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WWD - Jussara Lee Champions Sustainable Luxury Business Model in the Wake of Fast Fashion

Jussara Lee would like nothing better than if other designers copied her think-small ideology.

Her tidy and inviting West Village boutique is a one-stop shop for custom-made items, built-to-last designs, environmentally friendly accessories and attentive service. Lee recently started customizing loyal shoppers’ vintage items.

Her Sustainable Luxury Business models is based on biodegradable fabrics, natural dyes, local manufacturing, alterations and maintenance services and community building. She upcycles scraps from her designs and create garments that aren’t about trends. The designer is in talks with Pratt Institute’s director of sustainability Debera Johnson about using her boutique as “a bridge” for students to showcase their work and collaborate on handmade textiles.

After 25 years in business, Lee has no plans to scale up, make millions or collaborate with a fast fashion chain. “I like the idea of being present and having these interactions with people. That’s important. And it’s what makes my business different and successful. I don’t have a backer, an investor or loans. I don’t owe money. It’s a very pristine kind of situation. You’re just flowing with it because it depends on you. It depends on a team but the team is small,” she said. “I think more people can embrace the same philosophy and process. It will make them a lot happier than working for some company that they don’t believe in.”

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