Making a Difference Through Sustainable Fashion: Passion Lilie’s 2023 Year in Review

Clouds with words "Goodbye 2023"

As we enter a new year, Passion Lilie is reflecting on our goals, achievements, and our role in sustainable fashion. With each passing year, it becomes more evident that while governments and big corporations may struggle to make the most ethical decisions for the environment, individual people are consciously choosing to make the world a better place through their lifestyle decisions. Our mission is to make those decisions more playful, comfortable, and affordable for you!

At Passion Lilie, we see the dedication to our planet every single day. New Orleans visitors step into the shop thrilled to see sustainable fashion and Fair Trade goods in the heart of the French Quarter. Returning customers email us messages of gratitude and encouragement. Fellow climate and Fair Trade activists reach out in support and solidarity. Each of these interactions gives us hope for our planet, the motivation to reach our goals, and the inspiration to raise the fashion industry's standards.

Every sale, social media engagement, and uplifting email shows us that so many people are out there doing their absolute best work to care for the earth and the humans who live on it. Our goal at Passion Lilie is to make it just a little bit easier for folks to do that by creating beautiful, affordable clothes and goods that uplift people and the planet. Read on to see how we worked toward that goal in 2023. 

Our Impact Report

As a Fair Trade, sustainable fashion brand, transparency is at the heart of everything we do. We preach the importance of transparency in nearly every blog post, interview, and conversation about conscious consumerism. We believe shoppers should have easy access to information about who made their clothes and the environmental impacts of the production process. It has been a long-time goal to develop an annual report detailing the difference you make when you shop Passion Lilie’s sustainable fashion, and in 2023, we made it a reality.

This year, we created our first-ever Impact Report – a comprehensive document highlighting the effects of our work, showcasing our dedication to transparency and accountability, and bringing you more of the Passion Lilie story. We’re committed to updating this report annually to provide our stakeholders with a clear view of our progress and impact.

Impact Report page

Giving Back

Our commitment to social responsibility goes beyond our own work ensuring fair wages and safe conditions for the artisans who make our products. This year, we donated 10% of our April proceeds to The Green Project, a New Orleans environmental nonprofit, to celebrate Earth Day. Through selling used materials and teaching about reuse, The Green Project provides affordable materials to the community, hosts low-cost and free workshops, keeps usable goods out of landfills and nearby waterways, preserves historic architectural pieces, and educates residents about environmental issues. We’re proud to help however we can with supplies and financial support. 

Throughout the year, we also donated to important causes like Lahaina fire relief and Uncommon Threads, a nonprofit women’s clothing boutique. Uncommon Threads is an organization that addresses all aspects of a woman’s clothing needs while nurturing personal growth through self-esteem-focused styling sessions and workshops. Looking ahead to 2024, we remain steadfast in our support for these causes and are open to embracing new partnerships that align with our mission.

The Green Project facade

Media Coverage

Passion Lilie’s leadership in sustainable fashion is gaining the attention of local and national media outlets. Forbes, Upworthy, and WWNO (NPR) are just a few of the organizations that featured Passion Lilie during the past year. Coverage in The Honest Consumer and in NOLA Adore have helped us amplify our message and reach a wider audience. These acknowledgments serve as a testament to the impact of our work and inspire us to continue striving for excellence.

One of the most engaging opportunities we had this year came in the form of an exhibit at the New Orleans Museum of Art. Fashioning America: Grit to Glamour was a traveling exhibit designed to confront our ideas about what American fashion means to each of us. Like America itself, the exhibit was multifaceted and rich in diversity. Passion Lilie was honored to be included as a brand that challenges the global fashion industry by rejecting unsuitable working environments and working conditions as the norm. To us, social justice means advocating for the hidden labor force that bears the heavy weight of the global fashion industry. Passion Lilie was in good company with myriad brands and designers who changed the fashion systems of their generation.  

Katie at the Fashioning America exhibit

Sustainability Initiatives 

Sustainability is the heart of everything we do at Passion Lilie. It’s not a box we check once we’ve reached our goal; it’s an ever-evolving mission to care for people and the planet. This year, we took significant steps towards sustainability by investing in organic yarns for our ikat fabrics, resulting in a substantial increase in our organic production for Spring 2024. The Spring 2024 collection will be 80-90% organic, compared to 50% in prior years. We plan for Passion Lilie products to be 100% organic by 2025.

This year, we furthered our commitment to becoming a zero-waste company by introducing a new zero-waste product – a round crossbody purse that became an instant favorite. Our zero-waste headbands and napkins continued to be best-sellers. New technology and innovations ensure that the sustainable fashion industry is always advancing. We’re dedicated to remaining ahead of the curve, constantly learning and adjusting our goals to be more sustainable than we were the year before.

Woman shows no-waste cross-body

New Products

You asked; we delivered! After years of demand, we were proud to introduce men’s shorts to the Passion Lilie line in 2023. We offered new prints and silhouettes in floral, foliage, and celestial-themed prints. Our Spring 2024 collection will have a tropical vibe with playful prints designed to evoke a sense of vacation, no matter where you are. 

Another special addition to the Passion Lilie shop is hand-crafted papier mâché ornaments. When CEO and designer Katie Schmidt was introduced to a struggling artisan in India, she knew his craft would be a perfect addition to the Passion Lilie collection. The artist was creating beautiful hand-made ornaments to help cover massive medical bills after his brother’s death. Each piece is truly a work of art – he just needed somewhere to sell them. Now they decorate our French Quarter store, delighting customers who ask for the story behind the beautiful ornaments. You can find gorgeous hand-painted stars, elephants, and classic ball-shaped ornaments on our website, too. They’ve been so popular that we plan to expand our order in 2024. This partnership not only showcases exquisite craftsmanship but also embodies our commitment to supporting artisans in need.

Papier mache star ornaments

As we conclude another year of working toward a more ethical, sustainable fashion industry, we’re grateful to our customers, followers, and partners who walk alongside us on this journey. Our work is made possible by people like you who believe in the importance of sustainable fashion and are committed to improving our world for future generations. With a successful 2023 in the rearview mirror, we’re looking forward to a new year for making a positive difference through sustainable fashion.  

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