tara st james
Eco-fashion has come along way since the days of hemp beanies and undyed gypsy skirts, and Tara St James is one designer helping vanquish such atrocities, focusing on sustainability minus the crunch. Originally a menswear designer with a tailoring obsession, Tara switched to women’s when she became the creative director of Covet, a line founded in 2004 to give that whole eco realm a lift. Five years later, Tara left to do her own thing with her label Study—a move that’s let her focus more on the ethical aspects of production by experimenting with no-waste patternmaking and by hunting down artisan-made fabrics.
This search for super-cool and fair-trade materials has led Tara to work with silk workers in India and home knitters in Peru—pursuits that contributed to her Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation award win in 2011. As if all this hasn’t keep her busy enough, Tara has found time to teach sportswear at Pratt and to head up Study Hall, her aptly named intern design program. Oh, and to rock climb: “It gets my mind out of fashion!” she explains. —jessie pascoe