As the fashion industry begins to take a turn toward a greener future, one Delaware native is pioneering the charge.
Jasmine La Faye Blandford, intertwining her expertise in fashion and passion for sustainability, launched a groundbreaking event at last year’s New York Fashion Week dedicated to promoting environmentally friendly practices in an industry that isn’t necessarily known for its green thumb.
With over a decade of experience in the fashion industry, La Faye Blandford credits her creative inspiration to her Delaware-based childhood and hopes to empower her local community as she takes “The Green Show” global.
From Middletown to New York Fashion Week
Growing up in Delaware was “picture perfect” to La Faye Blandford, who likens Delaware’s classic Americana vibe to the classic sitcom “Leave It to Beaver.”
La Faye Blandford grew up in Townsend and attended Cab Calloway School of the Arts, studying music and art before finishing up her Delaware schooling at Middletown High School.
“My inspiration growing up in Delaware is super ‘East Coast,’” La Faye Blandford said. “I like a more classic style and I think a lot of that comes from growing up in Delaware.”
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La Faye Blandford went on to the Art Institute of New York City to study fashion design before working as a publicist for major fashion brands. She’s launched products for big names like L’Oréal and has helped produce over 80 runway shows during New York Fashion Week.
Fashion isn’t the only industry where Blandford has expertise. During her time as a publicist, she and her colleague Gail Gee Powell also worked for the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Partnership, a California-based consortium that advocates for hydrogen-powered vehicles. Inspired by the company’s sustainability initiatives and all too familiar with the harmful standards in the fashion industry, she felt a calling to merge the two causes.
“I have been in the fashion industry for so many years,” La Faye Blandford said. “Season after season you’re seeing so much production and so much waste.”
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Between 2020 and 2021, La Faye Blandford and Powell launched their own public relations company, aptly named La Faye & Powell. What started as a way to facilitate fashion partnerships with celebrity brands and major sports leagues became a way to exercise their shared passion for sustainability.
“A lot of people are not familiar with all of the innovation that’s happening with clean energy and clean technology, and a lot of underserved communities tend to get left out,” La Faye Blandford said. “So we wanted to figure out a way to infuse clean energy with fashion.”
The Green Show
Partnering with carbon finance consulting agency South Pole, which tracks the carbon footprints of major companies while advising them on offset strategies, La Faye Blandford & Powell’s Green Show event opened at New York Fashion Week in September a little over a year after starting their business.
By shining the spotlight on some of the historically wasteful practices in the industry while simultaneously giving a platform to brands attempting to reverse course, La Faye Blandford hopes that fashion can be used as a vessel to enact meaningful change.
The Green Show incorporated a runway debut from Dur Doux, a mother-daughter designer duo chosen by La Faye Blandford & Powell based on their use of sustainable materials.
The brand implemented eco-friendly and recycled Italian fabrics to craft its spring and summer collection. It also held a panel discussion with industry experts and celebrities about the intersection between the fashion industry and climate change.
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Bigger than Fashion Week
While “fast fashion,” trends that go in and out of style at a fast pace, continues to dominate the fashion industry, La Faye is hoping sustainability initiatives endorsed by The Green Show can last longer than the tiny purse reign.
“Sustainability, specifically within fashion, sort of fades in and out; people don’t really focus on it,” La Faye Blandford said. “With The Green Show, we hope to have something that is going to be around long term where we can help companies become sustainable and make this a priority.”
La Faye & Powell has not only been called back to this year’s New York Fashion Week, but they’ve also been tapped to take The Green Show global. They have plans to bring the event to fashion events in Dubai, Milan, Paris and London.
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In the meantime, La Faye & Powell works with constituents in the textile industry who employ strategies to reduce waste, educate brands on sustainable technologies to adopt and host panels on how to move the industry forward.
With the help of South Pole’s technology, the team tracks and offsets their own carbon footprint for hosting their events and hopes to take this strategy even further.
“New York Fashion Week hosts over 100 runway shows [per year],” La Faye Blandford said. “What can we do to eliminate and offset that entire footprint?”
Molly McVety covers community and environmental issues around Delaware. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @mollymcvety.