E.L.V. FAMILY STORIES
Co-Founder & CEO at Rêve En Vert
I first met Cora in 2017. She was then, and still is now passionately determined to open the consumer’s eyes to the environmentally positive alternative, and that we should value every piece we buy. She is an inspiration to me and just speaking to her makes you want to be a better person (and consumer). She is a natural in our jeans, and I am very proud to call her an #ELVgirl.
E.L.V. DENIM: Let's chat about how we met!
Cora Hilts: The thing I remember most about when we met was that you were making these amazing off cut jeans by hand and I thought it was the most brilliant idea, I think we had coffee at the Hoxton Hotel and then I walked away thinking it was really the only way we should all be wearing denim was this idea of yours!
E.L.V.: Tell us about why you started sustainable lifestyle store Rêve En Vert?
CH: I came up with the idea for Rêve En Vert oddly whilst I sat in a class on renewable energy. My professor mentioned that after the oil and gas industry, fashion was the second most polluting industry on earth. I was completely shocked. I feel like now a lot of us are aware of this fact but six years ago, I just couldn’t believe that an industry that was meant to be so innovative and creative could be so far behind on environmental and humanitarian concerns - how could something so beautiful be so truly ugly? That’s when I had the idea for Rêve En Vert – a retail site that would curate only sustainable items that were made as aesthetically as they were ethically, which would allow for people to make significant change in the way they shop easily. We began as a sustainable fashion retailer but now have evolved to so much more for overall conscious living.
Cora wears the Light Blue Match Straight Leg Jean.
E.L.V. : How has the world of ‘sustainability’ changed since you started the brand?
CH:I think that thankfully it is progressing more quickly and consumers are becoming more aware of the drastic need for change. When I first started Reve En Vert six years ago, it was an uphill battle even getting people to engage with the topic of sustainability, and how it related to them personally. However this is no longer the case as environmental concerns have started to reach us all and whilst it can be a bit overwhelming, it’s no longer swept under the rug. I feel this conversation will only get louder.
E.L.V.: Did anything hinder you in the beginning?
CH: I would say getting investment - it was difficult as a young woman to convince people five years ago that sustainability would become such a huge part of retail and there were a lot of road blocks. But we persevered and it was so incredible to find a number of female investors who believed that what Reve En Vert is was the future.
E.L.V.: Have they disappeared? Or have more barriers come up?
I think that we are moving into a world where financial resources are beginning to be shared more and more females but we need to keep fighting for a seat at the table - it has been proven that women do more with financial investment that is positive for humanity and the planet and we need to make sure that female run, sustainably minded companies are a huge part of our economy. We aren’t there yet so I really try to encourage women as often as I can to think big about what they can achieve.
Cora wears the Light / Dark Blue Straight Leg Jean
E.L.V. : How do you think we can get more people to understand the difference between buying ‘normally’ and buying sustainably?
CH: I think when it comes to consumerism, we need to all purchase the items that we really need and in the most considered way possible. Also, we need to be engaged with who produces the things we buy - where we are putting our money is one of the most important things we can do in shaping the world we want to live in. I think we are seeing conscious consumerism rise so amazingly quickly in food; it’s now cool to eat organic, go meet our local farmers and really think about what we put in our bodies. Imagine how well we would all be doing if we paid that sort of attention to what we used for beauty and how we consumed fashion. For me, fast fashion is like eating at a fast food restaurant – the greasy french fries may taste good for a moment, but shortly afterwards you just feel awful.
Cora wears the Super Light Blue Match Boyfriend Jean
E.L.V. : You are doing up a house now back home in Maine. You want to do this sustainably, is this proving to be easy or hard?
CH: Yes we are and it’s been more exciting than hard I would say...sometimes things are more expensive to do sustainably like the geothermal energy we are installing or the solar panels we are getting, but in terms of other things it can be often cheaper and more fun to find vintage options and locally made items. It’s so easy to want to go on a big site and just find what you need easily but we are taking our time in order to make sure every choice we make with our house is not only conscious, but align with our aesthetic and values so that our home is somewhere we feel very good about being.
Cora wears the Dark Blue Match Boyfriend Jeans
E.L.V. : What do you love about E.L.V. DENIM.
CH: I love that utilisation of waste has become a thing of beauty with your pieces - we need to start thinking differently about what we think fashion is and I love that this innovative way of designing is at the heart of E.L.V.
E.L.V. : Which are your fav pieces?
CH: ALL OF THEM. I have three pairs in my wardrobe that I just rotate though and each pair fits me perfectly. I am 5'4" and I have been able to find a perfect pair for me in each style.
Cora wears the White Match Boyfriend Jean