Monique Parker from Wallis Evera creates beautiful hemp clothing which breaks the stereotypes that people normally associate with hemp. Learn more about her line and why hemp is such an important fiber.
How long have you been in the business of making hemp clothing?
How did you come up with the name of your company?
The company is named after my two grandmothers – both of whom lived and raised families in the 1940s, an era when materials and resources were well understood to be limited, and everything was – simply as a matter of course – recycled, reused, reduced and repaired.
What does “sustainable fashion” mean to you?
Sustainability is about healthy longevity and choosing to operate in a way that is oriented toward creating future benefit for the global community, rather than just short-term gain for a single entity or a narrow spectrum of stakeholders. It’s about looking at all the social, economic and environmental impacts of our actions so that we can make choices to eliminate those that are damaging and maximize those that foster harmonious living.
What is your company’s mission?
At Wallis Evera, we’re passionate about pushing boundaries to support the local economy and preserve the global environment. By choosing hemp as the foundation fibre for all that we do, our aim is to make clothes that break stereotypes, spark dialogue and inspire change toward a more sustainable future.
What is something you wish people knew about sustainable fashion?
The negative stereotypes that still exist the “eco-friendly aesthetic” is are just not valid anymore with the amazing number of designers now in this market space. Last summer, I wrote a blog post about the challenge of breaking through the stereotypes and stigmas around our particular brand of eco-friendly clothing (i.e. hemp dresses). I think that the reason we’ve had our success to-date is because our styles and target customer are probably the polar opposite of what is typically thought of when mentioning hemp clothing. We create modern, sophisticated looks for women who work in corporate office settings. There’s nothing “hippie” or “granola” about our look and feel whatsoever. We’ve gone head to head with the stereotypes around the hemp aesthetic but retained the ethical foundation. I do believe that the amount of education required to grow this market is significant, but not insurmountable.
What’s the most challenging thing about running a sustainable business?
Manufacturing locally and choosing hemp as our company’s foundation fibre are expensive choices. However, we place a high value on contributing to our local economy, and we insist on hemp because:
- Right now, cotton is used to make over 50% of apparel worldwide. It is an extremely thirsty, land-intensive, chemically dependent crop that is directly responsible for the degradation of several large-scale ecosystems around the world. There is a dire and increasing need to provide apparel made from alternative and more eco-friendly sources.
- Hemp is considered one of the most eco-friendly fibres in existence. It is biodegradable, highly renewable, and can be used in a wide variety of applications, from textiles to plastics, paper, food and biodiesel. It grows rapidly, requires no herbicides or pesticides and produces a far greater yield per acre than cotton and flax (the plant used to make linen). It also consumes much less energy and water than cotton during textile processing.
- Hemp fabric is durable, breathes, highly absorbent, and naturally resistant to mold, bacteria, and UV light. The modern hemp fabrics we are able to source are a pleasure to work with and truly outstanding for our customers.
Just For Fun
What’s your favorite color?
It’s a toss up between Navy Blue and Magenta.