MODAVANTI, SUSTAINABLE SHOPPING MADE EASY

Modavanti

Today I am really excited to share not only a great story and interview but I am thrilled to introduce a online retail destination to you. Modavanti, the sustainable style shopping mecca for ethical, vegan, eco, vintage, organic, made in USA … should I continue… contemporary fashions.

I reached out to the founders not long ago to inquire about featuring them here. I was thrilled when David Dietz the founder and co-owner of the Modavanti wanted to participate. It wasn’t long after that I met with Jesse, the Creative Director and co-owner. We met at Brooklyn Roasters in Dumbo and quickly dived into our mutual passions for sustainability, ethical and eco initiatives within fashion, health, lifestyle and so on.

Their story and journey in establishing Modavanti is inspiring and a true testament to honest integrity and intentions. I loved the moment when Jesse spoke about the community within the sustainable movement. Rather than designers, publications or competing retail destinations trying to be a proprietor about their initiatives, there is a real sense of community, conversation, sharing and helping to one another, as they all aim to achieve  the same goals in mind; awareness, growth, action and momentum in the sustainable fashion movement.

Already within their second year of establishment they are gaining a strong following and consumer base, having been featured in Conscious Magazine, among others.

Modavanti is a full service shopping location offering contemporary to designer labels in clothing, bags, shoes, accessories, beauty, home and wellness lifestyle. They offer varied price points and great incentives, like their modacycle program. They are the ones to watch within the online social ecom market, mark my word!

See my full interview below,

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Tell me about yourselves, your background and how you guys came to launch the company together?

Jesse and I actually met in the Middle East. Before Modavanti, we were working as conflict journalists in the Middle East covering the Arab Spring. I was writing for Policy Mic and Jesse was doing photography and digital media.

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What motivated both of you to work in the fashion industry & to begin a fashion e-com destination?

It wasn’t so much that we were motivated to work in fashion as it was to “start something that matters.” We are interested by fashion and design but it was the opportunity to both have a social impact and create a successful business that attracted us to sustainable fashion. Most people don’t realize that the textile industry is the third largest and second dirtiest industry in the world behind agriculture and oil and gas. That’s not right and we felt compelled to do something about it and do it with style.

I would love to learn about Modavanti’s philosophy and goals through the e-retail site, could you share this with me?

Our goal is to be the recognized destination for the socially conscious consumer to find clothing that fits her values without compromising on style. We want to be the site that coalesces the sustainable fashion movement and brings it to the mainstream.

Through these philosophies, what initiatives do you have in place to achieve these goals?

We want Modavanti to be a site that you can shop the latest trends, discover the newest brands and learn about the latest advances in sustainable fashion. To that effect, we have launched many initiatives to achieve those goals. We started ModaCycle, which is a way for consumers to responsibly give back and receive site credit for doing so, we’ve thrown flash mob fashion shows to show that sustainability is chic and we have a blog where we highlight and comment on the best in sustainable style.

Tell me about the badge system, how does it work?

The badge system was set up to allow customers to be able to easily shop their values.

We have 8 badges. On the Eco-friendly side: Recycled, Vegan, Eco-materials, Organic, Vintage and on the ethically-sourced side: Made in USA, Artisan made, Fair Trade. Brands must meet at least one of the badges 100% to be included on the site although we look for and strongly encourage brands to meet more than that.

How do you ensure the brands you represent meet the sustainable badge guidelines?

We speak with the designers and founders of the brands, visit designer showrooms if they are local, work off of third-party certifications and research brands on sustainable fashion blogs and publications. We do our best to work with brands that were recommended to us as well. However, we recognize that until we are big enough to send someone to each brand studio around the world, that at some point, choosing our brands still comes down to trust and our intuition that are brands are sincere.

_DSC3117What has been the learning curve since you launched Modavanti two years ago?

We’re still learning and still trying new initiatives or marketing campaigns. Technology and fashion are industries that move so quickly. If you don’t keep up you will be left behind so we are always tinkering and trying new things to give our customers a better experience.

What have you learned about consumer behaviour since you launched? What is trending?

We are undergoing an incredible shift in consumer behaviour towards sustainability and wellness. Organic foods, going to the gym and taking care of our health are trends that have exploded in the past decade and are here to stay. As that happens, more and more people are turning their attention towards understanding what they are wearing. There are so many chemicals and waste in our fashion and people are beginning to understand that those chemicals can really harm them, their children and the environment and are beginning to shop differently.

And with that in mind, what would you say customers are gravitating towards? Which brands, styles…?

Organic, Made in USA and vegan are our more successful badges. People are concerned about what they are putting on their bodies and looking for organic natural materials. When it comes to Made in USA, I think there is also a trend toward higher-quality and feeling connected to our communities. And of course there is a growing Vegan community who rightly refuse to protect animals with what they wear.

How has the company grown thus far? Do you sell outside USA? North America or global?

We currently only sell to the USA and Canada although we are hoping to introduce shipping to Europe and Australia soon.

What is the best part of having a fashion conscious company?

I couldn’t work for a company whose mission that I didn’t believe in. It’s incredible powerful to work towards a mission with a higher purpose. Climate change and labor rights are a huge challenge and problem, so to be able to work on something and work with such incredible brands that are attempting to make a positive difference is an incredibly uplifting and rewarding feeling.

_DSC3151And, what are the challenges of having a fashion conscious company?

There are many. A big one has been the stigma that “sustainability” is either too expensive or not stylish. Neither is the case. We are never going to compete with Walmart prices, but consumers shouldn’t want that. Those prices are morally bankrupt and lead to poorly made clothing that comes at the cost of others.

What has been the most important part in building a following and consumer base?

I think it comes down to being genuine and honest with the consumer. What we are building is difficult and we are not perfect, but we are working towards transforming and redefining an industry that has been known for waste and turning into one that hopefully will become cleaner, safer and better. I think that is something people respond to.

What sustainable business practices do you implement within your own studio office? (recycling, energy efficient operations etc…)

We recycle, use energy efficient lightbulbs, try not to use air-conditioning or heat and I wash my jeans in the freezer. It kills the bacteria more so than washing and uses no water. Everyone can do that!

Lastly, how do you envision your Modavanti transforming in the future?

We want to continue to grow our community and keep pushing the movement forward. This fall we are adding active wear and men’s wear (finally) which further shows the versatility of the sustainable fashion movement. Beyond that, while we’re starting with clothing but it doesn’t have to end there. We want to show you can live a complete sustainable lifestyle.

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Here are just a few Modavanti instagram snap shots of the amazing designer goods available on Modavanti. Already in my shopping cart is the black leather grocery bag from BAGGU & a pair of futuristic sunnies from Westward Leaning !!

Special thanks to MODAVANTI for welcoming me to your studio & sharing your story! 
Studio & Interview Photography provided the incredibly talented Andrew Boyle- thank you for capturing those moments!!

XX

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FRINGE

New work added to DESIGN, featuring a series called FRINGE.  The Project: To study the seasons past, while adding to the existing and creating new interpretations through print, blocking, embellishment & textile.

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Click the links above to see the entire series!

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photo taken by me

I’ve always been fascinated by small sparkly objects. As a child when I would visit my grandma, I would run to give her a big hug hello and then b-line it directly to her bedroom and open her magical red velvet jewelry box. I would try on all her rings and necklaces and come out one by one and ask if one day I could have them. My fascination probably began with all my moms blingy 80’s jewels that initially caught my eye. To which I also ransacked her jewelry box all the time… oh wait I still do!

Today I love to mix and match my precious pieces with costume jewelry, very much the same way as I do with my clothing. Many of my pieces are mixes of precious and semi precious metals and stones. I love to stack rings, bracelets and necklaces, while wearing yellow gold, brass and silver all together.

I never gave too much thought on the origin or efficacy  of my pieces until recent years. Hollywood movies like, Blood Diamond, ignited those questions brewing in my mind, while in the last few years there has been a growth in small independent jewelers abroad. Whole waves of unique pieces, pendants, and styles have emerged, creating pieces far more interesting then your mass-market jewelry retail chain. Naturally, I like many are attracted to the variety of designs out there. It has also become interesting to watch the innovators who crafted individual styles and those who are mass marketing them in cheaper variations.

The jewelry industry is a very complicated one that proves challenging to trace the origins of its sources. The majority of precious metals and stones are mined in 3rd world and developing nations where ethical and sustainable regulations are not strictly enforced. Efforts to have universal certifications are making progress but still far from globalized.

Recently the BoF discussed the complications and delicacy of the industry behind the precious metals and gemstones used in the jewelry market. Needless to say the environmental and human efficacy is among the largest concerns the industry is faced with.

Never-the-less there are a number of progressive jewellers out there producing beautiful pieces at all price rangers.

Here are a few of my favs!

 

Pamella Love.

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Her name itself sparks interest. Even if you’ve never heard of her before now, you’re probably thinking you have, the name is just to familiar and has that star like quality. That’s not far off, as her gemstones have the luster and sparkle like the night skies. Pamella’s carefully crafted collection is committed to sustainability and local production. As stated on her website, “all gemstones and semiprecious stones are ethically sourced and almost all metal used is recycled. The entire jewelry-making process, from design to sampling to full-scale production, is completed domestically with the majority of it done in-house at Pamela Love’s Manhattan studio.”

Her designs are rooted with spiritual and intuitive influence from all areas of interest: astronomy, astrology, alchemy, botany, the American Southwest, architecture, North Africa, Mexican folk art, and medieval European iconography. The result is signature pieces, easily identifiable with the Pamella aesthetic.

Pamella’s collaborated with a number of designers, which include some of my favorites as well: Suno, Mara Hoffman, Monique Péan, as well as Zadig & Voltaire, Zac Posen, JCrew and Opening Ceremony… to name a few.

Her price point varies depending on the metals and gems used ($200-1000+) but you are guaranteed to have a timeless piece in your jewelry collection.

Now that’s beautiful!

Prices range from $150-$1000+

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 Monique Péan.

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A New York based fine jewelry brand known for its unqiue designs, avant-garde style and unconventional materials, including sustainable fossilized walrus ivory, woolly mammoth ivory and dinosaur bone. Monique Péan is committed to partnering with artisans around the world to support traditional craftsmanship and cultural heritage. Through her company, she strives to raise awareness of art, culture and global environmental issues through design. Proceeds from her jewelry sales contribute to global philanthropic organizations such as charity: water, which provides clean drinking water and basic sanitation to people in developing nations.

Second to that, Monique Péan’s ensures all materials using environmentally responsible procedures. As shared on her website in great detail, she “combines 18 carat recycles gold and platinum with conflict and devastation free precious stones, diamonds and fossils. Fossilized woolly mammoth, fossilized walrus ivory and fossilized dinosaur bones are sustainably gathered with no mining involved. The company is also a member of the No Dirty Gold campaign and a supporter of the Too Precious to Wear campaign”.

For more detail about her initiatives, please visit her website! You wont be disappointed.

Where to buy? Check out her website for full stocklist. Prices go up from $1000

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MAIYET

A fashion conscious luxury love of mine, Maiyet produces more then just inspiring ethical and sustainable clothing designs and leather goods; they also create one of a kind jewelry pieces ethical sourced and produced. Although they come with luxury prices, they are timeless investment pieces in your jewelry collection.

Prices range from from $300-$1000+

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EDUN

Primarily focused on clothing, EDUN’s recent collaborations with jewelry designer, Penny Winter has brought locally sourced and African made pieces to the global market, utilizing raw stones and training local craftsman’s the art and trade.

EDUN collaborations with URU Diamonds, guarantees a 100% conflict free gem stone jeweler, focusing on rough diamonds and precious gems. They actively work in cooperation with SOS Childrens villages, which support education for children in the rural areas where the stones are sourced.

Although EDUN’s jewelry collection may be small, the conscious effort is there to work sustainably with these artisans. Creative Director Danielle Sherman, traveled to Africa to meet with both local artists before collaborating.

Prices range from $400+

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BARIO NEAL

A fairly recent discovery of this jeweler, I adore their unique style. Within the website they clearly outline the origins of their metals, diamonds and gemstones, which includes Canadian certified ethical diamonds from the Northern Territories, recycled and fair-minded metals, diamonds and gemstones with partnership with Tanzania Women Miner’s Association.

Helpful note: As noted on the website, “Fairmined certified miners are held to strict environmental, labor, and social and economic development standards. They are paid fair wages, work in safe environments, and mine on a small, environmentally conscious scale.”

Reasonably priced from $96- $1000+

BRIO NEAL

Alkemie Jewelry

Another recent find, Alkemie is a 100% reclaimed metal jeweler, reusing metals to create hand carved and crafted manifestations of all sorts. They use a gold and silver patina on lead and nickel free metals.

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I would love to know who are your favourite socially conscious jewelry designers? Please share!!

 

xx

all photos sourced from company website and photoshopped by me