Green fashion and design may be ubiquitous today, from high-end couturiers to mass-market retailers, but that wasn’t always the case. Meet some of the women who paved the way—and gave sustainability its stylish cred.
Jill Heller, Stylist
Wardrobe styling isn’t a new industry, but Jill Heller’s approach to it—that is, to highlight eco-designers and products—has made her a true pioneer. After working with high-end clients for years, Heller established Pure Thread, a personal styling company focused on sustainable fashion.
“Our mission is to bring many of these companies’ products together in a single accessible location, where we can style our clients’ wardrobes,” Heller says. “We really value engagement with consumers so that we can continue to build on the public’s knowledge of sustainable clothing practices and share the brands we love.”
Heller is optimistic about where the green fashion industry is headed. “People are finally beginning to pay attention—and very well-known brands (from Stella McCartney to H&M) are taking notice and making changes,” she says. “This awareness will have a trickle-down effect as it goes from the industry to the consumers. We are now on the highest of plateaus and people are getting really interested and recognizing the importance of sustainable fashion.” thepurethread.com
Maxine Bédat and Soraya Darabi, Co-founders, Zady
“No more clothing that ends up in landfills. No more production with questionable roots. Quality over quantity. Your choices matter.” That’s the philosophy behind Zady, an e-commerce site that focuses on socially responsible fashion and transparency in fashion production. Each product sold on the site comes with a checklist of “Why It’s Special,” whether it’s because a pair of jeans was manufactured in the U.S. or because a dress features high-quality, specially sourced materials.
Co-founders Maxine Bédat and Soraya Darabi met in preschool and reconnected later in life when Bédat was working with The Bootstrap Project, a nonprofit that empowers independent artisans who are working to end their own poverty, which is now a sister company to Zady. “We were looking for that place to shop for pieces that were not only good for us, but good for the people who make them—and we couldn’t find it,” Bédat says of their impetus to launch Zady. “We hope Zady can help consumers realize that we don’t need all this stuff and inspire a more conscientious approach to how we shop.” zady.com
Clodagh, Interior Designer
With three branches to her brand—a product design group, an online showroom of furnishings and accessories, as well as a design services studio located in Manhattan’s NoHo neighborhood—Clodagh has a comprehensive and global approach to green design.
The Irish-born designer has traveled to 90 countries throughout her career, which has spanned everything from makeup packaging to hotel spaces, and she continues to infuse that worldly influence into her work stateside. “I was brought up in the country in the west of Ireland—we had dogs and horses, and we fed them pure foods, and we fed ourselves pure foods, and we never thought to do otherwise,” she says. “So when I started my career, it never occurred to me to design without sustainability in mind.”
Clodagh says that her work is about more than just the products produced, it’s about how society treats the artisans, animals and every other factor involved with design. “We need to take a holistic approach to design,” Clodagh says. “It’s all about looks right now, but it needs to be about meaning.” clodagh.com