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Meet Virginie Fallon Romier of Sea Jasper in Miami Little River

Today we’d like to introduce you to Virginie Fallon Romier.

Virginie, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Nothing particularly predestined myself to create an environmentally conscious fashion brand while I was young. Although looking back, I constantly had so many ideas as my mom would sew clothes for me. I used to drive her crazy because I always wanted her to add all the details I thought of. After I finished high school, I studied finance and worked a little within this field before starting a family and raising my three sons. I moved with my family from France to Miami in 2002. At that time, I was doing a lot of photography; this was my artistic side proliferating and pushed me to want to return to school to do a photography major. But as it had to be four years and was expensive, I instead chose to follow fashion design because I could get my diploma in just two years.

In 2014, I started to study fashion at Miami International University. I had a revelation during those two years as I won 2 Perry Ellis awards for both Womenswear and swimwear. This hooked me on designing, as it showed the merit I potentially had in this field.

In July 2015, I met a special woman: Vassoula Vasiliou. At the time, she was the president of the American Institute of Graphic Art‘s Miami chapter. AIGA is the professional association for design, and through it, Vassoula introduced me to a contest organized by the association, the D.eco SUSTAINABILITY competition. The goal was to create a sustainable design, whether it be for different types of interior designers, fashion, or graphics.

I had just recently graduated from MIU with a degree in fashion design and started to have new ideas to make garments from repurposed materials. At first, I wanted to create an evening dress using bottle caps and fishing nets, but since I couldn’t see any interest in a larger purpose for it except for an artistic installation, I delved into other possibilities.

I had a bag full of t-shirts ready to give away in my garage. They were the free ones given during events that we maybe use once to repaint the house. Having three kids, I had a lot of these t-shirts with no use for them.

I started working with these t-shirts by cutting yarn from them in order to weave and create macramé with the weaved yarn. The end result was a beach cover-up that was entirely recycled using t-shirts, and it looked amazing.

It won me the contest, and while this was an amazing step of progress, it helped me realize how the fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world after oil.

This realization pushed me further to continue imagining and exploring the infinite possibilities of sustainable fashion.

And so, the little fish that wanted to save its planet, Sea Jasper, was born…

Often, I am asked, “Why is the name, Sea Jasper?”

The Sea Jasper or Ocean Jasper is a gemstone that has the properties of healing, bringing joy, and elevating the spirit. It is found only on the coast of Madagascar at the edge of the ocean. Since the element of water is so precious for our beautiful planet, I wanted to embody this importance with the brand.

This is exactly the spirit of this little fish. Sea Jasper goes headfirst into the mission of educating people about the importance of being conscious about the earth, one outfit at a time.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The road hasn’t been a smooth one at all, creating one of a kind pieces at a fair price is a huge challenge Sea Jasper faces.

There is also a lot more work and experimentation to go for Sea Jasper. This leads to an extremely time-consuming process of creating new and unique pieces. Due to the sustainable roots of the company, nothing can be mass-produced. It is extremely difficult to remain on the same level of sustainability while utilizing a production chain where every level cannot be scrutinized to the same extent. As a result, every garment is a specific one of a kind piece, justifying the higher retail price.

This is slow fashion; producing and buying less, but gaining more in terms of the uniqueness of your pieces, and satisfaction acquired from contributing to the benefit of our planet.

Please tell us about Sea Jasper.
Sea Jasper, based in Miami is centered on creating eco-friendly clothing while following a mission to help people to be aware of our planet, and its difficulties through a more conscious use of material. Remaining conscious of our environmental impact is our number one priority while creating.

Using up-cycled materials in conjunction with natural dyes is currently the main technique employed by Sea Jasper to create clothes. Sea Jasper’s flagship garment is a one-of-a-kind, handmade dress made from braided strands of naturally-dyed defective T-shirts. This dress is made by following a very specific process. Mainly white T-shirts are dyed, cut into strands, and then braided directly onto the dress form in order to ensure each dress has its own unique pattern. Mirroring the inherent randomness found throughout nature. The hemline of the dress showcases the strands, freely flowing naturally in the wind, which mirrors the way wild grass dances in the breeze. This dress is only available through custom orders because of the time and individuality it requires to create it.

Sea Jasper uses natural dyes based on natural ingredients such as turmeric and brazilwood, to further its mission statement, and achieve a deep, alive color which can only be achieved through this process of natural dyeing.

Another up-cycling technique used by Sea Jasper is the rescuing of old pairs of jeans by reusing the fabric in a patchwork. This unique patchwork can then be used on a variety of designs.

The upcycled Sea jasper Jean Jacket will be available by the end of summer 2019.

Using only natural fibers, preferably organic, is another way Sea Jasper strives to remain conscious and minimize environmental impact. The ocean is full of plastic as it is. If we don’t wake up and incite global change, the planet will be asphyxiated.

Starting September 2019, Sea Jasper will have a corner at PIVOT Market at the Citadel, Little River, Miami. PIVOT is the first market in the US to exclusively house brands who have a deep commitment to sustainability. 10.000 sq ft. will be dedicated to brands and consumers who share the values of transparency, sustainability, and fairness. This is a wonderful opportunity for Sea Jasper to be a part of.

What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
I was a finalist and winner of the Peroni Emerging Designer Series at the Nautilus hotel and I had the privilege of showing my brand during swim week 2017 in Miami Beach. This was a wonderful experience for me.

Link for the video of the show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9wDN3ah0bY

That same day, I was interviewed by Videofashion. They feature Sea Jasper, and I was very proud of this feat because I used to see Videofashion videos at school of very famous designers. Although I was exhausted with the amount of work preceding the show when this interview presented itself, this was an extremely rewarding experience for Sea Jasper and myself.

Link for the video of Videofashion: https://admin-user-e7ul.squarespace.com/sea-jasper

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