First up: If you are in NYC today, Wednesday October 13th, please stop by our trunk show at Vanessa’s new Bleecker Street store, 384 Bleecker St. We are both there from 11 am to 7 pm. Plus, Vanessa is graciously offering TFI readers 15% off the AT collection in-store today and online for 30 days with the code TFI15.
While sustainability has become a buzzword in fashion, few companies have taken substantial action to incorporate it into their work. With Another Tomorrow, Vanessa Barboni Hallik created a brand almost backwards, putting sustainability first in her journey to launch a line of chic, modernist, ethically-made designs. She and I both adhere to the “buy less, buy better” ethos, so I am thrilled that she agreed to partner with me to offer my readers a special offer and share her thoughts on why sustainability is so integral to her work, what’s next and the newest Fall designs she is currently wearing again and again.
For those who aren’t familiar with Another Tomorrow, when did you launch, what was the inspiration behind the brand, and what sets Another Tomorrow apart from other luxury fashion brands? Another Tomorrow launched in January 2020 on a mission to reinvent luxury, and fashion more broadly, in service of women and the planet.
The company was born very much by accident on the back of a deep dive I did into sustainability in fashion during my finance career and the revelation, for me, that while fashion is one of our most personal means of expression, the way it is made rarely reflects our values.
So I set out to change that–starting with luxury where I saw the opportunity to respond to women’s desire for exquisite quality at a more accessible price point through a digitally native model.
And then really turning the modern definition of luxury on its head by regrounding it in a new concept of creating value for the earth, for humanity, for the person experiencing it all with exquisite craftsmanship and uncompromising design.
This definition of luxury stands in stark contrast to the idea of luxury as defined by price, which became the narrative in many parts of the industry in recent years.
I see a desire for lightness–for fewer, better things that are good for the planet and do not weight down our souls or our closets.
To create luxury in this way, you need to be connected to the Earth and to every step of your supply chain and so we started from the farm up identifying regenerative, ethical farms, then crafting custom fabrics sustainably in Europe, and manufacturing in best in class ateliers where every single step takes animal, human and environmental welfare into account. We are able to share this process, this narrative, via digital identities in the form of a QR code on every garment that tells the story of its provenance and why the choices we’ve made along the way are important.
When and why did sustainability become so important to you? The idea of conscious consumption was rooted in my childhood. I grew up with hippie creative and techie parents in small college towns so I was very exposed to both science and the need for creative interdisciplinary solutions. For me this bred a sense of both urgency and optimism that I have carried with me throughout my life and has finally found the expression I’ve been yearning for in Another Tomorrow.
How do you think the customer’s expectations, when it comes to brands and their social and environmental impact, has changed since you launched? I would say that there is a far greater appreciation now of the magnitude of our impact on the planet as humans and a greater sense of intention in how we consume as a result. Customers expect brands to be equally sensitive to the realities of this planet and deliver as much positive societal value as possible.
More than anything though, I see a desire for lightness – for fewer, better things that are good for the planet and do not weigh down our souls or our closets.
Most rewarding aspect of your work? Collaboration and connection to humanity and nature. My greatest love occurs at both ends of our business – from the farm, seeing first hand the positive impact of regenerative agriculture and strong animal welfare ethics, to connection with our clients and how our collection adds value to their lives. Not to mention the incredible women I’ve met as we’ve built our community.
The hardest part of having a luxury clothing brand and how do you tackle it? Making exquisite, ethical product takes great intention and attention and we do not cut corners. To run a modern, innovative and efficient business growing rapidly with ambition to become a global brand in this context creates unique challenges and opportunities!
We are constantly collaborating to find solutions as a team through technology, process efficiency and working closely with our incredible mills and ateliers.
You recently opened a store on Bleecker Street….what made you want to open a boutique? What is the advantage of brick and mortar today? And what else beyond AT clothing do you carry at the store? We have been huge believers in community and the experience of the first couple of events we hosted just after our launch immediately sparked a search for space to create a physical home for the brand. I see physical space as critical for us and for any brand – people and companies have far more dimensions than can be expressed digitally.
In doing so, we are also establishing an eco-system of community with companies who believe equally and deliver on the intersection of esthetics, sustainability and ethics.
What excites you the most about the fall collection? What was the inspiration behind it? Fall was inspired by a deep desire to elevate the lived experience of our customer and honor the materials behind the collection with exquisite finishes and textures in deep jewel tones against a new neutral palette of camel and our signature clean lines married with femininity.
I’m truly in love with the whole collection. It is weaving its way seamlessly into my wardrobe and makes me feel like my best self, which is exactly what we want for our clients.
Do you have any personal favorites? What are you wearing the most? I’m obsessed with our new Doppio Wide Leg Trouser in our new double-faced ethical wool. They are absurdly comfortable, chic and never wrinkle. I wore them for almost a week straight on a recent trip. I also just purchased our Tailored Coat in the most exquisite recycled cashmere – it took us three years to find one with this impeccable hand feel.
Who is your customer and has she, and what she wants when it comes to getting dressed, evolved? We find that our customer is a woman who has a full life and is at a point where she wants invest in herself and her values and appreciates understated, but interesting design of all kinds, not limited to her wardrobe. She has a new desire for simplification and ease in how she dresses, but still wants to feel like her best self.
You feature/interview women who do incredible work in various fields for your Women For Tomorrow series, why is this important to you and AT? Women For Tomorrow is grounded in respect and a sense of awe and wonder that I experience consistently when I meet and learn from these women that makes me immediately want to share their stories in all their facets. Even the messy ones as success can appear so linear from the outside.
I think of them as the “women doing the work,” work they would do equally with recognition in it or not because they believe and give their full selves to it. Indeed some of them are immediately recognizable to the public and some of them are not.
In both cases, what I find is what’s hard for many of them is figuring out how not to give away too much of themselves. So I seek to extend them a platform to share what they want to share, to inspire our community with their wisdom, experiences and accomplishments and to connect them with each other.
It’s beautiful to see it evolve into a real, warm community that transcends the digital.
What’s next for AT? Our owned resale channel is coming soon!
What do you look forward to most about Fall? The reminder of the cycles of life and our place within nature. And Thanksgiving when my sister and her partner join us – last year was a rare miss when we couldn’t travel.
Favorite Fall purchase: Kjaer Weis’s new Im-possible Mascara, hands down.
Something already in your closet you are pulling out now: Our Exaggerated Bow Blouse (but looped through, not tied in a bow!)
Fave Fall recipe: Anything with local corn, I love to make a light risotto with it and the basil we still have around in the garden.
Fave Fall drink: Hot apple cider.
Fave Fall smell: The faint smell of the wind picking up fallen leaves.
Fall weekend activity: Spending time with my stepkids doing pretty much whatever they want to do!
Latest read: Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer.