Sustainable Los Angeles: Fashion Pioneers And Emergents

Six L.A. designers get ready to ship their fall ’11 to boutiques worldwide. We get a sneak peek.

Internationally recognized designers Karen Stewart and Howard Brown have been pioneering the sustainable fashion movement for nearly a decade now. Inspired by their love and respect for nature, their Fall 2011 collection draws on the nomadic lifestyle of keeping only what we need and value. This parallels their own belief that we should buy only quality items we absolutely love and that will last for many seasons.

In addition to extending their popular pima and luxe organic cotton collection, this season the duo are also offering four Mongolian Cashmere styles and have added a novelty group of 100% organic cotton French terry and 100% organic cotton polished twill, unlike anything currently in the marketplace.

I. Ronni Kappos

For the past nine years, jewelery designer Ronni Kappos has been creating memorable one-of-a-kind pieces from her collection of vintage glass, most of which was made in Germany during the 1920s, 30s and 40s. Her work has been featured on the cover of Rolling Stone  and in several television shows, but her proudest moment was giving a piece to Marc Jacobs at a red carpet event, which he wore for the remainder of the night.

Recently influenced by Native American Indian themes, Kappos has incorporated diamond weaves, totems, and feather-like hoops into her Fall 2011 collection. We will continue to see a ton of color with this collection, as well as flat geometric shapes, flower shapes and more pendants.


Emerging sustainable designer Natasha Gindin is proud of the fact that LAVUK clothing is sweatshop free and made locally in Los Angeles. In addition, for every garment purchased, a tree is planted on behalf of the California Wildfire ReLeaf program.

Her Fall 2011 collection, Infinity, is influenced by the linear symmetry and crisp angles of the Art Deco movement, and was designed with closet longevity in mind (to be worn an ‘infinite’ number of times). Gindin has chosen to stick with jewel tones, intended to evoke an inner connectivity to one’s youth, something she personally achieves through Tibetan meditation.


Over the past couple of years, designer Lizz Wasserman has created sustainable collections inspired by the environment and art: from melting polar ice caps and exile in the desert, to photography and Russian constructivism. This time, Wasserman has been inspired by literature, particularly L.A’s “bad-girl” author of the 70s, Eve Babitz, and the recent Patty Smith memoir.

Playing with shape and proportion, this season we can expect to see some oversized and fitted pieces, longer silhouettes and warm, saturated colors.

Mi Capri

Mi Capri, designed by illustrator Carrie Perlow, is a footwear collection which is as uniquely fashionable and artistic as the people who wear them. Her fall ’11 collection is called Old School Meets the New Wave, and each pair is hand crafted and manufactured in and by LA’s most talented cobblers and artisans whose skills have been honed over generations. The designer says “It’s for people who like catching the new wave first.”

FROCK Los Angeles

Designed for a woman who exudes confidence, glamor, sex appeal, and independence, FROCK Los Angeles ­­is an emerging sustainable ready-to-wear line from designer Victoria Tik. Her Fall 2011 collection combines vintage glamor with contemporary style, and features several fitted pieces with sexy scooped backs.

Top Image: Stewart + Brown