Aurora Sage founder, Stephanie Carollo, on the inspiration and creative process behind her luxurious, sustainable silk creations.
Words: Denise Shon
Photos: Joshua Spencer
We've partnered with Aurora Sage, a sustainable luxury brand that specializes in hand-dyed silk pieces, to create a limited-edition, naturally-dyed organic silk face mask. Dedicated to quality, ethical, and eco-friendly practices that are better for the body, the industry, and the planet, Aurora Sage was the perfect partner to align with in our mission to take small steps towards sustainability.
We had a chance to catch up with founder/designer/dyer Stephanie Carollo to learn more about her journey into sustainable fashion and how she creates her beautiful, thoughtfully produced silk pieces.
How did Aurora Sage get started? What was the inspiration behind the brand?
I started Aurora Sage in 2017 right after I had given birth to my second son. Postpartum isn’t easy - It isn’t glamorous or comfortable, and I longed for something to wear that would elicit both for me. I was nursing in the middle of the night and I started thinking about a silk duster that looked like a water colored LA sunset. What I was envisioning didn’t exist on the market the way I saw it in my mind, so I decided to make one for myself.
I sourced the silk, started dyeing and quickly noticed the off-putting smell of commercial dye. I couldn’t nurse my son knowing that toxic dye would be touching his skin. It was my background in nutrition that pushed me to learn more about dye and search for a clean alternative to what I was experimenting with.
This led me to the world of natural dye. It was not only healthier to wear something plant dyed while I nursed my son, it was actually better for me and my skin as well. I learned that I wouldn’t have to worry about the lifecycle of the pieces I was making because both the silk and dye are sustainable and better choices for our planet. This motivated me to continue making silk clothing myself, and also helped me feel beautiful during a time when it wasn’t easy to see myself that way. The moms at school drop off would see me in my silk dusters, and they began asking me to make them some too. Shortly after, a beautiful boutique in Los Angeles asked to sell them, and Aurora Sage officially was born.
What made you want to work with GLCO? How did you see GLCO aligning with Aurora Sage?
First of all, I already wear GLCO sunglasses! This opportunity was a no brainer for me, when I heard about their efforts to incorporate more sustainable practices into the brand. Their intention was aligned with ours and we were naturally motivated to work with them. It’s been such a fun project to collaborate on!
Tell us more about your creative process and your approach to sustainability.
Aurora Sage has been evolving from its very foundation. It has been such a humbling experience learning and experimenting with this art that has been used for centuries, while continuing to make it my own. From a creative design perspective, I am eternally inspired by nature. Working with plant dyes creates these perfectly imperfect variances of color and design on each piece I make, just like in nature–the uniqueness excites me.
Silk itself is a natural sustainable material and our dyes, of course, are all born from the earth. Our thread is either 100% cotton or silk, so all of our pieces are recyclable and there’s no waste. We hand wash and dye each piece in small batches, so there’s minimal energy being used to make our clothes. We use cold water to wash each piece and all of them are hung to dry (usually on one of my trees).
As we continue to grow we are constantly trying to find ways to minimize our footprint, from sourcing the right sustainable trims, to who we buy our materials from, to working with new natural fabrics, and so on. We want to always strive to do better!