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The idea of sustainable fashion isn’t just a marketing hook these days — it’s a full-on movement, and our conscious closets couldn’t be happier. St. Roche is among those turning the so-called eco-friendly “trend” into a norm with its boho-luxe womenswear, which we envision on LA’s cool ladies of the canyons.
It’s no surprise, then, that married founders Sue Stemp and Paud Roche are based in Laurel Canyon, the LA nabe synonymous with rock ‘n’ roll residents like Jim Morrison, The Mamas and the Papas, and other ’60s and ’70s icons. (In fact, the Stemp/Roche clan live in an abode that was once home to Led Zeppelin.) Their designs ($198 to $375) —which include a ruffled lace blouse fit for Michelle Phillips and a Rajasthani-inspired embroidered tunic worthy of Joni Mitchell — celebrate the spirit of their bohemian borough, but with a modern twist.
“We live and work in Laurel Canyon, so being surrounded by beautiful nature is constantly inspiring and calming when I’m designing,” Stemp tells us. “Also this is a colourful neighborhood full of interesting creative people.”
We asked English transplant Stemp (a CFDA member who previously worked for Alexander McQueen and Tocca) to share a few of her favorite neighborhood spots — find them all in the gallery above, then read on to learn how her and her husband’s industry experiences inspired their move to be more mindful, what they hope other fashion labels can learn from them, and more.
As an ethically produced brand, how did your experiences in the fashion industry shape your priority to be more mindfully made?
Corporate work trips to China put me right off that model of fashion manufacturing; we wanted to make clothes that were more authentic, with more of a handmade original quality. However, what really shaped our business into being more mindfully made was having children, moving to the West Coast from New York, and embracing a healthier lifestyle. Above all, it heightened our awareness of global environmental issues.
What do you hope the rest of the fashion industry can learn from St. Roche?
That it is viable for a small independent fashion brand to choose the responsible option whenever possible when selecting resources and the supply chain, and that every little bit helps us all to become more sustainable.
The same technologies that have enabled world wide supply chains for huge global brands also now enable us to connect with smaller manufacturers and artisans easily in ways that would have been impossible a decade ago.
We also hope we can help change the perception that eco-fashion can appear modern, cool, and importantly can be affordably priced.
What can we expect from the brand in the future?
An upcoming collaboration with British artist Hugo Guinness, as well as a custom bridal veil line, and for Fall ’17 (which I’ve just started developing) we’ll be increasing our knitwear, which is all made in Peru.
Main Photo: Courtesy