Today we’d like to introduce you to Kristi Moon.
Kristi, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Age of Aquarius has been a sustainable, environmentally conscious lifestyle brand from conception. My inspiration and design aesthetic reflects a combination of my Midwestern roots, and West Coast, bohemian chic, California vibe. I consider myself the “Urban Minimalist”, who designs eco-friendly, timeless, vintage inspired accessories and clothing, for active women to effortlessly add to their existing wardrobes. 2003-2005, I attended Los Angeles Trade Tech for Fashion Design & Merchandising in Downtown Los Angeles. 2004-2006, I designed Kristi Moon Originals, a capsule collection of repurposed, one of a kind skirts, made from recycled leather, denim, and other used textiles. This collection was sold in various high-end boutiques, in New York City, Miami and Santa Barbara. 2004-2012, I worked as a freelance wardrobe stylist for various Hip Hop and R&B artists, major networks, and production companies, which include Disney, Telemundo, and MTV. In 2008, I started sketching designs for Age of Aquarius as a sustainable ready to wear brand.
From that moment I committed to using only sustainable textiles, and sourced my materials from local US based fabric mills. All of my contractors were local and based in Los Angeles, which also helped to reduce my carbon footprint. In 2010, my first collection of sustainable athleisure separates was created, which led to AOA Apparel showcasing at Project Ethos’ Fall 2011 runway show, and during LA Fashion Weekend’s Spring 2012 runway show, at Sunset Gower Studios, in the heart of Hollywood. In 2012 I won the “Sew Chic” national design contest held by BrotherTM Sewing and Cosmo Radio on SiriusXm, for my “Goddess” maxi dress, which was made from bamboo jersey and organic cotton lace. In 2015 aoajewels.com was launched. 2018 – 2019 I was a featured accessories designer at multiple Raw Artists showcases in Los Angeles, California. In the summer of 2020 I was furloughed from my 9/5 and relaunched AOA Jewels. I am currently rebranding with the goal of expanding beyond one of a kind, semi – precious gemstone bracelets, into a full line of inspirational accessories. AOA Jewels will still offer one of a kind custom pieces, with a mix of mass produced accessories… A capsule collection of sustainable clothing will also be available in 2021 online and possibly in boutiques here in Los Angeles and NYC. I’m also happy to announce that international shipping will also be available online soon.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
No I haven’t had a smooth road, lol, like with any pursuit, my journey with fashion has had a lot of ups and downs… Early on, about 15 years ago I found myself struggling with identifying my aesthetic as a designer. This was due to the fact that I am a product of the Hip Hop by and urban culture, since I’m an African American, but I saw my design aesthetic is also influenced by “preppy” styles, that I wore in my adolescence, which come from being born in the Midwest, as well as from a love for boho style and contemporary sportswear, which is a direct reflection of me growing up in California.
Eventhough I was inspired by different aspects of fashion and culture, my design aesthetic was automatically stereotyped as “urban wear” which initially offended me… I have now embraced that term which is why I consider myself the Urban Minimalist. Keep in mind that at that time, the African American influence in the fashion industry, wasn’t embraced and didn’t look anything like it looks today, so terms like “athleisure” weren’t a part of pop culture.
In the early part of the new millennium, when I looked through magazines, I didn’t see major fashion publications or major fashion brands, paying homage for our cultures impact on style. Now the influence in marketing strategies is clearly, a direct reflection of Hip-Hop culture and black urban America. In fact, every industry from car insurance, to food manufacturers, use our culture in advertising, in this day and age…
Being on the forefront of the recycling, repurposing and conscious fashion, as early as 2005 and trying to create awareness about how essential, it is to build a sustainable, socially conscious fashion brand, hasn’t been the easiest task either. To produce and purchase eco-friendly textiles, that are manufactured solely in the United States, is costly, plus most people thought it was a fad. Honestly my community had very little interest in my “hippy” thoughts and ideas about wanting to “save the planet and heal Mother Earth”.
Im committed to building a sustainable fashion brand… Obviously, it’s much more cost effective and profitable to go into production, and have garments manufactured in mass quantities overseas. Using sweat shops and other inhumane manufacturing facilities is a reflection of the current state of our world during our current global pandemic. The negative impact that the fashion industry has on the environment, is now a frightening reality and glimpse of what the future may look like, if we don’t slow down and make wiser decisions, starting today.
Did you know that since the Corona V pandemic has hit, the earth is thriving and doing better than ever? Kurtis Alexander from The San Francisco Chronicle reported that “Not since World War II — and perhaps never before — have the emissions of heat-trapping gases dropped as much around the planet as they have during the COVID-19 outbreak.”
Age of Aquarius – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I am an African American Fashion Designer who wants to build the 1st completely sustainable and ethical lifestyle brand, manufactured in the United States. I design garments, leather goods and jewelry. Ultimately my goal is to build a brand that’s a combination of Stella McCartney’s and Ralph Lauren, which will even expand into home goods and furniture, that are all made from eco-friendly and recycled parts.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I would’ve invested more money into tradeshows, a sales rep, manufacturing and marketing, instead of runway shows.
- Website: www.aoajewels.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Other: https://aoaapparel.wixsite.com/kristimoon
Kai He Photography
The LA Fashion Magazine
Terrell Porter Photography