From Aveda To Volvo, Fashion Designer Phillip Lim Ends The Year With An Eco-Friendly Collaboration Spree – Forbes

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From algae-based sequins to carbon-neutral fabrics, 3.1 Phillip Lim is known for championing sustainable luxury in unconventional ways. The fashion designer is ending the year on a green note by taking his eco-conscious mindset to categories beyond his namesake label. 

Aveda, the luxury hair care brand has partnered with Lim to create a line of special-edition hair accessories. The gift set ties in themes of botanical art, sustainability as well as inclusivity during the holiday season. 

“I am so humbled and exhausted but energized, if that makes sense.”

—Phillip Lim

“I am through this collaboration a student inspired by Aveda, they’ve shepherded my path to being more mindful and eco-conscious,” says Lim, creative director and founder of 3.1 Phillip Lim. “Very few know this but my relationship with Aveda has been over a decade from their support of our backstage fashion shows to photo shoots. Their commitment to sustainability backstage shifted my perspective that I can do better, too.” 

According to Lim, Aveda stylists follow strict practices when it comes to vegan ingredients, the reuse of accessories and the preservation of model wigs. It inspired him to reassess all his NYFW vendors, from makeup to catering, and hopes the industry follows suit.

“As a creator, you get wrapped in the idea of beauty at all costs and we just do things without thinking, but with Aveda they made me think about what goes into finishing up an image,” says Lim. 

The Aveda x 3.1 Phillip Lim collection, which hits all Aveda salons and stores today, features a scrunchie trio made from 100% recycled water bottles, a wide-tooth comb made of 95% post-consumer recycled materials, a hair towel made of organic cotton and a wooden paddle brush with bristles made of 90% post-recycled fibers. The entire set is vegan and cruelty-free. 

Lim commissioned artist Sophie Parker to paint botanical prints on the items as well as packaging, which are made with FSC-certified, 100% recycled paper. Lim says the holiday packaging was intentionally designed to be reused as gift boxes or repurposed as a catchall or keepsake box.

“Sophie Parker is known for her botanical structures that are so inspiring to me,” says Lim. “It’s designed in a way that the gifts don’t need to be wrapped.” Parker is the creative director of WIFE, a botanical studio based in Brooklyn, known for indoor natural sculptures that keep living plants intact. 

Aveda is not the only eco-collaboration Lim has in the works. The designer is teaming up with Volvo to create a limited-edition weekend bag made from Nordico, a blend of bio-based materials including recycled PET bottles and corks leftover from the wine industry. The same textiles used for the unisex bag will replace the interior leather in all of Volvo’s future electric cars.

“It’s difficult, sustainability is a term that has become over-marketed and overused but we are measuring ourselves in how we can do better, from the fabrics we use to how we operate as a business,” says Lim.

The Aveda partnership, meanwhile, empowers Lim’s ongoing fight for Asian representation. The global brand is lending him a platform for inclusive gift-giving during the holiday season. “Not everyone celebrates Christmas with snow, Santa and a sleigh,” says Lim, a first generation Chinese-American immigrant who grew up in Huntington Beach, California. “The way we celebrated was different from friends. We just gathered with family through food. That’s why it’s important to offer universal approaches to the holidays.”  

Earlier this year, he joined forces with creatives like Ruba Abu-Nimah and groups like Running For Protest to fight racial injustices against the AAPI community. Last month he filmed a project for the United Nations Human Rights Campaign that focused on his role in the #StopAsianHate movement. 

“I am so humbled and exhausted but energized, if that makes sense,” says Lim.

“It’s been incredible transforming and growing as a community. It was a gift, as painful as it was. It forced me to ask myself, ‘What is the future of my company and what is its place in society?’ When everything seemed to be under threat I am happy I chose transformation versus silence and defeat.”

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