“It's about our commitment to bettering the world through the medium of fashion and lifestyle. ”
Natasha Tucker and Cora Hilts are the brains behind Réve en Vert, a swanky young webshop that's turning the dial on ethical fashion in major ways.
They're as enthralled with the journey of design as they are its end result, and the London-based pair is using such penchants to rewrite the way chic style and green-living stand together. To the culture of fast fashion and its consumptive nature, Réve provides the slow lifestyle alternative for those who choose to live sustainability; beautifully; thoughtfully. Think Net-a-Porter gone green.
The Rev girls are vigilant– each of their designers is heavily researched to ensure full-circle ethics. Each is met with in person prior to coming aboard, and only the most aesthetically taut make the cut. Such (love &) legwork has unearthed some pretty incredible makers from Europe, UK and North America – designers who choose to challenge the industry standard just 'cuz.
The Northern Circular, a line acquired by Revco-founded by Lily Cole, hires grandmas from around the UK (yes, the little ladies with white hair) to construct their ethically-sourced knitwear. Another label, Article 22, creates refined jewelry from bombs dropped during the Vietnam War in Laos. THU THU, a German brand by way of Vietnam, sources its fabric from vintage skirts and blankets in Sapa (Vietnam), and employs women from the local H'Mong tribe to handcraft garments over several months. One of Rev's favourites (and mine!), jewelry designer Pamela Love, recently collaborated with The Clinton Foundation to create a custom necklace with proceeds aiding the crisis of illegal ivory trading. Can you feel the love and good looks?
With a recent shoutout from British Vogue and the launch their very own line of pima cotton basics, the future of Réve looks bright. Read on, as Natasha, Cora and I meet from our respective sides of the pond to discuss 'dreaming in green', where they come from and the new wave of sustainable fashion. -
How did Rev initially come to form? C: Rêve en vert was born while I was finishing my Masters in environmental studies here in London– I was thinking a lot about merging my admittedly imperfect lifestyle with the consciousness that had evolved throughout my studies. Fashion seemed like the perfect solution for combining industry with ethos and I wanted to make it really easy for people to begin shopping ethically without sacrificing aesthetics. N: I came on board quickly because it was the way I wanted to personally start shopping and it just made sense to me. We spoke a lot about our thoughts and feelings about sustainability and learning that the fashion industry is the second worst industry as far environmental damage was a huge turning point. That coupled with the fact that there is still a lot of room to change business practice in the industry really inspired us to take the plunge and start our own thing.
How did you two join as business partners? N: We had been friends for about 5 years. It wasn't exactly planned but we both saw eye to eye and shared the same vision for what rêve en vert could be. It all happened pretty organically, if you'll pardon the pun. And after a dinner – with some wine! – we decided we would go for it.
What are your respective backgrounds previous to Rev? C: I'm originally from Maine, but I had lived in Paris for five years studying politics and learning about style intrinsically by just being surrounded by French women. I moved to London about two years ago to get my Masters in Environmental Studies at King's College London and have now gotten stuck in to the city!
N: I studied a BA in Art History and an MA in Art and Politics. I worked on an organic farm for a year and that was my introduction to sustainability.
What's on your mood board? Our last campaign shoot was done in a really cool East London florist, Grace and Thorn, so we really channeled the Celine campaign with Daria. We are also always really inspired by Bruno Pieters.
In your business model, in a way you're challenging both consumers and business enterprises to be more aware / make better choices. What are your thoughts on this? It is a tricky place to be sometimes. Firstly we never want to come across as though we are preaching to people, and we don't want to vilify other companies or people for not shopping ethically. What we have always wanted to do with rêve en vert is to provide an alternative. Integrity and getting people to trust in a new brand centered on sustainable practice is a huge part of this. We have tried to provide as much information as we can on the site. We have also personally met all of our designers so can attest to their commitment to sustainable practice. We hope that through this kind of transparency with our business, people will be able to feel and trust in our integrity.
Where did you get the name REV? N: Cora came up with the name after living in France for five years. It means "dream in green" when translated and we love the subtlety of it. For us we really wanted a name that was more evocative of a lifestyle and a way of thinking and perceiving the world, and we love the way it leaves a certain amount open to people's interpretation and imagination. For us, it means a way you aspire to live and what you strive to do. How important is community to your development– personally and professionally? N: Community is a really important aspect of our business. We really hope to be able to build up a strong online community of representatives of sustainability on the editorial section of our site. Obviously this is a very important thing to have offline and in person as well and we are very lucky to have a great community of support and loyal "rêve family".
What are things that most move you? N: Apart from the obvious friends and family, we are always really moved when people tell us they have been compelled to change some of their shopping habits based on information they have heard from us. We always love it when we manage to get the importance of sustainability as a growing movement across to new people.
Describe a typical day in your London studio. C: No two days are ever really the same! At the core though is our team – the two of us and Tom, our marketing director. We usually have really dynamic working days and they can consist of everything from photo shoots, to castings, to the less exciting stock taking moments! We all have roles but everyone always helps out with everything so it's a really hands on kind of place to work!
What the heck is carbon neutral shipping? N: It's when shipping companies purchase certified carbon offsets to give you a way to balance out the emissions produced by the transportation of your shipments. Shipping is unfortunately an inevitable part of our business but through committing to support the programs the shipping company supports, we feel we are at least trying to do it as responsibly as we can.
Favourite designer at the moment? C: It's a toss-up between Pamela Love jewellery and the Sway upcycled leather jackets. Both designers are based out of NYC and produce locally so it's a bit of a throwback to my roots as well as both being incredibly urban and contemporary. N: I love Blake LDN because the knitwear is amazing and I live in her jumpers.
You just launched your first clothing line, R.E.V....... Yes! It's an organic pima cotton line of basic tees you can do anything in, from lounging to going out. We created it so our mothers would stop bothering us about when we were going to find a line like this. It was really hard to find one to stock so we decided to make our own. We have been as mindful as possible, taking sustainability into account with all of the decisions that we made about the shirts.
They are dyed using non-toxic dyes, the labels are digitally printed, the swing tags are all recycled and they were produced in a fair trade certified factory in Peru, where the cotton comes from. Aside from that they feel amazing!
How do you acquire designers for your shop? We have a pretty hardline stance when it comes to the lines we decide to carry. Ethics aren't enough. All of the lines have to be design and fashion centered. We never want Rêve en Vert to be about having to forsake aesthetics for ethics, or vice versa. We do a lot of research and look really hard for the brands that align with our ethos and style. The studio itself has become a place we have curated to reflect our commitment to sustainability. All of the furniture is either vintage or handmade, often times out of up-cycled materials. It's really important that our physical space also reflects what the brand stands for.
Sustainable style tip– right now. On the fly. There are lots of amazing materials out there. Bamboo, modal and tencel are all good. We obviously love organic Pima cotton! Avoiding certain things is also important. We make sure that none of our knits contain angora, even if it is ethically sourced for example. There are lots of amazing materials out there. It's just about being a bit more aware.
For more about Rev and the designers (and their stories) they stock, visit www.reveenvert.com.