Designer Victoria Bartlett on styling and the difficulties of producing cruelty-free fashion
Designer Victoria Bartlett has a long relationship with the fashion world. From designing to styling and back, Bartlett's extensive knowledge helped propel the fluid move to creating her own brand, VPL, in 2003. This Tuesday, January 29 -- one day only -- hand-selected styles from VPL's 2013 runway and commercial lines will be available for purchase at Goldyn.
Pieces from VPL's Spring 2013 line.
In advance of the VPL Resort + Spring Trunk Show, Westword spoke to Bartlett about her fashion history and struggles to stick to her cruelty-free roots within the mass-produced world of the fashion industry.
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Victoria Bartlett: It's one on my obsessions; it's always been about movement and body geography. It's like, inherent in my collection every season. I always think it's important -- for me, anyway -- to see it in motion. The choices Vanessa (Barcus, owner of Goldyn) made for the trunk show are a mix from my runway collection and more commercial pieces.
How did you get connected with Vanessa and Goldyn?
We were connected with Vanessa through Marina (Contro), who worked for us for years -- she knows her. She thought it was a perfect fit. She thought Vanessa would love the collection, and the store is just great. Having someone who knew the collection already -- it was a nice way to get to know a store. It's more personal in that way.
Throughout VPL's almost decade as a brand, you've focused on utilizing cruelty-free materials. Has it at any point been a difficult process?
I've worked with the Humane Society for years and one of my issues was, it is very complicated. There's not an index system for designers to find the sourcing for all of these cruelty-free products. A lot of the time, the problem is it's just too big a world. For instance, with Italy, where we were getting our shoes, we had problems (ensuring they were made cruelty-free.)
We've had to be very clever with certain things. Like, with the re-launch of our bags, we've had to intermix. Now we use a cross of both (cruelty-free and not) in the collection, the shoes and the bags. There's just not enough information or assistance to help people who can't make thousand-unit minimum orders. That's where the complication lies.
I've brought it up with the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) that there needed to be some way of people being able to have an index where they can find the information. Anyone who is a designer who isn't in the big commercial entity is not able to reach those minimums. That's where there is, you know, an issue.