By Cora Hilts
Originally from the Maine countryside, Cora spent five years in Paris and New York City intermittently working in luxury fashion and studying Politics before ending up in London.
We are so excited to have brought on the ethical fashion line, Shaina Mote, to Rêve En Vert. Shaina herself is a California resident, and the simple casual elegance that defines the line can be seen as having been drawn from her inspiration of life in nature there. We ask her about the origins of her line, how her collections are sustainable, and how she lives her life in the same way.
What inspired you to become a fashion designer?
When I was in my early 20’s, I worked in fast fashion as a buyer. I was discouraged by the lack of care for the people and planet. I felt the design sensibility was driven towards trendy items only. Learning from that experience as a young woman, I knew I wanted to make something with care that would become a future heirloom in the wearer’s wardrobe. I want to make pieces that make women feel empowered with regard to the people and planet in how it was made.
Has sustainability always been at the forefront of Shaina Mote or is it an ethos that has evolved with time?
It has always been at the forefront of what I do and what I choose to design.
The collection is quite trendless and seasonless – do you ever worry you will need more variety and bigger collections to grow the line?
Of course. For years I have been pressured by department stores to change my brands mission so that they could get more trend driven items from the collection. Year in and out, I have refused to bring my production overseas and have refused to change my brands DNA. I stand behind my mission in times where the mission itself is “on trend” or not.
You make the majority of the line in Los Angeles – can you tell us a bit about your commitment to producing locally and why you made this decision?
Producing locally supports our local job economy, employing people who are members of my community. Additionally, we cut carbon emissions by only having fabrics imported, versus fabrics, garments, trims, etc.
Natural Riposo Sweater
Your knitwear comes from Peru – equally why did you make that decision and what is the factory there like?
I always search for the best of the best when it comes to production because I truly want my items to last. I chose Peru for knits because knitting and weaving is deeply engraved in Peruvian society — they are truly masters of this craft and have access to incredible Alpaca yarns. I love that we are able to work with a woman run workshop that uses only yarns that have been created in Peru. This supports the Peruvian local trade, creates jobs and keeps the lineage of their craft intact. It also cuts emissions from the shipping of the yarns as they are sourced within Peru.
What’s your favourite material that you use in the line and why?
My personal favorite is cupro. It is a sensual material that is made from easily renewable natural fibers and has a beautiful silky hand and lovely drape.
Would you say that living in LA affect your designs?
In a way yes! I tend towards more relaxed tailoring and color palettes which reflects the ease of LA.
Tencel Crop Top
You say that you design for the “self aware” woman which we love – what does this mean to you?
This woman is a woman who is self possessed, confident and conscious of how her choices create impact in the world.
What are your top three LA eco-friendly spots?
1. Temple of Leaves within the Self Realization Fellowship in Mount Washington. A beautiful space to mediate!
2. Amara Kitchen- a local cafe in Highland Park, Los Angeles, that has a low key but lovely menu with plenty of alternative options.
3. Sustain LA— bulk home goods where you can take essential cleaning and body products home in glass containers.
Tencel Lounge Pants
Finally, what does sustainability mean to you?
Sustainability is taking responsibility for the footprint you leave behind by considering and negating the possibility of a negative impact on society, laborers and the environment.
Also read: REDUCING FASHION WASTE