Esa (Evolving Sustainable Apparel)
Esa (Evolving Sustainable Apparel)
esa (evolving sustainable apparel) is formed by a small group of women. Esa’s mission is to evolve the fashion industry by providing a platform for brand awareness while also educating a new wave of conscious consumers. They host fun, interactive and educational events giving participants the knowledge of sustainable, ethical, and/or conscious brands that are evolving in New York City. Please enjoy my interview with the esa team.
1. Name the team and how did you all meet and form esa NY:
The founding members met in their last semester of college at the Fashion institute of Technology which include, Willa Tsokanis, our CEO, Briana Codella, CMO, Julia Valencikova COO. Also, Abril Carranza who currently attends St. Edwards University, in Austin is playing a major role in measuring the sustainable impact of the events. Esa also have some volunteer team members as Amanda Farr, social media manager, Kasia Barn, graphic designer, and Denis Barry and Souhair Kenas who play a major role in creating the signature "esabitchin" events. Peyton Plaise and Anthony Acocella are the crew's social media and event photographers.
2. Where did you get the name Esa?
In 1995, a pack of wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park. They set off the ecological phenomenon of a trophic cascade. That’s when the ecosystem is enriched, diversified, and positively impacted in ways that are unpredictable to scientific observers.
Esa saw themselves as a pack of wolves; a small group of consciously like minded individuals who wanted to set off change and have a cascading effect on the fashion industry. That’s when we found esa, the name of a Native American wolf god, that often takes on the literal form of a wolf. At this point no other name seemed fitting, and esa, evolving sustainable apparel, was born. Esa's goal is to evolve with sustainability fashion and have the planet flourish as well.
3. Are you only working with sustainable brands?
Yes, we only work with sustainable brands. Our goal is to promote conscious brands while also educating consumers, the ones with the most say for change, on why sustainable and conscious fashion is better. We have inspired designers to take sustainable steps. So, if you aren’t a sustainable brand but are looking to be more sustainable and conscious we would love to talk to you!
4. I love the green festival fashion show hosted this past June. Please tell us about that.
Green Festival’s fashion show was a wonderful opportunity presented to us by Andrea Reyes from New York Fair Trade Coalition. In May of 2017, sustainable advocates and leaders came together to put on an event that highlighted the sustainable fashion industry. Esa took part and curated the fashion show portion of the event. We showcased designers that represented different aspects of sustainability.
We showcased the following sustainable brands: Study NY: uses organic, natural and repurposed materials. They use a zero waste module and produce many pieces locally in Brooklyn, along with paying a fair wage. Meg Shops: produces locally, pays fair wages and designs garments with quality to last. Noorism: reclaims old jeans with focus on creating quality, long-lasting garments. They also produce locally and pays a fair wage. Noorism donates a portion of profits to charity. The clean water initiative for fast fashion has impacted Alexis Walsh: uses 3-D printing to producing wholly zero-waste garments. He also uses PLA, a corn based fiber, that is 100 compostable, yet has similar properties to plastic. Cope Cutums: creates beautiful works of art on second-hand clothing, using the zero waste module. Zero Waste Daniel: Creates garments from cutting room scraps. closed loop option for the apparel industry. Creates jobs as well as a workforce training program for the future innovators of zero waste design that we so desperately need to encourage as we think about the future of our planet.
5. What is your philosophy for protecting the environment:
First and foremost get connected to it. Humans, now more than ever, are a product of the “Man versus Nature” philosophy. We confine ourselves in dwellings kept comfortable with artificial climate. We entertain our brains within the bubble of technology. We’re not against houses or social media. They’re important tools. However, when they’re the only thing we know we get very disconnected with what exactly makes all of those things possible, our very delicate environment. As Americans, we have so many natural wonders, often in our backyard. Beaches, mountain ranges, from redwoods to rainforests there’s much to appreciate and much from which to draw inspiration. When we’re inspired by something, we naturally love and honor it. That’s our take. Let’s draw inspiration for our art, fashion, music, and design from the environment. Whether it be natural beauties or the challenges we face to maintain an environment that sustains human life. And we’re sure that’s what’s next in fashion. I mean, we’ve seen assless chaps strut down the runway. What will really be shocking is a t-shirt that doesn’t harm anyone in the process of design and production.
6. What are some upcoming events that you are hosting:
Our bi-annual Fashion Week showcase is right around the corner! We’ll be hosting that on September 9th from 7-11 PM at 165 Allen Street. Tickets are available on our site: http://www.esa-nyc.com . We also have an event on Sept 30: Chelsea Ethical Shopping Tour, Oct 29: Fall '17 do & brew (Halloween Party) Bring your unwanted clothes back to life! Whether it be small alteration, total revamp, or swapping it out altogether, we’ll guide you through what there is to do to defer your clothes from the landfill. Nov 25: Small Business Saturday Shopping Tour Dec 9 & 16: Holiday Shopping Tour.
7. How long have you been around?
Back in school, we were designing fashion sustainability and together developing projects we thought made a difference! This started in August of 2015. We had our first signature event in September of 2016 and have been a business ever since!
8. What are some the sustainable brands that you host?
We have a list of criteria that we use to choose the brands we work with. Brands that we worked with in the past include Study NY, Zero Waste Daniel, Noorism, Alexis Walsh, Rosina Mae, and so many more. Our signature bi-annual "esabitchin" event is growing every time and our wolfpack community of sustainable brands is growing as well. We love discovering new designers challenging the polluting ways of the industry and making it better for the future of this planet!
10. Are you involved in any charities or causes? If so, please list:
We’re strong supporters of the National Park Service. We also have donated time to organizations like Green Fest and the UN to develop sustainable fashion initiatives.
Check out esa NY:
Produced by Alison Hernon, Fashion Director, Jejune Magazine