The Hollywood personal styling treatment is getting a sustainable e-makeover.
Despite a fresh glow about her, Los Angeles-based stylist Cassandra Dittmer counts a decade in styling, with credits for clients such as Laura Dern, Bebe Rexha and Ty Burrell. After launching her e-styling service (a nod to e-commerce and eco-friendly fashion) in October, Dittmer will reveal her 2.0 service Friday in order to tap a broader clientele with a service designed to be accessible, thoughtful, modern and values-driven.
“One of the things I always do is have your values guide the conversation,” Dittmer said. “That’s not saying we compromise aesthetics, that’s not saying we compromise other things like styling advice — one of the reasons that you hire a stylist — but instead of ‘this celebrity wore this,’ or ‘this celebrity wore that,’ ‘this was on the runway’…what we will talk about is the brands, what they mean, the information that I do know about them and the information I don’t know about them.”
With last year’s Oscars awards ceremony making sustainability a star with a plant-based menu and greener fashion, personal styling is entering the arena.
All styling packages are streamlined to be less than $1,000 this time for greater access (previously the max was $4,250) with varying levels of engagement with Dittmer. The lowest price is $75, while the highest is $850 for a “closet refresh,” including a one-on-one chat, closet clean-out session and 30 items sourced, among other perks. Regardless of price tier, each client scores their own “curated digital boutique,” featuring at least 10 shoppable pieces, brand bios and additional inspirational resources like a book or podcast recommendation.
Dittmer vets brands by three general criteria: environment, ethics and economics. Although she’s nixed her travels amid the pandemic, Dittmer’s past visits to markets in cities like Lagos, Copenhagen and Berlin inform her tight-knit relationships with designers — and their supply chains.
In one personalized boutique, there is the “Saint Laurent-esque” leather goods label Kiing Daviids (in the words of Dittmer) and Orange Culture, the gender-blurring label headed by creative director Adebayo Oke-Lawal, who also goes by “Bayo.” Both labels are based in Lagos, and Orange Culture, for one, was recently featured in a curated shop of Nigerian designer fashion in collaboration with e-commerce platform Farfetch and The Folklore, a concept store for luxury African designer fashion.
“I met Bayo in 2019, the creative director of Orange Culture, in Lagos and his story is incredible. His collections blur gender norms within a culture that’s rooted in tradition. African-born, his designs are totally androgynous and streetwear-driven. Everything is produced in Nigeria and he has control over his supply chain (bonus points). While personally having insight into how difficult it is to produce in Nigeria, supporting brands like this and their journey to success is at the forefront of my vision as an ethical stylist. The show-stopping prints in his collections make strong statements that are sure to turn a few heads,” read Dittmer’s accompanying brand bio notes in one custom digital boutique.
Finnish knitwear brand Myssy, helmed by designer Anna Rauhansuu, was another story that unraveled with enthusiasm during a consultation with Dittmer. The label’s waterproof, lanolin-lined beanies are hand-knitted by a network of seniors (aptly called Myssy grandmas) based in Pöytyä. The yarn is organic and hand-dyed from the brand’s own herd of sheep.
She calls attributes like these — hand-dyed, vegan, local and recycled — the new “bragging rights” for clothes.
“You can switch that dopamine kick of needing a new item by being a resource,” said Dittmer. “I think people are really into that level of traceability and circularity, and I think being this resource is what people are wanting to be. That’s definitely something that’s essential to the service.”
Some 40 clients sampled the e-styling service since its launch, but Dittmer said the latest version warrants an “elevation of service,” in regard to accessibility of price tiers and an integrated seamless payment experience.
While the digital service is faster in nature, it works with the slow fashion movement.
“Typically with styling, it’s like you need to buy this thing now or it’s this ‘now, now, now’ mind-set,” Dittmer said. Speaking to her part in this lucrative sustainable styling scene, she added, “It’s like a relationship, it’s a collaboration — I’m reimagining what this relationship with a stylist means and helping people rework their brains in that way.”
Dittmer also teased a symbol system meant to be an easy visual cue for clients navigating their digital boutique recommendations and “Cassandra hotline,” an interactive endeavor on her Instagram profile meant to help people slow down on impulse buying. Where applicable, she will suggest they trade the item in their cart for a more ethical purchase.
“I’m definitely doing the hotline,” Dittmer reiterated, eager to help unload the distress of consumers not knowing whether a brand bolsters their values.
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