Stewart + Brown | Organic Pioneers

There’s nothing like giving birth to inspire inflated ideas of one’s own creativity. It’s like, wow, I just created human life, what can’t I do? Er… well, a lot actually.

Luckily this wasn’t case for Karen Stewart and Howard Brown, whose ethical clothing brand Stewart + Brown was born, alongside baby Hazel, back in 2002.

Spying a hole in the fashion industry for high quality, stylish clothing with minimal impact on the planet, the couple decided to capitalize on their complementary skill set. Karen is a trained painter cum designer who had previously worked at Urban Outfitters and Patagonia. Howard is a graphic designer and brand development guru who also worked at Urban Outfitters as well as Microsoft, X Games and Anthropologie. Together, this husband and wife design duo have created a collection of flirty, functional and highly fashionable pieces.

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The Stewart + Brown collection is composed of various product categories including: ORGNC, an organic cotton line which includes pima, jersey crepe, fleece and French terry; SURP+, apparel and accessories made from excess fabrics and materials; and GREEN, designs from naturally cultivated fibers like linen and hemp.

We were treated to an in-house preview of their Spring/Summer 2008 “Fado Do Mar” Collection, which was inspired by their travels to Portugal. Lucky sods. We spied a super cute layered cotton jersey dress in pink and grey, a just-back-from-the-marina blue and white crochet top, gorgeous indigo woven pleated skirt and many more items featuring that exquisite Portuguese flavor.

To see the entire collection, visit Stewart + Brown.

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  • Sally Allan

    OK, I’ve looked at Stewart & Brown and again there is nothing styled for the mature body. In fact there is nothing appropriate for anyone over 30! Most of the styles are straight out of design school. No real life experience. I know what I am speaking of as my husband has been designing fabrics for over 40 years and has a degree and has lectured in many design schools about how the best way to get real inspiration is to go to the most popular store in your area and spend time watching what people are actually buying. Once you get a feel for the colors/styles people want you’ll be able to translate these things into fresh ideas that are not so far afield that they make great photo shoots but don’t sell worth a hoot. Many of us want well tailored designs for mature body shapes. We want to look in the mirror and see a well-groomed, professional reflection that still is constructed of “green” fabrics. Having a bit of technical knowledge here I do know what the difference is between “green” and organic. I also know that organic fibers cost about $1 per pound more to produce that traditional goods so they do not add that much cost to the end garment. You want to get real so here it is. Start designing for the real world. Make “green” so professional and easy to use in every circumstance that there will be no excuse not to do it. Make sure it is not a “hip” look. Make sure it covers all sizes and body types. Make it the standard so any other choice becomes foolish. The world will follow only if it makes sense and most consumers are not nearly as naive as you want to think. Give us what we want and we’ll buy it. Not what you think we should have.

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