Leighton Meester might be best known for her portrayal of Blair Waldorf, the teenage fashion icon that runs the Upper East Side. But the actress is the opposite of the headband-wearing character, and is instead determined to shop sustainably and minimally. Enter the Leighton Meester x Christy Dawn collaboration (offered in sizes XS to XL), which took six months of work to develop The Leighton Jumper. Not only is The Leighton Jumper eco-conscious, but 100% of the proceeds will be donated to the Downtown Women's Center, an organization that helps women struggling with homelessness.
Christy Dawn is a Los Angeles-based sustainable fashion brand that uses deadstock fabrics to create vintage-inspired collections. The designer, Christy Peterson, grew up in Placerville, California, where little has changed in the past hundred years. When she moved to L.A., Peterson found that she wanted to hang on to that timelessness of her hometown, and focused on creating vintage pieces. "There is something beyond the fabric I can hold on to. Something honest about vintage. Something classic. Something timeless, that reminds me of home. It’s the dress you long for when you stumble upon that box of old photographs of your grandmother. The lines and fabric tell a story," Peterson shared on Christy Dawn's website.
Peterson decided to focus her brand around sustainability once she learned how wasteful the fashion industry is.
"After learning that America sends over 11 million tons of textiles to landfills each year, I was determined to create a sustainable and ethical fashion line that would minimize our environmental footprint," Peterson shares with Bustle. "Routinely, manufacturers buy 10% extra fabric. However, that 10% adds up quickly when it’s for every style in a collection; some brands have more than three dozen styles in a seasonal collection. The extra fabric is referred to as deadstock and we use these fabrics before they are thrown away." And instead of creating thousands of garments at a time, the brands sews only a limited number of pieces.
Meester is dedicated to scaling back her consumption and reducing her footprint, so she connected with Christie Dawn to create a cause-driven design collaboration to help drive the conversation around ethical fashion. This is Meester's first ever fashion collaboration.
"Fashion has meant many different things to me over the years, but now I think a lot about the story behind each item I buy,” said Meester in the press release. “As a conscious consumer, I seek out companies that are female-led and mission-driven. As they say, each dollar we spend is a vote cast toward the type of world we want to live in.”
The Leighton Jumper is the end result, which is inspired in part by Miss Honey from Matilda. "I thought she had a flattering, sweet style, relaxed but put-together," Meester tells Bustle.
The Leighton is a sleeveless, wide-leg jumpsuit with a bow detail on the neckline and a scoop back. It is available in three different fabrics: Apricot Houndstooth, Powder Blue Stripe, and Starflower.
All proceeds will be donated to the Downtown Women’s Center in Los Angeles, which Meester has been volunteering with for years. Meester was introduced to the organization through her charity work with Feeding America.
"A lot of different periods of time growing up, I experienced food insecurity, that was just how I grew up. There was good, easy times and then a lot of the time towards the end of the month, it wasn’t as easy," Meester says, "So, it’s people that you work with, it’s your friend at school, it’s your neighbor. It’s people that you wouldn’t necessarily think are experiencing food insecurity. That type of thing, especially as a mother, resonates with me because the most natural instinct is to feed your child. So, I thought it was a wonderful partnership."
"Leighton has been volunteering at the Downtown Women's Center for years, and when it came time to launch our collaboration with her, we took the entire company downtown to spend a morning making and serving lunch to this strong, empowering community of women," Peterson says. "Their mission is to advocate for women who need assistance finding permanent housing, health care, and employment. We are so excited to donate all proceeds of The Leighton Jumper to such a beautiful and meaningful cause, and we're grateful to Leighton for introducing us to these inspiring women."
Use your shopping for good this summer, and help support struggling women with the airy Leighton Jumper.