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Sustainable Versatility

By Emma Landegren

In a country bursting at the seams with opportunity, there are very few people who actually enjoy their jobs. Colette Chrétien, owner of La Fille Colette, has found the answer; by marrying her passion for design with sustainability, 26-year-old Chrétien gets to do what she loves every day of the week.

La Fille Colette, a Boston-based apparel brand, is influenced by Chrétien’s French background and is widely known for its versatility. The brand is worn by women of all ages. Chrétien, a graduate of Tufts University, also took classes at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. Although Chrétien never specifically studied fashion design in school, she is a longtime lover of design and has been creating dresses since high school.

Chrétien worked diligently for a year after graduating to set up her business, which has been up and running for a year now with the help of The Good Clothing Company, a sustainable-apparel manufacturing company in Mashpee, Massachusetts, that assists with the production of Chrétien’s work. Before sending sketches to The Good Clothing Company, Chrétien must first find inspiration. The designer is drawn to Impressionism, which she often incorporates into her design prints.

“A dress usually comes to my mind, which may spark an idea for a whole collection. I enjoy harsh lines, color blocking, and curves,” said Chrétien.

The design process is very complex and involves first sketching the design before sending it to The Good Clothing Company. From there, patterns for the garment are produced, and a sample is sent back to Chrétien, who makes sure the piece is exactly as she intended. This process can be repeated up to four times, depending on the complexity of the garment.

“I have a different aesthetic for each collection,” said Chrétien.

While Chrétien’s designs are interesting and complex, she is never frivolous in the way she works. Sustainability lives at the heart of her brand. Chrétien practices ethicality, making sure that excess items are not produced, that waste is limited, and that people are treated fairly. Fast fashion is rapidly changing the way we view fashion; with innovative technology, consumers want items at the snap of a finger. Chrétien hopes to educate people on the dangers of fast fashion.

“Fast fashion is manipulative,” said Chrétien.

Chrétien has released two collections in the past year. Last September, a few of her newest pieces were revealed at Boston Fashion Week. Her love for geometric design could be spotted immediately. Her latest collection is for spring/summer 2017 and will be available for pre-order by Christmas. The collection features white, black, and printed dresses in a crepe material, as she is solely a dress designer and creates garments with a basic color palette to leave room for intricate garment design.

“There will be many choices. You will find something for everyone. A little black dress is a staple, but with my print it takes on a new life,” said Chrétien.

Designing collections once a year is a sustainable way of creating and allows Chrétien to completely focus on each collection. Chrétien enjoys working one-on-one with her customers, as she is able to ensure that each client leaves with a smile on her face.

“Watching other women wear my clothes, and to see how happy they are in them, is the most rewarding part of my job,” said Chrétien. “I enjoy giving women something they want to wear.”

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