Build community engagement to grow and sustain local food systems.
Source4Style (now Le Souk)
Build a company to make sustainable design possible.
Sourcing textiles is hard. And sourcing more sustainable textiles? Well, that's even more challenging. At least that's what I found out from the countless conversations I had with designers when researching for my book, Style, Naturally. After a little more research across a hundred in-depth interviews with fashion designers, I found out that designers on average were spending 85% of their time sourcing—not designing. That was a sobering fact. I began to wonder whether there might be a way to reduce that pain point for designers and help them source better fabrics more efficiently. From there, I enlisted the help of my former business partner, Benita Singh, and we set out to build a company whose mission was to make sustainable design possible. That's when Source4Style was born—a B-2-B marketplace that connects designers to suppliers around the globe.
Imagination plays a key role in a designer's creative process. how she envisions her collection coming together starts with inspiration. this can come in a variety of forms—a song, an image, or perhaps even a faint childhood memory of playing outside among freshly fallen leaves.
Sourcing the appropriate fabrics is the cornerstone of a designer's collection. in many cases, it may be one of the most important elements of design.
On average 85% of a designer's time is spent sourcing.
That means less time for a designer to do what she does best—design.
How the designer takes her vision from paper to the runway to the retail outlets may seem like a mystery, but it's actually the result of a team effort—most often involving many people along the chain of custody—from textile manufacturers to pattern makers to graders—some of whom the designer may never have the good fortune of meeting.
Designers and textile manufacturers don't often speak the same language.
Before creating Source4Style, we polled both designers and textile suppliers about the biggest challenges they had in working with one another. We found that suppliers were overwhelmed when it came to supplying swatches and small sample sizes to designers, yet swatches and small samples sizes were necessary for a designer's initial collection. So Source4Style took swatches—or small samples of fabric—under our roof.
No, seriously. Swatches were under my roof! In a typical start-up story, we ran Source4Style's day-to-day operations out of my home for 18-months. Over 1,500 materials were stashed away in filing cabinets, bins and drawers.
Source4style gives designers the freedom to search, sample, customize and source materials all in one place —without having to travel to textile centers around the world. That means more time for designers to design their collections.
Samples of textiles from Source4Style's various suppliers around the world. Sustainable textiles have been at the heart of Source4Style's sourcing operations.
Like any website, Source4Style has undergone a number of iterations. over the course of five years, Source4Style has made improvements both on the back-end and the front-end to make sourcing for designers easier. The images below give you an idea as to how the website has evolved from 2010-2015.