By Nevena Rousseva
NY based, LA raised, Central Saint Martins educated, designer Carrie Parry, creates sophisticated clothes with sustainability and social responsibility in mind. Her Fall 2011 collection titled “Mrs. Montague” – after a fed-up 1830s housewife who cut her husbands dirty shirt collar to wash, before re-attaching it – incorporates elegance, playfulness, and practicality.The NYC produced collection consists of fabrics like organic cotton and wool, cupro, tencel, and recycled polyester jersey. The fabrics are printed in San Francisco using water-based inks and digital printing process that uses less water and creates less waste. Parry was selected by Designer and Agents to be apart of their Green Room in NY and LA.
I talked with Ms. Parry about launching a sustainable clothing line.
What is your background and how did you get started?
I studied at Central St. Martin, University of the Arts in London and gained work experience whilst there, in design, costumes and textiles. I moved to New York a few years ago and worked in design and then in textile research and education at Earth Pledge, a non–profit which educates the fashion industry on sustainable textiles and processes. From working there and building their sustainable textile library, I gained a lot of knowledge about different environmentally conscious textiles and processes. I have also been taking a graduate course at the University of Delaware in Socially Responsible and Sustainable Apparel Business. This course is great and really helps to guide me in terms of how to constantly improve on social responsibility within my company.
What inspired you to go into sustainable design?
My work in fashion opened my eyes to the environmental and social impact that the industry can have. I decided that if I wanted to continue working in fashion, I needed to learn more about what I could do to help bring about change. I was motivated to create a line founded on my passion to create pieces that never go out of style and a commitment to responsible sources and practices.
Where do you find your inspirations?
From a lot of things.. it’s really varied. I love theatre, film, art, and music. Right now I’ve been really inspired in New Wave French films. NYC has such a special energy and there are always inspirational art exhibitions, theatre and people wathching!
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
Sourcing material. Not having the access to as many fabrics can be limiting but it is definitely much more rewarding to source socially and environmentally responsible fabrics and trims.
What has been the most fun for you in the whole process?
Building a community. I love working with all our suppliers and our factory.
What is your outlook on breaking into the industry as a sustainable designer?
It can be a challenge but it also much more rewarding.. I really wouldn’t do it any other way.
What’s the one thing you are doing right now to further your business?
Working on ways to be more transparent throughout the supply chain so consumers can really engage and learn by tracing the entire supply chain of the each garment.
We’re also partnered with Trees for the future to plant a tree in India for every garment purchased.
Check out her website www.carrieparry.com and make sure you read the detailed Social Responsibility section which includes guiding principles, sourcing sustainably, supporting artisans and code of conduct.
It’s great to see designers taking a stand and carrying about their impact!
Applauds to you Ms. Parry!
Photographer: Tamar Levine www.tamarlevine.com