ABOVE: Claudine DeSola, Tabitha St.Bernard-Jacobs and Alysia Reiner
Actor and producer Alysia Reiner’s environmental activism inspired Livari, a fashion collaborative driven by the idea of zero-waste
My grandmother used to say that it takes a busy person to get things done. In Alysia Reiner’s case, that could not be more true. The actor and producer is busy filming the next season of Orange is the New Black, as well as The Deuce and Better Things. She just produced and starred in Egg, a dark comedy that Reiner says is “about why women choose motherhood, fear it and revere it.”
She herself is a busy mom, and aficionado of all things organic. Reiner is passionate about fashion and protecting the environment. That passion fueled the creation of Livari, a zero-waste womenswear label made ethically in New York, with partners Claudine DeSola and Tabitha St. Bernard-Jacobs.
“The whole idea is zero-waste sustainable,” she says. “It’s very much a political-environmental statement.”
“The mission,” says Reiner, “is raising awareness around fashion, art and sustainability. So much of what happens around climate and environment is fear,” she continues, so she thought, “How do you keep hope in this moment? And how can we show people that fashion can be sustainable and beautiful and a form of joy?”
Livari’s first collection launched in 2018, at the same time Reiner was filming Egg. She soon realized how ambitious an undertaking it was. With limited time, she and her partners decided, moving forward, to collaborate with companies that already had zero-waste manufacturing in place. They worked with Oka-B, a woman-owned shoe manufacturer, on a ballet shoe. “Oka-B has a recycling program where you can send your old shoes back so they don’t become environmental waste. And 15 to 25 percent of their materials are already recycled,” says Reiner.
Each collection not only gives back to the environment, the Livari team chooses a nonprofit to partner with as well. For the Oka-B collaboration, they partnered with Still She Rises, the first public defender office in the country dedicated exclusively to representing mothers in the criminal justice system, inspired by Reiner’s experience with Orange is the New Black.
Recently, Livari worked with Elvis + Kresse on a limited-edition clutch bag, made from scraps from the production of Burberry leather goods and lined with parachute material recovered from WWII, to benefit barefootcollege.org. It is inscribed as follows: “Joy is an act of resistance.” And that, says Reiner, is the entire idea. livariclothing.com