Everything you create is done using sustainable and ethical means of production in New York. Once you’ve committed to such a practice, how do you go about making it both actually happen and viable from a business perspective?
I produce all of my hand dyed pieces in New York, in keeping with my principle of reducing carbon emissions. By keeping my production runs small, making my price point higher, my pieces become more archival. In order to reduce costs, I collaborate with other designers to machine dye their collections naturally to reduce costs for them and offer natural dye solutions on a larger scale for designers who need to accommodate larger unit runs.
Do you think people are more attuned to ethical/sustainability issues now and willing to embrace it in the clothes they buy? Why do you think this is?
Yes I believe this is the case, or at least in the circles of makers and creatives that I know. Climate change is apparent and causing adverse global effects. I like to think we’re entering a time of the “Pragmatic Hippie”. We can’t deny we live in a consumerist society run by capitalists; so consumers are trying to purchase more conscientiously and to reduce their consumptive habits by purchasing goods that are made well, last longer and reduce emissions. By purchasing garments that are naturally dyed you are intercepting every dollar spent on synthetic dyes which pollute eco systems, cause disease and are extremely harmful for the environment and water supply. Natural dyes are also far more subtle to the human eye and given a world filled with screens and electronics - I find them a beautiful eye vacation, that reduces anxiety.
Flowers have always played a role in fashion but there definitely seems to have been a marked shift in the way they are used. More and more designers such as yourself seem to be using them in interesting and provocative ways, rather than just as a shorthand method for ‘prettifying’ garments. Does this ring true for you? How has the perception of floral designs and flowers changed in recent times do you think?
Flowers evoke romance, longing, yearning and I believe evolved to be beautiful to assist humans in helping them reproduce. They’re full of sexual symbolism and are mini metaphorical microcosms. I feel flowers use me to be honest, I am borderline obsessed with them and I think truthfully they’re the ones in control of how people use them. I believe their use in fashion is shifting as more and more designers are understanding the necessity of biomimicry and merging green and eco- technologies with fashion. New chimera’s of flower arrangements are being birthed with the advent of “#metaflora” , the new sculptural / found object meets minimal floral trend that has emerged on Instagram, creating hybrids of flowers and repurposed materials. I think now with social media the floral trend has created these amazing flower starlets who use flowers as a form of art, like my friends Brittney Asch of Brrch Floral, and Taylor Patterson of Fox Fodder Farm. Flowers have become an artistic medium in their own right.