Since 2014, e-commerce mecca Fashionkind has been the go-to platform for discovering covetable pieces that are rooted in a more conscious and considered approach to fashion. Ever since, co-founders Nina Farran and Sophia Bush have been beating the drum of sustainable luxury and spreading the message that impeccable style and a thoughtful approach to shopping can exist harmoniously. The business partners select designers using their ‘Kind Code,’ which evaluates each on the basis of design and impact, both environmental and social. Spoiler alert: their directory is as chic as it gets! This month, a Fashionkind edit of Latin American designers is in residence at Lazy Point Variety by Claudja Bicalho in Amagansett. Here’s how it all started (with a fateful intro from a friend!) and how it’s going.
Fashionkind has been around for a while, but for anyone unfamiliar, what is the premise?
Nina and Sophia: Fashionkind is the new way to shop for luxury fashion online. The twist is that we select our designers based on design and the positive impact that they have through their business; whether that’s environmental, social, or both. But you don’t need to be a “conscious” shopper to love our site. Ultimately what we’re doing is going back to the true soul of luxury. We curate the best in craftsmanship from around the world. We share stories behind the artistry of these designers. And we give our customers highly personalized service. We are reinventing luxury retail – both how it is created and how it is consumed.
What was the impetus for launching?
Nina: I have been involved in fashion and impact since 2008, when I was an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania. When I graduated, I wanted to launch my own impact fashion brand. But I knew that if I wanted to leverage the power of a for-profit business, I needed to learn what makes a company successful and worthy of investment, which is why I went to work at an investment and wealth management firm. I came up with the idea for Fashionkind while initiating, building, and launching the firm’s impact investing platform. I was exposed to a lot of NY statistics around sustainability in the fashion industry that I had never known before. I knew something had to change, and the first step to any change is education. So I originally started Fashionkind as an educational blog. It then became clear that there was a large gap in the market to create change on the retail level, which hadn’t been disrupted in over a decade. Existing retailers weren’t meeting the changing consumer landscape, and I knew that we were well-positioned to capture this opportunity. This led to us launching Fashionkind the platform at the end of 2018. We specifically target the luxury sector of the market due to the influence it has in shaping the industry as a whole – our ultimate goal.
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What industry change/shifts have you seen since launching?
Nina: The mindset of the industry has changed dramatically in these years. Aside from Stella McCartney, very few luxury players were putting sustainability and impact at the fore. It was treated like an afterthought or a gimmick, and if it was part of the company’s mission it was at the expense of design and quality. Now, the conversation around sustainability and impact in fashion is the most pressing one. The new challenge is to filter out which brands are walking the walk and which ones are just greenwashing with buzzwords.
How did you meet and what drew you to working together?
Nina: The way we met was very serendipitous. A classmate of mine from Penn contacted me out of the blue to learn more about Fashionkind. A while into our conversation, he asked if I had ever thought about which celebrities I would want to get involved with what we were doing. Sophia was one of the first names I mentioned, which, it turns out, was the reason he had contacted me in the first place. He worked on Sophia’s team at CAA, and she had recently been inquiring about what companies were making positive impacts in the fashion space. Once we realized we were both thinking about Sophia for Fashionkind, I booked a flight to meet her the next week. The morning after we met she called me and said, “I want to help build this.” The rest is history!
Sophia: I had been involved in environmental action for a long time, and fashion is one of the top polluting industries, responsible for 5-8% of all carbon emissions. And fashion is a big part of my life—both professionally and personally. I wanted to find a way to reconcile my relationship to it, and see if I could help to effect change from within. What I loved about Nina and Fashionkind was that she was approaching the business from a high-design, high-fashion standpoint, which was counter to what so many others in the space were doing. I also appreciated Nina’s background in finance, and that she was thinking about Fashionkind with the vision to build an incredibly impactful and scalable business that could reach beyond the conscious shopper to the wider luxury market. I knew that both my network and my passion for, and experience in, storytelling would complement Nina’s skillset and help bring it to the next level.
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Tell us about the pop-up at Lazy Point Variety Store, which is open until September. What do guests need to know?
Nina and Sophia: We are so excited to be popping up at Lazy Point Variety Store! We are bringing a selection of our designers from across Latin America to celebrate the region’s craft, traditions, and culture. We’re officially open, so please visit to shop the curation and sip some sparkling wine, courtesy of Ramona. If you can’t make it now, don’t worry—we will be there through Labor Day.
What’s your aim with the pop-up?
Nina and Sophia: The pandemic created a deep yearning for human and emotional connection, a sense of community, and the feeling of joy: three core elements of the Fashionkind brand. With this pop-up, we hope to offer a safe experience for our customers to engage with us, our designers, their purchases, each other, and the world around them—both near and far.
You mention that the focus is to celebrate Latin American design and culture—how is that coming to the fore?
Nina and Sophia: Yes! One of the unique things about Fashionkind is that we work with designers from all around the world, so we are able to put together events, partnerships, and shopping experiences that are highly curated and personal. Claudja, the founder of Lazypoint, is Brazilian, so we thought it would be really special to honor her heritage by showcasing our designers from across Latin America for this partnership. We have been working with designers from the area for some time. This was originally sparked by our involvement in the Latin American Fashion Summit (LAFS), and then strengthened by a partnership with Si Collective that we launched during COVID to help Latin designers, and their artisans, survive the pandemic. Latin American is a really powerful case study of the amazing regional design and craftsmanship that exists around the world, and we feel so honored to highlight these craftsmen through our company.
Tell us about some new favorite brands or labels you’ve discovered in the last year?
Nina and Sophia: We are always discovering so many new brands. Some favorites that we welcomed into our Fashionkind family this year are Collectiva (linen separates from Mexico), Nomasei (footwear from France and made in Italy), Pinkfilosofy (resortwear from Colombia), De Castro (ready-to-wear from India), Natalia Criado (sculptures and lifestyle items made in Colombia and Italy), and Careste (ready-to-wear from L.A. and made in China). Welcoming Careste was particularly meaningful for us, as it was a step towards our goal of becoming more size inclusive. They feature 22 micro sizes from 00-20 that can be customized to any body’s measurements. Each piece is crafted-to-order, which is a very sustainable production model that results in practically zero waste. As such, we added Zero Waste as one of our impact categories this year, and we realized that many of our designers already fit in this space.
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Will you have an events element to the Hamptons pop-up?
Nina and Sophia: We will. Although we are, of course, still trying to be mindful of the ongoing pandemic. To celebrate the launch, we hosted an intimate dinner at Moby’s. It was really special. For the first time in over a year, we were able to bring together [vaccinated and tested!] members of our Fashionkind family—from customers, to press, to partners—around the same table for a delicious meal, drinks from Usual Wines and Jaja Tequila, and lots of laughs and hugs. Community, connection, and joy are all core to Fashionkind, and the night was a great example of that. We will also be hosting events for the closing weekend (Labor Day weekend). These will feature signature drinks, personal shopping with our Nina, and more!
What pieces are on your own wishlist right now?
Nina: So many things! But these immediately come to mind: our Careste Georgina Skirt, our Collectiva Concha Maxi Dress, our KATKIM Petite Diamond Eternity Bracelet, and our Monica Sordo Puerto Earrings. Come fall, these boots by Nomasei are at the top of my wishlist.
Sophia: Oh my current Fashionkind wishlist is quite long! I just made a few summer purchases that I’m thrilled about: our JDD x Moye San Antonio Linen Pants; our Coco Shop Slip Dress; our JDD x Moye Currulao Top with the matching bottoms; and our Maison Alma Wrap Coat. You can shop many of these at the pop-up!
What five Fashionkind pieces should be in everyone’s bag for a Hamptons excursion?
Nina and Sophia: A beach bag big enough for all of the must-haves (don’t forget sunscreen! Two of our favorites are Soleil Toujours and Supergoop) like this one, which comes with a chic matching pouch that can be used as a clutch when transitioning from day to night. A chic coverup that can take you from the beach to drinks, like this one. Easy dresses that you can wear to grab coffee, peruse local farmers markets, and dress up for a fancier affair. We love ones by Collectiva Joaquina, Maygel Coronel, and Careste. A classic sandal by Nomasei, and plenty of bathing suits. Some of our favorites are by Maygel Coronel, Verdelimon, and JDD x Moye.
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What’s an ideal hostess gift?
Nina and Sophia: At the risk of sounding cliché, it’s hard to go wrong with a beautiful candle and a fresh bouquet of locally-sourced flowers. But, if you’re looking for something a little more out of the box, a set of linen napkins, a statement-making tray, or a set of candelabras would be special and unexpected.
How do you make sure you’re kind in your day-to-day life?
Nina: There are so many ways to think about kindness: being kind to others; being kind to yourself; being kind to the planet. And remembering that we so often only ever see one side of someone in our brief interactions. We never know what that person could be going through at that moment in their life. Your kindness could make all the difference for them.
Sophia: For me, kindness is rooted in showing up. For causes. Community. Friends. Ourselves. The pandemic changed a lot of the ways that I am traditionally accustomed to showing up, generally in person, and yet enabled so many creative connections to continue and expand. From community organizing and election work, to hosting my podcast Work In Progress to let audiences get to know phenomenal changemakers, to launching initiatives to support our collaborators in Latin America, I am constantly inspired by the human spirit to connect, no matter what.
What else is coming in the pipeline for Fashionkind in 2021?
Nina and Sophia: We have been very fortunate to see tremendous growth over COVID. We are excited to continue growing with new partnerships, new designers, and new regions. We are also aiming to meet additional milestones toward becoming more size inclusive, with both our existing designers and those new to the Fashionkind family.