Monday, December 5, 2022

Sustainability and Asian Representation: Why Phillip Lim Partnered With Aveda


Fresh off the heels of a Volvo collaboration, designer Phillip Lim has released a limited-edition line of sustainable hair accessories for luxury hair care brand, Aveda.

2021 has been a busy year for Phillip Lim. Earlier this year he partnered with Running for Protests and creatives including Ruba Abu-Nimah to tackle racial injustices against the AAPI community. Last month, he filmed a contribution for the UN’s Human Rights campaign. He also announced a sustainable bag collection made from Volvo’s new vegan leather, Nordico.

Now, the designer is partnering with clean hair and body brand Aveda to launch a vegan collection that calls on sustainable materials, botanical art, and eco packaging.

“I am so humbled and exhausted but energized, if that makes sense,” the creative director and founder of 3.1 Phillip Lim told Forbes.

The 3.1 Phillip Lim x Aveda Collection

The new vegan and cruelty-free collection, now at Aveda stores salons, features a scrunchie trio made entirely from recycled water bottles, a wide-tooth comb made of 95 percent post-consumer recycled materials, an organic cotton hair towel, and a wooden paddle brush with bristles made of 90 percent post-recycled fibers.

“I am through this collaboration a student inspired by Aveda, they’ve shepherded my path to being more mindful and eco-conscious,” says Lim. “Very few know this but my relationship with Aveda has been over a decade from their support of our backstage fashion shows to photoshoots. Their commitment to sustainability backstage shifted my perspective that I can do better, too.” 

That relationship helped Lim evolve his own understanding of his industry—one only recently finding its way toward bringing a sustainability ethos into its core.

Image courtesy Aveda

“As a creator, you get wrapped in the idea of beauty at all costs and we just do things without thinking, but with Aveda they made me think about what goes into finishing up an image,” says Lim. 

“It’s difficult, sustainability is a term that has become over-marketed and overused but we are measuring ourselves in how we can do better, from the fabrics we use to how we operate as a business,” he says.

The designer worked with artist Sophie Parker on the items and the packaging. He wanted the FSC-certified recycled boxes to be designed for reuse. Parker is the creative director of the botanical Brooklyn studio, WIFE. It’s best known for sculptures built with live plants.

“Sophie Parker is known for her botanical structures that are so inspiring to me,” says Lim. “It’s designed in a way that the gifts don’t need to be wrapped.”

Asian American representation

Lim also saw the partnership as a tool to aid in Asian representation—a cause that’s personal for the first-generation Chinese-American designer.

Image courtesy Aveda

“Not everyone celebrates Christmas with snow, Santa and a sleigh,” says Lim. “The way we celebrated was different from friends. We just gathered with family through food. That’s why it’s important to offer universal approaches to the holidays.”  

Earlier this year, he detailed his work in the #StopAsianHate movement, an experience he called transforming.

“It was a gift, as painful as it was,” he said. “It forced me to ask myself, ‘What is the future of my company and what is its place in society?’ When everything seemed to be under threat I am happy I chose transformation versus silence and defeat.”


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