The current economic climate has been nothing short of brutal for many eco-designers, but where there are challenges, there are also opportunities for growth.
SUST, an eco-label out of San Francisco, sees their own challenges as a way to reconnect with America and carry the torch for sustainable apparel.
Kicking off a “Sustainability Across America” tour co-sponsored by EcoSalon, cmarchuska, Indigenous Designs, I love Ryann, Restore Clothing and Guayaki Yerba Matte tea, the tour will tape interviews with industry experts, specialty clothing boutiques and “friends” along the way, which will be shared via social media like Twitter and Facebook as well as at their blog, getsust.
The brainchild of Kevin Baum, CEO of SUST, the trip will serve not only to increase awareness of the SUST brand, but act as a grassroots marketing effort to create connections at the store level and garner a greater knowledge about how real Americans view words like “organic” and “sustainable.”
Despite what you may think, Baum says collaborating with the other designers on the tour isn’t competition, but rather, collaboration.
“We help each other whenever we can, share ideas, and work together to grow the market for organic and sustainable goods,” says Baum. “We’re much more complementary than competitive. Our competition, by contrast, comes from companies who are not organic or sustainable in their practices, and who can offer their goods at much lower prices because of that.”
From San Francisco, mobile meetings with Baum will involve SUST’s brand ambassador (and van driver), Laura Jones.
Jones will not only promote her three-month trip across America through personal interviews with the eco-community but will also feature some of our nation’s most beautiful parks and monuments. The SUST crew hopes that by taking this approach documenting the natural splendor of a place we call home, it will remind us all of the resources and landscape this new sustainable generation represents and works hard to protect.
I caught up with Laura before she took to the open road.
What is the most exciting aspect of this trip for you as brand ambassador?
I’m excited to experience the sustainable movement coming to life by meeting the people who are its motor and experiencing the nature that is protected as the fruit of their labor. This journey began as an exploration of the country I’ve called home for many years, but has grown into an endeavor to experience not just the place, but the people, culture and even the commerce that make it what it is.
It’s exciting to take this broad notion of the green movement and a love for fashion and marry them together in a totally unique, fun and collaborative way. This is really an opportunity to meet our fellow partners in both fashion and green commerce and to make friends, learn about their missions and projects and help champion their successes. I think the most rewarding aspect of the journey as SUST’s ambassador is the opportunity to connect with like minded people, learn about their contributions, and to be able to paint a real picture of the industry, the movement and the nation in a very human way.
What do you hope this campaign will promote first and foremost for SUST?
I hope this journey will help promote the collaborative energy that fuels the sustainable movement. The movement itself seems like a very high-level, ethereal concept, but the reality is that it’s individual people, working to build and change the way we think and live.
This trip is an effort to extend the hand, to engage our community and to build friendships so that together we can all help one another thrive and achieve in our efforts towards a common goal.
Where can we follow you on social media and will you be making daily posts?
You can all follow me on our Facebook fan page – www.facebook.com/getsust – on Twitter @getsust, and on our blog at getsust.blogspot.com.
I’ll be posting as often as possible, but will have to recess into the wifi-free wilderness of our National Parks every so often! You can expect to hear a lot from me while on the road and in urban areas, and to get full reports of the back-country adventures when I get back in range.
One sentence that sums up how you see the future of sustainable design?
Sustainable design is already going mainstream, continually making inroads into the fashion industry with something that not only feels good and has a sense of style, but is better for the environment as well.