Wearwell's co-founder Emily Kenney chats with Desiree Gaitan-Buchanan, Founder of Poplinen, based in Los Angeles to talk about representation in sustainable fashion, how to get started on shopping more consciously, and how she wears Poplinen’s versatile bestselling essentials.
Emily: Excited to chat with you today, Desiree! What motivated you to start Poplinen?
Desiree: Poplinen was born out of my own pain points with the sustainable fashion space, and is dedicated to making sustainable fashion more diverse while bringing awareness to sustainability issues, which is imperative to creating a more equitable climate future.
As Latina, I believe I am responsible to be an agent of change in my community and work. When one can see someone like themselves making a difference in an arena they want to step into, they are empowered, and they can make choices to be a part of the change, too. My life’s work is to be a force for good in the lives of those around me while doing right by our planet.
Emily: I love how Poplinen is acting as a change agent — representation is so important! In three words, how do you describe Poplinen’s aesthetic?
Desiree: Welcoming, easy, and fresh.
Emily: Sustainability in fashion can be described in many different ways. How do you define “sustainable fashion?”
Desiree: “Sustainable fashion” is a term that gets thrown around a lot, it’s complex and can be confusing. At Poplinen, we try to be very clear and simple about our sustainability efforts. At a high level, I define sustainable fashion as the industry working towards the least harmful impact on the environment through products, systems, and people that are not only addressing the environment, but also social justice.
Emily: What’s one piece of advice you would give someone who is just beginning to build their sustainable wardrobe?
Desiree: My advice on building a sustainable wardrobe is to start with what you have. Slowly and thoughtfully take stock of what you already own, what you need, and better ways to integrate those core pieces into your wardrobe. Secondhand stores are a tried and true option, throwing clothing swaps are fun, and a lot of brands now have resale sites which are affordable ways to integrate your favorite brands into your wardrobe at affordable price-points. Lastly, some items like essentials and underwear need to be purchased new, so choosing a brand with ethical and sustainable practices is always a good way to go!
Emily: What are your favorite styles from Poplinen’s collection?
Desiree: My favorites are:
The Rita Linen Set: This shirt and short set is so lightweight, durable, and versatile. I am always on-the-go, and it’s pretty hot most days in LA, so wearing something that’s breathable and looks put together is always a no-brainer for me.
Our Jane Cuffed Hemp Tee in Black: I love a classic black t-shirt, and our Jane Tee comes in this soft organic cotton/hemp blend that is so gentle on the skin. It has a flattering cut that looks great on any body!
The Jameela Jumpsuit in Organic Cotton Gauze: I can’t stress enough about how I don’t have enough time to think about what I’m going to wear each day. I love a good jumpsuit, because it’s an entire outfit in one, and looks super cute dressed up or down.
Emily: Love those picks. I can’t get enough of the Jameela Jumpsuit — it’s so versatile and comfortable! What’s next for Poplinen?
Desiree: We’re dropping some really fun and functional styles for fall/winter, and you’ll first hear about it on TV! Can’t say more than that, but I'm looking forward to announcing this opportunity at the end of September. On a more long term note, we’re continually excited about partnering with the right stores to offer Poplinen in-person around the country!
Emily: Oh, can’t wait to see the new fall/winter styles. Anything else you want to share with wearwell’s community?
Desiree: I couldn’t be more thrilled to share a few of Poplinen’s best-selling styles with the wearwell community! We only work with plant-based fabrics to make our collection, which is made ethically in California and offered in sizes XS-3X. This partnership aligns with us on all our values. Thank you so much for having us!Emily: The feeling is mutual — it’s so wonderful to have such a strong set of shared values and we’re so thrilled to have you part of our community!
Shop Poplinen at wearwell.