In a world of H&M and Zara, it sometimes is hard to imagine fashion as a means for positive social change. Raven+Lily is committed to creating fashion the right way because empowering artisans is just as important to them as producing their beautiful collections. We at Modavanti are proud to carry Raven+Lily and had the chance to speak with them about building a truly good fashion brand. Read their story below:
1.) What is the story behind Raven+Lily?
1) Raven + Lily is a socially conscious lifestyle brand dedicated to empowering women though design. We partner with women in India, Ethiopia, Cambodia, and the US to make our collections of apparel, jewelry, and accessories. Our brand is passionate about providing our customers with stylish products that are both fair trade and eco-friendly.
2). Can you tell me a little about the designer behind the label?
The design effort that goes into Raven + Lily is a combined effort. Our lead designer, Courtney Rafter, joined us last summer after working at Free People for five years and has been an amazing addition. The overall brand vision is driven by the co-founders Kirsten Dickerson and Sophia Lin, with their shared love for midcentury design, Asian minimalism and all things Morocco. Raven + Lily products are inspired by the art and design of the culture in which they are made. Basically, we find inspiration in the artisans themselves. We like our pieces to be inspired by local designs, with a modern twist that appeals to the US consumer.
3). Who is your customer?
Our customer is the stylish, modern woman who cares about where her products come from. We always want to be a brand whose products can stand alone without people even knowing the stories behind them. We want our customers to buy our designs because they love wearing them and feel good in them, and we want our customers to talk about our brand because of the amazing women behind each product!
4). When and how did Raven+Lily get started?
Kirsten Dickerson started Raven + Lily with her good friend, Sophia Lin, in Los Angeles. The idea for the company grew out of a love for fashion and design, combined with their desire to empower women to rise above poverty. Kirsten had spent a lot of time traveling the world with her husband, who creates documentaries about social issues and had experienced first-hand some of the issues that are prevalent in developing world countries. She saw an opportunity to combine her experiences and talents with Sophia’s to create a company that would invest in the women in these places to significantly impact their futures. Raven + Lily launched as a socially conscious brand in June 2011.
5). What inspired you to start a fashion brand with a commitment to sustainability? Why is it important to you?
We use local, recycled and handmade materials as much as possible that are eco-friendly and support local artisans. Our Ethiopia jewelry collection is sourced through our relationship with villagers that hand-form beads made from melted bullet casings from previous wars. In India, all wood and leather are sourced locally and our paper collections are made from repurposed cotton remnants. Our Cambodia partnership utilizes hand-loomed fabrics made by local artisans, as well as remnant, repurposed cotton jersey. Most of our products tell the story of taking what was once meant for harm or something no longer considered useful and repurposing that material into something of great beauty.