Ecologique Fashion | Press
Ecologique Fashion is a sustainable fashion PR and events consultancy based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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Meredith Corning Enterprises

 

 

When you think about the fashion industry and those involved, you may not picture Andrea Plell.  Plell is a rare breed with a mission to promote ethical fashion practices and educate the public through her company Ecologique Fashion and REFIX Magazine.  Genuine and compassionate about what she does every day from the way in which she treats others to what she wears, her good nature and intention is what draws people to her.  In such a fast paced industry based on aesthetic, motion, and ‘the sell,’ it is not often that you meet someone who is more concerned about the impact that it is all having on our environment and ultimately each other.

You wear many hats in the ethical fashion industry: Ethical PR, Conscious Messaging, and Creative Services.  How did you begin your fashion career and what led you to where you are today?

I kind of fell into the fashion industry really. I was working in sales and marketing and going to college full-time for business and felt a real drought of creativity and “soul” in my life. As I was previously an avid sketcher, painter, and writer I felt the need for constant expression and that’s when I found art direction and fashion photography- except I wasn’t taking the photos. I started out modeling for local designers and found that I had a knack for artistic concepts, styling, and creating a mood. I soon took a role behind the camera and directing and styling models of my own in order to create artistic scenes for ethical fashion clients who contracted to work with me. Upon graduation from college, I quit my corporate job and moved from Southern California to the Bay Area on a whim to grow my ethical fashion magazine– REFIX. When I arrived in San Francisco, everything happened so organically. I kept meeting more and more eco-conscious artists and designers who were in need of my skills. I also met several people involved in a project to regionalize garment production in Northern California called Fibershed. I am fortunate to have become one element of this effort towards a fashion micro-industry integrating locally sourced materials and Bay Area designers.

Refix volume one

REFIX Magazine

You have represented many eco-conscious brands over the years.  What are some of the characteristics that you look for in a brand before you get behind them?

First of all, I look at intention. If someone wants to work with me just to make clothes that sell and has no interest in bettering the world in one way or another I have no interest in working with them. I want to work with compassionate people who not only want to sustain their own lifestyle through selling their garments, but to contribute to the lives of others- whether that is through using organic, chemical-free fibers, paying fair wages, adopting zero waste processes, recycling textiles, giving back to their community, etc. etc. I am a big believer in conscious, thoughtful creation- if you’re going to make something, make it well!

When you provide public relation services for a client, is it hard to tell them when they are doing something wrong?  What approach do you use to guide a client in the right direction?

I appreciate my client’s efforts and know that they are always doing what they feel is best for their company, so for me it is sometimes difficult to express that they may be doing something wrong. To steer them in the right direction I usually refer them to case studies or other proofs of success when suggesting alternative actions. I’m actually very fortunate to have wonderful clients that carry much trust in me so I don’t often have this issue.

What has been the hardest part about launching your own firm and what advice do you have for start-ups looking to do the same?

Despite prolonged efforts in other past ventures, launching my own business really happened organically for me- where I was meeting people with similar goals at the right times and finding that they needed me and I needed them. I think the hardest part was realizing- “I have my own business, people depend on me” and not having that freak me out. I love helping people and I have a lot of pride in my work, so it’s very important to me to make sure my clients are happy. Showing my clients that I am confident in my work and compassionate about their needs gives them genuine value in working with my firm.

It is obvious you are an extremely creative person.  What is your creative process like?  How do you relax and take a breather from it all when you know you need a break and do your breathers have much to do with your creative process?

I have a very peculiar and spontaneous creative process. It really comes to me in spurts.

Although most of the planning and coordination happens weeks to months in advance, my most successful creation happens on the spot whilst filming, styling, photography, or editing. When I’m in the “mode” I can go for hours without a breather- my endorphins start pumping and my creative energy feeds me maintaining my focus without the distraction of time. In times where I feel extremely uninspired and have a photoshoot to direct or video to edit, I go to a pile of international fashion magazines, in my living room, or sites like pinterest for inspiration.


The Examiner

Andrea Plell is not only an example of someone who promotes socially conscious fashion, she lives it. Walking the walk while inspiring and promoting others who share her interests in ethical fashion is what Plell does through her company Ecologique Fashion, a fashion pr firm offering several creative services. Her company’s roots are explained in this interview with Plell and how she has evolved as an entrepreneur with a message of compassion and hope and a vision of a brighter tomorrow through fashion.

You are the brains behind an ethical fashion firm called Ecologique Fashion. Can you tell us what moves you about ethical fashion and why is it so important in your life?

Ethical fashion moves me because it goes beyond being fashionable or trendy, it is literally the consciousness “what am I wearing?” Much like the organic or GMO free food movement, ethical fashion poses the question of a garment’s origin; what is it made of, who it was made by and where. Additionally, ethical fashion promotes transparency in production, encouraging designers, knitters, sewers, and pattern makers to adopt less or no waste processes – taking the environment and future generations into consideration. Ethical fashion is very important to me because it promotes compassionate creation, and thoughtful design. Anyone can be a fashion designer, but to utilize organic textiles, create no waste patterns, use natural dyeing systems, pay fair wages, and/or to house your entire production line locally is what will sustain the livelihoods of our communities and environment.

Andrea at Scott Ian McFarland Event in the midst of producing a fashion premier and press event for Scott Ian McFarland’s Fall 2012 collection
Andrea at Scott Ian McFarland Event in the midst of producing a fashion premier and press event for Scott Ian McFarland’s Fall 2012 collection
Photo credit:
Photo by Melvin Harper

How do you describe Ecologique Fashion and what can people learn at ecologiquefashion.com?

Ecologique Fashion was originally a blog and fashion event that I started in 2008 upon discovering the harsh realities of the fashion industry. I didn’t know that the clothing available to me at the malls were supporting child labor and sweatshops in third world countries, or that the synthetic materials used to make affordable trendy clothing –like acrylic or polyester- were poisoning my body. In order to educate consumers on these realities and offer them sustainable alternatives, most of my blog entries included ethical designer and brand features as well as educational pieces where I would break down types of ethical fashion and unveil companies that “green washed” (talk the “green” talk, but not walk the walk). As my passion was to support ethical designers and support a paradigm shift in the industry, Ecologique Fashion eventually evolved into a pr company that now works directly with several ethical fashion brands in the San Francisco/ Bay Area offering them marketing and creative services in addition to event production and press relations.

How can the everyday consumer get involved in the ethical fashion movement and what do you consider to be the biggest roadblock consumers face when trying to become more involved?

I believe the biggest roadblock for consumers is miseducation. With the popularity of yoga, wellness, and organic foods you can tell that people are becoming more concerned than ever with what they consume, however because of this spike in interest many companies are taking it to their advantage to market in a way that uses “green” lingo, misleading consumers in order to sell their goods. For example, using the word “natural” to describe a product really doesn’t mean it has any health value whatsoever and there is no regulation that prohibits its use in advertising.

In order to involve yourself in ethical fashion the first thing to do is to become aware of your consumption – even if it means tweaking your habits a bit. Asking yourself if you really need something before you buy it. Doing research on where your clothing is coming from, what it is made of and reading labels. Being more creative and recycling clothes that already exist in your wardrobe and restyling them into new outfits. Not feeling as though you need to abide by monthly trends and creating your own fashion statements.

You also produce a beautiful quarterly publication called REFIX Magazine. What are your goals for the publication and what has been the feedback from the public so far?

In creating REFIX Magazine my goal was not only to support an ethical shift of consciousness in the fashion industry, but to also maintain a publication that promoted self-love and awareness. As a teen I was always so intrigued by the beautiful models and pretty products that dawned each page of most magazines, without realizing that constantly reading the underlying message that “I need to look like this” or “I have to buy that” did a number on my self confidence.

Since its inception, REFIX Magazine has gotten tremendous feedback from all over the world, which encourages me to keep doing what I’m doing.

If you could change just one thing in the fashion world through your work with Ecologique Fashion, what would it be?

To slow fashion down. We used to have a Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer fashion calendar, but jump twenty years and now there are dozens of new styles delivered to mainstream fashion outlets every week. With this comes a more frequent carbon footprint in transportation needs, increased use of easily produced synthetic textiles, the exploitation of factory workers putting in unpaid overtime in harsh conditions, and an urge for consumers to buy quantities over quality.

If consumers could instead put their dollar towards local artisans and fashion economies and ethical practices, they could support local supply chains, grow jobs, and enhance the culture of their community… making fashion much more than just another outfit.

SDNews.com – Ecologique Show features fashions for a green future

SDNews.com Fashion Files – Ecologique show features fashion for a green future November 2009

“Ecologique was presented at Thin/Onyx on Oct. 17, turning the runway into the first green initiative fashion event in San Diego. The evening showcased organic and reconstructed fashions. The event was a great way to educate the audience on making “green” a fashionable thing.” Read More…

 

944 Magazine – “Innovators Under 30”

944 Magazine – Innovators Under 30 Jan 2010

“Andrea Krystine Plell, 27, introduced her Ecologique Fashion blog in 2008 after working with indie fashion designers as a model and realizing her closet’s carbon footprint put her on the par with that of a hummer driver. Since then, she has become a leader in educating young fashionistas about the importance of sustainability– all while working and attending college full-time.” Read More…

 

Disfunkshion Magazine – “Ecologique: Fashion For a Green Future”

DISFUNKSHION MAGAZINE – “Ecologique: Fashion For a Green Future”  June, 2012 

“Since the idea that “going green” would help society sustain, we’ve begun to purchase products that claim to minimize our carbon footprint… but how do we play “good consumer” when it comes to fashion without going hippie-chic? Ask indie model and creative director Andrea Krystine, who founded a way to combine eco-consious efforts by making “going green” a more fashionable thing” Read More…

 

 

 

 

San Diego Fashion Calendar – “The Party’s Over”

San Diego Fashion Calendar – The Party’s Over October 2009

“I hit up the Ecologique “fashion for a green future” show at Onyx Thin Saturday night.  All in all it was a pretty good event. They funneled everyone downstairs to check out some local green designers and their wares.  I recognized Salvation Sacks right away, I’ve had one of her bags for a couple years.  It’s awesome.  The goal was to fund raise for breast cancer, and I hope the event was successful on that front. One thing I really liked was the mix mashing of retro style with modern heels. It’s nice to think we can dress up from different eras without having to commit all the way down to the shoe.  I enjoyed the combo.” Read More…