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The New Oxford American Dictionary defines ecology as, “the branch of biology that deals with the relations of organisms to one another and to their physical surroundings.” What does this have to do with fashion you might ask?
For designer, Linda Loudermilk, fashion and ecology are inexorably linked. But it isn’t the pleasant nature documentary version that lies at the root of Linda’s design aesthetic. For her, it is the volatile, asymmetrical, unapologetic fury of nature that moves and inspires her to create. It’s the violence and metamorphosis of volcanoes, the unrelenting pounding of the ocean. Linda thinks of nature as the “original punk.” It doesn’t apologize for itself. It won’t be harnessed, predicted or controlled. And when we have tried to master nature, it has put us in our place with awesome displays of its power. It is this “holy fearsome awe” that Linda sees in nature and applies to her designs.
As one of the first designers in the world to successfully take the idea of environmental consciousness into the elite realm of couture fashion, Linda Loudermilk has pioneered what she has trademarked as a Luxury Eco movement. Founded on her deep respect for nature and our society’s profound yet tenuous relationship with it, Luxury Eco is not based on “some predictable sense of patchouli-smelling do-gooderism,” but rather on an artistic representation of our role as people who “fortify, fear and believe” in the awesome forces of nature. It is a relationship of respect in which Linda strives to capture the motion and extremes that we see in the astounding world around us.
One of the most striking things about Linda’s clothing is the surprising balance of grace and volatility that exists in her designs. Her pieces marry the ethereal quality of delicate translucent fabrics and intricate embroidery with bold lines, impeccable detail and unexpected innovative structure that demonstrates an innate understanding of women’s bodies. That understanding isn’t something that can be taught. It is something that designers are born with and it places her among the top echelon of fashion designers. Her clothes offer a versatility that allows women to express the gamut of qualities within them from soft femininity to edgy rebellion. But regardless of who the women who wear her clothes want to be on a given day, the experience of wearing a Linda Loudermilk piece is one of total luxury from the look to the feel to the construction.
Yogi Times was privileged to have a few minutes of Linda’s time to get her perspective on her art, life, saving the planet, and what the future holds for Luxury Eco.
Yogi Times: What is it that inspires you about creating fashion?
Linda Loudermilk: Shape, form, and sculpture fluidity vs. construct. Creating mood, creating emotion.
YT: What is it that inspires you in life?
Linda Loudermilk: Wabi Sabi and the oddities of the natural world (including humans). I love to trip on life. At this moment I have been working too hard and my relief from it all is the simple cool breeze or rustling leaf. The clean truth of nature compliments the complexity of human experience.
YT: What was the inspiration for your fall line and what are some of the highlights we can look for?
Linda Loudermilk: The brute strength of nature and its creative force, the molten heat of volcanoes to create our earth. Crusty grey born out of intense heat and red turning into earth. “Molten lava” is our print on chiffon mouseline. It is awe-inspiring.
YT: What lead you to apply your design talent to sustainable fashion?
Linda Loudermilk: Nature for me is a language from the spiritual world. I was healed from an illness through a very literal experience with a tree. Long story I will bore you with it sometime. I wanted to speak back in a language of respect. I designed the “Corazon Series” one season, which was my heart on my sleeve and I never went back.
YT: What is it that you want to provide to the consumers who buy your clothes?
Linda Loudermilk: Excitement, comfort, edge. A new idea of a luxury product. A pride in saving the planet one sexy little number at a time.
YT: Do you consider yourself an activist?
Linda Loudermilk: I don’t like to put myself in a box... in any preconceived definition. I do what heals my soul and what I know can heal the souls of others and the earth.
YT: What are your causes?
Linda Loudermilk: Each season I tell a different story of nature and it corresponds to how you can help us preserve and respect Mother Nature. Spring - Water is a human right (Global Green) Fall - Global warming/(Global Green) Spring again - CHEC (Children’s Health and Environmental Coalition) etc...
YT: What have you seen in your work that makes you hopeful for the future?
Linda Loudermilk: Large companies responding to my vision of reframing the market place. Eco is luxury- luxury is about respect. People want a new framework for their lives and want to grab on to this one. It changes people’s point of view and I love to shake people up.
YT: What do you want the future to look back and see as your legacy?
Linda Loudermilk: To create fresh and lucrative new market place through radical humanitarian innovation and refined style. I call this luxury eco™. I call it respect a new frequency.