Fast Fashion Is Out, and Sustainability Is In
Angela O’Brien—a Huntington Beach native who has traveled the world and now splits her time between Seal Beach and Bali—started her sustainable and ethical brand, Cleobella, in 2007. O’Brien began selling wrap skirts made from recycled material in India at local farmers markets in Hawaii, which led to her officially launching the brand at LA Fashion Week in 2008. Cleobella is now a household name and a go-to for statement pieces of all sorts. Globally Inspired Boutique Cleobella
Credit: Maddy Javier
“Working with artisan communities has always been my passion. Sustainable income for artists around the world changes families’ lives.”—Angela O’Brien Globally Inspired Boutique Cleobella
The design process of making Cleobella products is a close-knit, collaborative process with artisans from around the world, including India and Bali. “We draw all of the prints from an artisan, then the drawing is placed onto teakwood and hand-carved by a couple of families who have been doing this generationally,” says O’Brien. Using a heritage block printing technique and then printing with a water-based dye, Cleobella’s clothing is wearable art—each item perfectly imperfect and one-of-a-kind to celebrate each individual’s uniqueness. Everything from the lining to the handmade nature of the product is signature to this brand and uses the slowest form of fashion.
The distinctive prints and feminine styles can be recognized in an instant, but it takes time to get to that point. Investing in a Cleobella dress is an investment in slow fashion—extremely crucial nowadays considering the number of fast-fashion brands that currently exist—as well as supporting important artisan communities around the world.
“I love that Cleobella gets to be a part of women’s journeys in a small way and allows them to feel confident,” describes O’Brien when referring to her customers. The passion for not only the brand but for the lifestyle of empowering women and supporting artisans comes from an internal light. “I try to always come from a heart-centered place; leading from the heart will always guide you to the right place. Whenever I have an opportunity, I connect with my heart space, and Cleobella really is a heart-lead company.”
Local Insight: While you can shop online, you can also visit one of these local shops to purchase a Cleobella product in person: Alchemy Works, Wendy Foster, Madison, Red Balloon, Vander in San Diego and Common Thread.
Globally Inspired Boutique Cleobella
Taylor is a graduate from the University of Southern California with a degree in journalism. She is our Los Angeles and Orange County editor. You can find her dining at a new restaurant, in the ocean or planning her next adventure. Say hello!