Amanda Hearst And Hassan Pierre Are Redefining Luxury And We’re All For It

Maison de Mode = when luxe + ethics have a chic baby.

By: Amber

Let’s be honest. “Ethical” and “luxury” are not exactly the most synonymous terms. Actually, up until Amanda Hearst and Hassan Pierre’s vision along with connoisseurs behind the labels that they carry on their site, the two have been mutually exclusive.

For one, wearing animal skins is directly correlated to luxury. Leather, cashmere, silk, wool, and (of course) fur are the *fabrics* that reek of money and affluence. They are status symbols, the kinds of possessions you work hard to buy and even harder to show off to prove you’ve made it – you’re successful.

As much as we all like to cling to this idea that sheep are happily shaved for their wool and the only leather we buy comes from cattle leftover form the beef industry and other comforting  pretenses, there is no luxury in reducing the lives of animals to a sartorial statement. It’s not just cruel, it’s completely unnecessary.

And what about the environment and our long-suffering planet? What about sustainability? What about fair labor practices? These are all other ethical issues tantamount to the animal cruelty issue and Maison de Mode is the go-to online boutique if you’re looking to strategically add mindfully-made RTW pieces and fine jewelry to your closet.

There’s no other place online where you’ll find a curation of labels who put as much effort into the social responsibility of their brand as they put into the designing of their collections. We’re talking pieces made from reclaimed materials and luxe organic fabrics, by artisans and companies who exclusively manufacture their garments under fair wages and safe working conditions. Another gearbox thing is that there is a wide selection of made-in-America designs. This is a one-stop shop, the ultimate destination for high-end fashion pieces designed with ethics and aesthetics shoulder-to-shoulder.

Fair warning: there are pieces that are “made with by-products from animals raised humanely,” which to us, is to be taken with a huge grain of salt: sure, the animals have been raised humanely, but there is no way to shave or skin the animals that have been raised humanely. But keep reading. We get into that and so much more with Amanda and Hassan.

Hassan on how they determine what’s ethical and what’s not.

“We look at ‘ethical fashion’ as an umbrella term used to cover a wide range of fashion that has a positive and innovative environmental and/or social impact. Products that are recycled, organic, artisanal, vegan, fair trade or charitable all are considered ethical fashion. We decided to come up with a set of icons which would easily allow consumers to identify the ethical footprint of each product. Those icons represent the most important set of standards that define ethical fashion in our eyes.”

Hassan’s frustrations with the industry

“For me, the lack of innovation on the business side of fashion is what drives me mad. The fashion industry is so innovative and forward thinking in the creative, yet so archaic in the execution of the industry. We are at a really interesting tipping point in the fashion industry. There’s so much confusion, yet it’s still quite exciting. The old rules do not apply anymore; consumers have changed their habits and, with that, the industry has been forced to shift. You read so many horror stories about the industry in its current state today, but at the same time you have some huge success stories coming out from the new players in the industry. Technology has played a huge part in this and those businesses that are changing with the disruption are profiting from it at the same time.”

On how clothing is more than a personal choice

“There’s a huge environmental, economic and human impact behind this industry. People have to wear clothing every day and the “fashion industry” isn’t exclusive to the trendy/style section; it encompasses everything from a cheap white undershirt to designer dresses with every sized business in between. So within the “fashion industry” on any given day you can read about another factory collapse in Bangladesh or the latest billion dollar IPO. There’s more to this industry than just aesthetics and so many people are involved and effected by it.”

On what prompted the idea to start an online ethical fashion destination

“It has always been about changing the perception of ethical fashion from a crunchy, granola, patchouli vibe into a high fashion pure luxury aesthetic. In our eyes style shouldn’t be sacrificed for sustainability, which is why we have searched for the most luxurious and beautiful pieces that have an ethical component to it. With the site, the goal is to the be the one-stop shop for all luxury goods that have a measurable positive impact on the environment and humans.”

Amanda’s thoughts on building a realistically ethical wardrobe

“The idea is that you probably have more than enough clothing already, so stop purchasing and adding more potential waste. Stop shopping for new pieces, only shop vintage, and borrow from friends. But, of course, that’s not a realistic option for most people. So I would suggest investing in signature wardrobe pieces — a little black dress, a classic pump — and buy those pieces from brands that are sustainable and/or ethical. The challenge with this is knowing which brands fall under that umbrella, and that’s part of the reason why we started Maison de Mode.”

Some of their favorite labels and designers

“I love the women’s line AMUR because they have fun, flirty dresses that also happen to be made with recycled and organic textiles. Nosouj has the coolest bags [pictured] made with recycled clothing. And in terms of fine jewelry, my current favorite is Sandy Leong because she creates interesting pieces made with conflict-free stones and recycled metals. The common denominator among these brands is that they are, first and foremost, aesthetically pleasing. If the design isn’t there, people will not buy it. And that is something that ethical fashion [designers] must remember.”

Amanda on why they’ve chosen to carry labels that use animal skins in their collections

“This is an interesting question because I consider myself an animal activist, and this is an issue that I always confront. I would say that, in an ideal world, we as a company would not be offering brands that use skins. That would be my dream. But the reality is – especially in the world of accessories – there really are not enough brands out there offering premium quality products in vegan and/or cruelty-free materials. However, the lines that we carry – Okapi, for example – only use found horns and leather that is a by-product of the cattle industry. Osklen, another of our brands, uses the salmon skin from a Brazilian tribe who catches the fish but throws away the skin. Osklen collects the skins and uses them in their accessories. And if you look at our roster of brands, we don’t have many that use skins and we certainly don’t feature any fur.”

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Hassan and Amanda are changing the ethical fashion game, huh? What do you think of their beautiful selection? Also, we’d love to hear your thoughts on what they’ve defined as ethical fashion and what makes a piece ethical. Do you agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments section below.

Also, make you you shop some of our favorite pieces at Maison de Mode below.

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