Amour Vert, the San Francisco-based brand that recently opened its first boutique, specializes in sustainable, organic clothes in Hayes Valley. Upon visiting the boutique on a cold, foggy summer day, I was immediately submerged into the atmosphere of vacation and breezy indulgence.
But of course: “Our Summer 2014 collection is inspired by a Parisian girl in California. The easy silhouettes, palm tree and fruit prints reflect the spirit of freedom and nonchalance associated with the state,” says Amour Vert’s creative director Linda Balti, who founded the brand with her partner Christoph Frehsee (he is the CEO).
The highlight of the current collection is the array of gentle, sophisticated prints. When these are married with silk, a frequently used material, enviable, “where did you get this?” type of pieces are born.
The cuts are relatively simple and familiar—an A-line dress, soft pants and bomber jackets, with an addition of frills and ruffles in strategic places. The comfortable, girlie romper ($209) features white palm trees on a white background, playful enough to wear on a day off. Another must-have is the gentle dress with a pineapple print ($165), already a star on Instagram.
On the more utilitarian side, there’s a good selection of the most crowd-pleasing print of all—stripes. They decorate soft cotton tops and dresses ($75-$125) and while pricier than some retailers, they make for a classic, timeless purchase.
Balti and Frehsee are not your typical design school graduates who dream big. Prior to Amour Vert, Frehsee founded a landmine clearing company, and Balti has an engineering background and once developed flight jet simulators for the French Army. They met at a defense show in Abu Dhabi, of all places, fell in love, married and traveled the world.
It was on those travels that they read an article that cited the fashion industry as the No. 2 most wasteful industry in the world behind big oil. Long story short, Frehsee enrolled in Stanford to pursue is Masters in Environmental Studies while Balti set out to create a fashion brand. Now, their respective fields coexist in a well-lit, wholesome space in Hayes Valley.
Who is the “Amout Vert” dream-client?
Balti:”First and foremost, she enjoys fashion. She’s smart, driven and confident. She loves the simplicity of stylish, easy-to-wear designs that she can easily wear to work and then dress up for a night out with her friends. Knowing that she can shop responsibly, making sustainable purchases without sacrificing her style is icing on the cake for her.
How does the store fit into San Francisco’s fashion scene?
Since we’re based in San Francisco and produce and design here, we’re thrilled to now have a brick and mortar presence here. We consider the store a test lab that will allow us to interact with our customers and find out what they’re really looking for. We love being in the heart of the spirited Hayes Valley neighborhood, offering eco-fashion that our customers can embrace and be excited about. It’s the perfect home for us.”
Tell me more about your agenda.
We are all about putting fashion first while remaining true to its commitment to sustainability. We maintain a zero-waste design philosophy to reduce its carbon footprint as much as possible. To give back to our customers and the environment, we initiated our T(r)EE program, in partnership with American Forests, through which we continue to plant a tree for every Amour Vert t-shirt sold. We’re now well on our way to achieving our goal of planting 100,000 trees by the year 2015.
Sexy clothes which make you feel noble and environmentally evolved? Yes please. Ignoring the current weather, I’m totally trying the palm-printed overall this weekend.
More info on Amour Vert in Hayes Valley.