Elizabeth Roney, founder of Liz Alig, describes her style as lazy boho. She won’t wear clothing that is uncomfortable and says she has an obsession with natural and ethnic textiles. Her love for fashion began in middle school when she began sewing her own clothing.
“I discovered my love of putting fabrics together and designing patterns,” Liz said. “The art and design part of fashion is what I appreciate most.”
After attaining a degree in design, Liz worked in several developing countries where she visited factories and got to know the workers and the conditions they face. Afterward she returned to the U.S. and refused to purchase clothing in traditional retail stores without knowing where and how the pieces were made. Unable to find ethical clothing designs that she liked, Liz decided to start her own sustainable fashion clothing company. She wanted to empower people living in poverty with a way out, giving them skills and opportunities to make a better life for themselves and their families.
As part of the sustainable fashion movement, Liz creates pieces that are good for the environment and won’t end up in a landfill anytime soon. She is careful with the fabrics she chooses and uses recycled materials and organic cotton in her designs. Yet is not where her sustainability focus ends. To Liz a large part of sustainability is not just a focus on the eco-environment but also the global worker-environment, meaning the treatment of workers and also the preservation of the workers’ tradition and culture.
“A significant part of ethical fashion to me is the use of age-old techniques and textiles. This is a way to honor culture and preserve tradition. It also makes fashion more of an art than a fast turn of trends.”
In order to determine whether a clothing piece is ethically made there must be transparency and this means monitoring how and where a garment is made. This takes place through the entire journey of a garment or accessory. For Liz this means tracking the making of raw fibers, the fabric production, the dying process and construction. Through their purchasing power, Liz says consumers can let retailers know that ethical sourcing is essential in the clothing purchasing calculus.
“I would not be doing what I am doing with out traveling abroad and seeing where much of our clothing is made,” Liz said. “The relationships I form with the people who sew our clothes remind me why Fair Trade and sustainability is important.”
Liz’s life in photos:
- Recycled bottles for sale in Haiti.
- I love doors : ) Door in the streets of Cape Coast, Ghana.
- Girl in rural Guatemalan school at snack time.
- Market in Guatemala…women wearing the traditional huipil (shirt) and ikat plaid skirt.
- Ikat fabric for sale at local market in Guatemalan mountains.
Some of our favorite Liz Alig pieces:
- This Suzy dress features retro pin-up girl glamour and is made of rich-hued recycled fabric.
- Hand blocked cotton Ray Shorts in a bike pattern pair excellently with tights and boots or wear alone in summer.
- These Ray Shorts sport polka dots in two of our favorite hues — gray and yellow.
- Handwarmers made of recycled sweaters keep you hands toasty but allow your digits to move.
- Your very own (recycled) cashmere raspberry beret. Prince would approve.
- This A-line sleeveless dress is hand-blocked and will look as lovely at the office as a night out.