Petals, Pollen & Public Scraps

After writing my last piece on the controversial issue of fur in fashion, I decided to do some research into methods of ethical production and manufacturing within the fashion world, and how designers were implementing and changing concepts of fashion production in the twenty-first century.

New York-based designer Cara Piazza is what I found.

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Photo: Calyx

Piazza, the brains and beauty behind ‘Calyx’, an ethically sourced and environmentally friendly clothing label, is revolutionising the fashion world for the better.

Calyx is unique in a number of ways: it uses natural dyes and “locally grown colour” in the form of petals, plant matter and other botanicals, minerals, safe metals and, most intriguingly, food wastes.

Yes, you read correctly, Piazza uses food waste to create natural patterns and colours to print on each garment. No two pieces are the same and the use of alchemical dye treatment sessions ensures they are clean and skin-friendly.

It’s absolutely brilliant in designer quality; all with the added bonus of knowing each piece was created in a manner that is both ethical and committed to reducing some of the fashion industries biggest downfalls.

Piazza is working towards an industry and universal understanding of sustainable fashion – reducing the amount of cheap fabrics and dyes that enter the environment each day and discontinuing the support of sweatshop labour – posing the question: what more can we do?

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Photos: Calyx

By Alanah Frost

Books.

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For the longest time, the bane of the student’s life has been the standard homework of “read this chapter of this book.” It started in high school, and for many of us, has carried over to university. So too has the fact that most students aren’t going to do this task. If there is written work that must be done, some think, “well if I do the reading first then my writing will be better.” They will then skim through the book looking for parts that seem important to them. Others think, “I’ll do the writing first because it takes more effort, so I will find it easy to read”, only for them to be mentally exhausted by the time the reading comes around.

Most of the time, it isn’t much of a problem. When the teachers ask some questions, the ones that possess herculean mental strength to finish the reading carry the rest. If someone is called upon at random, they can give a half answer from the context of the discussion. In order to force students to read, at times assessments are based upon the textbook.

For one of my classes, I have been getting by without actually owning the book. The teacher has actually claimed that I am one of the better students. For me, the $100 textbook became unnecessary – I was learning what I needed to know without it. Each lesson we had was based upon a chapter of the book, but as we went through everything in the actual classes, the book was just a longer version of what we were learning. We spent half the class watching YouTube videos explaining everything anyway.

Until of course, the test arrived. Fifty multiple-choice questions… one correct answer for each. Theoretically, I knew my stuff and should have been prepared. The director of the course had a different idea. They decided that knowledge wasn’t important, specific words used by the book were. Some of the questions had answers that were literal synonyms, but only one answer was correct. How do I know that they were the words of the book, you may ask? I copied and pasted one of the questions into Google and it came up with that passage from the book.

Textbooks aren’t a huge deal for me; I’ve only needed one for that class and I didn’t even bother to get it. For others, these books that can be hardly ever used, rack up hundreds of dollars in cost. My friend managed to sell his books for a profit, telling me “it’s great. I bought this book for $40 and sold it for $60. Small gains, but worth… it’s just $20 off my next set of books.”

The fact that he thinks that the worth of his textbooks isn’t the knowledge he’s getting from them, but how much he can save on buying new ones speaks volumes.

By James Wallace

A Guide To Being a Keyboard Warrior

In today’s society, social media gives a voice to anyone with an internet connection. From keyboard warriors to the good-hearted citizens, the rise of the Internet has allowed people with different views, intentions and beliefs, to publicly air their opinions as loudly as they like.

It’s very easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment and call out someone for having a different opinion to you. Believe me, I do it all the time and it can be incredibly difficult to stop myself. It’s always for and against an issue, and rarely ever will you find a moderate third-party who sits in the middle of an issue trying to call for calm or understanding.

Pro-marriage equality vs. traditionalists.

Those for immigration and acceptance of refugees vs. those who believe Islam will ‘ruin Australia’- or some variation of that sentence.

Like I said, I’m quite guilty of arguing with people whose views differ from mine and I’m positive that most of us at some point or another have gone in to back whatever argument we prefer.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t achieve anything.

Calling someone out for being a ‘bigot’ or a ‘leftie’ only reinforces their belief. It reinforces that they are right and you are wrong because you insulted them.

 Instead, we should seek to understand why they think the way that they think. Try to understand why they hold the opinions that they do, especially if those opinions are factually incorrect. Understand them and their way of thinking and how they came to the answers that they have, so that you may have a more wholesome view of their side of the issue.

Once we hold a better understanding of people who are different from us, we can then seek to educate or to compromise, because more often than not, there are a number of us who believe in the facts, and those of us who refuse to believe them.

Let us take the honourable senator from Queensland, Ms. Pauline Hanson.

In her maiden speech to Parliament Ms. Hanson let rip on a large number of allegations, that, to her supporters, only reinforce the rhetoric that Ms. Hanson has ridden into the Senate.

“Now we are in danger of being swamped by Muslims”

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  The Muslim population makes up only 2.2% of the total Australian population, and is the fourth highest religion in the nation behind Christianity, Atheism and Buddhism at 66.1%, 22.9% and 2.5% respectively.

However, there are enough people who believe Ms. Hanson’s allegation despite the facts being completely different.

This is why I so often find myself in the comments sections of Facebook posts.

But from now on, I will endeavor to understand why people hold these beliefs, beliefs that are very different from mine. Why people hold genuine fears and have genuine concerns for our society, also very different from mine, and you should seek to do the same.

Only through understanding and tolerance can we resolve our issues, instead of insults and venom.

By Tyler Trevaskis

 

FUR, FARMERS AND FACTORIES

Fashion’s grey area

 

It appears that once again, the trend for fur coats and crocodile-skin handbags in back – and unfortunately, the way in which they are obtained is still a grey area in the fashion industry.

 

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Photo: Static

 

The fashion world has long been in limbo in regards to the production of animal-skin items, with the issue going in and out of focus for many years. Activists petition it, fashion designers tip-toe around it and the rest of the world fumbles about, buying the coats or supporting the petitions (sometimes even both), not really knowing what to do.

 

National Geographic recently featured an article showcasing what happens behind the scenes of a fur coat: capturing animals, confining them in cages – before killing them and manufacturing their skin for fashion. But more needs to be done for the industry, with tighter laws and humane guidelines sitting at the top of the list.

 

 

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Photo: Peta 

So where to now? Is it a question of personal morals, national legislation or does more need to be done by those at the forefront of the fashion community? The United Kingdom, Croatia and Austria have already implemented bans on fur farming, and the Netherlands are working to follow.

 

However, this still leaves the issue of fur and animal skin items being purchased and worn across the globe.

 

The standards of national guidelines have improved dramatically since fur first came in to fashion, and many would argue it is no different to the farming of animals for food – making the debate a particular tricky one. Perhaps it needs to come down to this then: the standards, the humanity and the care that is taken leading up to production.

 

Humans have always, and will always use animals for both food and fashion, but if we can change the attitudes of those in the business – and those who buy – to incorporate animal welfare, then it’s a start.

 

By Alanah Frost 

Echo 360 and Class Attendance

Throughout your time at La Trobe, you will undoubtedly hear many times “the lecture will be on the LMS”. This is usually quickly followed by “but it’s much better to be in class”. As the semester goes on, the numbers in most lectures gradually drops. Sometimes it only falls to 80%. Sometimes to less than 50%.

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But what does this mean? Through the semester, are an increasing number of people discovering the joys of listening to a lecture online? Possibly more likely, people decide not to attend class with the thought that they can just listen to it whenever they want. It’s easy to put off making the commute to La Trobe with the rationale that you can do the learning anytime you want.

The issue is that for most people, the lecture gets ignored indefinitely. Just listening online is so simple that the weight of what it actually entails is lost. Having it so readily available and accessible means that it doesn’t seem like a vital educational tool. At best, it seems like a chore. At worst, it seems unnecessary or redundant. A friend of mine, Nop Songsangkhan asked me “What’s the point of going all the way to La Trobe when I can listen to it at home? At least there I can be comfortable and do whatever I want.”

Perhaps this is the reason that lecturers and tutors are always saying it is better to be in the lecture theatre. This ‘comfort’ and ability to be in a personal environment where one can do whatever they want is, potentially, a poor way to learn. It diminishes the importance of learning and provides ample distraction.

Of course, for many people, Echo 360 is a godsend. It gives busy people the chance to catch up on something they’ve missed, and an easy way to revise for assignments and exams. It’s a great tool, it’s just a question of how it is used. Many class quizzes I have taken in tutorials are now based upon the lectures, trying to keep students honest. However, if people fail or do poorly on said quizzes because they haven’t attended the lecture is anything really gained or lost? The people that attended the lectures will do well, the people that didn’t listen to them will not. It’s almost the same as just taking attendance.

Echo 360 is a great tool and helpful to many people, but nothing can compare to actually being in the room.

 

By James Wallace

Sausage Party Sizzles Up the Scree

(Spoiler free review)

4/5

Seth Rogen’s new animated comedy cooks up a storm and leaves audiences hungry for more.

 

CAUTION: If you want to see the funniest film of the year, enter at your own risk.

 

The premise is simple; we all know what happens to food when we take them to the ‘great beyond’ (outside the supermarket), they get eaten. The food however, is unaware of their fate.

 

The anthropomorphic Frank the sausage/hot dog (Rogen) discovers the ‘horrible truth’ and decides his mission is to tell the non-believers. Whose Frank’s love interest? Fittingly, a hot dog bun named Brenda (Kristen Wiig).

 

Don’t be fooled by the Disney-esque characters and child-friendly animation – it’s explicit content is definitely not suitable for children. Like a food allergy, keep them far away from this movie. The adults? They will digest and love every second of it.

Sausage Party uniquely positions the audience in an unreal predicament – you side with the food and are disgusted with the humans. We are the enemy and are portrayed as hunger-driven monsters, or in the beginning, their ‘Gods’. An element of horror is applied – its strangely gruesome watching the adorable characters being peeled, sliced and diced. In reality it’s just the process of cooking dinner.

 

The animation is populated with a buffet of well-rounded characters that play on racial stereotypes, (Latinos as tacos, Americans as donuts), the film unexpectedly leads to appropriate modern social commentary on relationships between countries and people.

 

Rogen’s usual risqué comedic flavour is kept intact. Actually, the film hilariously pushes boundaries so far it goes off the cliff. That’s something, even for a Rogen film (Knocked Up and The Interview). The climax of the film, is, well, let’s just say you won’t eat for a week.

 

The usual classmates of Rogen comedies are present – Paul Rudd, Jonah Hill, James Franco, Craig Robinson, Michael Cera and Bill Hader light up the screen like a Coke and Mentos explosion.

 

In an industry that has a superhero film on the shelves every couple of months and remake/reboots galore (not-saying-there’s-a-problem-with-that), Sausage Party is an original and welcomed addition on the movie (super)market.

 

Make sure Sausage Party is on your grocery shopping list and tick it off. Don’t resist the temptation.

 

By Hayley Anderson

 

Sausage Party trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVAcTZKTgmc

Introventures: St. Kilda Beach

A true introvert knows that there’s nothing better than peace and quiet, all the more in the arms of mother nature. My first destination is St. Kilda beach.

Situated on the southern part of Melbourne, the city was named after the yacht Lady of St. Kilda by Lieutenant Charles La Trobe. It is known for St. Kilda beach which sits on the stretch of Port Phillip Bay near Luna Park.

What’s there to do?

There’s so many ways to unwind and relax at the beachfront whether you’re alone or with friends and family. If you’re feeling energetic you can ride a bike, go for a jog or a quick swim. However if you just want to relax, you can opt to take a stroll, grab a quick bite, have a chat over coffee, or go on a picnic. Whatever you decide to do, you won’t be spared from the beauty of the scenery.

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(The contrast between the cool sand and the warmth of the sun made it the perfect day to go for a jog or lie on the shore)

There are café’s and restaurants on the seaside. I personally enjoyed fish and chips.

Why should I do it?

Because every now and then we need to cast our worries aside and ease our minds. Instead of spending your paycheck on a few drinks here and there, save yourself the extra dollars and go for a walk, or read a book instead. We spend most of our time indoors; it’s good to have some extra sunlight.

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(The vastness of the water is humbling)

How do I get there?

From the city in Southern Cross train station, you can take Tram 96 which passes directly infront of St. Kilda beach at stop 136 ‘The Esplanade’.

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(The tram goes all the way from St. Kilda to Brunswick road)

It’s amazing how something can be seen in so many different ways. Melbourne, a city buzzing with activity and life, and yet from here, the place we’ve all come to know and love looks like nothing more than a thin shadow stretching across the horizon.

All it takes is a matter of perspective.

Our fears and worries are not what they seem once we take a few steps back and realize that the world is a much bigger place. In the haste of life, don’t forget to breathe.

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(A view of the bay overlooking Melbourne)

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(Don’t forget to take your pets with you and head to the boardwalk)

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The footprints on the shore remind me of the countless people that have been here from all walks of life. Strangers, widows, children, fathers, daughters… but isn’t that our destiny? That one day all the things we’ve ever done will be turned into footprints. I wonder what footprints I’ll leave behind.

*ALL PHOTOS TAKEN BY HAJ SONGCUYA*

References:

By Haj Songcuya

 

 

Hann, the modern day superwoman

Hann Mrakov is possibly one of the most individual people you’ll ever meet. She’s literally one of a kind.

Hann is 6 foot 2 and she skyscrapers over the whole of La Trobe University. Hann isn’t discouraged by her height – she embraces it, in more ways than one. One of those ways is by creating her own clothes for herself. Every outfit you will see Hann in at LTU she has handmade herself. One of the reasons she started remaking clothes from Savers was to improve our environment, as she is an activist for the Greens. She believes “recycling is key to sustain a better future.” Maybe she’s right? Hann is an example of the future role models we’ll need in our society.

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She not only is an activist for the Greens, she plays a key role in rallies for freeing refugees in our detention centres on Kangaroo Island. She was the key person in the march that happened last week in the CBD. Hann recites the chants and leads the rally with the megaphone.

Hann also fed the Homeless last Saturday night. Hann isn’t just an angel she did admit, “I went to Anyway after and then had kick on’s at revs till Sunday morning”. Hann is a Revs regular and believes “Revs is the place to be”. She is also a regular at Doofs.

For anyone who isn’t familiar with DOOFS – “slang term doof or bush doof refers to a type of outdoor dance party in Australia and New Zealand, generally held in a remote country area or just outside big cities in surrounding bush or rainforests and similar to raves or teknivals.”

Hann believes “Doofs are better than festivals because there’s a sense of community within them.”

Hann also is a vegan and is very active in her local community against animal cruelty. “I once saw a chick be slaughtered in a video and couldn’t eat chicken again after it.” Now Hann says that her only favourite take out food is hot chips from Macca’s and fake vegan Parma’s.

Ever had fake chicken?

Hann suggest you should try it, before you judge it !

By Brianne Keogh

Sean Orr

There is no better way to spend an evening than to listen to local musicians play while enjoying a fine meal and having a drink. Small pubs and venues across regional Victoria regularly provide musician’s with the opportunities to perform in their hometowns and to new audiences. The Golden Vine Hotel, situated in King Street Bendigo holds regular performances that feature a wide range of artists.

Sean Orr, an acoustic artist originally from Echuca enlightened the Bendigo audiences at the Golden Vine Hotel with a mixture of his own original creations and cover songs from the likes of ‘The Boss’ Bruce Springsteen. It was very refreshing to be able to attend a performance that mainly encompasses newly created songs from Sean’s own collection.

Sean’s onstage presence was full of energy and showed that he genuilnely enjoys and takes pride in his music, always ensuring that he engaged his audience with any details about the backstory of his songs that was needed for listeners to understand the context and full meaning behind the songs.

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Although creating your own interpretation of a songs meaning can be beneficial for audience members; the small, detailed descriptions gave listeners the context behind Sean’s creations – which worked very well in this small intimate performance.

By Rhiannon Lloyd

Young Student Leaders

This weekend I had the opportunity to give a talk to the students of the School for Student Leadership at the Gnurad-Gundidj campus, and it was awesome. Being someone who has been through the Gnurad program, I really appreciate and value the awesome things they are doing towards developing young student leaders. Being able to hang out with the students as well as tell them a thing or two about my journey from Gnurad and beyond is truly incredible.

 

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Each day Gnurad has two student leaders, who essentially run the day’s goings-on. From head-count, to giving reminders and important announcements, they also select the quote of the day. On Sunday it was this:

 

“Don’t give up! There’s no shame in falling down. True shame is not standing up again!”

– Shintaro Midorima.

 

The students base their Dearr (drop everything, read and reflect) sessions on this quote, and seeing as I got to partake in the program for the day I decided it was only fair I joined them. This is how I interpreted the quote:

 

There will be a vast number of times in life that you will fall down. Both literally and metaphorically.

 

You don’t achieve your goal, the bloke next to you gets the raise you worked harder for, you don’t quite get the mark you were after despite giving your all to an assignment.

 

Life is full of quite disappointing and difficult set backs. They will, and definitely do, happen.

 

However, the main issue occurs when you allow these set backs to manifest into something permanent. A sense of self-doubt or disbelief in your own abilities. A feeling that your goals are unattainable and unachievable.

 

There is no shame to be found in making a mistake or having some form of set-back happen. There is especially no shame in getting back up or doing the necessary things to correct your course.

 

Having a long line of set backs or a goal that continually moves away from you no matter how hard you chase it can cause a lot of stress. Stress (thanks to the cortisol that is released when you feel stressed) if experienced for long enough can lead to some really nasty things. A break-down in your immune system and a breakdown of your persistence and heart.

 

This often leads to even worse things. Debilitating health issues and perhaps even having an effect on your mental health.

 

There is no shame in falling down. There is shame in not getting back up on the horse and doing what you’ve got to do.

 

Reset your goal. Keep hustling. Keep chasing the dream. Because you will never achieve it if you’re too busy worrying about the fact that you were set back.

 

We’re half-way through the last semester of 2016, let’s finish strong La Trobe.

 

By Tyler Trevaskis