In this guest article for Urban Times, Jill Heller, founder of PureThread, the sustainable boutique and styling company, shows us the sustainable way. Proving that you can still be stylish and on-trend when you shop ethically, Jill discusses the rewards of buying sustainable fashion and the importance of paying attention to where your clothes come from.
Thankfully, it’s no longer necessary to skip out on design in order to be ethical in our purchasing decisions. It now feels – and looks – remarkably fabulous to wear sustainable fashion. Every season I am inspired by new environmentally conscious ideas, materials, and designs. This fall season, I’m loving Titania Inglis, and Privatsachen silk georgette scarves, and knowing that no ecosystems or communities were harmed for me to look fantastic in my KAMI black blazer and jeans. But in addition to it being enviable fashion, the choice for sustainable garments is heartfelt. My clients love to walk away knowing the stories behind the garments, whether it’s water and energy saved, pesticides avoided, communities supported, or ecosystems thriving. It’s also always inspiring for me to hear and share what new concerns designers are addressing, as there are always more sustainable choices to make throughout design and materials, manufacturing, distribution, and even garment care.
After becoming educated on how harmful the traditional fashion industry is, I would never go back to making my fashion choices based on looks alone – especially since there are so many truly gorgeous sustainably produced clothes out there. For example, I arrived in London for fashion week feeling beautiful in my everyday Stewart + Brown hemp jersey leggings, a cupro dress from H Fredriksson, and a Kristensen Du Nord cardigan that I have lived in for the past five years. Travelling light, my comfy re-purposed leather shoulder bag was made by Vancouver designer Erin Templeton. It feels great to know that everything I am wearing tells a story with ethics in line with my own.
I’ve always taken great pride in my ability to dress women through my own curated retail boutiques, and styling women in sustainable fashion allows me a platform to be proactive about what most concerns me. The PureThread full service styling process offers a curated selection of incredibly stylish and conscientious eco fashion brands. Our goal is to make it easy for clients to shop and dress ethically, while remaining fashionable. At our recent PureThread London pop up shop, women of all walks – mums, designers, philanthropists – found looks to accent their lives. A busy NYC mum and lawyer is loving her mix-and-match options, with structured KAMI suit pieces, organic weekend tees, and a cropped re-purposed wool coat. While her mother-in-law chose accent pieces, including a feminine Privatsachen silk scarf and a Stewart + Brown daily knit blazer. Others went for weekend looks of soft alpaca sweaters to pair with structured organic jeans, while some chose everyday up-cycled leather bags, belts and shoes.
In order to build demand for sustainable fashion, it’s important for designers to stay up on current fashion trends in the larger market. The paradigm of eco fashion as niche products, for the “greenfluencers” only is rapidly shifting. Stewart + Brown, Les Racines du Ciel, Panchachuli, KAMI, Eden Diodati, Ada Zanditon, H Fredriksson, Suzanne Rae, Titania Inglis, and many others are creating looks that are not only on trend, but trend-setting – all using materials and processes that protect this wondrous planet. The more attractive these garments are to a wider public, the better off we all are. We’ve seen the bigger manufacturers start to take action to attract the increasingly educated consumer base. Levi’s Water <Less jeans have reduced water consumption; Puma now publishes economic valuation on its environmental impacts; and Timberland brings to the market its own expertise and insight about protecting the outdoors, innovating products, improving workers’ lives and engaging in community services. These are only tidbits of the good news out there!
PureThread’s styling process, guided by our passion for great fashion, deep research, and trend awareness is only one piece of the puzzle. We’re constantly seeking new ways to collaborate across the vast spectrum of the fashion sphere to help push the envelope just a little bit further.
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