Conscious Style With Cassandra Dittmer
Los Angeles-based stylist and entrepreneur Cassandra Dittmer made a name for herself in the fashion industry by specializing in sustainable and ethically produced fashion brands. Her values-led approach to styling is what’s led her to work with an impressive roster of clients including Melinda Gates, Ty Burrel, and Reid Scott. She has established herself as a sustainability strategist and branding expert, working with brands and designers to create eco-friendly solutions in the fashion industry. To celebrate our new Conscious Cotton collection, we thought Cassandra would be the perfect person to talk with about building a sustainable wardrobe and making an impact with fashion.
Can you tell us a little bit about your journey into styling and how you got started?
Absolutely! I had my first styling internship in Los Angeles the summer before I was a junior in college. I studied merchandising and design at Iowa State. The year prior I had my very first internship in the merchandising department at DVF in New York. I moved to LA the day after graduating without a full time job. I worked for the stylist I interned for part time, Sophia Banks, before landing a first assistant job with Ilaria Urbinati. I worked with Ilaria for 5 years, before I started my own styling company 3 years ago. Ilaria introduced me to all things styling and really was my first mentor.
What made you passionate about styling with eco-friendly clothing and brands?
When I went on my own, I was able to really reimagine what I wanted my business to look like. I knew if I was going to have something with my name on it that I wanted to be super proud of it. When I initially went on my own I was struggling with the role I played in the industry. I wasn't really loving the way styling had me initially participating in the fashion scene. I promised myself if I kept going I would fine tune my niche in the industry to be one that reflected my values. In late 2018, I took a contract styling Melinda Gates for her Moment of Lift book tour throughout 2019. I knew this job would change the trajectory of my career and going forward how I would be hired. This job really put my money where my mouth is in terms of aligning my values to my work. I knew that would mean having to say no to some existing clients and put a hold on my business growing. Overall I knew that evolving in the philanthropic space would be the most important thing I could do.
I wasn't really loving the way styling had me initially participating in the fashion scene. I promised myself if I kept going I would fine tune my niche in the industry to be one that reflected my values.
How do you incorporate sustainability into your own life?
I started with small things like reusable water bottles, eliminating plastic bags, donating clothing items whenever possible, etc. Additionally I really enjoy taking the time to research all of the brands that I purchase from. I don't remember the last time I just walked in a clothing store and bought something only because it was cute. I find that once you rewire your brain to purchase differently and take a vested interest in who you are buying from and why you will start to make an impact.
Whats your favorite part about your job?
Outside of the brand research and mood boarding, which I totally nerd out on 24/7, I really enjoy seeing a final product come together. When a client walks the carpet or a digital campaign goes live I feel a huge sense of accomplishment. I love being able to have close relationships with clients and being an ally for ethical brands to have a platform they deserve. I am fortunate now that most people I work with are like minded in their values and priorities. I know I am so close to my work and really value the relationships that I have built. When projects come to fruition it's so invigorating.
I find that once you rewire your brain to purchase differently and take a vested interest in who you are buying from and why you will start to make an impact.
What are the biggest factors to consider when dressing a client?
When dressing a client I am managing brand relationships as well curating an image. All in all the client needs to be happy. I am heavily considering what brands are most strategic and what can elevate their overall aesthetic. I work with clients who really are looking for this alignment of values. It is a more strategic and involved process for us. Can we use our power for good? What brands deserve the spotlight that are currently in the shadows?
Any special projects you’re working on?
Yes! I am working on going fully digital with my sustainable styling offerings. I am bringing my international network of sustainable, fair trade, and ethically made products to the carpet and to anyone at home. As of 2020 I have also started a creative consulting agency. My team is a multidisciplinary collective that stems from the worlds of arts, culture, fashion, and marketing. We blend our respective professional expertise and lived-experiences to craft immersive and interdisciplinary campaigns, projects, and strategies that help brands elevate and expand within the sustainable sector. We meet and connect with the key makers, innovators, designers, and artists within the global sustainability movement. Immersive storytelling is at the core of our process. Our projects go beyond the surface to create in-depth solutions to the problems of our current climate. I am also working on a mentorship & internship accelerator program that I am really excited about!
I try to take time and really consider what is happening in supply chains and how I can make better and more considerate choices.
What advice would you give to people who want to move towards a more sustainable wardrobe?
Just start! I find the whole movement to be a bit intimidating and overwhelming. So much negativity, clutter, and greenwashing going on. I know I am working to be more vulnerable and open-minded in this space. Connecting people, bringing new people along for the journey, and learning from each other is always my goal. Make small changes and do the research to understand your own footprint and how you can improve. We are in this together! I try to take time and really consider what is happening in supply chains and how I can make better and more considerate choices. After all, the only way to truly be more sustainable is to just consume less in general.
What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind?
I hope to be an innovator and leader in the green fashion movement.