Badass Women spotlights women who not only have a voice but defy the irrelevant preconceptions of gender. (Not to mention, they are exceptionally cool.)
Why she’s badass: Kym Canter is the founder and creative director of House of Fluff, the first ethically produced faux-fur lifestyle brand based in New York City. I know what you’re thinking: another fashion brand? Groundbreaking! (Insert eye roll.) But Canter, along with her design director Alex Dymek, is eliminating the decision between beauty and morality.
"I always loved fur and the glamor of fur, but I hated the process of what has to happen to make the garment,” Canter says. “Why do we have to kill an animal to feel glamorous and look good? There’s something very special about wearing something furry, for a lot of different reasons. I wanted to allow people to have that experience but feel good and not have to compromise their ethics. The whole idea was: Let’s make that glamorous experience happen—but the making of the garment should help the world and be good."
More than clothes: "It’s about having a low carbon footprint and using ethical products made in a fair trade factory as much as it’s about creating an amazing product," says Canter. "We use the scraps and try to use as many organic and sustainable things as possible all the way down through the hangers and the tags."
Best advice she's received: "Run your own race. Don’t worry so much about what other people are doing; only focus on what you’re doing."
Overcoming obstacles: "If you want to make an ethical product, everything costs more money," Canter admits. "We really did not want to make a product that was out of reach. We wanted to be somewhat affordable, and that’s what’s been the biggest challenge." The solution called for some DIY. "We didn’t want to put things in plastic, even though we found recycled garment bags—they were really ugly!—so we even are making the garment bags ourselves out of cotton muslin. I’m now talking to a woman’s co-op in Costa Rica to see whether they can do it for a price that makes sense for us."
Buying smart: "I hope that as time moves forward, [designers] will start thinking ethically, and it will become easier," Canter says. "But I think that people aren’t aware—if you’re buying something that’s made offshore, and it can retail for so little money, you have to think, 'What are the people that are making that being paid?' There are basic questions you can ask yourself. Look at the label! Understand what you’re wearing, what you’re putting on your body, and think, 'Where is this coming from? Where are they making this?' "
Next big thing: "We like to think of House of Fluff like a great big hug from us to you. With every House of Fluff product, we want you to feel glamorous and happy and comfy and know that you’re not putting anything bad on your body and no one suffered, no animal or human. We’re doing an exclusive with Net-a-Porter, which drops on November 10, and we’re also selling direct-to-consumer on HouseOfFluff.com."
"We wanted the collection to be really now—about how we live now, really modern," says Canter. "There’s enough stuff in the world. Why bring another thing in unless there’s really a reason to have it?"
Now who's buying me that bomber?