Interview: from Wall Street to Eco-Chic


I was recently reading an article in Entrepreneur Magazine about eco-designer Christine Marchuska of cmarchuska and was so inspired I had to share her story here.

Not only was 28-year-old Marchuska a success story as a human surviving the recent loss of her job in New York City’s financial sector, hers was a story of overcoming temporary defeat.

Because smart, strong women like Christine don’t just lie down and give up.

Marchuska decided to go after what she’d always wanted: a creative life in fashion. It began with an entrepreneurial stab at sewing, designing and modifying what was once her conservative Wall Street duds into, as she calls it, “chic, hipster gear.”

Joining forces with her brother, Justin, they started Marchuska t-shirts, a sustainable line that quickly evolved into cmarchuska, a feminine eco dress line made of modal, tencel, organic cotton, organic silk and recycled fabrics.

Now found roaming New York City’s garment district with fashionable crowds, Marchuska is a growing force on the eco-fashion scene and we commend her profession change if only to allow us more options when it comes to pretty clothes.

I caught up with Christine recently.


Christine Marchuska

PhotobucketHow did cmarchuska come into fruition?

This past November ’08 after months of running Marchuska with my brother and after taking several sewing classes, fashion crash courses and networking, all in New York City’s garment district.  I had always wanted to do something with fashion and the environment.  Starting the Marchuska tees with my brother, Justin, gave me the proper jumping off point to focus on my real dream, a sustainable women’s clothing line where a portion of proceeds would be donated to charitable organizations.  I also felt there was a need for an affordable yet stylish green/sustainable clothing line for women where the pieces would be chic and versatile.

PhotobucketWhen you’re designing, do you have it in your head that you’re creating a piece to transition from day to night?

Yes, I do for the most part.  I realized when I was in finance that I spent a lot of money on clothes that I could only really wear to the office, which I thought was a waste.  Why can’t you have fashionable pieces that can be worn more conservatively for corporate life and then dressed up for a night out on the town?  So I really try to keep that in mind whenever I am creating a new piece.

PhotobucketDo you create quarterly collections?

I do 2 collections a year, although since most of my pieces are knit based they are great in any season, especially for the west coast.

PhotobucketIs sustainable fashion important to you?

Yes it is. I think we really need to preserve this earth and environment.  It is scary how wasteful we are and how damaging some of the garment industry processes are in terms of producing clothes. It isn’t that difficult to make clothing that is sustainable and fashionable and I think supporting green fashion is one way to get other popular designers on board to help support better and safer practices for our environment.

PhotobucketWhat are some of the organizations you support and why?

I am on the junior council of Safe Horizon, which fights domestic abuse and violence.  I feel very strongly about that topic and continue to support their efforts.  I am a part of several young entrepreneurial organizations in NYC to help work together to create better businesses.  I am also part of several green organizations that are in the start-up phases.  I really love this group that is emerging of young people concerned with the environment and business and ways to improve upon old outdated processes.

Images: Marchuska, New York Social Diary

Amy DuFault

Amy DuFault is a conscious lifestyle writer, consultant and fashion instigator. She resides in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.