By Charlotte DeFazio
“I always wanted to start a brand that was sustainable and animal-friendly,” says Svala founder Helga Douglas, “but that produced stylish pieces—something you would want, even before finding out that it’s sustainable and animal-friendly.”
A Los Angeles local from Australia, Douglas grew up spending vacations in Iceland, her mother’s homeland and inspiration behind the brand’s Icelandic moniker. “I have always loved the name ‘Svala,’” Douglas says. “It’s such a beautiful girl’s name, and I loved the meaning behind it as well. It means swallow, as in the bird, and in a lot of cultures that’s a symbol of luck and love and loyalty and hope—everything I wanted my brand to stand for.”
While Svala (a PETA-approved brand) began as a line of lingerie and sleepwear made with organic cotton and reclaimed factory-surplus lace, it is currently focused on exploring the sustainable market for top-quality materials to work with, such as cork fabric and Pinatex®, a nonwoven textile made from pineapple-leaf fibers. Each Svala handbag, crafted locally by artisans in Los Angeles, is lined with organic cotton and recycled polyester derived from plastic bottles.
Wearing the stylish sustainables helps support Svala’s commitment to a carbon-offset program; 10 percent of Svala’s profits go to charities, including WildAid and the Jane Goodall Institute. As for Douglas, ”maintaining a clean diet, practicing yoga and spending time outdoors with friends and family,” she says, are her keys to health, well-being, and energizing Svala’s fashion-forward, planet-friendly mission. svala.co