LA-based fashion label Burning Torch recently launched a brand new e-commerce site, and we took the opportunity to talk to its designer, Karyn Craven,about “upcycling,” global inspirations and eco-friendly design. Turns out that organic isn’t the only way to go green!
How does being on the West Coast affect your designs?
It’s just sort of who we are. It’s a light filled place and a melting pot, which is so inspiring. There’s a great deal of cultural diversity here.
Where do you travel for your inspirations?
It depends on the season. I’ve been incredibly inspired by Peru, Polynesia and the High Sierras.
For you, what makes a design eco-friendly?
I like to take a holistic view, recognizing that everything is interconnected. The designs from our studio reflect that awareness. In pragmatic terms, we also give resources a second life, keeping things out of the landfill and providing income to those who do this kind of source work. It’s important to take a larger view and ask, “How does this impact the world around me?” It is one of our major design principles.
Some of your pieces are recycled and some of them are “upcycled.” Can you tell us what that means?
Recycling is using something again, pretty much as is. “Upcycling” is transforming it into a whole state of fabulousness, an exercise in imagination and deconstruction.
Who are some other brands doing great, green things that we should know about?
When we started, no one was thinking in this direction, and now there are so many approaches to eco fashion that it is hard to single out any one particular brand. What is really encouraging is that the fashion industry as a whole, known for tremendous waste and other issues, is recognizing that sustainability is key. Whether that means green sourcing with fabrics like hemp, or upcycling like Burning Torch, or using environmentally friendly dyes, the end result is a better direction for fashion, and that’s what counts.
You just started doing e-commerce. What’s next?
We hope to open our first brick and mortar Burning Torch store soon.