Amber Valletta: 10 things I learned at ReMode

Model and activist Amber Valletta attended 2018 ReMode – a two-day event for disruptive and sustainable fashion – in Los Angeles. Here are her top 10 takeaways. 

1. PERFECTIONISTIC PARALYSIS: In my interview with Hassan Pierre from Maison-de-Mode we had a lively conversation about how important it is not to fall into Perfectionistic Paralysis when it comes to addressing the environmental and humanitarian problems in the fashion industry. This means not becoming overwhelmed with doing everything perfectly or brands being afraid that they will be called out for not doing enough and remember that taking small steps is better than taking none.

2. TRANSPARENCY ISN’T AS EASY AS WE THOUGHT: Leather is really hard to trace as ethical – even transparent and luxury brands have a hard time with tracing the leather to the original animal. At this time there is no guarantee that the leather was properly source.

3. A FUN AND NEW WAY TO SHOP IS TO SWAP: Swap Society is an online platform that uses a point system to give you equal value for your clothes. At this time, it only serves the US, but they collaborate with Global Fashion Exchange to host events around the world.

4. TASTEMAKERS ARE CHANGEMAKERS: Luxury brands have a powerful influence on trends and have a responsibility to participate in solving the sustainability issues in the fashion industry – from over production to embedding circularity in everything they do – we hope they become more active in the change.

5. SPREAD THE WORD: We aren’t doing enough to educate and inspire the public that there is a problem in how we consume, use and dispose of clothing.  We need to speak to people outside of our conventions and sustainability events, so they better understand their purchasing power.

6. DON’T BE AFRAID TO FLAUNT IT: I was both shocked and excited to learn that some of my favorite denim brands where working with a top notch, innovative and responsible denim mill which in fact made their brand much more sustainable . But the brands chose not to tell this story. There was no information on the hang tag or label for me to know that these jeans were made sustainably. I am curious as to why the brands didn’t want to flaunt this fact? The research is clear that more customers prefer to buy from brands that are practicing sustainability in a meaningful way.

7. FEED THEM WITH KINDNESS: Sometimes when you’re busy speaking at an event or taking time to listen to the other panelists – you suddenly realize you’ve missed lunch. Even so, kindness prevailed. The behind the scenes lunch staff scrambled to put together a lovely kale/quinoa salad to keep you going.

8. THE BIG 17: The UN Sustainable Development Goals are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all and can be embedded in everything we do. I was excited to see how the fashion industry is incorporating these into practical guides for business. L.A. Gallerie, a retail store in Los Angeles created individual Sustainable Goals as a hangtag to showcase which goal is represented in each piece of clothing.  

9. TOO HOT TO HANDLE: Soft sleeves are great for coffee and can easily be made from a retired sweater sleeve- just don’t toss them in the recycling bin by mistake. And can be conveniently transformed into a sweatband when you go to the gym.

10. NEW KID ON THE BLOCK: Blockchain is becoming a key component in how technology can help solve transparency problems in the supply chain. It creates a network of traceable accountability for collaboration, problem solving and teamwork. The technology time stamps blocks of data by consensus and then adds new blocks. So no data can be altered. Transparency is built in from the very beginning. This will help with post consumer waste and identifying exact ingredients to a piece of clothing which will help close the loop. Ultimately this will help eliminate waste and the overuse of natural resources. Go Blockchain!

Watch all of Amber’s video interviews at ReMode 2018 below:

Amber talks to Amy Johnson, a frequent collaborator of hers and an integrator who helps entrepreneurs incorporate their values in their personal and professional lives, about reframing the way we look at things and recognising our values. 

Michael Pressman, founder and CEO of Everlane, talks about his sustainability hacks, what inspired him to start an ethical business and ‘perfectionist paralysis’. 

Amber chats to Swedish fashion designer Anna about designing with surplus materials and post-consumer waste.

Rachel Kibby is the co-founder of Helpsy, a B-corp that helps you recycle your clothes – watch her talk to Amber about waste in the fashion industry.

Jessica and Elizabeth are the co-founders of Taylor + Thomas, a vegan luxury shoe brand, and talk to Amber about alternative leathers and why they decided to start a vegan brand. 

Amber talks to Taryn Hipwell, founder of Beyond The Label and author of How To Shop for Shift, about the 80/20 rule and giving yourself permission to buy something special once in a while.

Dechel Mckillian, founder of, answers Amber’s sustainability-related quick-fire questions and how her business came about.