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Study Sustainability

Get the lowdown on the high-minded designer’s innovative eco-practices.

Spend five minutes with Tara St James, the designer behind Study, and you quickly learn two things: She’s Canadian, and she cares deeply about making clothes that are good for the planet. Ok, maybe three: Those clothes have to be awesome-looking, too. Here’s a peek at some of the directives she’s adopted to deliver her brand of eco magic. —jessie pascoe

An Indigo Handloom weaver. (Photo by Susan Bowlus.)

“Study is made in NYC. If I can’t do it in NYC, then I will do it somewhere where there is a culture and history of doing that kind of production.”

A dress for fall 2012 made of hand-woven cotton crafted by Indigo Handloom.

“I found Indigo Handloom in India through Source4Style, a sourcing website for sustainable textiles that has been crucial to the development of my fall 2012 collection.”

An alpaca sweater hand-knit in Peru paired with skirt made from Indigo Handloom cotton—both among Tara’s fall designs.

“These knits for my fall 2012 collection are done by home-knitters in Peru. A friend of mine also works with these knitters, and she introduced me to them. The sustainable-design community is a lot more transparent than the traditional fashion community, and colleagues share good vendors in an effort to pool our resources and keep the small factories in business.”

Tara’s very versatile four-way dress.

“No-waste pattern-making is something I started doing with my first 2009 collection. The entire collection was done with zero waste, so it was all squares cut out of fabrics and then manipulated in a certain way. The first piece was really simple—I still produce that piece, called the four-way dress. Every time I give it out to stylists, they find a new way to put it on. People are a little apprehensive at first, but it has lasted five seasons. And I just keep on finding good fabrics for it.”

Tara’s back with another edition tomorrow! Make sure you don’t miss out!