When sisters creative and talented as Leah and Rebecca Plante decide to collaborate, you know only beautiful things will come of the joint endeavor! Using their combined education and experience in fashion and fine art they created Plante: a women's clothing line that "aims to create garments that combine the most alluring elements of nature with an urban sophistication". Read on hear about the influence of their southern roots on their designs, their commitment to environmentally friendly practices and the women they would love to see wearing their stunning line.
Can you tell us about how the two of you decided to work/design/start a company together? Was it a long-time goal realized? How do you balance out each other's strengths and weaknesses?
BP: We've always been partners in crime. Usually, when we were growing up, Leah would pick up a hobby and I would cheerfully follow suit. (When she started collecting stickers, I started collecting stickers, etc.) Leah was the first one of us to get interested in fashion; she actually produced a really cute collection for her senior thesis in high school, and went on to study apparel design at Cornell. I sort of branched off in my own creative pursuits, and started focusing on fine art--drawing and oil painting, mostly. But we both developed an entrepreneurial impulse. After college we started talking about using our unique skills to go into business together, and Plante was born!
LP: Our work styles and skills definitely complement each other. I have more experience in the fashion industry and technical garment design, while Rebecca has more practice in making graphics and marketing materials. When we're working, we bounce ideas off of each other, and we always thoroughly discuss any creative decisions. When it comes to clothes, we have similar, but not identical tastes, so the Plante brand has elements from both of us. We've worked together to hone a "Plante" girl; she shares qualities with both sisters, but isn't the exact replica of either. Maybe the "Plante" girl dresses like the extra sister we never had!
Your line is inspired by and features details from nature (specifically in SS15); how important are your southern roots to this aesthetic?
BP: Well, we grew up in Charleston, South Carolina, which is astoundingly beautiful. It owes so much if its charm to the blending of nature and architecture. Downtown, there are oak trees more than 1000 years old, draped in Spanish moss, and ornate churches built in the 1700s. Like, right next to each other. This poetic, timeless beauty is something that really inspires us. In our clothes, we reference both manmade forms (for example, with our color blocking), as well as fluid, natural ones (with our silhouettes, prints, etc.) And, much like our hometown, our line is unabashedly picturesque—we make clothes that are really pretty, and we’re not ashamed of it!
You take great pride (and care) in how your garments are produced and how the extra materials are "discarded". Was this intentional or something that became important once you realized the standard practices of the fashion industry?
LP: After the frustrations of working at various larger companies, we both felt that we wanted to try our best to do something positive with Plante that went further than our product. Working in the industry opened our eyes to the wasteful nature of most production practices. We make everything here in the garment district, which not only helps preserve this special NYC resource, but also allows an excellent understanding of how our product is made. I love our manufacturer here and it’s a pleasure to work with them. We also use locally sourced materials and always use natural fibers, and we donate materials to a middle school’s design program. As a former design student, it’s nice to be able to pass on something to the next wave of designers and makers!
Who are a few of your fashion icons (be it designers, lines or individuals) and who do you design for?
LP: We design for an intelligent, creative, and thoughtful consumer that values novelty in her clothing, and is seeking special treasures. I’d love to see Mia Wasikowska, Lupita Nyong’o, or Clemence Poesy in our pieces—they are all icons of mine!
BP: I would add Mindy Kaling to that list. She’s my celebrity bff, and she’s a fashion genius.
Clementine Daily’s mission is to live an intentional and authentic lifestyle while celebrating the simpler pleasures in life. How do you relate to this mission in your everyday life?
LP: We work hard! But we are doing what we love. And enjoying some iced coffee and a doughnut while doing it doesn’t hurt either!
What are a few everyday items you cannot live without?
LP: Diet Coke, my iPhone, and Burts Bees Chapstick!
BP: Ankle boots, a giant tote, and hair elastics.
Looking ahead, where do you hope to see Plante in 5 years?
LP: We’d love to branch into different categories. Women’s ready-to-wear is our first love, but we’d like to explore intimates, swim, and children’s wear. I’ve also always had a dream to make beautiful mobiles!
BP: We hope to expand our fanbase, too! My goal is to someday run into someone cool on the street who is wearing Plante.
p.s. We bet the Plante sisters have a fan in The Naturalist!