Wearwell's co-founder Emily Kenney chats with Katie Martinez, Founder and Director of Elegantees, based in New York City, to talk about all things sustainable fashion and their mission to put the people behind their brand first.
Emily: Tell us about your favorite piece of clothing and why do you love to wear it!
Katie: The Nolita Tee is a basic I reach for often. It's a well-fitting cotton tee, but a little more special than a basic. The sleeve has the right amount of statement to dress up, but still subtle enough that I can wear a jacket over it.
Emily: What motivated you to start Elegantees?
Katie: I wanted to start a clothing business, and failed twice at it before. It wasn't until I worked for a few larger companies for a while before giving my dream another go. Third time's a charm! The other thing that drew me to entrepreneurship was knowing I could make more of an impact in the world than working in traditional fashion industry jobs.
Emily: How did your interest in sustainable fashion begin?
Katie: In 2010 when I first started Elegantees, the issue of human trafficking and the treatment of garment workers sparked my interest. Elegantees made super trendy pieces at first, but then I started to think about other things connected to sustainability and started aiming to make garments that will be reached for time and again. We keep this top of mind now with our designs!
Emily: What’s one piece of advice you would give someone who is just beginning to build their sustainable wardrobe?
Katie: Buy only what you love and will wear it many times.
Katie and her business partner, Ramesh Sapkota, in Nepal
Emily: Great advice! How does the Elegantees team define “sustainable fashion”?
Katie: In this order, at Elegantees, we care about: people, practical design, and using natural fibers or deadstock. We place the biggest priority on people.
Emily: Our team loves your commitment to the people behind your brand. Switching gears a little, how do you describe Elegantees’s aesthetic?
Katie: Elegant (thus the name!), Joyful, Practical
Emily: What are your favorite styles from Elegantees’s recent collection?
Emily: What’s next for Elegantees - any exciting growth that you’re looking forward to?
Katie: We've been working in more countries, now including India, to expand our reach and our design aesthetic!
Emily: Wow, I'm looking forward to seeing your new designs, and we can’t wait to see Elegantees' growth!
Katie: Thankful for you and all your support! It's my personal mission statement to see a world without exploitation, and your partnership sure helps us in that.