This Online Luxury Retailer Has All The New Designers You Haven’t Heard of Yet
They’re also redefining ethical fashion.
Amanda Hearst and Hassan Pierre met in a showroom for a line called The Way It Should Be. The brand was by Hassan himself, a Parsons dropout who wanted to create a collection that was couture but conscious. Amanda was an associate fashion editor at Marie Claire who fell in love with the environment before she fell in love with style, and used her position to write about only sustainable fashion. The Way It Should Be was the reason they met but the phrase is also the vision they share when it comes to fashion and sustainability. Hassan likes to imagine a future where the two terms are interchangeable, “We’d like to say that maybe in five to 10 years time we aren’t talking about sustainable fashion, we’re talking about just fashion.”
They came together to launch Maison-De-Mode an online retailer that started as a pop up in an old theater at Art Basel Miami. All the brands they carry are chic but conscious, “It could be vegan, it could be artisanal, it could be organic. It doesn’t have to be all of them,” Hearst tells me across a table scattered in Anndra Neen's caged jewelry handcrafted in Mexico City. Everything they sell is high-design and high quality, the only thing that makes them different from other luxury retailers is that they can tell you the story behind everything they’re selling. “Understanding the impact of everything that you do, I think that is how we define sustainable fashion,” Hassan explains.
They don’t focus on the harmful effects typical consumer habits can cause, but the power in being fashionably mindful. In their Tribeca office, everything on the rack or shelf tells a story. When Pierre catches me staring at a clear clutch with a pink and purple pill labeled ‘Love’ he tells me of the concept behind Sarah’s Bag—each one is made in Lebanon by women who are former convicts who are ostracized in their communities. Design isn’t just aesthetic for them, it’s given them their own means of employment and freedom. “It’s playful. They’re fun. I love the idea that there is some sort of dark suffering behind them but they are creating these beautiful bright bags," Pierre gushes.
For those who are still unconvinced they should add ethical fashion into their closet, Pierre and Hearst suggest you think about it the same as you do about organic food. “If you think about what you ate, how you ate, and where your food comes from, it isn't even just about being organic, but about being local and helping the farmers. I think if people looked at fashion the same way, that there is a person behind it making the product; where are they making it, how are they living, do they have children, [they would see the importance],” compares Hearst.
From fast fashion brands like H&M, with the launch of a conscious collection to high fashion designers like Stella McCartney, there is no denying that sustainable fashion is on it’s way to becoming the new normal. When I mention Cameron Russell and Emma Watson’s advocacy for artisanal made low waste products, Hearst is quick to add “Side note, Anne Hathaway is also doing a press tour in ethical fashion!” It’s true. The days where Hollywood boasted fur and leather are becoming a thing of the past.
But Maison-de-Mode is only looking towards the future. When Hearst and Pierre first started there were only 10 brands they could work with, now there are over a hundred and they come across new designers every day on Instagram. As I skim through the clothing rack they’ve brought to the interview, I fall in love with a pair of studded denim jeans from OHLIN/D. Hearst looks at me and says, “All organic textiles! Made here in New York.” I decide it’s okay to go ahead and add them into my shopping cart as I start to reconsider everything in my closet, it is Earth Day after all.
You can stop by both NYC Bloomingdale’s locations between April 10th and May 10th to shop the Maison-de-Mode Earth Month pop up and upgrade your consciousness and your closet.