VIN + OMI's approach to their design practice is based on social and environmental issues.
We have initiated 23 social projects that have led to textile production or design outcomes.
All of our unique textiles are borne out of a social or environmental project, this could be a river or ocean clean up project, an employment scheme growing organic raw material or providing care and support for our caretaker village on our latex plantation in Malaysia
In 2009 VIN + OMI invested in a latex plantation near Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia to ensure:
• The caretaker village was cared for and financially compensated for its work. We regularly monitor the working conditions and social welfare of the villagers. Education programmes and health treatment in the village are part funded by proceeds from the liquid latex sales.
• The plantation was replanted with rubber trees and care was taken to ensure organic approaches were used.
• The latex produced is chemical free
The liquid latex is then used in a variety of textiles including hybrid latex, breathable latex and our Amalgam fabric.
VIN + OMI
VIN + OMI are working with the Riverkeeper Organisation and Debbie Harry in NYC.
In 1966, the Hudson River was dying from pollution and neglect. Run-down factories choked it with hazardous waste, poisoning fish, threatening drinking water supplies, and ruining world-class havens for boating and swimming. Sadly, America’s “First River” had become little more than an industrial sewer.
Riverkeeper continues its fight today, seeking out polluters and teaming with citizen scientists and activists to reclaim the Hudson River. And, they also work to ensure that over nine million New Yorkers have clean, safe drinking water.
VIN + OMI are pioneering a project to convert collected plastic from the Hudson River to textiles. The textiles will be designed into a range of products, some practical for use of the volunteers and some for sale to raise revenue for Riverkeeper.
This circular project model is rolled out in similar formats internationally by the VIN + OMI team
LIVING IN A BUBBLE
VIN + OMI X AUTISM USA / UK
VIN + OMI have directed and produced a very personal music video in collaboration with USA actress and musician Ruby Modine (daughter of actor Matthew Modine). The project combines Ruby’s beautiful rendition of ‘ As Tears Go By with a sensitive film shot by the design duo . The project is to raise awareness of Asperger Syndrome.
Living in a Bubble is a video through the eyes of Omi who has Asperger Syndrome. It highlights the daily challenge he and others with the condition go through every day.
Omi is one half of fashion brand VIN + OMI. Fashion is a very social industry which challenges and provokes. This is a particularly difficult challenge for an Asperger sufferer.
Because it is an illness that has no physical appearance, People affected with Asperger’s are often misjudged. The symptoms also vary between each person; it can manifest itself as poor social judgement and understanding and can have side conditions such as dyslexia or depression.
The video is shot mainly underwater, a place which is devoid of social interaction and a place where his thoughts can be heard without any outside noise. When Omi heard Ruby Modine’s version of "As Tears Go By", he was inspired by her soulful voice and the poignancy of the track. It inspired him to make a film about his illness and to help raise awareness for Research Autism, the leading UK research charity for the disease.
VIN + OMI X SIGHTSAVERS
Vin and Omi have supported Sightsavers, as individuals, with donations for many years, we cannot imagine the handicap sight loss can bring. We aim to do as much as possible to aid Sightsavers in their quest to restore sight to at risk individuals. The facts that there are 285 millionpeople in the world who are blind or visually impaired and 80% of this is treatable are a tough fact to forget.
In donating our design for the shirt we brainstormed what would be most appropriate. We were taken by the variation of colors in people’s eyes and worked with abstract color combinations to create a spherical design that looks almost 3D. It symbolizes a globe of millions of colors that can be seen with full sight and highlights that even though we all have different irises, we all see through the same mechanism.
After designing the shirt we realized that the great photographer Rankin’s work Eyescapes may have been in the back of our minds as it was such a great exhibition. It is even more fitting as Rankin has already done exceptional work in supporting Sighsavers so we feel honored to follow in his footsteps.
The shirt we have designed is printed on a great fabric from recycled bottles by the USA company Rethink Fabrics and is made in Guatemala providing local employment.”