Whimsy + Row’s New Line Blends Eco and Boho

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There’s a tipping point in the fashion industry that is changing how consumers think about the clothes they wear, and a new crop of young upstarts wants in. One of these upstarts is Rachel Temko, founder of L.A.-based online lifestyle shop Whimsy + Row.

whimsy_janedressWhimsy + Row is the kind of site that lures in the Coachella-loving, boho Cali babe and the girls who want to effortlessly go from coastal cool to desert diva quicker than you can say dream catcher: Think slip dresses and rompers, arrowhead pendants, clogs, pillows made from vintage Kilim rugs, sage smudge sticks and more.

But Temko, who launched the site in 2014, has bigger, greener aspirations for the business and recently made her first foray into sustainable fashion with a capsule collection of six pieces made from upcycled, deadstock fabric found in Downtown Los Angeles and manufactured here in L.A. as well.

Temko, who studied sustainable fashion and fashion merchandising, said that greener manufacturing has always been the goal.

“It is something that I have always been extremely passionate about,” said Temko. “We have been searching for sustainable brands and found that there weren’t many that fit our girls aesthetic and lifestyle, so it made perfect sense for us to create our own!”

And the timing couldn’t be better. Sustainable sourcing and ethical practices in fashion are no longer simply buzzwords used by a handful of green fashion companies. Rather, they’ve become a growing battle cry to reform an industry that has been under fire for everything from labor rights to environmental practices.

Recent acclaimed fashion documentary The True Cost, from Los Angeles-based filmmaker Andrew the true costMorgan, highlighted the impact the clothing industry and its practices have around the globe and has been lauded by mainstream and fashion press alike for its eye-opening view of manufacturing and labor practices.

Customers want to know where products are made now and Temko said that she often fields questions from customers who want to know if the brand makes it own products. “The conversation is easier now that we make our own eco-friendly clothing. And our customers are loving it!”

And here in Los Angeles, one of the largest apparel manufacturing centers in the country, it’s part of a burgeoning trend of designers and brands increasingly turning to deadstock fabric and local manufacturing.

Venice-based dressmaker Christy Dawn, launched her business over a year ago, also using dead stock fabric and manufacturing in Downtown Los Angeles, and has already become a favorite with It Girls such as Emily Ratajkowski, Taylor Swift, Erin Wasson and more. Temko, in fact, carries some Christy Dawn pieces on the Whimsy + Row site and sees it as more evidence of a kind of sustainable synergy.

“If someone is going to shop at Christy Dawn they are going to shop with us as well,” said Temko. “That is why we are happy to carry her pieces and other sustainable brands. It’s that much more satisfying buying and wearing an article of clothing that didn’t harm the environment we live in.”

Another capsule collection is planned for fall with hopes to ramp up production in the near future. But Temko admits that keeping manufacturing here in Downtown L.A., while rewarding, also has its challenges.

whimsy_jeannecropSaid Temko, “I wanted to be close to my factory in order to nurture that relationship and make sure that our workers are in good working conditions [but] … we are finding that manufacturing in L.A. can tend to be expensive.”

The brand has plans to not only expand its eco-friendly clothing collection, but also to begin manufacturing home goods and accessories, which is a top category for the site. Candles are one of the sites top-selling products, said Temko. The brand is also looking for a new retail/warehouse space and plans to host workshops and events.

And, of course, look to Whimsy + Row to continue to expand not only its own sustainable fashion collection but that of other lines as well. Said Temko, “We believe the fashion industry has to shift in this direction in order to evolve.”

We do, too!

Photos courtesy of Whimsy + Row

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Author:Michelle Dalton Tyree

Fashion Trends Daily is the brainchild of Michelle Dalton Tyree. She is the former West Coast Retail Editor for Women’s Wear Daily, Fashion Editor for The Japan Times, and founder of former L.A. luxury boutique Iconology. Michelle is frequently quoted about fashion retail trends in major media outlets such as NPR, KPCC, The Inside Source and the New York Times. She has developed content for many luxury brands and retailers and has written for Allure, Worth Global Style Network, Footwear News and other media outlets.