We’re calling it here. BreeLayne is the future of where the fashion industry should, and hopefully is, going. She’s got classic design chops and high fashion appeal (worked at The Row, tick); nailed the democratized sustainable deal at Reformation (another tick); she’s a fierce environmentalist (hot on Stella’s heels, tick); and is laser-focused on fusing the whole lot together with her namesake label, BreeLayne (last tick).
We chatted to the Malibu-born, East Coast trained designer about starting her business and the key to finding your way in the luxury market, without compromising on one’s principles.
WHAT WAS YOUR FASHION BACKGROUND AND WHY DID YOU START YOUR OWN LABEL? WHAT WAS MISSING FROM THE MARKET?
I started working in fashion around age 12. I was fascinated by clothes and how you could express yourself through them. I quickly became a little style guru, always playing dress up and helping people put together outfits that made them feel empowered. I started interning at a family friend’s clothing factory and ended up designing for them. I continued to study at a range of fashion houses, and spent some time abroad to really diversify my knowledge of global fashion. I interned for companies across the board, including The Row, where I learned about the luxury market, and Reformation, where I learned about sustainability – both were new brands at the time. Regarding what was missing from the market – I started by doing research as a consumer. I would just go to stores and look around, surveying what was being sold and what customers were responding to, I was repeatedly disappointed with the selection and options available. There wasn’t another sustainable luxury brand out there. I wanted to invest in pieces that I could not only feel good in physically, but morally too. So, when I finally decided to start my own label, it was a no brainer for me. It had to be sustainable.
WHAT IS YOUR DESIGN PROCESS? WHERE DO YOU DRAW YOUR INSPIRATION FROM?
I’m always heavily influenced by nature. But my design process varies depending on the collection. I do a lot of research whether it’s based on a specific culture or mainly, looking back at vintage designs and going through archives. Sometimes I’ll have an idea in my head and then find the fabric, other times I find the fabric first and it inspires a design. I go through thousands of fabrics to ensure we pick not only the highest quality, but also fabrics that are durable and comfortable. I’m also a bit of a Pinterest person so I always have a board to collect all my inspiration and ideas in one place.
“I wanted to invest in pieces that I could not only feel good in physically, but morally too. So, when I finally decided to start my own label, it was a no brainer for me. It had to be sustainable.”
WHO IS THE BREELAYNE WOMAN?
The BreeLayne woman is every woman. She is fashion forward, someone who can roll out of bed, throw on a t-shirt, one of our coats and a pair of jeans – or a dress with sneakers or heels and is the most effortless woman in the room. She is an activist, advocating for women and the environment. She is empowered to make a difference. She’s a style chameleon, collects statement pieces and is always chic.
SUSTAINABLE LUXURY IS AT THE HEART OF THE BRAND. WHAT DREW YOU TO SUSTAINABILITY ORIGINALLY?
I spent my childhood outside amongst the mountains and it deeply influenced me as a person. I knew when I decided to start my own brand that there was no question about whether or not it would be environmentally conscious. I couldn’t do it any other way. It’s important to me that I am able to help give back to nature through my art.
HOW DO YOU INCORPORATE BEING ENVIRONMENTALLY AWARE ON A DAY TO DAY BASIS, BOTH IN YOUR OWN LIFE AND WITH THE BRAND?
“Reduce, reuse, recycle” is a mantra in my daily life and it also represents how I approach sustainability. I reuse everything – from bags, to paper, and everything in between. I don’t let anything go to waste both in my daily life and in my brand. We have a zero waste policy so we repurpose every leftover scrap into special one-of-a-kind gifts that accompany our customer’s orders.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER DESIGNERS EMBARKING ON SUSTAINABILITY WITHOUT SACRIFICING STYLE OR PRODUCT?
It’s honestly not as difficult as you would think. But it takes research. I think if they are designing cool, edgy pieces – they just need to do their due diligence and either use dead-stock materials, and/or make sure that their manufacturing processes are incorporating sustainable practices. It’s really about being very hands on and monitoring the details of the process to ensure that everything is transparent and optimal. I would even suggest contacting other designers to buy their leftover fabrics that would typically go to landfills. Making sure every step is intentional is the key to ensuring a seamless transition into conscious fashion.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR BREELAYNE?
We’re currently doing some restructuring to further enhance our sustainability and our technologies. This includes foregoing the typical seasonal model and creating merchandise drops through our e-commerce platform. We have been working hard to shift people’s perspectives about the fashion calendar. Our goal is to help the industry recognize that the this model is outdated and unsustainable. It’s also unnecessarily demanding on designers who are expected to output new merchandise every other month. We hope that by setting the bar high in terms of our commitment to sustainability, that others start to do the same.
FOR MORE VISIT: BREELAYNE
All images courtesy of BreeLayne.
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