Riley Bennett is the founder of Noyette, a fashion brand that is focused on creating sustainable and size-inclusive products using deadstock fabric. Defying expectations, Noyette has gone from strength to strength with a message that resonates with many environmentally conscious women who want a fashionable dress that’s made from sustainable materials.
Riley Bennett kindly answered some questions about Noyette.
Hi Riley, can you tell us a bit about yourself before Noyette?
Fashion has always been a passion of mine, and I knew I wanted to work in the industry from a young age. I was the head of my high school drama club’s costume department and knew I wanted to learn more about the business side of things when I was looking into colleges. I graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC and lived there for about 8 years before moving to San Francisco. Throughout my career, I have been working in eCommerce & retail for a variety of well-known retailers in site merchandising, operations, content & project management. Having worked in luxury, discount & resale businesses, I could really identify what I wanted to see more of in the market through my own work background. Having always been working in eCommerce, it was a natural progression to launch our own brand that was direct to consumers with our background and understanding of that space.
What inspired you to start Noyette, and what are the brand’s values?
Starting my own brand was always a goal in the back of my head, but I kept telling myself “not yet”. What I found from listening to other entrepreneurs though is there is never the right time and so not yet turned into Noyette. Noyette’s brand values really come from making sustainable choices, like how we use deadstock fabric for our collection. Size inclusivity was super important to us as well as we offer XXS-XXL and hope to expand our size range even more in the future.
We also wanted to support USA manufacturing and the incredible garment districts we have here. We work with an amazing manufacturer in Los Angeles. We’re making luxury quality garments that are fashion-forward but making them more accessible. Each garment in our collection is under $300, which everyone told us we couldn’t do! Many people told us you can’t be sustainable as well as made in the USA at that price point, but we felt it was very important and made it happen. In addition, it isn’t just about fashion with Noyette. 10% of every order is always donated to a charity organization. We want to give back, and this is something we’ll always do, it’s not a trend for us.
What is deadstock fabric, and where do your source it from?
Deadstock fabric is overage fabric from mills & other companies. We are essentially recycling overage fabric by utilizing what is in existence rather than creating more textile waste. All of our deadstock fabrics are sourced from Los Angeles, California. We love the garment districts of NYC and LA and feel it’s important to support the companies there to keep those districts alive as they are such an important part of these cities. By utilizing deadstock fabric, we save water and reduce our carbon footprint. As a result of working with deadstock yardage, the collection prints and colors are limited edition because once we use the yardage that we have, there isn’t any more.
Can you tell us a bit about your creative process when designing a new dress?
I started with several mood boards and thinking about what I was drawn to on an emotional level. Prints and flowers were a huge point of inspiration as you can see reflected in the collection. I am drawn to very romantic and ethereal aesthetics. In particular, the Pride & Prejudice movie from 2005 was a huge source of inspiration by trying to think of how I could design something that conveyed the feeling of the light and fog on the fields that are so beautifully captured in the film.
The cities I have lived in played an inspirational role as well as the streets I lived on in these cities, and those street names are ultimately how we named the collection pieces. I thought about what I wanted to wear around those neighborhoods too and what kind of encapsulated moments of my life there. I created easy pieces that felt editorial with bold colors and prints. Sustainable fashion pieces tend to be less fashion-forward, and I wanted to the best of both worlds.
Who are your biggest style inspirations?
There are so many, this is a hard question for me to answer! I’m very into following stylists like Law Roach, Leith Clark, Karla Welch & Kate Young and celebrity style in general. Personal style is so important and expressive. To name just a few of our favorite celebrity style influencers we love Zoe Kravitz, Kirsten Dunst, Laura Harrier, Lucy Boynton, Zendaya, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Sarah Paulson…. that was a lot, and I could go on!
Many of these women style themselves to be uniquely themselves and aren’t afraid to express who they are. I think that’s what great style really is, conveying who you want to be on your own terms.
What style niche do you feel your dresses fall into?
I hate to say this is even a niche, but there are not many brands that are sustainably made and size-inclusive. I wish there were more! Style-wise I think we are very fashion-forward and are luxury quality products at a very accessible price point. It was very important for me to have our dresses be priced below $300. I love fashion and kept the alphabetized and chronological order of all the magazines we had, but I couldn’t afford the runway pieces. On the flip side, fast fashion is made overseas and often not in an ethical way. Those items aren’t meant to last either. I didn’t want to contribute negatively to the planet for a lower price point with products that couldn’t stand the test of time.
How do you see Noyette as a brand evolving?
As we make future collections, we want to increase the sizes we offer. We are more size-inclusive than most brands, but we know there are more women we can serve, and we’d love to be able to do that. Our first collection consists of dresses, but we’d like to expand into other clothing categories as well. There is a lot more to come from Noyette, and we’re excited to see how it grows as we find more and more people connecting with our sustainability, size inclusivity and desire to give back with their purchase power as well. We will continue to invest in our community and love that we can contribute to charitable organizations such as Planned Parenthood, Campaign Zero, The Loveland Foundation & The James Beard Foundation as we grow.