Contributing Monkie G Monkie
Published on August 2, 2009
This week in our series of exclusive interviews with some of the top emerging Green Designers we are featuring Sandy Skinner from the company ecoSkin. Sandy founded the company in 2007 after a 17 year career in the fashion industry, where she had worked in virtually every position. From buying, to managing operation and even serving as President for a major contemporary brand. When starting ecoSkin, she wanted to create a new brand which would focus on environmentally sustainable luxury fabrics, which are woven and sewn within the United States. She insists her dye houses and manufacturing facilities—all in the Los Angeles area—follow her demanding quality, environmental and labor standards. And, she personally oversees every high-quality and eco-friendly detail, from the selection of raw material to the oversight of meticulous local dying, weaving and sewing to the design of green hangtags and labels.
G Monkie: Before becoming a designer, what was your background and when did you get started?
Sandy: My experience is more on the merchandising end. I have been doing private label merchandising and line development for over 12 years now. My bio is also on the website and I know you can pull some details from there.
G Monkie: Which designers or companies in the green fashion space have inspired you and have they influenced your business model?
Sandy: There is nobody I really model the company after. I feel like we are trying to do something different. We want to go after a fashion forward customer who is looking for a green choice in her wardrobe. I always say she buys the line because she loves it but the benefit is that it is green not the only reason she is buying.
G Monkie: Who are your favorite designers in the fashion industry as a whole and what makes them special?
Sandy: Donna Karan is amazing to me. I love all her draping and pleating and she can really make a woman look sexy and sophiticated. The detail in her dresses are amazing but the end user customer can never really see that. They just know it make them look amazing. The other favorite I have is Basty Johnson. She really does amazing prints and works them into really feminine bodies. These two are completely different and that is exactly how I think women dress. Some times they want crazy fun prints and sometimes they want to look sleek and sophisticated!
G Monkie: So far, what has been good about taking this path and has anything turned out to be more difficult that you expected?
Sandy: I wake up everyday and know that I am making a small difference and that makes me feel good. Even in this tough economy I know I made the right choice in starting my own line! What turned out to be more difficult is the recession. I could never have guessed how hard a time this would be and how many great stores have had to go out of business. That is very diffucult to see!
G Monkie: How do you think the state of the economy will effect the green movement?
Sandy: I think new green stores that were trying to launch have had a hard time staying in business. You see them moving to the internet which is a great way to meet the needs of new customers!. I still think people care about the enviroment and I hope they will continue to support green brands in any way they can!
G Monkie: What is different about your clothing?
Sandy: I feel like my clothing is made for a sophisticated, sexy, flirtacious woman who does not want to choose between fashion and the enviroment.
G Monkie: How import are the fabrics?
Sandy: Fabrics are critical. My fabric feels like butter and the customers respond to that. Comfort is a key issue right now and people want to look great and feel good.
G Monkie: How important are the designs?
Sandy: I feel my designs try to please many body types. I have styles that do well on different coasts and I try to design with a few different women in mind. Creative new designs are the only thing that is selling right now. No one wants another style that they already have in their closet.. no matter what the price is!
G Monkie: How important is the price point for you?
Sandy: Price is tough. My product is made in the US and this definately costs more! It is a choice I have mad for my line and I wont change. Many times people say to me just go offshore and you can lower your prices by 40%, but I don’t want to change my company philosophy at all!
G Monkie: Your company ecoSkin is focused on sustainable and organic fashion. Does the concept of living “G” bleed over into your personal life?
Sandy: My life is very green. I work from home, recycle everything in my home and office. Everyone who works for me makes a huge attemp to lower their carbon footprint!
G Monkie: When creating your designs, who do you have in mind as the perfect customer for your fashion line?
Sandy: All women!
G Monkie: When you started your company, what was the objective?
Sandy: Keep pushing through this tough economy and come out the other end with a great brand recognition and a loyal customer following.
G Monkie: With all the bad news about the economy, global warming and just the endless dramas playing out on the news, do you have anything that just makes you feel good or have a laugh?
Sandy: Everything makes me laugh. If you aren’t laughing through like why be here?
G Monkie: Do you have a favorite place or city you love to go to?
Sandy: The Oceon. I love the water, Any beach is heaven to me!
G Monkie: How important is traveling for you? Do you like to travel and does traveling influence your designs in anyway?
Sandy: Starting my business I dont have time to travel outside of work right now. Once things get settled I want to travel again. I want to go to Africa stll and that is the one place I have not visited yet.
Checkout the latest collections from ecoSkin online at the companies site, ecoskincollections.com