[ GREENOLA ]
Jennifer Moran, the founder of Greenola, reached out to Chicago Uniform Project partway through and said: "We want to dress you!" It was the best message that I received through the 'contact us' form this month.
Jennifer also put me in touch with Mata Traders and other fair trade independent boutiques in the Chicago area (for which I am very thankful). Jennifer's Greenola is a non-profit with a mission to empower and partner with women in marginalized communities. Each Greenola product is handmade, allowing women to connect to create a better world.
Greenola donated a necklace, bracelet, brooch, and hand-knit incredible scarf that will all be available for purchase on the Buy It Yourself page.
[SB] How long have you had been selling under Greenola name? How did you get started?
[JM] The end of this year will be two full years in business as GREENOLA. I had the opportunity to travel, experience new cultures, and see poverty up close and personal. I realized that we DO live in a global environment, and that current fashion is created over seas for the wrong reasons [cheap labor, no safety laws, no strict environmental laws]. It was my dream to be a fashion designer, and it only made sense to create a line that treated everyone in production fairly. I wrote an article that describes my start here, page 5 (you can use some of this information as well).
[SB]How are the Greenola pieces produced?
[JM]I do the design work, and then work directly with 55 women entrepreneurs in Cochabamba, Bolivia who do the production. EVERYTHING is handmade, taking in consideration the indigenous craftsmanship that has been passed down from generation to generation [knitting, crochet, weaving, metal work, etc]. We specialize in Organic Alpaca Fiber, warmer than wool, soft as cashmere, and not uncomfortable to wear like wool.
[SB]Where can folks purchase Greenola items?
[JM]The GREENOLA line is in boutiques nationwide. However, to purchase here in Chicago they can go to: GreenHeart Shop (wicker park/online), Andersonville Galleria (mezzanine level, Andersonville), Frankie's on the Park (Lincoln Park), and the FULL collection online at: www.GREENOLAstyle.com
[SB]Do you have a style icon or favorite fashion era?
[JM]I am inspired by so many fashion eras... I really love the 1920s flapper type hats. The big statement bows/flowers on hats, turban like head wraps/headbands are simply amazing. As far as style icon... I really appreciate and admire Heidi Klum's style. She doesn't always take herself seriously, and isn't afraid of risk. She changes it up a lot as well. I like that her personality isn't hidden behind her style.
[SB] Favorite independent Chicago boutique?
[JM] Of course I LOVE GreenHeart Shop in Wicker Park ;) Even though I sell at the Andersonville Galleria, this place is AMAZING and I was totally a customer before I sold there. A cooperative of artists or modern day antique mall (not actually antiques), there are over 100 vendors selling renegade, fair trade, handmade, paintings, green items. Totally cool, and perfect one stop shop. OH! I also love Green Genes in Andersonville. Now that I have a son, I totally go in there all the time. The two owners are SUPER friendly, and do a great job of buying for their store.