Just in time for summer, Jennifer Creel is throwing her hat into the accessories ring, launching a sunglasses collection with eyewear company Modo to be sold exclusively at Bergdorf Goodman. The line, called Modo for Jennifer Creel, retails for $285 to $365 and will be available for two months, starting with the kickoff fete Wednesday night. Working with Modo chief executive officer Alessandro Lanaro, Creel created seven predominantly unisex styles ranging from the leather-trimmed Talitha to the Hepburn-worthy Sabrina — which all feature a conscientious twist: The wood packaging and bamboo frames are recyclable materials, and for every pair of sunglasses sold, Modo for Jennifer Creel will plant a tree in partnership with the non-profit organization, Trees for the Future, a charity which focuses on degraded lands and communities in developing countries. Please visit http://www.treesftf.org for more information.
Creel, who credits her creative streak to a childhood spent in culturally rich New York City and a 10-year stint in Ralph Lauren’s sportswear design division, chatted with WWD about eco fashion and green living.
This story first appeared in the June 23, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
WWD: What made you decide to start this project?
Jennifer Creel: I’ve always wanted to do an accessory. Because it’s such a crazy time right now, I wanted to come out with something people are going to feel good about buying.
WWD: Why sunglasses?
J.C.: I always think that sunglasses set a tone for your day, for how you feel. It’s good for protection, but it also makes you feel good. It makes a statement for how people look at you when you’re walking down the street.
WWD: Can you talk about the charitable element?
J.C.: There’s obviously so many different charitable causes out there — I have mine and my friends have theirs. I also really believed in doing something that was “eco.” [And] I felt the best thing to do was if we were going this eco route was for every frame that is bought, there’s a tree that is planted.
WWD: Why a tree?
J.C.: I had gotten a Christmas card once that said they would be planting a tree as a gift and I thought, “What a great idea. That’s so clever and smart; why can’t we do something like that?”
WWD: What made you want to do something specifically ecologically minded?
J.C.: I was just getting so much influence from my children. You know, “Mommy, turn off the lights. Recycle the bottles.” I thought, “If they are so aware of it, why shouldn’t I be taking this in and learning from them?” This is the way they were taught and the way it’s going to be, so I think it’s very important for us to acknowledge it and be able to do it in a way that’s fashionable and timeless.
WWD: Are you very green in other areas of your life?
J.C.: Don’t ask me what car I’m driving, but we recycle and I try to e-mail more than actually using paper.