Who to Know in RVA: Verdalina
The ethical fashion movement in Richmond has grown into a budding community that continues to support, raise awareness and innovate the area's retail industry. With many options including boutiques, vintage stores, and consignment shops, we are given a range of responsible locations to choose from.
One boutique that stands out is the sustainable shop, Verdalina. The local shop has developed as a staple on the up-and-coming Broad Street arts area, selling dozens of brands that help consumers, like you and me, be mindful about our purchases. Verdalina offers pieces that are trendy, fair trade, organic, and environmentally friendly to keep us from resorting to fast fashion. If you have not visited the shop, you will want to stop by for pure inspiration of the space, admiration of the clothes, and the feeling you get in supporting slow and deliberate purchases that help save our planet.
I was lucky enough to ask the owner of Verdalina, Deborah, a few questions about the shop and the impact sustainable fashion can have.
1. How did you become interested in the sustainable fashion industry + do you have a background in fashion?
I started in retail in 1987 and at that time most manufacturing was still being done in the US. By the end of the 90’s, manufacturing was moving towards China and honestly I didn’t give it much thought. It wasn’t until I left my former store, Pink, that I had an epiphany when I visited a Forever 21 store and bought a fully lined tailored jacket for $29 and I thought how in the world did they produce this jacket and only charge $29! I knew it was at the cost of people and I vowed I would never support fast fashion. So when I opened Verdalina in 2014, I made a commitment to work with brands that support fair wages, fair trade and the environment.
2. What inspired the name and mission of Verdalina?
After exhausting the English language, I turned to Esperanto and discovered that Verda meant green, which was appropriate for my mission, and Lina translates to linen so I put the 2 words together and thus Verdalina was born!
3. How many brands do you sell? Do you have a favorite?
Many and I love them all. I have my favorites within a season, for instance I love Lauren Manoogian’s sweaters in the fall and I love Gallego Desportes crisp cottons for spring.
4. What is one thing you'd like people to know about the sustainable fashion industry?
That it matters, first of all, and that it’s possible to produce a well-made collection in a sustainable way, without compromising great style.
5. What's one thing that you want people to know about Verdalina?
That we offer layaway!
6. What's your favorite thing about the community in RVA?
What stands out is the support among other retailers. I find that extraordinary and refreshing.
With the dozens of brands offered at Verdalina, I picked a few to try out. With the help of Rachel from Touting My Wears, I selected 3 pieces from up-and-coming sustainable brands ; Anaak, Caron Callahan, and Lacausa.
Sustainable fashion work to empower consumers and companies to focus on things like limiting water waste, leaving less footprint per garment, and avoiding harmful chemicals. Each piece featured here was fun to try on, was made uniquely, and provided a different look. I loved getting to feel the fabric of each garment that was either handmade or created with organic materials. There really is a difference in the quality of garments you see when there is passion and ethics behind the creation.
The Anaak Marie-Anne Tier Tank
Made in India
100% Organic Cotton
"It's one of a kind, just like you"
Caron Callahan Goldie Dress
Made In USA
Lacausa Sheer White Top
(not sold online)