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David Dietz, Founder of Modavanti (INTERVIEW)

Sustainable Social Impact Fashion

— April 25, 2014 — Social Good
David Dietz's recently launched its cosmetics side of things, after already wowing us for the social business savvy and good-looking style offerings. Here, Dietz shares some background as well as his inspirations. You won't believe what this fashion-focused entrepreneur was doing before he founded Modavanti.

Four Questions with David Dietz

1. How did the idea for the business model come about?

We wanted to start a business with a social impact. Fashion presented a great opportunity to start both a successful business and one that can make a lasting difference. Unfortunately textiles is the world's second dirtiest industry behind oil and gas. We saw an opportunity to promote and highlight incredible brands that were doing it right from an environmental and ethical labor standpoint. Knowing about where our clothing is made, how it's made and what it's made of is important and we wanted to build a site where people could shop their values and wear what they believe in. We recently launched cosmetics because wearing what matters’ shouldn't just apply to our clothing, but what we put on our bodies and faces as well.

2. How did you decide to join this sector?

Before I was living in the Middle East working as a conflict journalist covering the Arab Spring. As friends joke I went from the Arab Spring to the spring collection. I left political revolutions to be a part of a different type of sustainable revolution because I felt there were needs to take on some of our biggest challenges. Climate change is going to be the biggest challenge of our time and it's going to be up to entrepreneurs and businesses to come up with solutions solve these problems. Textiles is the second dirtiest industry in the world right now but the future of fashion will absolutely be sustainable fashion.

3. How do you get your inspiration?

It's easy. We have over 100 brands that have incredible stories: brands that are supporting and working with fair trade co-ops of women in Guatemala, brands that are committed to producing their designs here in the US, brands that are finding ways to make their clothing from recycled water bottles. It's inspiring to work with these brands who are creating beautiful designs that are making a difference and protecting our environment or providing hope and possibility to the artisans they work with. They provide us plenty of inspiration. For us it's exciting to tell their story and promote them.

4. How do you reset yourself to be creative? Do you have any rituals?

New York City is a great place to be creative. The energy of the city, watching and learning other entrepreneurs who have built really awesome products and visiting with our brands that are made in New York really helps the creative process. One advantage to being a small team and startup is that if one of us gets inspired and has an idea we can put it into action pretty quickly. One day we can wake up and decide, "let's do x." If it makes sense we set a plan and go for it. But at the same time, stepping back is important too because New York can be overstimulating and there are so many cool opportunities that it can be overwhelming. For me writing is a good way to reset. But I also like to play tennis and bike. I also think a simple change of place and working from a coffee shop every now and again is a good way to reset and look at things from a different perspective.