Great Interior Design can be Sustainable


Can great design also be sustainable? As an Interior Designer with a focus on sustainability, I say emphatically, yes! In fact, I stand by the claim that sustainability can be stunning and I even put my motto, “eco-elegance”, right into my logo.


Above is My eco luxe spa design at hotel Casa del Mar, Santa Monica, using a range of sustainable and fair trade materials.

When you see or hear the word “sustainable”, perhaps you think of something relating to being environmentally friendly. However it means so much more. There are considerations like health and safety, economic sustainability, and even social responsibility. It’s the latter which is my focus here and lately, in most of my life these days. Social responsibility refers to making ethical choices and is the concept behind fair trade. This is the idea that artisans and farmers (often in Third World countries) behind a range of products are paid fairly, so that they have sustainable livelihoods and contribute to a more sustainable world.


Above is a GoodWeave certificed rug from HD Home & Design in my 2013 loft design for Dwell magazine at Met Lofts in downtown Los Angeles.

Maybe you’re thinking that you shouldn’t be responsible for items made abroad and that you’ll use all USA made products. Thus, you might not be concerned with global sustainability, the fundamental right of human beings to live in dignity and free of poverty. Then consider that it’s unlikely for any of us to live relying solely on American made elements, especially when designing a room or entire home. Also, keep in mind that US made doesn’t mean something is fully sustainable. Perhaps it’s handmade but not good for the planet, so be sure to look beyond the place of origin. Ok, back to my point about the inevitable truth that somewhere in our lives we’re bound to rely on items made in other countries, often Third World. Read the labels on your clothing; you’re likely already supporting foreign manufacturing. Basically, you have a choice, to purchase fair trade or not, to change lives or not.


Above is a GoodWeave certificed rug from HD Home & Design in my 2013 loft design for Dwell magazine at Met Lofts in downtown Los Angeles.

A great way you can make a difference and impact a community in design is with your rug purchase. Look for GoodWeave or RugMark labels, which certify a rug wasn’t made by children. In fact, in the rug industry, there are approximately 250,000 children making rugs, down from about 1 million in 1995 according to GoodWeave. Simply by you choosing to spend your money on a rug that was not made by children, you could save a child’s life and you would contribute to a communities’ sustainability which ultimately contributes to your sustainability.


RugMark helped these children, previously forced to work illegally making rugs, to receive an education and health care. Photo by Robin


To learn more about Fair Trade and if you’re in the LA area, please join me at Fair Trade LA’s monthly meetings and at our 10th anniversary celebration this Sunday, October 4th in LA!

August: Fair Trade events & coffee and Fair Trade fashion


Fair Trade LA is 10!
October 2015 will be our 10 year anniversary. Let us know you’d like to help us plan for the big event by emailing us here. Stay tuned for exciting event details!
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Farming to Fashion
Changing the world with coffee and apparel

Hugh Jackman

In the documentary Dukale’s Dream, Hugh Jackman and his wife Deborra-lee Furness, discover that the coffee you drink can change the world. They travel to Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee, where they learned about the effectiveness of community development, fair trade, and education in reducing global poverty. Learn more from the trailer here.

Fashion at College

Consider fair trade apparel to get you ready for the school season. Either shop online or see if your school’s merchandise is printed on Alta Gracia Apparel tops. This fair trade business is the result of an unprecedented partnership of organizations with long-standing dedication to labor rights. Supporting Alta Gracia Apparel means job creation, living wages, benefits and education for workers and families who make these garments.

Photos courtesy of Dukale’s Dream and Alta Gracia.


Fair Trade Fetes

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Upcoming Events

Kishe Foods introduces Guatemalan Coffee
55 Degree Wine
3111 Glendale Blvd
Los Angeles, CA

Aug 22-23
Councilmember Gilbert Cedillo’s Latin Jazz & Music Festival
Sycamore Grove Park
4702 N. Figueroa
Los Angeles, CA 90042

Sep 25-27
Green Festival
Los Angeles Convention Center
1201 S Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90015

10 Year Anniversary!

Sunday, Oct 4th

FTLA Party

Join us for live entertainment, fair trade food and drinks, a silent auction and fair trade artisans! We’ll celebrate 10 years of connecting conscious consumers to to farmers and artisans around the world, helping them create better livelihoods for their families and communities. The event will be held at USC Caruso Catholic Center, 844 W 32nd Street, Los Angeles, CA. More information here.

Member Highlight

Lynn & Tony Fadale

Ten Thousand Villages

Lynn and Tony Fadale are two of the original founders of the Redondo Beach Ten Thousand Villages store. Presently serving on their Board of Directors, Lynn volunteers as the Visual Merchandiser and Tony is often seen out front greeting customers. The store sells a range of unique handmade items representing the diverse cultures of artisans in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. One of the world’s largest fair trade organizations and a founding member of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), the company strives to improve the livelihood of tens of thousands of disadvantaged artisans in 38 countries. More information here.


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Fair Trade LA
PO Box 1594
La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91012
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