A CONVERSATION WITH CORA HILTS AND NATASHA TUCKER OF Rêve En Vert
Rêve En Vert (REV) was founded is 2013 by Cora Hilts and Natasha Tucker and since its inception has perfectly positioned itself as a premier online retailer of sustainable and ethical luxury. The fashion industry at large "...vacillates between being the second and third most polluting industry on earth," says Hilts "the transport of this clothing back and forth between vast distances accounts for a huge carbon footprint in itself." Given the fact that the luxury online retail market is a forty billion dollar industry, and market research has shown that as many as fifty percent of consumers, should they be given the option, would shop sustainably and ethically, it made sense that an online retailer like Rêve En Vert would be born. REV have not only created one carefully curated platform where all of this is readily available to the consumer, they have also successfully launched a site that functions as well as it looks; sustainability can be chic.
" I think Rêve En Vert is a very important company, partly because it creates an eco system and that eco system allows brands that are perhaps smaller to thrive and to grow, and allows brands that are not-so-small and are growing to amplify both their message and to have their product sold in an increasing number of channels." - PAUL VAN ZYL, Founder & CEO | MAIYET
With a number of well known luxury brands such as: RYAN ROCHE, MAIYET, FILIPPA K, MARA HOFFMAN and BASERANGE in their mix, Rêve En Vert are teaching us all that sustainable style, quality, respect for our environment and longevity are not things that should exist independently from fashion and lifestyle choices. In fact, they are paving the way for brands such as these, big and small, to gain the notoriety and consumer base that they deserve:
"Our mission at REV is to showcase the best of designs that combine both style and value to create something beautiful, timeless and long-lasting - a piece you can hand down to the next generation. We know that change in design must be made for our social and environmental well-being, and REV is the platform to put forward those labels that are pioneering this goal in unique and innovative ways. We really hope to get people as excited about this movement as we are."
[ Kara Town ] What brought about your desire to start a company committed to pioneering unique and innovative ways of bettering the world though the medium of fashion?
[ Natasha Tucker ] We realised that fashion was the second most polluting industry in the world and it seemed like no one was really addressing that. It's the one single thing that we all do everyday and that we all have in common so it seemed to make sense to be the ones to do it. We wanted to create a sustainable business that would affect real change and we saw an opportunity to do that in fashion.
[ Kara ] Further to this, how important is it to REV to supply support for fashion designers who too are committed to seeing change within the fashion industry?
[ Natasha ] It's incredibly important. It's our job to tell the stories of the brands that we work with and we do that through our editorial section. We also seek to build education around the topic of sustainability in fashion and the need for this change as well so this is an added strand of support to the cause. We believe in investing in designers and our aim is to build a platform where eventually we could help other designers to become sustainable.
[ Kara ] Listed under your TENETS are Organic, Local and Fair, all concepts that are readily embraced and often included in the common vernacular of many ethical movements. I did notice however, you have also included the fourth concept of Re-Made, which is of particular interest to me. Can you explain a little about the re-made philosophy and how it fits into the REV model and current fashion?
[ Natasha ] We really want to champion designers that are approaching this issue with innovative solutions and one problem inherent in the industry is the fact that creating more is, in essence, not necessarily a good thing to do. We work with some designers that are looking at design from a perspective of what they can use that already exists. The Sway is a great example of this. They make leather jackets out of high-quality leather off-cuts that would otherwise go to waste. We really feel that this is an important way of looking at what can be done to reduce waste and essentially reduce what ends up in landfill all over the world.
[ Kara ] I was fortunate enough to have a mother who, from a young age, taught me that ‘every little bit counts’ in regards to the environment. It is noted that your commitment to sustainability does not begin and end with your designers, that you are constantly striving to employ better green practices in your immediate environment. So, in your REV studio what are the little things you do in your day-to-day to reinforce said environmental and ethical practices?
[ Cora ] We were very aware that REV’s ethos has to extend beyond just what we expect of our designers. We look into the environmental impact of everything included in the business-from using carbon neutral shipping to having solar energy power our studio to sending out our parcels with minimal packaging. We also have a strict “no plastic” policy in the office for employees, which has been interesting and challenging but we find it one of the biggest eco offenders in business!
[ Kara ] I also understand that you partner with Trees For The Future in order to further offset your carbon footprint. How did this come about and what does this charitable organisation mean to REV?
[ Cora ] This charity is really close to both of our hearts-it allows local communities in countries ravaged by deforestation to replant the trees that they have lost. In the process they are given livelihoods, improving local agriculture, and helping offset global carbon emissions. We donate to them every year to help offset our shipping further, as well as a way to give back a bit of our own success with the hopes it enables that of others.
[ Kara ] What can we expect next from REV in 2017? Do you have any new designers you are looking to work with on horizon?
[ Cora ] 2017 is exciting for us in that we are bringing on new designers such as Mara Hoffman, Maiyet and Filippa K. We also are looking to expand our sustainable luxury offering into shoes, sunglasses, bags and accessories. We are looking into brining on vegan pieces, more upcycled materials and ethical components of wellness-such as yoga mats and water bottles. We want REV to really become the one stop shop for all things you need to live a stylish life well.
WORDS | Kara Town
IMAGES & INTERVIEW | Rêve En Vert - Cora Hilts & Natasha Tucker