Friday, November 30, 2012

Why Organic Cotton?

I grew up and live in beautiful Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. We love our warm humid temperatures. So, cotton is the fabric of choice here because it’s breathable and light.
Conventional cotton is everywhere. In our bath towels, beach towels, table clothes, bedding, t-towels, general clothing,T-shirts, underwear and more. I was horrified to find that a fabric so loved and desired, because it’s a “natural” fiber, could be so devastating to the planet and directly effect our health.
Conventional cotton is chemically dependent, hooked on pesticides and
fertilizers to grow and accounts for 10% of all agricultural chemicals, and 25% of all
pesticides used worldwide every year.
One T-shirt = 0.4 kg of cotton which draws on 2000 litres of water.
One T-shirt can have 150 gms or 1/3 of a pound of pesticides in it.

Certified Organic Cotton is grown using methods and materials that have a low impact on the environment.
Less water is used to grow organic cotton but it is a thirsty crop.
The most environmentally and economically sustainable cotton is a
rain-fed crop grown in sub-tropical countries with good rain fall.
Areas of India, Peru, Tanzania, and USA, and Australia, are just a few, out of
24 countries world wide, who now grow Organic Cotton.
The production systems of organic cotton:
are labour intense with a hands on approach to pest control
replacing the need for toxic pesticides;
they minimise the use of fertilizers and replenish & maintain soil fertility.
All of this means: 
no harm to the earth, no harmful chemicals, no harm to the growers, no toxic water waste, no harm to the millers, no harm to the manufacturers, no harm to all of us who wear organic cotton.
It's a moral fiber!

I would love to know your favourite cotton item and why you love them?

x Louise

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Encouraged by Her Courage

November has been such a beautiful month for me. 
 I had the opportunity to meet with a group of sweet high school girls right at the start of the month. The interact group from Kedron State High School invited me to speak with them about my passion for the girls in Cambodia and the Somaly Mam Foundation.

Two weeks after that memorable afternoon (and only two weeks ago), I was honoured to see Somaly Mam again, in person. Somaly Mam's smile to so strong, so powerful that you forget that she ever suffered as a sex slave. She was so generous with me as I shared with her my encounter with the Kedron State High School girls. I told her "We love your girls, so much, there's a whole number of ladies in Brisbane, who passionately care for your little girls."

Somaly Mam spoke with delight about her girls, she share how they're in the process of learning to forgive. 

"They are forgiving their past to embrace their future"

Every time I meet with Somaly Mam I'm truly encouraged by her courage and the courage of her girls to live again, to laugh and to play over and over, it reminds me that there is no excuse to ignore joy.

Somaly Mam and I in Melbourne, November 2012

These girls had raised over $150 for the Somaly Mam foundation. When I first heard of this I shed a tear, this is the amount it would cost to purchase a girl out of the horror of sexual slavery.

Somaly Mam receiving the hand written card that the Kedron State High School girls asked me to give her.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Get a Dress, Save a life on the 21st of April!

It's under 4 weeks until the 
On the 21st of April @ New Farm State Primary School Hall, Brisbane.
It's a truly delightful afternoon of tea drinking and clothes swapping
 and in the process we save lives!

1 in 40 girls in Cambodia are sold into sexual slavery from as young as 4 years old.
Last year we raised enough funds that is the equivilant of freeing 8 little girls from Cambodian brothels.
Together we can make a difference!
Come along and swap your gorgeous items of clothing.
Take a look at the photo's below of just some of the beautiful peices we have ready to swap.

A gorgeous floral dress with an intersting back 

This pretty dress is a French Connection peice 

Vintage brown skirt circa 1980's is apart of a suit. A gorgeous jacket makes up this outfit.

Vintage skirt

Vintage silver crop jacket and classic black dress

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Art Saving Lives

Painted with nail polish on canvas

After a beautiful conversation over the phone, Nicole Condon and I quickly realised that we have a shared passion for the little girls in Cambodia.
Nicole visited Cambodia in August last year, where she had an opportunity to visit with the girls who had been recused from brothels. 

Her response to the horror of lost innocence was to bravely celebrate what life and colour there is for those girls who get an opportunity to live.
Nicole is generously donating a painting for the raffle at 

on Saturday the 21st of April.
Please bring cash with you!

You also have the opportunity to buy her art work at Under a Tree Clothing Exchange
with 50% of the proceeds going straight to the Somaly Mam Foundation.

Cambodian water lili's pianted with nail polish on canvas

Gorgeous Nicole Condon 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Seamless is an independently organised event aiming to showcase emerging and sustainable fashion designers and their wares.
 The first of many evenings was last Friday night, the second of March. 
I was honoured to be one of six designers who presented their work and talked about sustainable creations. The event showcased designs from customized eyewear and luxurious underwear ranges to innovative female fashion styles. This evening provided a chance to meet with others, learn, question and feel the impact of new sustanable methods. 
Sponsored by The Rabit Hole/Ideation Cafe the collaborative working space/ coffee shop was vibrant with live music, yummy cupcakes and organic wine.
It was so nice to be with like minded people and celebrate the beauty of sustainablity. 
Seamless @ The Rabit Hole, West End, Brisbane

Monday, February 13, 2012

Why, A Cause?

On a Saturday night in October, a group of us from A Pot of Tea Under a Tree and Hope Foundation went to the screening of Nefarious: Merchant of Souls documentary
It reminded me again of why! 
Why in this moment, A Pot of Tea Under a Tree exists.  
I started A Pot of Tea Under a Tree because ever since I was a little girl I wanted to be a fashion designer and I wanted to change the world. 
A contradiction right? Not now! 
I'm so honoured to be able to provide beautiful sustainable clothing that is morally and environmentally sound BUT! 
This endeavour is created out of a passion for a cause. 
A cause, that is taking steps to strengthen women in their environment throughout the world. 
Miraculously two woman have came across my path and have touched my heart. 
Browen Healy, who is the creator of Hope Foundation, here in Brisbane, Australia and Somaly Mam, the creator of Somaly Mam Foundation, from Cambodia. 
Both woman are rescuing girls from sexual slavery and death.
This is why A Pot of Tea Under a Tree will continue doing what we are doing:
Please know the content of this video may offend some viewers and is not recommended for those under 14 without adult supervision.

Come and be apart of the solution by attending April's 2012

Friday, January 27, 2012

With a new body comes a new wardrobe!

I'm so proud of my gorgeous sister, Marianne.
In the last 8 months Marianne has gone from a size 14/16 to 10/12.
It has been a dedicated but worth while road for her.

Last week she hit her goal weight (she lost 23kg or 50lbs) woohoo!
Marianne has a new body for the new year. With this new body comes a new wardrobe.

Before and After

With the guidence of Wardrobe 101 we began the journey of creating the perfect core wardrobe!

Essentials checklist:
Tailored jacket
Short jacket
Fitted jacket
Trench coat
Tailored pants
Wide leg pants
The perfect skirt
Full skirt
Collared shirt
Statement top
knit sweater or cardigan
Little Black Dress
Special Occasion Dress

Little Black Dress - Perfect date night outfit.

The perfect skirt - Beautiful for the office

Gorgeous Summer Print - Vintage jacket from Metro Retro

Perfect Red Dress - Perfect for drinking tea ;)

Cute Maxi Dress with sweet accessories 

A box full of gorgeous dresses (size 14 & 16) for Under a Tree Clothing Exchange

do your self a favour and check it out
Wardrobe 101

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

What is Sustainable Fashion?

I'm really excited about tonight. I've been asked to be the guest speaker for Undress 101: Sustainable Fashion Network Night. It's such an honour to be asked to speak about something I'm so passionate about.
I'm excited that fashion is moving in this direction as we all become more knowledgable about what sustainable fashion actually is.
 Sustainable Fashion is: 
“ fashion that is designed to be environmentally and ethically friendly.” 
The United Nations defines sustainable as meeting the needs of the present generation with out compromising or sacrificing the ability of the future generations.
There are a lot of terms and words to describe sustainable fashion: green, eco, eco-luxe, organic, sustainable, slow, ethical and the list goes on. 
So what makes clothing environmentally and ethically sound?
I like to simply refer to the 3R’s

Reduce by consciously choosing to wear products that are made using 
environmentally friendly production practices and by selecting materials which 
do not negatively impact the planet at any stage of the process.
Tip: Look for clothing made out of Certified Organic Cotton, 
Hemp, Yak Wool, PET fibers and more. 
A Pot of Tea Under a Tree uses only the best of the stated fabrics.

Reuse by choosing to wear clothing items that are not bought NEW. 
Tip: Attending a clothes swap is a wonderful way to reuse clothing. 
We hold a six monthly clothes swap called Under a Tree Clothing Exchange. 

Recycle by making garments from previously existing objects. 
The Recycled Soda items in our collection are made out of PET woven with Hemp. 
PET is basically plastic bottles recycled down to a beautiful light -weight fiber.
Tip: make a tote bag from an old pair of jeans. 

I loved to know any other tips you might have for reusing and recycling clothing?

x Louise