GoodGuide is attracting lots of new members, many of whom are movers and shakers in the green movement. We’re happy to welcome Howard Brown, eco-entrepreneur and co-founder of ethical fashion label Stewart+Brown, to our community. Howard and his wife, Karen Stewart, founded Stewart+Brown in 2002, the year their daughter was born. Early on, Stewart+Brown’s fashion collections began redefining the possibilities for embracing a gorgeous aesthetic while also bringing our lifestyles into greater balance with nature.
We sat down for a quick interview with Howard to discuss sustainable fashion, the trend toward marketplace transparency and what’s in store for 2011.
GG: Was there a “eureka” moment in your life that led you to create a sustainable fashion brand?
HB: When I realized that I could marry (literally) my passion for design, fashion, knowledge and conservation into my own brand and fill a tremendous gap in the market place for gorgeous clothing embedded with environmental and socially responsibility.
GG: What are you looking forward to for Stewart+Brown in 2011?
HB: Right now we are very excited about the Fall / Holiday 2011 collection we are designing and preparing to bring to market in a few weeks. The collection is much more streamlined and innovative than it has ever been. Plus we have redesigned all the packing, branding, and our website which will be launched publicly this summer. Additionally, we have some new team members and advisors that are giving us new energy and a fresh look at things. We have more creative talent than we have ever had and it is always exciting to work with new people.
GG: What’s your take on the importance of product transparency for promoting sustainability?
HB: My take is that product transparency needs to be distilled down to its essence in order to be relevant to people. Overly complicated definitions / explanations confuse and turn-off the consumer. My concern is that effectively tracking, documenting, and publicizing product transparency can be cost-prohibitive for smaller companies, which often gives larger players with bigger budgets an unfortunate advantage. I’d like to see a level playing field so consumers can have complete information when they go shopping.
GG: Have you made any different product choices after using GoodGuide’s ratings?
HB: That’s an interesting question. Because we have been living the Green Lifestyle for a number of years and live in a very healthy and active community (and don’t shop at Kmart) we’re already fairly savvy regarding toxicity in consumer products. With that said, GoodGuide has ‘confirmed’ our product choices more than changed them. And that’s a good thing!
Here’s a sneak peak at the 2011 Stewart+Brown Fall Collection!