The Green Room: BBMG’s Mitch Baranowski & Summer Rayne Oakes of Source4Style

In the latest episode of The Green Room, BBMG’s Mitch Baranowski chats with Summer Rayne Oakes: author, eco-model, environmental activist and founder and CEO of Source4Style. In the exclusive interview—part of BBMG’s series of sit-downs with leaders of the green economy—Oakes discusses how her company encourages sustainable fashion.

Source4Style is a business-to-business online marketplace that helps fashion designers discover and source sustainable materials. Oakes, who was named one of CNBC’s “Top 10 Green Entrepreneurs of 2010,” says the company frees designers from the time constraints of sourcing, while providing access to and information about environmentally friendly materials.

“We looked squarely at the intersection of sustainability and design—and what that means,” Oakes says. “For us, it was about opening up the transparency of supply chains.”

Oakes says the site encourages transparency by giving visibility preference to suppliers who answer the most questions about how their materials are made. Source4Style also provides year-round exposure for environmentally friendly suppliers who traditionally spend nearly half their marketing budget on twice-yearly trade shows.

She also discusses the future of eco-friendly fashion, explaining that Source4Style is careful not to limit the definition of sustainability: “It’s no longer just about organic cotton…We don’t want to corner ourselves in a way where sustainability means one thing.”

While one designer may be interested in locally sourced materials, Oakes says, another may be seeking materials that preserve artisan craft and culture. Source4Style gives designers the freedom to choose the types materials that have the most meaning to them.

Filmed at BBMG’s studio in DUMBO, Brooklyn, and hosted in partnership with Triple Pundit, new episodes of The Green Room debut every two weeks. Next up: Ron J. Williams, co-founder of SnapGoods, a new platform for “owning less, doing more.”

2 responses

  1. I think the best part of this story is how she’s recognized a need that was there that had been previously ignored – ie, fashion designers were already thinking about better ethical sourcing decisions but had no where to go to look.

    This is classic entrepreneur-ism in the best possible way!

  2. I’ve been following Summer’s career for years. I love to see her continuing to move beyond modeling to work that actually makes a difference.

    The fashion industry is so wasteful– there’s a lot of opportunity there!

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