DESIGNER TALK: LIVARI

LIVARI Exclusive Interview // Heaven Has Heels.jpg

Made in New York, LIVARI is a collaboration between Alysia Reiner (environmental and feminist activist, producer and award-winning actress from Orange is the New Black), Claudine DeSola (celebrity stylist and founder of Caravan Stylist Studio) and Tabitha St. Bernard-Jacobs (designer of Tabii Just and Women’s March organizer). These power players have come together to create a wearable label in the city that never sleeps.

How did you become involved in fashion design?

ALYSIA: I've always loved fashion, to me it's wearable art. It started with my grandma Seena, and I still wear a lot of her vintage pieces. I have talked to Claudine for years about the desire for more eco-friendly red carpet choices, she is our glue, bringing Tabitha and I together because we all are so passionate activist about both environmental & women's issues.
 
What materials do you most like to work with?

TABITHA: I love anything that flows and creates a dramatic effect. I love movement so when a fabric catches the light and creates a life of its own, I get excited.

How does your geography influence your aesthetic?

CLAUDINE: Our goal is to make season-less clothes so they can be worn wherever you are – even a heavier piece like our poncho jacket made from scraps that were weaved together is amazing to have on an airplane and in the airport that is often overly air conditioned. So even if you are traveling to a warm climate that is a great piece to wrap yourself up on and protect you from that A/C.

I do think our collection is currently influenced by New York and Brooklyn since we are trying to make clothes locally but our fabrics being dyed in an eco way are coming from all over the world. Our fish leather is coming from scales of fish from Brazil in a small fishing village where this is giving them a whole other business where after they eat the fish they can use the scales to make leather which is incredible use of waste.  

A percentage of sales of our tee on LivariClothing.com are going to Cool Effect and helping with the poo project in INDIA which is taking our collection to another place in a way helping others internationally

My hope in the future is that we can produce pieces ethically and meet women all over the world and they play some role in the collection. I think at our core we will be a Brooklyn-based and produced brand with sourcing and some production in NYC but I hope we can explore some global projects where we can bring business to other people that need new industries or new skills and that will further help them.

I also hope to bring the collection internationally with trunk shows in stores where customers can come and special order pieces from around the globe. Our sponsor PATCHI is based in Beirut and the women there made beautiful limited edition flowers to put on our chocolates for our gifts at the fashion show – they worked so beautifully on this to show this art expression that is where we want to be working with incredible women from around the globe.

What's been your greatest professional achievement to date?

ALYSIA: This is a big one!! A few others were winning a SAG award for OITNB, producing & starring in my film EQUITY which went to Sundance and Sony Classics distributed, and I just wrapped my second film as producer & star with the amazing Christina Hendricks and Anna Camp. I am so excited about it!

CLAUDINE: I am lucky to be able to think out of the box on a lot of occasions from all the celebrity fashion shows I was involved in producing at KiaStyle360 from shows with Sony, NFL, Serena Williams, Ashley Graham and more to being the first store on wheels – driving around the city in a RV called Caravan to transitioning that into my current celebrity styling studio and having sponsors like OGX, to working with amazing indie brands like GOODIE GIRL and Simply Venom to this current project with Alysia and Tabitha – I am very lucky to have so many professional opportunities to show my creativity and I am lucky through it all to have met so many amazing people – I hope that we can create change with Livari from helping people to allowing for communication to less waste.

TABITHA: I think this collection has been the greatest professional achievement because of how much we were able to lift up the work of other women and be thoughtful about every single step of this to make an impact for a wide range of women.

What's one thing people would never guess about you?

ALYSIA: I am obsessed with anything spicy and I make my own chili pepper vodka!

CLAUDINE: I have two: One on the superficial level and one is so true for those very extroverted folks. I am an ice cream fanatic – I call myself an ice cream cone-isseur but I do try to only have it once a week to keep the sugar impact down or we make our own which is so good or we have Daily Harvest ( amazing ). I think that and as social and extroverted that I am I love quiet time just as much whether it is meditation with my best friend Laura Patterson who has an amazing kundalini practice—she actually did that backstage at our fashion show for models to calm before the show to being in my garden to relaxing with my dogs and husband—give me some Game of Thrones, Ray Donovan, Younger or Mozart in the Jungle and my couch, my dogs and my husband and that is the best night… that to me is better than being at the most VIP party.

TABITHA: No-one would guess that I have a speech impediment. I have a stutter. I went through speech therapy as a child but it's still present. Now, I travel often talking about sustainable fashion and youth activism and it's especially significant for me because I remember not even being able to say my name properly in high school.