While I have refrained from writing blog posts naming my top sustainable fashion designers I do have some favourites. One of them is Sydney-based ethical fashion designer Eva Cassis.
Having seen her incredible designs online when she first launched her clothing label Eva Cassis, I can still recall the day I finally came up close and personal with her garments. It's not an exaggeration to say that it was love at first sight. It was.
It happened at a photo shoot a couple of years ago that my friend and fellow eco fashion worshipper Megan O’Malley and I were doing for the now defunct sustainable fashion organisation Future Threads Project. Megan pulled out an Eva Cassis eco-friendly navy blue shift dress from her outfit stash. We were both swooning over its classic tailoring, uncomplicated timeless design that incorporated just a hint of femininity (as you can see in the image I took below).
Since then Eva and I have been liaising back and forth on social media. When asked about her business mission she provided this thoughtful answer: "To change the way we consume fashion. It’s about creating beauty ethically and being transparent about the process. Educating everyone to make good decisions and get the most out of their wardrobe."
I respect her as a designer but more so, as a highly conscious individual trying to transform the world using her design talents to do so.
WHY I OBSESS ABOUT EVA’S ETHICAL CLOTHING
One only needs to look at her designs to ‘get’ why I love them but here are just a few reasons:
- there is an appreciation of creative design
- there is a respect for the design and production process
- her designs are classic, minimalistic, versatile and trans-seasonal
- sustainable materials are used
- fabrics are also sourced from fair trade and ethical suppliers
- production lines run small
- clothing is made locally at a design studio in Sydney
So in the lead up to Fashion Revolution Day on April 24, I thought I’d introduce you to one of my favourite Australian sustainable fashion designers Eva Cassis.
Thank you so much Eva for being a part of this feature and for offering some of the most stylish Australian sustainable fashion I’ve seen on my eco journey thus far xx
Q&A WITH EVA CASSIS
EWP: Tell me about your business…
EC: Eva Cassis is about bringing the art of fashion back the appreciation of process.
The philosophy can be summed up as ‘slow’ and ‘humble’. Focusing on design integrity, small artisan production and choosing sustainable materials sourced from fairtrade and ethical suppliers.
My intention is to design high quality seasonless collections that create longevity for the wearer.
I want to minimise the waste I produce by recycling and re using fabric offcuts and sourcing recycled materials to work with in the first place.
As the business owner I feel it is my responsibility to set standards in my own business.
I feel very strongly about running my business ethically whilst creating beautiful garments.
It is very true “There is no beauty in the finest cloth if it causes hunger and unhappiness” Ghandi.
What inspired you to start your own clothing label?
Originally I wanted to create beautifully designed high quality clothing that I wanted to wear. I struggled to find the quality I desired and timeless designs that were not trend driven in shops. I wanted to create clothing that encouraged women to be themselves and not look like their friends, colleagues, neighbours etc.
Now I think I have more responsibility than just creating beautiful things. I have to educate consumers about process and encourage everyone to take responsibility for the way they consume fashion. I want to help consumers make better more informed decisions when spending their money.
How do you incorporate eco-friendly elements into your business?
Being eco-friendly is about process and ethics. Are we running our business sustainably?
I don’t think in this day and age it’s enough just focussing on the end product.
In my studio we recycle or reuse just about everything! Because we make and source mainly locally our packaging is very minimal which creates much less waste than what would normally be expected for a business like mine.
My fabric choices have always been natural but as the business grows we continue to look for more sustainable materials. Creating our eco jewellery was a huge project that I am so proud of. All our beads are made from 100% recycled, reused or repurposed materials. I am also producing very small collections in limited quantities and offering a more bespoke service to customers and creating things that are more individually tailored.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by French femininity and intricate details in clothing from the past. I also love modern minimalist and Scandinavian design.
I’m inspired by nature and colours in the Australian landscape. I love texture and I’m obsessed with fabrics. The way they feel when wearing them but also the process of sewing with something so special you want to respect its beauty and create something amazing.
What are your biggest challenges?
Marketing my brand and communicating my vision. As a designer and maker I express myself with creativity so selling for me is extremely difficult.
The longer I run my business the easier it has gotten but it hasn’t been without struggle.
Admittedly having a following of loyal and just truly lovely customers that believe in me and love what I do has made this much easier.
What is your proudest achievement/s?
Believing in my vision and being determined enough to get it to this point. Whilst growing my business ethically may have slowed down the growth and didn’t produce very much money for me I am proud to have educated and inspired women to demand more transparency and information before spending their money.
My eco jewellery range has also been a massive achievement and so much fun to develop. The response to the designs has been amazing and the fact that the beads are made from basically discarded materials that would otherwise end up in landfill has been incredible. I’m proud and incredibly humbled that so many now believe in and support my vision.
Favourite eco brands?
I love the New York label “Organic by John Patrick” it is divine Eco Luxury! Designs are timeless, feminine and ultra-sophisticated.
“Kow Tow” is another favourite. I love the minimalist designs, clean lines and utilitarian feel of their collections.
I am so inspired by these Eco fashion brands and their sophistication. It’s so rare to find high end fashion brands that are eco aware.
If you had to choose a city to live in, which one would you choose - Paris, London or New York?
If I could choose to live anywhere it would definitely be New York! Anyone that knows me would know this! Full of Art galleries and interesting places to go. There’s such a unique vibe and it’s always buzzing with energy and creativity. Fashion is abundant and so unique. Empire state of mind! Thanks Alicia.
If you were on death row and the Warden asked you what you wanted to eat for your final 3 course meal what would it be and why?
Salmon sashimi, Oysters and Prawns with lemon, salt and loads of chilli. Just because there all so yummy. I don’t know how much I would enjoy it if I was on death row though? (Good point…!)
What posters did you have on your wall as a teenager?
Gosh I can barely remember this? Maybe 90210? Jason Priestly? Bad memory or coping mechanism? Not sure?
Favourite TV show?
It has to be Sex in the City. Set in New York, lots of fashion, 4 strong women with interesting careers and Mr Big = awesome!
Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. I love their relaxed casual chic style and the sophistication they can pull off on a red carpet situation. I think they have a very interpretation of fashion and dance to the beat of their own drum which I really like.
So that concludes the Q&A.
After reading this, how can you not love Eva? Her infatuation with New York City (I share this infatuation), the Olsen twins (ditto) and Organic by John Patrick and KowTow (two of my fave brands also!) has scored her some pretty big points in my book!
If you loved learning about this talented designer and interested in making a purchase, head to her website www.evacassis.com.au. I also recommend following her on Instagram and Facebook for eco style inspiration! I do so regularly, but not in a stalker sort of way.
Do you have a favourite Australian ethical fashion designer that you'd like me to cover on this blog? Feel free to let me know by commenting below.