J. Cavallo: A WOC Owned Sustainable Fashion Brand That's Built on a Foundation of Luxury & Responsibility
We chatted with Jeannine Cavallo the founder of the modern sustainable brand J. Cavallo. Check out this interview by a black owned ethical designer who is taking over the luxury market:
Why was it particularly important for you to start a modern luxe fashion brand that is sustainable?
The J. Cavallo mindset and mission have always included sustainability as a core
component. We firmly believe beauty and responsibility are not mutually exclusive.
What are your top 3 sustainable principles when it comes to your design methodology?
a. Respect for the artisans we collaborate with is a core tenet of the J. Cavallo brand. We want our artisans to work in a safe and pleasant environment. It’s also important to us that the artisans we collaborate with are paid a living wage. When people receive a living wage, it provides them with dignity as well as the ability to contribute to the positive growth and development of their communities.
b. Respect for the planet comes directly from our sustainability mindset. We use certified organic materials as well as natural fibers in our collections. We design with timelessness in mind, not trend, to create clothes we hope will remain in our buyers’ wardrobes for years to come. We also only produce on a made-to-order
basis. This helps us limit waste by not holding on to inventory, and reduces our carbon footprint because we’re not storing huge amounts of materials or finished clothing.
c. J. Cavallo espouses the idea of circular design, which means our design thinking extends beyond the consumer, and includes where and how our products might be used or recycled after the consumer is no longer wearing the pieces. We have a program in place to redesign pieces that have been purchased from us as well as a resale program. Our goal is always to keep our pieces out of landfills, but if our pieces were to end up in a landfill, we utilize only natural fibers in our construction, which will breakdown and return organically to nature.
How do you see the future of sustainable fashion?
I see the future of sustainable fashion as the only way to design and develop if we want to try to preserve what’s left of our beautiful planet. As the consumer becomes more educated I see the demand for sustainable fashion growing.
Does being a woman of color influence your brand? If so how?
Historically men and women of color have been overlooked in fashion - on the runway as well as behind the scenes as stylist and designers. Blackness, until recently, was seen as an unmarketable quality especially when it comes to selling expensive clothing. We are discounted, in a multitude of ways, simply
because of the color of our skin. This is a tough industry for anyone to enter, but even more so if you are a person of color. It’s important for me as a woman of color to speak up and show that we are powerful influencers in fashion, and that our ideas and dollars matter.
What is your greatest inspiration?
My greatest inspirations are not only my mom, grandmother and great
grandmother, who were all seamstress as well as very stylish, elegant women,
but also the women artisans I work with in developing countries. These women,
who wouldn't otherwise have a voice, are given a voice through our collaboration
and our designs, and that’s something that inspires me daily, and that I’m
honored to enable through J. Cavallo.