THE BLOG

Popomomo Hits the Eco Fashion Scene

05/30/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Eco fashion designers are pushing stereotypical bland designs. In the U.S. alone, we have seen respected designers, like Phillip Lim and John Patrick, show the runway that using less damaging and toxic fabrics can still be sexy. Today, a new generation of eco-designers are emerging. Lizz Wasserman is one of them.

I met Lizz Wasserman at Mandrakes, an unassuming bar in Culver City. Lizz was introducing and celebrating her new Fall/Winter 09 collection from popomomo - something not to be missed!

Locally produced with eco-friendly materials, popomomo is certainly one of the up-and-coming eco-clothing lines. Check out my interview with the one and only: Lizz Wasserman.

Did you always want to be a fashion designer? I've been doing the popomomo line for about 2 years now.

I didn't have a background in design. I studied sociological theory at Madison (UW), but as I was writing my senior honors thesis about semiotics and alternative cultures: I realized, while the semiotics interested me, it was the clothing signifiers that I was paying the most attention to...but it took time to realize I wanted to be a designer.

Popomomo is designed to be the antithesis of disposable fashion, the pieces are not trend or season based, they are idea based, and so you can wear them for seasons to come.

Popomomo started when I was living in Brooklyn, but we moved to LA about a year and a half ago. The move to LA really changed my understanding of the eco movement, as well as providing so much inspiration for designing popomomo.

Popomomo is a mouthful! How did you come up with the name and does it have any significance?

The idea comes from being in college and being really over the idea of post modernism, which I was learning about from a political or sociological standpoint, but could see only bad examples of in design: like pulling grecian architectural elements together with spanish doorways, or all new clothing referencing past historical periods. I wanted to move beyond the idea of relative style perspectives, and make something new and true... post post modernism...or popomomo.

Describe your style.

I dress pretty eclectically: I wear a lot of patterned vintage, mixed with popomomo, tons of layers, and occasionally other young designers. Anything I buy like jeans or bags or shoes have to be very unbranded, no labels or markings or special stitching. I think most designers are like this, but anything I have (other than popomomo) I pretty much have to alter or change until its 'right', taking it in, cutting it, overdying, wearing it differently, etc. I only buy things to last...no disposable fashion.

The pieces I make for popomomo are meant to be mixed in with other favorites, to kind of fill in your perfect wardrobe. I'm amazed at the different ways people style the line.

Why design sustainably?

The number one way the line is sustainable is that I only create pieces that I feel like are new, unique on the market, and not trend-based: I created popomomo to act as the antithesis of disposable fashion. If H&M went completely organic, it would be good in some ways, but the culture of disposable fashion that H&M is a part of would remain harmful and wasteful.

All of the fabrics we use are sustainable: I use organic cottons, bamboos, tencels, soy, hemp (all of which are better for the earth than commercial cotton), and then I'm really excited to get more into recycled fabrics: like for Fall 09 I have a great denim fabric that is made of hemp and recycled polyester. It looks and feels amazing.

I'm always on the hunt for great eco-finds in LA. Any suggestions?

We just moved to Highland Park from Silverlake, I'm really excited to live so close to the train, and on bus routes. My boyfriend has an opening in Chinatown this weekend and we are psyched that we can just hop on the train.

I'm really excited for The Good Girl Dinette to open at 56th and Figueroa to open up soon, because that's where we'll be eating yummy Vietnamese comfort food often and picking up our Waste Veggie Oil for my old Mercedes.

And still, my favorite eco store in LA is Kelly Green at Sunset Junction in Silverlake...I go in there and fall in love with everything...which sucks, because I'm usual there to get other people gifts.

We all have 'em! What is your biggest eco-sin?

We just got a puppy two days ago and he's the cutest thing! But, obviously he goes to bathroom often and we've been using the random plastic bags we have from grocery stores when we don't bring our own (that are usually our garbage bags). I have to research disposable bags or something...but I havent yet.

If you could give President Obama one piece of advice, what would you say?

I was driving home the other day when he was giving his recent town hall speech and I totally started crying because we finally have an intelligent president who knows that growth and technology can be helpful to the economy and the environment at the same time.

I think he's doing great...everyone else should just get of his way.

Oh, but he should legalize gay marriage asap.