Make Every Day Earth Day

We use eco-friendly fabrics whenever possible because we believe that every choice can make a difference. In celebration of Earth Day we want to shine a spotlight on one of Stella Carakasi’s favorite fibers to give our customers a deeper understanding of the impact their purchases can make on the environment. As an early eco-adapter, Stella has been using Tencel in her designs since 1996; not just for the incredible softness and drape but because this innovative fiber speaks to her commitment to manufacture clothing in a responsible way.

What Is Tencel?

Tencel is a sustainable fabric, regenerated from wood cellulose. It is obtained from eucalyptus trees that are grown on farms—no old growth forests, genetic manipulation, irrigation or pesticides are used. These forests and the pulp produced for Tencel have earned Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification that the products come from socially and environmentally responsible forests. The European Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification has also endorsed Tencel’s farming practices as sustainable. Tencel eliminates the negative environmental impacts of traditional fiber processing, using new sustainable technologies.

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Tencel has some distinct advantages over traditional fibers in terms of chemical processing, which can often be extensive and toxic. For example, Rayon manufacturing generates highly polluting air and water emissions, uses catalytic agents containing cobalt or manganese and creates a strong, unpleasant odor. On the other hand, the chemicals used to produce Tencel fibers are nontoxic.

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The cellulose or ground pulp used for Tencel is treated in what is known as a closed loop process in which these solvents are recycled with a recovery rate of 99.5%. The tiny amount of remaining emissions is decomposed in biological purification plants. Because of the nature of the material, the processing never requires bleach. This overall method of manufacturing fabric was awarded the “European Award for the Environment” by the European Union.

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New Direction – Customer Focused

Part Three Of A New Series: A letter from Designer, Stella Carakasi:

Now that we have launched our new Direct to Consumer business model we want to take this opportunity to say THANK YOU!

stella photoblog-3-2-tinyWe love and value your ongoing support and enthusiasm for our work. Nothing makes us happier than knowing we have touched your lives and made a difference in how you feel showing up in the world dressed in comfortable clothing that accentuates your unique beauty while supporting social and environmental change.

We are a fashion company that is using technology versus a technology company that produces fashion.

In our ever faster-moving world that is technology dominated, it never fails to amaze me that even young clothing companies have to “mask” themselves as being “tech” in order to succeed. I value technology, but I also value nature, the true artistry of design, high quality, mindfulness, intention, and the wide spectrum of beauty.

We believe that great companies are built one customer at a time, one relationship at a time. We are dedicated to helping you build the best “wearable” wardrobe you’ve ever had– and it doesn’t stop with your most recent purchase. We are centered on longevity and bringing value to your life every time you wear Stella Carakasi.

I invite you to sign up to be the first to learn about live product launches, fashion shows, community events and more!  Check out some of this season’s highlights:

Look for more exciting news, including opportunities for feedback and involvement. We’re in this together! Thank you for supporting what we do.

—Stella

Stella Signature

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New Direction – Direct To Consumer

Part two of a new series: A letter from Designer, Stella Carakasi

Welcome back! As I mentioned in my blog post earlier this week, 2018 marks our 25th anniversary and I am thrilled to share the exciting news that we are now a Direct to Consumer company!

DTC-Blog-2-image-1-tinyFor those of you that don’t already know, the Stella Carakasi Brand has primarily relied on traditional retail channels to sell our product. However, during the past few years, there has been a seismic shift in the retail landscape brought on by a fundamental change in consumer buying habits via online and in-store direct to consumer shopping.

To meet this demand we jumped in head first with the launch our own e-commerce site followed by the opening of our flagship store in Berkeley thus creating a shift in the way we do business. So much so that by the Spring of 2018 we have completely transitioned into a Direct to Consumer company.

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Without the middleman markups of the past, we can pass down significant savings to you without compromising on quality or design. For me, it means having a direct conversation with you, which has opened new doors to a community of women that share a passion for many of the same values that I hold closest to my heart.

Aligning our core values with our design and manufacturing practices enables us to make a bigger social and environmental difference.  

  • We strive towards becoming fair trade certified, using more sustainable materials and reducing our carbon footprint.
  • We offer quality over quantity and honor the artistry that is involved in creating clothing.
  • We believe in slow fashion because we know that less is more when less is better!
  • We are excited to bring transparency into our supply chain and share the stories of the people behind the scenes that create our clothing.

I look forward to taking this journey with you and thank you for your ongoing support

—Stella

Stella Signature

 

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New Year – New Direction

Part one of a new series: A letter from Designer Stella Carakasi:

New Year – New Direction

2018 marks our 25th anniversary and we are celebrating this incredible milestone by taking our company into a new and exciting direction that I will be sharing with you soon. I know 25 years is a long time so for those of you who have joined us more recently, I would like to start by out by inviting you on a short trip down memory lane.

In 1993, eco-fashion disrupter, Two Star Dog was launched by brothers Steven and Allan Boutrous. Shortly thereafter, I joined the team and together we created the first hemp clothing collection in the United States, which was very controversial at the time. We designed and trademarked “The Original Hemp Jeans” which quickly became a national bestseller and the company rose to the top of this niche market proving that sustainability in fashion was possible.

stella-editorial-image-1--tinyIn the mid-nineties, major growth opportunity came knocking with mainstream fashion paying attention to Two Star Dog. As the business grew, I found myself being pulled in many directions not only designing for our brand but for a myriad of other opportunities including department stores, catalogs…even wardrobe design for a few Hollywood movies.  It was easy to get wrapped up in all the excitement of the moment but I wanted to experience everything I could about the industry and all it had to offer. I think I must have traveled around the world ten times as the nineties came to a close. I learned about balance in those days, I learned about focus, I learned about priorities but most of all, I learned that time doesn’t stand still and the fashion industry somehow makes it move even faster.

stella-editorial-image-2-tinyThen, just as I thought nothing could stop us, the economic crisis of 2008 hit, taking a toll on the entire industry sparing virtually no one. During that same time, my daughter was born prematurely, sending me on a tumultuous roller coaster I was hardly prepared for. While facing the unknown, both personally and professionally I found my strength in knowing that we all have the power to change our lives with our thoughts and I chose to remain positive. Setting an example for my daughter to be a strong independent spirit became my priority, and sparked a desire to find deeper meaning in my work as well. After much reflection and contemplation, I resolved to take a stand by creating a lifestyle brand that reflected my core values, one rooted in social and environmental responsibility – a brand that would re-energize the market by inspiring women to express their individuality through design. 

stella-blog-editorial-image-3-tiny.jpgWith the help of my amazing team I began to lay the foundation for our new direction, and by Fall 2012 the Stella Carakasi brand was born. We quickly gained a following of high-end boutiques across the United States, Canada, and Australia. Not long after that, we launched our e-commerce site, followed by the opening of our flagship store in Berkeley, California – both of which created a direct line of communication with you, our customer. This conversation and sense of community have inspired me to change the direction of our business in new and exciting ways. Stay tuned for the second part of my letter on our blog next week!

Thank you for your ongoing support, it means everything to us!

—Stella

Stella Signature

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Spring Style Event: Don’t Miss a Moment!

The team here at Stella Carakasi is excited to invite you to our Spring Style Event! We have customer-models walking the runway, delicious d’oeuvres, and a very special guest. We’ve created a handy guide for you to reference so you don’t miss a moment of our special event.

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5-6PM Nosh & Mingle, Sponsored by Whole Foods Market

We have teamed up with Whole Foods Market to provide bites and beauty tips for Spring! Here is a sneak peek:

Three Steps to Glowing Skin

Tips for Rosy Cheeks & Lips

Anti-Aging Skincare

Pro-Tip: Be sure to check out the skincare demo from Evanhealy. The first 50 guests will receive beauty goody bags from Whole Foods Market!

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6-7PM Spring Fashion Show

This Spring we are gathering inspiration from women who inspire us to be our best selves and encourage an air of whimsy. In this spirit, we are honored to introduce our special guest, author Alysia Helming. Through her her debut best-selling novel PROTOGENESIS she shares her imaginative world of Greek mythology seen through the eyes of her protagonist HeleneWe have crafted the perfect nod to her literary talent and the Spring season with our exclusive Protogenesis look inspired by Alysia’s book.  

Pro-Tip: Check out the preview of the “Protogena Jewelry Line” created by ANATOL, available on Protogenesis.com April 10th.

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7-8PM Book Signing with Alysia Helming

Get a chance to meet Alysia Helming and have her sign your copy of PROTOGENESIS!

RSVP for Free Here

See you there!

Refresh – Recharge – Inspire!

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Come away with us for an evening of fashion and enchantment as we show you our freshest new looks for Spring! Designer Stella Carakasi and novelist Alysia Helming 
celebrate a journey of discovery and transformation in an evening of collaboration through art and design at the Spring Style Event.

Alysia Helming, author of the novel PROTOGENESIS the first in a series: Protogena Chronicles crafts a young adult fantasy romance set in modern Greece, where ancient mythology and science fiction unite. Get to meet Alysia in person at an exclusive book signing session! 

Taking inspiration from her tale of female empowerment and mythology Stella created a unique look that channels the spirit of PROTOGENESIS.  Also, get an exclusive first-look at the Protogena Jewelry Line” created by ANATOL, available on Protogenesis.com April 10th.

Showcasing the best of her Spring 2017 Collection, fashion designer Stella Carakasi invites Bay Area fashion enthusiasts and the media to experience her latest designs.

This unique event will take place:

Friday, March 31st 5-8pm at the Stella Studio
1370 10th Street, Berkeley CA.

 

Real Women

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Meet Vivian, Partner & CMO!

… One of the reasons I joined the Stella Carakasi team is because of the women. We are a women-run company, and all the ladies are smart, sassy, interesting, and stellar at what they do (of course, the men aren’t bad either 🙂

We are girls, mothers, partners, colleagues, sisters and friends. We compliment each other for a job well done (and for a good-looking outfit), and we call out the things that are not good enough. We bring all aspects of ourselves to the table, and we challenge each other to be better.

Simply stated, I am in the company of real women, and it’s awesome.

Why do I use the term “Real Women”? I use it out of the deepest respect for who these women are and what they manifest in the world. I use it because, at this point in time, they – WE – all dare to express ourselves fully — beauty, smarts, opinions, style and all. And yes, I consider myself a real woman, too.

I often wonder about a woman’s life story and the many things that have transpired and come together to create who she is today. Of course, this is a universal conversation that extends beyond the Stella Carakasi team to men and the world at large. However, I believe a woman’s experience in life has a different level of complexity and texture, especially in light of the many roles we embody as girls, women, girlfriends, mothers, sisters, daughters and professionals.

To this point, I want to bring our larger community of women to life, as I know there are many amazing stories to share. So, please contribute to our blogs with your perspectives and invite your friends and loved ones to join our conversations. And, if you are among the company of the real women who love wearing Stella and would like to share your favorite looks and more, let us know!

In the meantime, here’s one of my life stories:

I have loved art, design & fashion since I was a little girl. In fact, I wanted very badly to attend Parsons School of Design in NYC for college. However, I was raised by a very practical mother and chose instead to attend UC Berkeley to major in Genetics. My creativity (and frustration) expressed itself through various avenues and professions over the years: dance, choreography, costume & prop design, drumming, art projects with my two kids, aikido, branding, PR & marketing, and management consulting.  Now at 45, I have found myself full circle back at home in the world of fashion, but now with a lifetime of confidence, experience and possibilities at my fingertips. Interestingly enough, my mother, who had persuaded me to step off my path, was the very one who encouraged me to get back on. “You have to do something creative now. It’s time you did something for yourself,” she told me. And so, here I am at Stella, loving it and living it – and laughing at the irony of it all. Life makes so much more sense looking backwards, doesn’t it? And I guess mothers always know best somehow.

In reflection, I have learned along the way that my heart has always known my truth. So my advice: Trust it, and your life will follow your right path.

>> Do you have a story to share? Or some advice for life?

This is just one voice from the Stella Carakasi team: Vivian Dai, Partner & CMO