One of Cherokee Antique Row’s newest womenswear boutiques aims to save the planet – one cozy turtleneck at a time. Ardently opened its doors in mid-July specializing in women’s clothing that encourages sustainable living practices through design and material. Eighty-five percent of Ardently’s offerings are made with natural or recycled fiber (the other 15 percent are “long-lasting by design”) meant to build a capsule wardrobe of timeless, high-quality staples in neutral palettes to be worn across the seasons. Ardently sells about 10 percent secondhand or vintage pieces (what owner Theresa Mucelli calls “an homage to the original sustainable fashion”), and merchandise rotates once a month in addition to its standard capsule collection. LN recently spoke with Mucelli about how her boutique and passion came to be.
How would you define success for Ardently?
Part of Ardently’s mission is to bring awareness to how capsule pieces can move from one season to the next. Avoiding fast fashion and buying multiseasonal, capsule clothing ensure clothes avoid a quickly doomed fate of the garbage can. On average, Americans throw out 80 pounds of used clothing a year. Ardently exists to help women shop with a purpose: I want the Ardently customer to leave feeling they will enjoy rewearing their pieces for years to come. If Ardently can help initiate actions in all sustainable living practices, I would consider that a success.
What drove you to start a sustainability-focused women’s boutique?
I love fashion! However, it never seemed to satisfy my need to do something with meaning: Cue the emerging sustainable-fashion market. If everyone supports sustainable-fashion practices, that could amount to a big change in the industry and altogether our environment.
What is the biggest myth of shopping sustainably that you’d like to dispel?
Sustainable fashion is no longer made of predominately natural fibers or tagged with a high price point. Technology in fiber materials and recycling has expanded the options of fabrics used in sustainable fashion. Fiber technologies have allowed for better price points, as well.
How would you describe Ardently’s style aesthetic?
Ardently’s style is focused on classically designed capsule pieces that not only work well with the existing pieces in someone’s closet but are also fun and easy to wear.
Where do you pull inspiration when curating items to stock Ardently’s shelves?
A lot of my inspiration comes from European street fashion. Women’s fashion in Europe seems to retain its timeless appeal. Europeans also manage to make everyday fashion look so effortless yet chic.
Are there any top-selling or favorites items you love?
Right now, a top-selling item (and my personal favorite) is a recycled acrylic sweater – it comes in a winter white, but never fear! Recycled acrylic is easy to clean.
Ardently, 2001 Cherokee St., St. Louis, instagram.com/ardently.stl
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