Let’s kick off our introduction of eco-fashion brand Amour Vert with this statistic: the fashion industry is the second most polluting in the world. Materials often come from unknown sources and are treated with toxic chemicals, many factories violate human rights laws, and brands are generally able to avoid accountability in their pursuit of profit.
But Amour Vert’s founding mantra is that a woman should never have to sacrifice style for sustainability. Linda Balti launched this project in 2010—the same year that Tata Harper kicked off her skincare line—with the belief that great fashion and social responsibility can coexist. Her styles are manufactured in America and developed with non-toxic dyes, sustainable fabrics, and a zero-waste philosophy. In the same way that Tata Harper Skincare is, first and foremost, about high-performance ingredients to drive results, enduring style is Amour Vert’s main mission. Ethical is our common way of doing business.
Amour Vert’s new store in Palo Alto.
We caught up with eco-fashion entrepreneur and founder of Amour Vert, Linda Balti, to see how she found her way and what’s coming up next.
When you started Amour Vert in 2009, what was the eco-fashion market like and who’d you look to for inspiration? The reason why I started Amour Vert is because I couldn’t find a nice contemporary eco-fashion brand that I could relate to. At the time, there were a few organic yoga wear options and some luxury ethical brands like Stella McCartney. I looked up to brands with strong values like Patagonia. I admire Yvon Chouinard for building a company that takes care of its people and is committed to production quality and environmental ethics.
Was there anything you learned from your previous career that served you in your transition? I worked as an engineer for 7 years before I started Amour Vert. I was developing simulators for fighter jets and helicopters. I have a very analytical mind which helps me look at fashion with a fresh eye. I combine instincts with hard data and agile analytical thinking to design products that women want to buy.
What were some of the most significant challenges you faced implementing a sustainable supply chain and manufacturing process? When I decided to venture into sustainable fashion, the first challenge I encountered was finding materials I could work with. The eco fabric choice was very limited so I decided to work with a textile engineer and create my own eco fabrics. We started experimenting and blending fibers and came up with some really soft blends of organic cotton and wood fibers.
How have you seen your mission impact the market, or how has the market evolved since 2009? The market has evolved so much and I am happy to see high street retailers launch eco-friendly initiatives like the H&M conscious collection or Zara’s sustainable collection. There is a demand and consumers want transparency and responsible products.
What are the three most important qualities in a garment, for you? I have a very busy life with a company to run and a two year old boy. I need comfort, versatility and things that are easy to care for. I design clothes that can take you from the boardroom, to the playground and straight to dinner without having to change!
You’ve said: “If I can’t do it sustainably, I don’t do it.” Can you elaborate on what this means for Amour Vert and your consumer? Amour Vert was built with sustainability at its core. I want to prove that it is possible to make fashion that is ethical, sustainable and accessible. We only use organic, recycled and natural fibers. We manufacture in the USA and we make sure we are as efficient as possible. I can’t stand waste!
What’s the most exciting thing about your job? It is exciting to build a mission driven company and see people join in. My goal is to raise awareness about the impact of fashion and give women an option they can feel good about. When a friend tells them they love what they are wearing, they have more to say than just “thank you.” Also, for every Amour vert tee sold, we plant a tree in the USA. The environmental benefits of reforestation are huge and so far we have planted over 100,000 trees.
What’s next for Amour Vert? We are opening our own retail stores where our customer can fully experience the brand and learn more about our sustainable practices. It is fantastic to be able to interact directly with our customers and tell them our story.
Author: Tata Harper Team
The team at Tata Harper Skincare is passionate about promoting a modern, health-conscious natural beauty lifestyle that’s committed to safety, honesty and sustainability.