sustainable, fashion , ilio nema, bondi beach

sustainable fashion ilio nema

Some people come into our lives like magic. This was certainly the case with my friend Ariane Leondaridis. Tapped on the shoulder at a busy Bondi bar, I turned to see a gorgeous, tall, elfin woman with a huge smile saying hi - we got chatting and I suppose, never stopped. She’d just moved to Bronte’s sun kissed sands from New York with her family, leaving her post as Ulla Johnson’s head designer for a dream of providing her children a laid back Aussie childhood.

Coming from a Greek and French background , she has that infectious energy and loudness of Hellenic people coupled with Parisian refinement and a keen interest in culture. With a common passion for the arts and sustainability I spent many a night talking to Ariane about different mediums of artistic expression and ethical production. She is, I must add, annoyingly modest about her talents – I asked to see her live drawing class sketches once and she refused saying that they just weren’t very good yet . After much begging , she was made to relent and dear reader, the sketches were so brilliant , I asked to put one on my wall. When she said she wanted to get into making ceramics and sculptures, I got excited because I really need some for my house and I love her aesthetic. No matter how many mediums she dipped into and experimented with,  fashion wouldn't stop niggling in the back of her mind.

Fast forward nearly 3 years and Ariane is starting her own ethical, artesian label Ilio Nema with her old coworker from Ulla, Katia Kelso. The label’s name derives from the word Ilio, meaning Sun, or mythical sun god Helio riding across the sky in his chariot and Nema:  meaning thread under Athena’s weaving wisdom or a special tool central to Theseus’ safe return from the centre of the labyrinth.

Effortlessly bohemian with a tomboy edge, handcrafted, seasonless and authentically sustainable, the brand exudes principles of quality over quantity and understated luxury coupled with intricate details. It’s the sort of clothes one looks after for a lifetime then passes on–  as far away from fast fashion as possible. One garment sometimes takes days to make by hand by Moroccan weavers - a far cry from the churning machine of mass production.  In this world of rampant consumerism and mindless pollution , Ilio Nema stands with few other peers. Making a label sustainable is one thing, making it interesting and original is another.  
But, I'm not a model! - Ariane exclaimed when I demanded to shoot her in her own clothes. I think these photos prove, it's just another thing she is modest about.

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sustainable fashion ilio nema

In a whirlwind of travelling and my daughter getting sick, 2 weeks have gone past in a flash so here is my promised update on how my hair is faring post my amazing experience with System Professional. I really loved my salon service experience, yet does it really last? To be honest, I was dubious since I live by the beach and my hair is best friends with salt ,harsh sun and flat irons. Nothing has ever worked consistently and I wasn’t sure that anything ever would, yet I was given products to take home as part of my unique EnergyCodeTM experience, so I decided to commit and use them religiously in hopes of extending my newfound virgin-like hair. This is what I found :


  1. My number 1 problem with any colouring followed by a treatment is that my hair has so much red in it that even though a toning product is applied, after 2 washes that toner disappears and I am left with my same old brassy tones. Kudos points to my ginger genes but total fail points for my cool blonde highlights. The System Professional Silver Shampoo that had been prescribed as part of my EnergyCodeTM regimen has been a godsend. I use it every time I wash my hair and leave it in for a minute before washing out. I have used silver shampoos before but this one has by far been the best yet. I vouch for it.


  1. The System Professional Repair Shampoo feels nice, moisturising as well as like its’s adding strengthening power, but to be honest, I haven’t used this much, just because I really love the Silver Shampoo’s superpowers.


  1. The System Professional Hydrate Mask is my new best friend because it’s perfect for coarse hair like mine. My hair needs it like the deserts miss the rain. Seriously, I understand this is a lame 90’s Everything But The Girl reference but in my case it’s the truth. My hair needs moisture so bad that I don’t even use normal conditioner anymore. It’s literally this stuff every time, on for 5-10 minutes and voila! Softness – hello!


  1. The System Professional Solar Sealing Cream is something I use on the weekends, especially if I know I will be on the beach a lot. I just smother this through, tie my hair up and it works like a moisture seal, stopping hair from becoming brittle. Since I have been using this, I haven’t had straw like hair post swimming.


  1. The System Professional Luxe Oil Reconstructive Elixir – I have used this on occasions that I have needed to blow dry my hair, which hasn’t been often due to travel and child with cold, yet I have liked using a few drops on wet hair, then blow drying straight. It gives my hair instant shine and moisture without feeling heavy and weighed down. I only use this product from mid-lengths down to the tips as it is a little too oily for my roots. The results are always pleasing, leaving hair looking healthy and illuminated overall .

Verdict: Yes, it is possible to extend the initial feeling of salon fresh hair via the amazing experience of the System Professional EnergyCodeTM service, and that is by looking after my hair properly with at home care products that have been personally prescribed for me and my hair needs. I feel like my hair is still amazingly soft and manageable and I’m sure that has to do with having a professional regime I can follow rather than ‘anything goes’ when on the go, ‘just throw it on’ type of haircare I usually adhere to. Funny that; you give your hair proper care and attention and great things happen!

To experience new System Professional for yourself and find out your unique EnergyCode™ care system, click here (link to


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