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When you think about haute couture you think of fashion without limits, clothing with no boundaries and a limitless supply of whatever type of material is preferred: leather, silk, cashmere. Linda Loudermilk, unlike other fashion designers, thinks of the environment. She uses sustainable fabrics like bamboo, SeaCell (seaweed) and Ingeo (corn). Loudermilk created a brand that weaves together luxury and the environment by using organic textiles from natural sources.
Loudermilk has made ‘going green’ sexy and fun. She has made it her personal mission to not only influence change on the planet but also within her consumers’ mindset. She believes: “We and the planet are directly correlated to one another.” She coined the term, and mentality of, luxury eco™. Her goal is to prove to skeptics that being environmentally aware can be trendsetting and luxurious.
This passionate designer began researching sustainable products after feeling emptiness after showing her work at a fashion show in Paris. Her designs were met with nothing but praise, but Loudermilk was left needing more. “I was creating beauty, but beauty without soul,” Loudermilk said. She took it upon herself to meet with scientists and sought out companies that used nontoxic, pesticide-free fibers. Her new manufacturers did not poison the water supply like some others sometimes do.
Loudermilk feels so strongly about water, in fact, that she created the clothing campaign, Water is a Human Right™. She did this because more than one billion people worldwide do not have access to clean, safe drinking water. Her “mission wear” has been around for several years, but is still offered on Loudermilk’s website.
In addition, she is selling copper, reclaimed sterling silver or gold necklaces with an old-fashioned water faucet pendant adorned with a single glass drop of water. This collection also includes tank tops, V-neck T-shirts and bamboo scarves. The tank top and T-shirt design sports the mission phrase Water is a Human Right™ and has a picture of the same old-fashioned faucet as used in the necklaces. Prices range from $45-$149 and 17 percent of proceeds are donated to clean-water initiatives worldwide. For such a passionate, environmentally driven fashion designer, I was surprised she did not designate a greater percentage of her proceeds to be donated. That being said, her efforts should be commended; I don’t see designers like Dolce e Gabbana or Versace donating any of their proceeds to environmental efforts.
Loudermilk developed the Loudermilk Institute. The institute enables other designers and innovators to receive the luxury eco™ stamp of approval. This is a very specific endorsement reserved for companies or individuals who embrace the environment in every way possible. The stamp of approval depends on price point, energy use, labor practices, and overall affect on the environment.
“Let us kick design’s ass into a new era of acumen,” Loudermilk said about her Institute. “Use science to get closer to and respect nature – instead of suffocating it. Think of the most expensive item you own. This item, I guarantee you; can be made with 100 percent more respect for the Earth, our people, and our animals by…innovation, formulation, and a committed heart.” Inevitably, Loudermilk’s devotion to creating change in the world will lead her to her continued success.
To receive the luxury eco™ stamp of approval you can get the evaluation criteria and follow the stamp administration accreditation process on the Loudermilk Institution website.