I could not be more excited to share today's post with you all! This one has been a long time coming, and it's very near and dear to my heart. Several weeks ago I had the pleasure of interviewing Laurie Lion, the brains behind one of my most favorite Oakland haunts - Hawthorn Boutique. I first became aware of Hawthorn (conveniently located several blocks away from my place of work) thanks to the recommendation of a coworker. Though I was immediately drawn to the shop's aesthetic and colors, and to be completely California about it, its warm energy and vibe, it wasn't until I made the jump to the world of ethical fashion that I realized what a gem of a place Hawthorn really is. Keep reading below to hear from Laurie, the shop's founder and all-around babe, to learn how she keeps Hawthorn feeling fresh, her process for selecting designers, and why she is a champion for conscientious fashion.
What is Hawthorn's origin story?
Hawthorn was founded in May of 2011. After a decade in the fashion industry and co-owning a previous retail business that focused on fast fashion, I felt like my ethical code and my career weren’t in proper alignment. I loved and felt so nourished with my connections to the women who shopped in the store, but felt such sadness knowing how much waste was happening as a result of fast fashion. I wanted to explore a more conscious approach, I believed that you could have a deep felt appreciation for fashion and at the same time, have a deep felt appreciation for the earth, her resources, and humanity.
I have always been fascinated by textiles, form, the artistic process & how people choose to create what they create. I wanted to know the story of the people who made my clothes & their inspirations. I trusted my belief that there were others out there who felt the same. I knew I couldn’t stay in the fashion industry the way I had known it, with no regard to waste, landfills, working conditions and etc. .. So Hawthorn became a test to see if I could align this deep love for the earth and her inhabitants while still running a retail business and making deep connections to all of these rad women who shop for and create beautiful things.
Why is conscientious fashion important to you?
The Earth, Humanity, Art.
Being conscious and feeling connected.
Fashion is a way for us to leave a first impression on the people we interact with. It gives us the ability to tell a story, wether we are consciously doing that or not. Fashion, for me, is one of the many ways to celebrate life in an artistic way. To take that to a deeper, more conscious place, to know who made your garment, the process involved, tells a more connective story, and allows you to be connected to that story.
How do you select the designers and makers you carry?
I let the aesthetics lead and then I research. Textile, silhouette, the way fabric hangs and lays are all important components. After the initial attraction, I delve deeper into the process of production. Where is it produced? How is it produced? Sustainability, environmental impact, working conditions of those making the garment, how designers give back to society, all of these things come into play. We focus on independent designers who produce consciously, 99% of whom are women.
We carry a handful of established brands, such as Mother Denim, who use their larger platform to enact positive change. Every season Mother does a capsule collection that gives back .. this past capsule, called Love Your Other, was their first gender neutral collection to help bring visibility of equal rights to the LGBTQ community, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Self Evident Project. There are multiple ways to encapsulate ethical fashion, the earth conscious sustainability approach, the humanist approach, all of which have an equal amount of importance in my heart and in the heartbeat of hawthorn.
Any advice for people who are interested in making the shift to support ethical fashion, but who run into barriers (cost, accessibility, maybe even visibility of brands)?
Every time you think of buying something, ask yourself, how long will I own this? How often will I wear it? How long will it last? The trick is to only buy things that bring you deep joy & that will last for years. Make a conscious decision to buy better and buy less. Clothing swap parties, shopping secondhand in vintage and consignment are all ways to do this on a budget. And really, truly, the first step is just being aware.
What is your favorite look for fall?
I have always had a love jones for monochromatic, usually centered around neutral tones. This fall has some of the most beautiful color palettes and I’ve been really enjoying playing with that in a monochrome tonal way. Olive, blush, deep navy and mustard have been some of my favorites to play with tone on tone & tone and texture.
Any other thoughts on the fashion industry in general?
I see an archaic industry changing every day due to the incredibly talented independent designers that are taking the status quo and shoving it out the window. Designers are moving away from the fast paced seasonal cycle and moving towards a more thoughtful approach when they create their collections. They are more mindful of every step in the process. People are more conscious of where their clothes come from and educating themselves on the process. A lot of that has to do with the trend of transparency, It’s a beautiful thing to watch.
Isn't Hawthorn just the dreamiest? And Laurie just the best? Be sure to pop on over to Hawthorn's online shop and check out their amazing fall goodies! Better yet - stop on by if you're local! AND you can use the code HARBEN at checkout (both online and in-store) to receive 10% off your order, because Laurie is awesome like that.
Have a wonderful Thursday, everyone!