Each month in our Green Champions section we feature three people – one each in northern, central and southern Arizona – who are making strides in the green community. In our May Women’s Beauty & Style issue, we focused on local women passionate about eco-friendly and sustainable fashion design.
TAWNY STAR LEWIS
OWNER, CEO AND DESIGNER, BLACK AND BIRCH APPAREL
Fashionista Tawny Star Lewis’ Black and Birch Apparel in Flagstaff is a Fair Trade garment boutique that supports economically-challenged independent fashion designers from all over the world. Rebelling against the exploitation of artisans who make hand-loomed garments in the South Pacific and Southeast Asia, whose valuable art is taken in exchange for substandard pay, medical care and housing, Star says her goal is to sell “guilt-free clothing.” Black and Birch also gives back to the local community in the form of volunteer activities, sponsorships and fundraisers. Star hopes to someday launch her own fashion production company.
FASHION DESIGNER, ANGELA JOHNSON DESIGNS
Angela Johnson is an award-winning fashion designer and illustrator who sells recycled clothing couture on her website and in boutiques all over the country. Among the many titles ascribed to her, she is also a fashion educator, being on the board of the Arizona Department of Education and having instructed at Arizona State University, Mesa Community College, Collins College, Art Institute of Phoenix and New School for the Arts and Academics. She is a leader and insider in the Arizona fashion industry, being the Regional Director for Fashion Group International of Arizona. She is a fashion show coordinator, having coordinated the Scottsdale Fashion Week for four years and organized events at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Arts. Johnson is also a fashion business consultant, having cofounded the Arizona Apparel Foundation and LabelHorde.
OWNER AND DESIGNER, LAURA TANZER, LLC
Laura Tanzer, LLC, a women’s clothing boutique in downtown Tucson, is the embodiment of Laura Tanzer’s intent to combine her extensive educational background in fashion, business and the sustainable business practice concepts. An award-winning designer, her clothing is not only of high quality, fit and sophistication but also highly sustainable. Her garments are made from sustainable natural materials and she utilizes the scraps by sending them to those who can use them, such as makers of tote bags and iPad covers, which she sells along with her clothing. Instead of adding to the landfill, any waste materials too small to be used are sent to schools for use in art projects or organizations like the Girl Scouts for use in summer camp projects.
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