The Champion: Mara Hoffman

Violet Gross

Congratulations don’t have a season and they never go out of style but we are certainly overdue in congratulating Mara Hoffman who was awarded the “Leading the Change Award” this past NYFW.

The award was granted by Unifi as a part of the REPREVE Champions of Sustainability Awards recognizing brand leaders committed to sustainable sourcing. Repreve is a fiber, like how cotton is a fiber, but more importantly it’s a sustainable recycled fiber made from post-consumer recycled plastic bottles. Fourteen billion bottles have been recycled to date as a result. If you love Mara Hoffman’s textured swimwear as much as we do, than SURPRISE, you also love Repreve.

Mara Hoffman’s eponymous line wasn’t always the environmentally conscious company it is today. After 15 years in the business witnessing first hand how damaging and irresponsible the process was she was faced with a moral dilemma and a decision to close up shop or completely restructure. Thankfully for all of us she chose the latter and in 2016 relaunched as a sustainable, eco-conscious label. A risky decision amongst her peers at the time but her unconventional thinking (something we have in common at Tulerie) is finally being applauded.

Aside from being a champion in sustainability she’s paying it forward too. After a recent trip to India to visit an embroidery group she often works with, Hoffman partnered with Nest, a non-profit highlighting the human element of sustainability. Together, they are working to create a training and development program that would assist these small artisans in expanding their client base.

The Mara Hoffman brand is evidence that sustainable style doesn’t have to be shapeless and boring. We’re not the betting type...but if we were, we’d bet most of you have purchased Mara Hoffman solely for its fashionabiltiy and you had no idea it was crafted from fibers from a local hemp farm or the water bottle you received at Soul Cycle.

Bravo Mara. Keep doing what you’re doing, we’re all watching!

Ode to Chanel

Violet Gross

It was a winter wonderland to remember. Karl’s last show for Chanel was critiqued as ‘nearly flawless’ and we couldn’t agree more. Now that we’ve had time to process Karl’s passing, we wanted to honor him and the house he spent over three decades shepherding. Karl is known equally for his penchant for extravagant shows as he is for his uniform: a white stand collar shirt, black tailored suit, leather gloves, and sunglasses. But only the uber fashion fortunate really experienced the depth of his creative eye. Why is Chanel so coveted and is it really worth the price tag? Let us explain why we believe the answer is a resounding YES!!

The craftsmanship of Chanel is as important to the house as Karl remains. Chanel’s annual Métiers d’Art show is dedicated to honoring the fine craftsmanship of its artisan partners — several who operate under the corporate Chanel umbrella where not a single detail is overlooked, down to the button. Literally.

Let’s begin with George Desrues. He was a jewelry maker and accessories designer who founded his company in 1936. Thirty years after founding his company he made his first buttons for Gabrielle (Coco) Chanel and after 20 years in business together he turned his business over to Chanel. Roughly 100 artisans still work for the company, maintaining his high level of precision and artistry.

The camellia flower, synonymous with Chanel, was Coco’s favorite flower and it's used on everything from jewelry to packaging. Parisian fashion institution, Lemarié, gets all the credit for creating Chanel’s camellia flower. Before being known for their intricate flower designs, crafted from tulle, organza, and velvet, the company had been the feather provider to France’s top fashion houses. In 1996 the company became an official Metiers d’Arts partner.

Those cap toe mid heels that are comfortable and instantly make any look fashun were designed by Raymond Massaro. He was the grandson of master bookmaker Massaro who started his namesake company in 1894. In 2002 Massaro joined the Chanel family and Metiers d’Arts and continues to make the shoes that walk down each Chanel runway.

In 1924 the Lesage family took over an embroidery studio and now has one of the worlds largest collections of finely embroidered pieces made for the highest couture houses. They joined Chanel in 2002 to preserve and continue their craft.

It only took three years of being a company for Goossens to get on Gabrielle’s radar, and has been crafting Chanel jewelry since 1953. Now Goossens is run by the families second generation, but they still provide semi-precious stones, pearls and gold covered bronze for Chanel.

At Chanel it’s all in the details, including the hats and hair accessories. Maison Michel was one of the first artisans to partner with Chanel in 1997. The company originally started in 1936 and gained recognition among French houses in the 1970s when taken over by Pierre and Claudine Debard who sparked a whole new generation of milliners.

There are so many floral details quietly happening, that it takes more than Lemarie to bring them to life. Enter Guillet, Master corsage-maker since 1896. Guillet re-imagines daisies, jasmine, and lily-of-the-valley as hairpieces, tiaras and crowns and have been a Chanel Metiers d’Arts house since 2006.

Montex has been specializing in tambour, a style of embroidery since 1939. With this type of embroidery a hooked needle is used to thread beads and sequin onto single chain stitches after the fabric has been pre-pierced with a cornely.

Gloves aren’t just for keeping hands warm, they can also be an essential couture piece according to Causse, who has been making them with this vision since 1892. They are decorated by hand using the finest leathers and often embellished with precious stones and lace. This glove maker has been a part of the House since 2012.

Barrie Knitware has a fascinating story. The company began in the 1870s and became known for making sweaters for British soldiers but wasn't recognized by the large fashion houses until the 1950s. Chanel saw so much promise in Barrie they purchased the company in 2012. To honor the history and craft, Karl held the Metier show that year in Edinburgh.

Are you amazed by a perfect pleat like we are? Gerard Lognon has been perfecting the pleat since 1949 using a unique process that combines handcrafting with work in cardboard and steamsetting. Still directing the company, Lognon partners with Chanel in 2013.

Despite being the mastermind behind Chanel, Karl was never one to take full credit for his work at Chanel and these 11 companies are the reason why. He saw true talent in others and embraced it. He understood he could never recreate the expertise these vendors have been perfecting for decades so instead he invited them to join the process. Together they were able to create a near perfect product. It is a lifetime of specializing in such detail that proves that a good company is not the whole but the sum of its parts. And that is why Chanel is in a league of it’s own.

Paper or plastic?

WasteViolet Gross

Let’s talk about box baby. Let’s talk about you and me. Let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be. Let’s talk about box-----es.

The rise of e-commerce has so many benefits. Running low on shampoo? Put some in your digital Target cart while it’s top of mind. Weather looks nice next weekend? Find the perfect picnic blanket on Amazon. How are everyones brows so good on Insta? Oh, Boy Brow. Ordering immediately. And best of all, lounge in your coziest jammies and order that gorgeous gown to wear during gala season.

Before you know it your front door is blocked by a pile of brown cardboard boxes. And it makes some sense, you ordered from four different retailers. It gets especially annoying when you place one order with Amazon and two days later three boxes arrive making you wonder why everything wasn’t just packed into one.

Consumers continue to shift their spend to online, the proof is in the pudding — online retail grew 16% in 2017, while retail in general rose only 3.8%. After all, who doesn’t love time saving convenience? But how many people stop to think about the environmental impact of that change?

Roughly 165 billion packages are shipped annually, amounting to approximately 1 billion trees cut down each year. Yes, Axe, billion. Amazon recently realized they had a shipping problem, but not for the reasons you may think. They decided that if they came up with a smaller package option, they would be able to fit more parcels on a truck, thus reducing the amount of air they transport. So no, it pains us to tell you that Amazon’s changes weren’t made thanks to the 30 million photos they’ve received from customers showing a tube of toothpaste being shipped in a box meant for a toaster oven. Over the last year Amazon has started shipping its smaller items in plastic mailers. So yes, while they may be better size suited than the boxes, we circle back to the plastic problem.

These new plastic mailers are not recyclable in your normal recycling container. They need to be separated just like plastic bags. This type of plastic is not sortable in most recycling systems, and when a bag or mailer does get caught up in the machinery, it gums it up, requiring the whole system to shut down to cut it out. Not efficient.

We can credit Amazon for reducing its carbon footprint since they can ship more within one truck or plane. We are also thrilled with their $10 million donation to the Closed Loop Fund. But they need to continue to improve their methods of consolidating shipments, and making it easier for consumers to do so.

Meanwhile, since you are still receiving shipments form Amazon and Moda, please continue to keep your future rentals in mind and reuse these boxes. The majority are still in perfect condition and should live more than one life.

Let’s talk about box baby. Let’s talk about you and me. Let’s talk about how easy it is for you to send your rental to me in a box you’ve already received, then let’s talk about all the good feelings that may bring.

215 Million

WasteViolet Gross

Fast fashion has been getting a lot of heat lately. While we disagree wholeheartedly with the fast fashion business model, turning & burning inventory (quite literally), we do understand the appeal to consumers. Not too long ago, we were habitually filling our closets with cheap, trendy polyester too. But we’ve educated ourselves, changed our habits, and started a business that combats part of the issue. At Tulerie we pose the question, why should five people buy the same skirt when those 5 people can share one? Last year, H&M had $4.3 billion of unsold clothes. Considering their average sale price, that equates to 215 million articles of unsold clothing. All of that dead inventory in retail cost the U.S. $50 billion last year. Case in point.

We’re not animals though, we’ll nod to the fact the H&M group is trying to right the vessel with a non-profit arm dedicated to improved recycling along the supply chain but keep in mind the company produced 3 billion garments last year. So while material re-use is important and should be celebrated, the massive amount of clothing produced is the real problem. Not to mention, most companies still choose virgin fabrics over the recycled alternatives available.

But this is a tale as old as time, simple supply and demand, fast fashion retailers will produce at the pace we (the consumer) set. The company expresses they have no plans to slow down volume because they don't see an alternative...“We can stop producing the volumes we do [now], but then the 98 percent [of companies that are] less transparent and less sustainable will just keep making money. We have a role to play going forward — we ought to put others who are not transparent out of business.” We like how Elizabeth L. Cline, author of Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, explains it "it's not enough to just be less bad than your competition.” We couldn’t agree more. That’s like saying you ate chocolate cake for breakfast but it's okay because you didn’t eat dinner.

Fabrication: 100% Pineapple

Companies Doing GoodViolet Gross

2019.  Saying it out loud makes it feel like we are living in the future.  2019.  Remember Y2K?  Grocery store shelves were bare due to peoples uncertainty.  But we not only survived, and thrived and advanced. Some cars stopped using gas and run on battery power.  Herbs and vegetables are grown in old shipping containers. Flip phones upgraded to buttonless devices that basically control our lives. Fashion though, has somehow stayed the same.  Until now.  

The future of clothes is getting excitingly close and we believe there are a few things you sustainably fashion saavy  Tuleries ought to know – your textiles.  Yes we know you’re fully aware of cotton, wool and silk but if you think that’s the latest in fashion than you better check your Nokia at the door and catch up.   There are a slew of companies working on a whole new range of textiles that will be in our clothes (hopefully) soon.  The details of most are on a sciency level that we can hardly comprehend, but we get the drift and hope you will too. 

Evrnu has developed the first denim made of regenerated post-consumer cotton waste.  They create recyclable, customizable textiles through engineered fibers, ultimately creating a product that can be broken down in the future. 

See ya leather, hello Zoa. Created by Modern Meadow, zoa is a lab grown, chameleonic leather-inspired material that is meant to be combined with other matierals.  And because it’s highly adaptable and moldable, it can accommodate any shape or texture. 

Buh bye polyester, welcome PrimaLoft Bio, the first 100% recycled synthetic fiber on the market. The  company behind it is collaborating with like-minded brands to use the technology in developing new products that are composed completely of biodegradable components.

Nylon is so last year. We’re so into Econyl, which is solving two problems.  They company is aiding in cleaning oceans by collecting abandoned fishing nets and other industrial plastic, along with rugs that would typically end in landfills to create a regenerated nylon material. 

Bleh acrylic, we love the feel of Polylana.  It’s a fiber blend of virgin and recycled materials and is the only low impact alternative to 100% acrylic and wool in the market. 

Silk? No.  Microsilk. A proprietary technology that replicates the tough work silk spiders do, giving the ability to do the same work sustainably and in large scale. 

Still craving more leather goods?  Try Mylo, a synthetic made from mushroom roots.  Let that satisfy your hunger for vegan leather.  Stella McCartney and Patagonia are already digging their claws in. 

Pinatex is taking over where durable fibers are needed. Made of by-product from pineapple harvest, this new sustainable textile is tougher than jute, hemp and sisal. Have your rug and eat it too. 

Cotton and polyester, you are so pre Y2K.