|Handmade earrings made from sustainably harvested tagua nut, the ethical alternative to elephant ivory|
Additionally, we work exclusively with women artisans (statistically, women bear a disproportionate burden of the world’s poverty). According to research conducted by the United Nations, women in marginalized communities are extremely effective in creating positive social and economic change in their communities, once they have access to basic human rights such as health care, reproductive rights, and education.
Finally, Greenola strives to use natural and/or recycled materials whenever possible. We use eco-friendly production (no factories or high-emission machines) and are committed to sustainable design.
Q. How would you describe the design aesthetic of Greenola in 10 words or less?
We use re-purposed materials such as used bottles and containers, paper, plant dyes, and natural fibers wherever possible. We try to use pre-existing materials, such as old blankets or dresses to make new, modern designs. We also recently launched a recycled fashion line.
|These striking earrings have been handmade in Bolivia by women entrepreneurs from recycled plastic grocery bags|
People Tree, the U.K.-based company is extremely inspiring both as a Fair Trade business and as a fashion brand. Check out the “Ethical Fashion” board on GREENOLAstyle’s Pinterest account for more of our ethical fashion inspiration.
Absolutely! Fashion with a story is something that few mainstream retailers today can provide, and women definitely want to be able to wear clothing that has meaning and history to it. We take special care in curating our Recycled Fashion Finds collection – quality over quantity. We handpick unique, well-made items that still have a place in a modern fashionista’s wardrobe. We like to think of upcycled fashion like used books – they may not be current best-sellers with brand new covers, but they can still tell a damn good story!
|One-of-a-kind recycled Nautical Neddie blouse|
Q. Why is Fair Trade so important to the future of fashion?
At its heart, Fair Trade is a practice designed for sustainability. When ‘big-box retailers’ mass produce products with no regard for their workers and production processes, they create a system that is designed to self-destruct. People working for an unfair wage in harmful working conditions are unable to bettering their economic or social situations, and often have a much shorter life expectancy as well. By paying workers a fair living wage, and creating a direct relationship built on mutual respect between the business and its producers, Fair Trade allows communities to develop sustainably and ultimately create a long-term, profitable, and ethical relationship between businesses, producers, and consumers.
|The purchase of these lovely cotton wallets supports the fight against human trafficking|
Q. Your Spring/Summer 2012 ‘Sedgwick’ line doesn’t shy away from the bold use of colour. Who or what was the muse for this collection?
I often look to artwork when brainstorming ideas for collections. I happened to come across some photographs of Andy Warhol (one of the most influential artists in the Pop Art movement of the 1960s) and his muses, including the model/actress Edie Sedgwick. I loved the sleek lines, and bold styling of Sedgwick and the other ‘Factory Girls,’ and was fascinated by their uninhibited, rebellious aesthetic. Andy Warhol’s use of color in his work was also a huge inspiration for our color schemes and designs. The collection is flirtatious and fun with a little bit of an edge, which aligned perfectly with our brand.
We’re going through a bit of a growth spurt right now, which is both frantic and exhilarating! We are thrilled to be able to share our brand with more and more women, and are continually inspired and impressed with how both our customers and our artisans revolutionize our world…one style at a time. 😉 We hope to keep expanding to production (and sales!) in other countries…look out for a collaboration with artisans in Ghana, Africa in the near future!