Gone are the days when style and sustainability were mutually exclusive. With more and more fashion savvy individuals tuning in to what is happening around the globe, many women are beginning to ask questions like where their clothes are made and what are they made of. This shifting mindset is causing the fashion industry to go beyond business as usual in an effort to meet the demands of an ever growing army of conscious consumers to create garments that are not only beautiful, but ethically made — and sustainable stylists are playing a huge role in making that shift.
Stylists are some of the most powerful influencers in the industry. The brands they choose to style their clients in can make a powerful statement and set off a ripple effect of change.
We had the opportunity to catch up with two such women who are changing the game and making sustainable style the rule as opposed to the exception in their work.
Laura Jones is a stylist, writer, and founder of the sustainable fashion magazine, The Frontlash. She is a member of the Advisory Council for The New Standard Institute and has over a decade of styling experience for fashion editorials, advertising, music videos, commercials, and red carpet events and has directed short films for Vogue.it. Jones’ clients have included W Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, T Magazine, ELLE, Marie Claire, and celebrities Alicia Keys, Uma Thurman, Rachel Weisz, Katie Holmes, Rebecca Hall, Naomie Harris, Marisa Tomei, Ewan McGregor, Drake, and Kate Spade.
Lexyrose Boiardo is a consultant, brand strategist, and fashion stylist based in NYC. She received her BFA from Parsons School of Design, where she studied fashion design, photography, and psychology. Along with styling a plethora of editorial shoots, Boiardo also works directly with brands. Boiardo’s clients include Refinery 29, UGG, Levi’s, VH1, InStyle Magazine, Vogue Italia, and Vogue.com, The Grammys, Suzanne Rae, and the actress and Rapper EVE.
Here is what these two celebrity stylists had to say to us about their role in the sustainable fashion movement.
1. What does sustainable fashion mean to you?
Laura Jones: For me, sustainable fashion is fashion that is long-lasting, authentic to your unique personal style, and non-ephemeral.
Lexyrose Boiardo: I think we are in a very interesting period of huge changes and new ideas. We are at a point where the show can’t go on anymore from where we stand (or strut). These changes include a variety of different elements, including the way in which we shop and select clothes. I believe that the days of fast fix trends and solutions to produce more apparel have hindered the industry tremendously. However, I am starting to see that people are quickly beginning to catch on. There is a need for everyone to slow down and have more awareness of the product and the people the people that made it. Every end has a new beginning and I am excited about what’s to come.
2. Can you recall a moment or turning point that changed your perception about the fashion industry and/or made you passionate about sustainable fashion?
LJ: In 2014, I met with the founders of the sustainable brand Amour Vert and received a fast education on the harmful impact that the fashion industry has on the environment and on workers. This information came to me at a time when I was starting to question the effect of fashion marketing on women’s psyches. That period led to a lot of self-reflection and ultimately a pivot to sustainability in my work and life.
LB: My perception is ever-changing. The goal is to stay true to my values and apply my beliefs and point of view to all I do — which is conscious awareness and care throughout every aspect, from selecting the clothes to the people I collaborate with.
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3. Why is it important to you to include sustainably in your work as a stylist?
LJ: Stylists have a unique vantage point within the fashion industry. We are the point person between designers, celebrities, and audiences. Our job is to communicate a brand’s vision but also to be receptive to what the public want from their clothing and from the brand values being shared in advertising and marketing materials.
At our core, stylists are storytellers so I think we have a crucial role to play in messaging about sustainability.
LB: I like to support emerging and not-so-emerging brands with strong ethics and no-waste approaches.
4. What have you done in terms of activism concerning this issue?
LJ: Activism can take many forms. I write about issues relating to sustainability and activism, and that is activism. I show up at rallies and marches. I host phone banks in my home in support of political candidates and constantly remind people of the power of voting and supporting candidates that will carry out an environmentally friendly agenda. I have found becoming an engaged citizen to be one of the most rewarding life changes in my life.
LB: Every day I try to be conscious and aware of my choices and their impact. I mainly buy vintage, and I donate often to places like Housing Works (where I also shop) and the Salvation Army. I love Etsy, and 1stdibs. I no longer buy fast fashion. I am also very interested in emerging brands that create pieces with old clothing. I work often with vintage shops and collectors on editorial shoots and on client jobs alike.
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5. Do you approach the topic of sustainability with your clients?
LJ: At this stage in my career, most clients come to me knowing about my position on sustainability or because of it. Increasingly, young actresses want to use their voice to spotlight causes that they care about, and sustainable fashion is one of them. Advertising clients also look to provide sustainable wardrobe options, and of course, I consult for sustainable brands and brands looking to become more sustainable.
LB: Yes often. My goal when working with clients is to assist them in sustaining themselves as a brand and eventually profit. I do this through assisting with design, creation, concept, and communication of the product. I always suggest being conservative when putting orders in for making clothing and accessories. Also, I encourage clients to use materials that have been made from recycled products. It’s a slow process, but more people are becoming aware that less quantity and more quality is worth the extra cost. In the long run, the value of the piece goes up and less damage is done to the environment.
6. Do you see sustainability becoming more of a conversation with your clients/in the industry?
LJ: Most definitely. The first time someone reached out to me because I am an expert in this field was surprising. Now, it’s the norm. I think we have activists to thank for pushing this conversation into the public discourse and the mainstream.
LB: Yes, people are making less pieces and using sustainable materials as well as sourcing innovative recycled textiles.
7. Can you tell us about one project where you were able to work with sustainable materials. If yes, what was the most challenging part of that project?
LJ: I frequently work with sustainable products. All of our fashion editorials and cover shoots for The Frontlash exclusively feature sustainable designers and the biggest challenge I face is editing which of the amazing designers I’ll use.
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LB: I was asked to work on a sustainability story for Vogue Italia. I thought it would be interesting to see what would happen if everyone in my studio collected and kept all the garbage over the three weeks prior to the shoot. It was way more than we expected, and I took all of the garbage to set and made the most gorgeous dress and bow (if I may say so myself). I loved proving that our waste can be material from which we can create something new. Also it helped all of us be more aware of our waste and how much we are throwing out every day.
Right now it appears that the fashion industry like many others are in need of an ecological, emotional, financial, sociological reboot.
I think we are at a point in time where we can take any situation and turn it into an opportunity to be the change we want to see.