SFF Events

Event Recap: How to Build a Sustainable Fashion Brand

Fostering community, authentic storytelling and conscious consumption/production were just a few of the larger takeaways from our panel discussion on How to Build a Sustainable Fashion Business held last Friday evening. The panel, which consisted of designers Andrea Moore Beaulieu Founder of Moore Custom Goods, Cassie Morgan Co-Founder of Altar, Marisa Howard Founder of Seaworthy, Jason Calderon Founder of West Daily and moderated by Sarah Donofrio Founder of One Imaginary Girl, shared advice on building a successful fashion business and making eco-concious decsions apart of the business ethos. The result: honest and passionate advice/tips to help emerging designers and aspiring entrepreneurs start and build their fashion business with a focus on conscious responsibility. 

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We learned a lot from our panelist but don't take our word for it. Here are a few takeaways from our attendees: 

@kaleighnjones "My biggest takeaway from the forum was hearing everyone say to start small, work slowly and intentionally. The biggest hiccup I’ve had is getting so overwhelmed by environmental issues that I become paralyzed—not wanting to produce anything. Accepting that making a fashion product is not helping the planet, but you are consciously taking steps to do it responsibly was a bit of a mental breakthrough. It was great to hear all of the research each one of them goes into."

@swedes_den "One thing I learned and took away from the event was that our customers are on this journey with us and the ones who thoughtfully visit our stores multiple times before actually purchasing are the customers we want. They’re the ones who help continue our story.”

@janetmorales04 "A quote that stood out to me the most was from Marisa of Seaworthy. "We value the product even after you buy it." Buying sustainable fashion/accessories isn't a fast purchase. These businesses take the time to teach their customers how to care fir their items therefore adding lasting value."

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@dezignsby "I learned how to incorporate what you already do, based on your lifestyle, grow slowly, and know those that learn about your vision and believe in your story will become not only customers but also your biggest advocates. 

@pschanel "Something new I learned was that gems/stones can be sustainably grown in a lab - I had NO idea! Now that changes my plans with future wedding ring goals" 

@solunacollective "Our favorite take away was the conversation about how to communicate sustainable fashion to the public. This is something that we definitely struggle with!"

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Pictured (left to right) Cassie Morgan of  Altar , Marisa Howard of  Seaworthy , Sarah Donofrio of  One Imaginary Girl , Andrea Moore Beaulieu of  Moore Custom Goods  and Jason Calderon of  West Daily .  Photography by  Candace Molatore

Pictured (left to right) Cassie Morgan of Altar, Marisa Howard of Seaworthy, Sarah Donofrio of One Imaginary Girl, Andrea Moore Beaulieu of Moore Custom Goods and Jason Calderon of West Daily.

Photography by Candace Molatore

4 Entrepreneurs Share Why Sustainability is an Important Part of Their Business Ethos

What, if any, are the requirements to be considered a sustainable fashion brand and how does one go about building an eco-conscious business? These are questions we've been thinking a lot about lately and are excited to chat about this Friday at our last panel event of the summer.

Eager to get the conversation started, we asked 4 of our panelists to share why they chose to make sustainability a part of their business ethos. 

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Andrea Moore Beaulieu: Founder of Moore Custom Goods

Sustainability came into my design sphere while working for large corporations in New York and Los Angeles and seeing all the waste that is created through the design process. When I started my brand 5.5 years ago I knew that I wanted to do things differently. 

Whether it’s fabric and trim sourcing, hiring employees, sample creation, collection building, garment rebuilding, etc sustainability is at the forefront of each process. 

It isn’t easy and sometimes it comes with major challenges but staying true to our philosophy for the betterment of the environment, our employees and consumers continues to be fruitful over time. 

Jason Calderon: Founder of West Daily 

When I started designing I didn't think about the impact clothing had on the environment or the workers making it. Over the years I started to hear buzzwords like "sustainability" and "green" surrounding products from big brands, and I started to get curious what it was all about. However, it wasn't really until the disaster of Rana Plaza that I woke up to the devastating impact apparel/fashion is having on the world. It made me change my view of the industry in a deep way; it changed the way I shop, design, and collaborate.

I used to call my brand "sustainable", but no longer do because making more clothing is never good for the environment no matter how you do it. Instead I refer to my approach as ethically aware because I do my best to consider the environment every step of the way by fostering a process of slow, small-scale, local production. I take this approach because it feels like the responsible thing to do as a designer. 

Sarah Donofrio: Founder of One Imaginary Girl

Sustainability became important to me when I started working in corporate fashion, and I saw the true dark side of the industry. From cheap labor to knocking off small designers, I knew there had to be a way to thrive in fashion, without decreasing someone else’s quality of life or depleting the earths resources. It is important to me to make my margins fair, so Everyone has access to small and sustainable designers, and one day the consumer will question why certain garments are so cheap.  It’s important for me to make small strides towards sustainability in my business every day because every element of being a fashion designer has some sort of environmental burden attached to it. It is my dream to be able to do my printing solely on existing fabrics, without having to create new fabrics.

Cassie Morgan: Co-Founder of Altar

To be totally honest, I grew up in a very remote part of the California redwoods with parents who preferred an "off the grid, off the land" lifestyle -- so I was raised to be acutely aware of man kind's impact on the natural world from a very young age. That said, sustainability as a concept and way of living has actually become way more palpable to me now that I am a mother. Before having my kid, I certainly went through the motions and made sure to follow good practices as often as possible, but something really shifted when he was born and I became intrinsically aware of the impact of my generation. I shame to think that he will grow up in a world with less resources and less verdancy because of the negligence of the era before him and I experienced a renewed sense of purpose in the realm of sustainable efforts in every facet of our household, business, and social existence. 

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Wanna hear more from our panelist and learn how to build a sustainable fashion brand from industry leaders who have made sustainability their ethos? Join us next Friday, August 24th and learn what conscious responsibility means for brands and consumers today

Everything You Missed From Our Style Event on Building an Ethical and Sustainable Closet

Building community and inspiring others are very important to us here at The Sustainable Fashion Forum so when it came to planning our summer event we knew we wanted to do something that was both inspirational and involved our community in some way. To celebrate the launch of SFF as more than just an annual event we partnered with our friends over at Foundation and Function to host a launch party/panel discussion. 

Photography by Candace Molatore

Photography by Candace Molatore

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The panel was entitled, The Refashioned Closet and was all about how to repurpose your closet to create an ethical and sustainable closet. Personal stylists Rose Jubb of Style Class and Corey Gregg of Poppy Lyn gave us great tips on finding your personal style and creating a functional wardrobe that fits your lifestyle. 

Identifying your personal style is by far the first step towards a sustainable wardrobe. Knowing what NOT to buy is just as important as knowing what TO buy...when you know what works for your body type, coloring, personality & lifestyle you are eliminating costly mistakes that are wasteful & clutter up a closet. - Corey Gregg
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Drea Johnson, owner of Hidden Opulence shared insight on how to repurpose 'old' items in your closet and make them new.

One of the first steps in building a sustainable closet is to go through your closet and get rid of the things you're not wearing. If you really can't part with something try to think of ways you can reinvent the piece to better fit your wardrobe and style. By freeing up your closet you can create room for new treasures to love. - Drea Johnson

Influencers Hannah Aronowitz and Nicole Burron shared fabulous advice about what it means to create a sustainable wardrobe.

Everyone's closet should be unique and suited to their daily lives. Some of us work from home, others in places with little season variation and others who never accessorize per their personal style, or wouldn't leave home without. I think the trick is to have pieces that YOU would wear again and again and that would pair well with other pieces in your closet." - Hannah Aronowitz
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Pictured (left to right): Drea Johnson, Rose Jubb, Hannah Aronowitz, Corey Gregg, Nicole Burron

Pictured (left to right): Drea Johnson, Rose Jubb, Hannah Aronowitz, Corey Gregg, Nicole Burron

To say we had a blast was an understatement! We had such a fun time getting to hang out IRL and even met a group of new friends that came down from Seattle just to hang out with us for the evening. So cool! 

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