room for improvement when it comes to sustainability. We’re really hoping to raise awareness of the future of fashion, sustainable material manipulation, and ethical practices, through our Exhibition and Runway showcase RSFS 2019.”

Shop Daniela’s latest jewellery collection here.

Photos by Theodor Mihalcea-Simoiu

The Self-Care Epidemic

Ahead of this weekend’s Edinburgh Wellbeing Festival, EN4 News considers how the self-care phenomenon is improving the way we function in 2019.

Although it is unclear when ‘self-care’ became one of the most frequently used words in the millennial vocabulary, the term itself seems unavoidable – inundating social media feeds and steering conversations.

There’s something almost addictive in learning how others practice it, how often, and how it’s changed them for the better — and with the turbulence of political negotiations and the world in a state of near crisis, who would deny anyone a glass of wine and a long bath?

However vague it may sound, ‘ self-care’ encapsulates anything that makes you feel like you’re taking care of yourself. We’ve finally accepted that it’s no longer considered selfish to take time for yourself and your wellbeing but the fear of becoming self-indulgent remains prevalent.

The whole concept of self-care loses its value when it is used too frequently as an excuse for bailing on people and plans, promoting self-isolation and a sense of laziness that avoids all benefits that ‘self-care’ can bestow on our lives.

Never leaving what becomes your ‘self-care comfort zone’ could result in you missing out on experiences that could be beneficial. We begin to lose sight of how a meal out or a night in with friends can also be ‘self-care’ — just enjoyed with others for a change.

Edinburgh is leading the way for the widespread awareness of well-being by hosting the Edinburgh Wellbeing Festival, which will return to the capital after the immense success it achieved in 2018.

Bringing together some of the biggest names in the wellness industry to deliver a weekend of talks, classes and workshops to officially diminish those January blues.

Set to appear on one of the panels alongside Julie Montagu — one of London’s top yoga and nutrition teachers — is Edinburgh-based Gail Bryden.

As an aromatherapist and holistic massage therapist with her own independent product range ‘JustBe Botanicals’, Gail is one of many inspirational guests coming to the Scottish stage.

EN4 News spoke to Gail in the run-up to the event.

“Getting fit, eating well and feeling good is relevant to us all — and mental and physical well-being should be accessible to everyone.

“The end of January is often a time for us to reflect and consider making more conscious choices to feel better. Attending the Wellbeing Festival this weekend can be a first positive step.

“The headliners and line up for this year are incredible. I’m personally looking forward to attending some of the workshops, talks and fitness classes — especially Mr PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) Faisal Abdalla who has worked alongside Joe Wicks — the founder of Lean in 15,” she said.

Gail will be part of the panel discussing ‘how to build a successful well-being business’ on Saturday, where she’ll be sharing her stories and passing on some practical tips and advice.

Through the wellbeing revolution, the idea of taking care of ourselves has been turned on its head. While we’re so often taught that our mind and bodies are separate entities, ‘self-care’ teaches that they really have a connection that fundamentally controls our well-being.

“The festival is carefully curated to bring together a range of different speakers from Scotland and further afield to cover topics which affect all of our lives, including mental health, healthy eating, stress, parenting and mindfulness,” said Jaz Lacey-Campbell of Good Thinking Events who are working in conjunction with the city of Edinburgh Council and The Assembly Rooms, one of the capitals landmark cultural venues.

“Edinburgh Wellbeing festival is part of the commitment Scotland is making in terms of encouraging people to improve their health and wellbeing. We bring together some of the biggest names in the wellbeing industry along with the Scottish wellbeing community to inspire people to adopt a happier and healthier lifestyle,” she explains.

“On Saturday cookery writer Jack Monroe will show us how to eat healthy food on a budget, Dr Rangan Chatterjee will be talking mindfulness with Buddhist monk Haemin Sunim, and nutritionist Madeleine Shaw joins our expert health panel Fit for Life.

Over the weekend there will also be workshops on parenting, cutting out alcohol, positive ageing and sleep, as well as a marketplace where you can sample delicious vegetarian and vegan food, shop for natural beauty products and take advantage of free tastings, treatments and health advice.”

Home to a large and growing wellbeing community, from yoga teachers to healthy food entrepreneurs, The Edinburgh Wellbeing Festival aims to bring this community together and create something completely new at a time when our thoughts turn to get fit and feel better.

Like most things, ‘self-care’ revolves around balance, and ultimately finding a healthy one. You shouldn’t feel guilty when you need a night off to recharge and enjoy your own company, but also don’t avoid things that push your boundaries. In the long run, it’s the combination of ‘self-care’ with everything else that supports the well-rounded and purposeful lifestyle we’re all striving to lead.

For tickets and more information on the festival head to https://www.edinburghwellbeingfestival.com/

How the UK is continuing its fight against period poverty

Spearheaded by Scotland, a new campaign has launched in England in a bid to provide free menstrual products for school children. But how is the UK continuing its fight against period poverty in 2019?

Period poverty is a very private struggle for women throughout the UK and quantifying its extent has been a challenge.

While many charities are working in developing countries such as Kenya — where period poverty is a known issue, thousands of women and girls across Scotland are experiencing the effects of period poverty right on our doorstep, with serious implications on their education and health.

In the UK, the world’s fifth largest economy, one in ten women cannot afford sanitary pads or tampons. Although some would argue that these products cost very little, ​it is also true that not all products are suitable for or accessible to everyone. 

We often forget that in areas where young women and girls are living in poverty, menstrual products are not at the top of their priority list, when eating enough to stay alive and keeping warm are everyday battles in themselves.   

As a student, even I begrudge paying the few monthly pounds for a box of tampons, but to young girls without their own income or financial support system, this natural and biological function has a much more drastic impact and can often result in them missing out on school. 

However, crucial steps are being made in Scotland to address the bloody reality head on. 

The country’s current pilot scheme offers access to free period products to low-income families, and in August 2018, the Scottish government announced it was becoming the first national government to provide free access to products in all schools, colleges and universities. 

The advancement followed the country’s decision to roll out free sanitary products for low income women and households.

Scottish labour MSP, Monica Lennon, called on the government to go one step further and make Scotland a “world-leader in tackling period poverty” by introducing a universal system.

“I welcomed the announcement that the Scottish Government would fund free period products in schools, colleges and universities however there is much more to be done.

“Access to period products should be a right, regardless of income, which is why I am continuing to move ahead with plans for legislation to introduce a universal system of free access to period products for everyone in Scotland,” she said. 

It was back in 2016 that Lennon first asked the Scottish Government if any consideration had been given to the affordability of period products and from then her campaign was born.

“The boundaries of the current roll out by the Scottish Government means that the stigma which surrounds menstruation is still able to exist, I want to see that disappear.

“Period products should be as easy to access for free as toilet roll and hand wash and my campaign won’t end until that is the case,” she explains.

While Scotland is setting a precedent for other countries and their approach to period poverty, England has thus far failed to follow suit. 

In London alone 80,000 young women and girls are impacted by period poverty. In the last year, an announcement came from Westminster that ​£1.5 million of the tampon tax​ fund would be given to charities to address period poverty but change is yet to be seen. 

Nineteen-year-old activist and founder of the #freeperiod campaign, Amika George, is now leading the fight against period poverty by launching a legal campaign to get the British government to provide free menstrual products in schools just as Scotland has.  With hopes of bringing England up to speed, ​the fundraising page set up by George, which has a target of £10,000 by February 7, has had more than £6,500 donated by hundreds of people since the campaign launched in early January. 

#freeperiod campaign video:

In her interview with the Evening Standard, George expressed how prevalent the issue of period poverty remains, and how determined she is on tackling it in 2019. “​Equal access to education is a fundamental human right and no one should miss school because they cannot afford pads and tampons. These products must be provided for free in every school and college,” she stated. 

With 2018 being named ‘year of the women’, we can only hope that 2019 will hold even greater things for women’s rights. 

period

 

How Scotland’s feminist organisation is fighting for 2019 to be our most equal year yet

engender

In 2018, the idea that anyone should be denied rights or opportunities because of their gender seemed truly ridiculous. 

But, following the #metoo movement which dominated the mass media last year, women across the world are becoming more aware of inequality and how it affects them on a daily basis.  

In Scotland, changes are being made to reduce and remove the social and economic barriers faced by both women and men across the country. The ​Equality Act of 2010​ ​brought together existing equality legislation and paved the way for increased focus on inequality relating to a vast array of categories from age to disability and gender reassignment.

Engender is Scotland’s feminist membership organisation that specifically has a vision for the country to become a society in which men and women have equal opportunities in life, equal access to resources and power, and are equally safe from harm. 

Ayls Mumford, the communications and engagement manager of Engender, explains what actions the organisation is taking to fight inequality in Scotland. 

“Engender works on every issue of women’s equality and tries to make changes to improve the lives of women and girls in Scotland. 

“We’re mainly a policy organisation, so we do research, write briefings, and try to influence parliament and legislation — but we also host events and talks to groups across the country and really try to spread the word of women’s equality,” Alys explains at the start of the interview. 

Engender works on a whole range of issues because — as Alys herself puts it – “once you start looking at the world you realise that every issue is an issue of women’s inequality because we live in a patriarchal society.” 

A few years ago, Engender held a vast consultation process called ‘Gender Matters’ where Alys and her team met with women and girls around Scotland to uncover what prevalent issues were affecting women at the time. 

The organisation then launched its ‘Gender Matters Road Map’ which sets out a series of suggestions for the Scottish Government and other bodies how to move towards greater women’s equality by 2030. 

The plan was developed in collaboration with female activists across Scotland, the women’s sector and wider stakeholders, and is divided up into ten key areas aimed to target all aspects of inequality, of which one key focus is that of social security. 

Since austerity took over in the UK, 86% of cuts come from women’s incomes and, considering women are twice as dependant on social security as men, it’s clearly an issue that disproportionately affects women. 

“One thing we’ve been working really hard on is the idea of offering individual payments in universal credit, and this is a really good example of feminist policy work because it seems like a really tiny thing, but it would have a massive impact,” Alys says. 

Universal credit combines separate social security entitlements into one household payment rather than giving it to individuals in a household. 

“In most households in Scotland that would go to the man which obviously undermines the idea of equality and the idea of social security entitlements which are meant for particular people. But it’s also particularly damaging obviously for women who are in abusive relationships or have controlling partners – it removes all access to independent finances,” she says. 

Thanks to the work of Engender, the Scottish parliament pledged to implement default independent payments for social security: a massive step for women and their ability to participate in public life in Scotland on the same basis as men. 

Simultaneously, Engender works on decriminalising abortion. 

“Abortion still sits within criminal justice rather than health and that’s because the law has carried on from the UK, so the recent devolving of powers has been a great opportunity for Engender to discuss how and why abortion is a fundamental women’s right,” Alys explains. 

It is organisations such as Engender that really bridge the gap between women and issues such as inequality, allowing us to access the right information and begin making the moves that can ultimately abolish inequality in Scotland. 

When asked about the current state of equality in Scotland, and if we have much further to go in achieving an equal society, Ayls has the most realistic of opinions. 

“I think we still have a really long way to go when it comes to equality in Scotland, but what’s really exciting is that there are more and more people getting it and getting involved,” Alys says. 

“There’s still an awful lot of work to be done to deepen our understanding of inequality — in that it’s not just about different genders, but also white women having more privilege than women of colour, than trans women, than disabled women – and realising that if we’re not fighting for equality for all women, we’re not fighting for equality at all.”  

International Insight

Joanna Hampson brings you the latest EN4 international news brief for Tuesday October 23.

Here are today’s top stories.

  • The killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was allegedly planned days in advance. The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan revealed he has strong evidence to suggest Khashoggi was killed in a premeditated murder at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on the 2nd of October. In his address this Tuesday, to the MP’s of his ruling party, President Erdogan confirmed that 18 people had been arrested in Saudi Arabia over the case, but is yet to release further information regarding the details of the evidence. For live updates from the investment conference in Saudi Arabia head to the Guardian.

 

  • The world’s longest sea-crossing bridge has finally been opened in Zhuhai, China. Chinese President Xi Jinping has officially opened the bridge, which connects Hong Kong to Macau and the mainland Chinese city of Zhuhai, spanning 55km (34 miles) of water. The $20 billion bridge took nine years to build while incurring major delays and cost overruns. To watch the video ‘flying over the world’s longest sea bridge’ head to the BBC.

 

  • Poland’s first openly gay politician has said progressive policies can win in the countries local elections. After the ruling Law and Justice party suffered setbacks in local elections at the weekend, Robert Biedroń who stepped down as mayor of Słupsk to launch his own pro-European, “pro-democratic” movement, has now said that progressives can win. Biedroń’s own political trajectory, as a young, former LGBT activist who was elected to the Sejm in 2011, strides towards a modern Poland, advancing on the common view of the Catholic country. The Guardian report on the advancements of the upcoming elections in more detail on their website.

 

  • Donald Trump has warned that the US will bolster its nuclear arsenal to put pressure on Russia and China. Speaking to reporters, the President repeated his belief that Russia has violated the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, which he has threatened to leave. Russia continues to deny these allegations.

In Business

 

  • UK based vacuum cleaner manufacturer, Dyson, is set to build its new electric car in Singapore. The factory will break ground in Singapore later this year with the first car scheduled to roll off the production line in 2021. Dyson has said Singapore was chosen for the project based on the availability of engineering talent, regional supply chains and proximity to some key target markets. With a vast budget of £2 billion committed to the plant, Dyson will be focussing largely on research and development and test track facilities.

 

  • Co-founder of the Benetton clothing firm, Gilberto Benetton, has died at the age of 77. Benetton founded United Colors of Benetton in Italy, with brothers Luciano and Carlo and sister Giuliana, in the 1960s. Considered as one of the most powerful families in Italy, Benetton himself is credited with diversifying the clothing company into a multi-billion euro giant. United Colors of Benetton is known for its provocative advertising campaigns which have previously featured images of prisoners sentenced to death in America and, more recently, displayed images of migrants being rescued from the Mediterranean.

Documentary review: Chef’s Table Season 5

no credit needed

A cinematic consideration of diversity.

The documentary series ‘Chef’s Table’ showcases some of the world’s most renowned chefs and allows each to divulge their profoundly personal experiences and motivations, ultimately realising the unique styles that shape their cuisine.  In its first four seasons, the Netflix original ​series ​became known for its artistic cinematography and creative elevation of what cooking programmes had become. Launched on the September 28th, season five explores a new sense of diversity in both its approach and its subjects.

Unlike the past episodes, which revealed an unwelcome penchant for the male Michelin-starred chefs and fine dining exclusivity, the new season is seemingly a response to the audience critique of its predecessor (the pastry season). It showcases the most diverse and accessible cast so far, with two out of four chefs being women and two of the restaurants exhibiting a dining experience that seems more plausible to its audience: relativity inexpensive and void of bookings stretching a year in advance.

Season five shows deep consideration of how and why food stories should remain compelling even in 2018 when everything – or so we thought – has already been covered. Since its initial release in early 2015, across the 22 episodes that have led to the latest season, all of five female chefs had been featured on the show. It could be argued that discussing why such a lack of diversity is still prevalent in this rapidly modernising era would be worth our time, but why not give these award-winning filmmakers the benefit of the doubt and focus on how Chef’s Table is marking a major discourse of correction.

This distinctly new direction was spearheaded by the compelling story of Philadelphia chef and undocumented immigrant, Cristina Martinez. Fleeing an abusive husband, Martinez left Mexico eight years ago and throughout the episode it becomes clear that the trauma she experienced from this time will never fade. Despite all her efforts to become integrated, she was denied a green card and remains officially undocumented, living a life constantly at risk in Philadelphia.

Dissimilar to many of the series’ chefs, Martinez never sought to over complicate the traditional ingredients she used to create gastronomical elevations. After losing her job at a local restaurant – where her employer refused to write her a recommendation letter in her application for a green card – she and husband Ben Miller began cooking the food of Martinez’ childhood out of their one-bedroom apartment. Now, they are both co-owners of and chefs at their restaurant South Philly Barbacoa. Martinez is celebrated for her traditional Barbacoa cuisine: lamb that is laced with citrus and slow-cooked over an open flame. What started as the simple necessity of living, eventually grew into a platform for a greater understanding of Mexican food.

no credit food

In this episode, Martinez’ story explores the challenges of immigrants worldwide. Her constant battle to be accepted in a place so far from home, paired with the sacrificial nature of everything she does, solely to support her daughter and family, whom she hasn’t seen since she began her 15-day trek across the desert. Not only does this first episode shed light on the challenges faced by undocumented workers across the American food industry, it somehow still delivers what viewers clicked on Chef’s Table hoping to see; a beautifully filmed depiction of new world cuisine that fully defends the ability of food to provide comfort when it is most needed.

With nowhere else to go when the doors of acceptance were slammed in her face, Cristina Martinez stood her ground. Fuelled by the love from her family in Mexico, she managed to make a home for herself in South Philadelphia by sharing the food of her ancestors. But it’s not just Martinez who steers the new-found theme of diversity within the season. Episode two travels to Turkey where mentor and chef, Musa Dağdeviren, expresses the loss of knowledge about native cuisines.

“When you define food in ethnic terms, it sets communities against each other, and can create a serious alienation and extinction of our food culture,” Dağdeviren explains as the documentary films him at his restaurant, Çiya, where he aims to converge dishes from regions across Turkey. Producing food traditionally served in homes, that connect the customers to their long forgotten ethnic roots.

In another episode, ‘Chef’s Table’ travels to Thailand to meet Bo Songvisava, who was voted Asia’s Best Female Chef in 2013, and whose authentic Thai cooking draws influence from both the city’s impassioned street food and the rediscovered flavours of home traditions. At her restaurant, Bo.Lan, Songvisava and husband Dylan ‘Lan’ Jones use only organic and locally sourced produce in their commitment to fight the industrialisation of the food industry.

Finally, the collection ends with Albert Adrià of elBarri in Barcelona. Although the chef can be considered a success in his own right, he feels his life is constantly overshadowed by the status of his older brother and fellow Catalonian chef, Ferran Adrià Acosta. With a constant obligation to create new and exciting culinary advancements, Adrià recounts the immense pressure of working in a world-renowned restaurant, its effects made clear to the viewer.

Each account from season five seems to highlight a different modern-day challenge. Whether the main theme is identity, acceptance or a loss of culinary connection, ‘Chef’s Table’ has somewhat explored and conquered a widened scope of subjects. Encouraging the audience to feel at ease in the hands of these new characters, who are undeniably more relatable than those who came before them.

 

 

 

 

That Meme – Podcast

meme

Photo credited to David Wilkinson.

When Lucia Gorman and Patrick Richie stepped foot in Edinburgh Club Bourbon, it didn’t seem likely that they would become internet sensations within the next few days.

For this weeks EN4 News Podcast, we thought we’d discuss what exactly it must feel like to be made into a meme, and go through some of the funniest suggestions as to what’s being shouted in Lucia’s ear.

%d bloggers like this: