A couple of years ago, a truly stylish young lady friend of mine who is just as obsessed with clothes as you and I told me something that changed the way I approach and experience fashion altogether. An avid vintage shopper, she had committed herself to never (ever) buy a piece of new clothing again, a feat that sounded completely impossible to the old me who barely recycled, smoked a pack of cigarettes a day and compulsively shopped at Intermix. “It takes about eighteen hundred gallons of water to make just one pair of jeans,” she said. We argued, but she had the upper hand, as quite undeniably the fashion industry as we know it is wearing out the world. This rude awakening came to me by the time eco-friendly clothing was not just associated with hemp and hippie gear anymore – thank god. Slowly but surely, I switched up my spending habits and now more than ever, I make the conscious decision to give my money to companies like London-based rêve en vert.
An e-commerce platform introducing a curated selection of apparel and accessories brands that are produced ethically, often with sustainable materials and fair trade practices – rêve en vert – also R.E.V. – is founded on the belief that sustainability can rhyme with high fashion.
Their blog is full of interesting and eye-opening bits of environmental information intermixed with a moodboard of compelling images; a photo of Georgia May Jagger, a snapshot of Paris in the 1960’s, bright pink peonies, a lonely girl by the sea. I love their vibe!
Meet founders Cora Hilt and Natasha Tucker, captured in their sunny Shoreditch studio by Sara Sani, to learn more about their inspired journey and what it’s like to be living the dream.
LF: How did you ladies first connect and what drove you to start the brand rêve en vert?
N: We first connected through a mutual friend when Cora was living in Paris about seven years ago and we always kept in touch. My personal interest in sustainability took shape after working for an organic farm for 6 months back at home in Bermuda. When I moved back to London, Cora and I had lots of conversations about the idea of building a platform where you could shop consciously, easily and without forsaking style and aesthetic.
It was how we both wanted to shop and couldn’t find it, so we decided to create it! I think we are both very driven by the idea of making sustainability accessible and relevant for an urban audience, because this is how we both live at the end of the day.
LF: Tell us a little bit about your mission to connect style and sustainability.
C: rêve en vert was started as a project of passion – we both wanted to be a force of change in the world and saw fashion as the vehicle for this. For us, sustainability needed to coexist with beautiful things and a contemporary lifestyle.
N: For me, this mission is about not having to forsake one or the other. I aim to be conscious but also want to dress and look a certain way. There are so many designers out there doing both, and we wanted to build a place where these designers could be showcased and also promoted so that we could help change people’s (quite often) negative perception of what sustainable fashion is.
LF: What is the most important thing you’ve learned since starting your online business?
N: I’ve learned so much after starting this business and I never would have thought I’d be running a website! Probably the steepest learning curve was how far ahead you have to be thinking when it comes to fashion. You have to be at least 6 months ahead. I think we are finally getting the hang of it but not having a fashion background it has been a bit of a challenge to get ourselves on track!
C: Getting into social media is not something that comes naturally to me but it is so key to getting across your message and aesthetic online – I’ve now become an Instagram and Pinterest fan, which I would never have thought.
LF: Tell us about some of the brands you carry, can you pick a favorite?
C: It’s a bit like choosing a favorite child but I would say Pamela Love jewelry. It’s all very chunky and rock n’ roll whilst still being very feminine. It’s also all personally designed, made by hand in her NYC studio, and completely sustainable.
N: I love all of the designers we work with for different reasons. I love the designers that upcycle and use what has already been produced in order to make their own products. I also love the sunglasses we stock from Shwood. They are all handcrafted in Portland, Oregon out of sustainably planted trees. They are so unique and I get a lot of compliments on the pair I have when I wear them.
LF: From a brand development perspective, why is editorial curation so important to you?
N: For me, editorial is really a place where we can be a little more experimental and hopefully push boundaries a little bit. We don’t want to come across as preaching to people, but at the same time really see this as the place we can push stories of cool people doing very cool things as far as sustainability is concerned. It’s another way of hopefully making this discussion more accessible, as well as opening it up to areas other than fashion.
LF: What are five simple things one can do to “clean” her closet?
N: Strip your closet down to the things you love and use the most. Shop with longevity in mind. Buy investment pieces that are timeless and classic so you will want them for a long time. Quality always outweighs quantity. Avoid buying trend-led pieces that will seem old very fast.
C: Donate all clothes that you have only worn once (not including couture!) and the ones that are falling apart at the seams. It’s amazing how good it actually feels to get rid of all the excess you never go for anyway.
LF: Do you consider yourselves activists?
C: At R.E.V we talk a lot about “young activists” and I do hope to fall under that category whilst definitely not being extreme. We have recently become really passionate about the Anti-Fracking campaign in the U.K. after working with a few people who are helping to spearhead the movement here with Vivienne Westwood. We are also now both on the contributing committee of Oceana, the largest charity fighting to save the seas and it’s resources.
LF: Where do you see yourselves and your company in five years?
N: Hopefully we will have grown into other areas. I know we are both very keen to branch into menswear. It would be great to have a more extensive home ware section as well as I really love furniture. Ideally we would love to see the brand becoming the go-to online platform for all of your conscious but aesthetically-led shopping.
LF: What’s your favorite thing about London?
C: For me it sits right between New York City and Paris, which is exactly where I like to be.
N: I love London’s diversity. I would probably say my favorite thing is going out for dinner with my friends and I love how much of a variety there is. I also love that London’s restaurant scene has taken off so much in the past few years. It used to have a bad reputation as far as food went, and now I think it’s one of the best cities you can find for it.
LF: What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
N: My morning ritual is always the same. I wake up, have breakfast, watch the news and go for a swim. It’s what I need to do to make sure my day doesn’t start off in a stressful, rushed way!
C: Green tea and emails in bed, followed by a yoga class more often than not.
LF: What’s your best / worst habits?
C: Best habits would be really short showers and always using tote bags. Worst habits are iced lattes in plastic cups and loving all the fruits and veggies that are not in season/local.
N: We have spoken to a lot of people about water conservation so I am quite diligent when it comes to this. I would love to be better at buying local produce and eating seasonally. I would say one of my worst habits is shopping whimsically for food without taking into consideration where it comes from.
LF: When are you happiest?
N: I’m happiest when I’m by the ocean.
C: Traveling. I was just in Capri and was extremely happy there!
LF: How FAST do you live?
C: I think I tend to live quite fast regarding art, sex and travel, but definitely fashion for me needs to be slow and conscious.
N: Living in the city means I probably live too fast! That being said, a lot of what we want with rêve en vert is to come back to a place of thoughtfulness and hopefully, in terms of thinking about fashion and lifestyle choices, slowing back down a little bit and getting back to a place where things are thoughtfully made and produced again.