I met Tina last year when she first launched, AERA, a high-end made-in-Italy vegan shoe line that is built around the tenant of being 110% sustainable. (If you want to read our first interview to understand why, go here.) In keeping with everyone’s more casual lifestyle, Tina and AERA’s designer, Jean-Michel Cazabat, launched a capsule collection of slides and loafers last week. I plan on wearing my Raffealla slides all through summer. And, in a first for TFI readers Tina is offering 15% off all orders starting today and running through March 26th, just use the code FLAIR15 at checkout. Going forward we all need to be thoughtful about what we bring into our lives, and a beautifully crafted pair of vegan shoes might be a good step. Here, Tina shares what she’s excited about for Spring, where she’s giving back, and her cooking hack for excellent pasta.
What do love and look forward to about spring? This year, Spring really feels like a new beginning as we begin to bounce back after a very long Covid winter. I am looking forward to longer, brighter days and warmer weather which automatically brings a sense of optimism. Also, I am excited for the opportunity to spend more time outdoors and catch up with friends locally.
What are your newest favorite purchases? I haven’t been doing a lot of shopping, but over the past several months I purchased a couple of timeless items: a Gabriela Hearst Cruz shirt in wool/cashmere, a The Row satin skirt, T-shirts from Another Tomorrow. And, most recently a Heidi Wynne St. Tropez raffia sun hat in anticipation of summer. And SHOES. I am very excited for our new capsule of shoes that just launched. My personal favorites are the Mina loafer and the Patty slide. This time has made me seek comfort but in a polished way. Also, I am looking forward to the Monica flat sandals to wear this summer in Italy – fingers crossed!
Something already in your closet you are pulling out now: Nanushka vegan leather pants, lighter weight cashmere sweaters, Re-Done jeans, a light-weight coat from Agnona.
Fave spring food or recipe: Traditional pesto Genovese with fresh tagliolini. A little secret– you can buy fresh Il Pesto di Pra by Bruzzone & Ferrari at Eataly which has a unique kind of basil native to the coast of Liguria and is considered the best basil for making pesto. It is super simple to prepare.
Fave spring drink: Negroni.
Fave spring smell: Fresh flowers–favorites are peonies and tulips.
Spring weekend activity: Escaping apartment living in NYC to Gurney’s in Montauk or someplace upstate to the countryside. Most recently, I was in Bedford at the Bedford Post Inn in which is a tiny magical eco-conscious spot less than one hour away from the city.
Key elements for being cozy inside your home: Combination of music, flowers, candles (currently burning a favorite from Astier de Villatte “Rue Saint-Honore”).
Latest read: Ruth Bader Ginsburg: The Last Interview – I have always been a huge fan of groundbreaking RBG, and was keen to read this book which features six in-depth interviews as well as a q&a she did with high school students. Her actual last interview was done on Feb 2020 by journalist Bill Moyers. Just started Bill Gates’ new book, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster which recently came out.
Online rabbit hole: Literally anything related to social and environmental impact in the fashion industry.
New Insta discovery: This isn’t an Insta, but I recently was invited to join Clubhouse. And, I am still navigating the platform, but being an entrepreneur there seems to be really interesting conversations including many inspiring voices on sustainability, entrepreneurship, mindfulness, etc.
Daily ritual you practice: Daily walks which allow me to clear my head and take a break from the computer screen.
Favorite hour of the day and why: Time after dinner and before getting into bed where I can unwind from the day and relax either by watching TV (usually something on Netflix) or reading.
Where are you donating your money/time? I have recently joined two incredible organizations: The Shatter Fund is a non-profit that connects girls in underserved communities with access to capital, networks, and markets to foster an inclusive economy and equitable entrepreneurship. My role is Advisor in Sustainability and helping to develop the next generation of female entrepreneurs who can also be environmental stewards. And Raise Fashion – a non-profit committed to advancing racial equality in the fashion industry through a pro-bono consulting advisory network. Apart from that, I continue to be a sponsor to a young girl in India through humanitarian organization World Vision since I started working.
Something you love to do that you can share with others: Practice gratitude – it is the honestly the best way to remain grounded. Gratitude allows us to have greater respect for all that we already have and therefore to be more conscious in our choices because we start from a mindset of appreciation rather than a focus on what we lack.
How are you looking at your business differently? We officially launched a year ago – so basically have had to pivot continuously to make it through the pandemic. We aligned with digital partners and worked on creating a like-minded community. We also designed a small capsule of shoes that feel more relevant for this time we are living in.
What do you miss most? Human interaction with family and friends as well as traveling.
If you’ve had a chance to travel recently where did you go? If not, what will be your first trip? I haven’t traveled anywhere by plane and I miss Italy, both for my work and holidays. Looking forward to going there hopefully by July/August.
What do you hope the new normal brings? A rebalancing of priorities, inclusiveness, a greater understanding of our shared humanity and our connection to nature.