Introducing Annie Le: America's hottest new eco-designer

| 25th October 2011
Annie and Jade
America might be better known for Calvin Klein and co but as Ally Boyd discovered, eco-designer Annie Le is giving them a run for their dollars

Apart from Patagonia, how many American eco-fashion brands can you think of? The answer is likely to be ‘very few’, not entirely surprising given that the fashion scene Stateside is well and truly geared up for the supersized. From Calvin Klein to Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren: in the US, bigger is nearly always better. But the American consumer is starting to wake up to the impact that Gap, Banana Republic and co are having on the planet and there’s a small but excellent number of American eco-designers starting to emerge. Jeff Garner’s Prophetik is probably the best known thanks to the red carpet efforts of Livia Firth but there’s another talent hot on his heels. Her name is Annie Le.

Hailing from Orange County, California, Le is rocking the US fashion industry with her uniquely green take on fashion. So who is she and why should we pay attention? Her fashion design journey really began when she launched a small organic t-shirt company. Working in advertising at the time, this proved an epiphany for Le, who decided that she had to pursue a real career in fashion. She left her job and enrolled as a design student at Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) in California. It was during her time at FIDM that she began creating her brand Annie and Jade by Annie Le (, taking inspiration from her American name ‘Annie’ and her Vietnamese name ‘Jade’. This idea of two names coming together mirrors the ideas that Annie has about women having two sides. ‘The one she shares with the world and the one that’s just for her and those who know her best’, comments Le.

As her work is inspired by female friends and family, she says it’s important that women feel comfortable and confident in her garments. ‘[My] designs are made to contour a woman’s body,’ she says. ‘I want to embrace a woman’s curves because I think they are beautiful.’ But what about the environment? Annie would love to see eco-conscious celebrities like Natalie Portman, Cameron Diaz and Salma Hayek wearing her designs. Choosing natural, organic fabrics and always looking for an eco-friendly alternative, Le believes it’s very important to consider the planet. She also contributes to ‘for all the extras that don’t currently have an eco-friendly alternative.’

Looking to the future, Annie would love to have a mix of boutiques and department stores that offer her clothing line. She wants to continue expanding her brand and bring eco-luxury options to more people; eventually offering lines for men, women and children. She hopes to continue building her clothing line so it becomes an internationally recognised brand. The proudest moment throughout Annie’s career is her recent achievement of being named one of ‘OC Metro’s 40 under 40’ in recognition of her brand and success so far. They had a reception for the honourees and she brought her mother with her. She said that just seeing the smile on her face made it the proudest moment of her fashion journey.

To find out more and for UK stockists, see


Add to StumbleUpon
Patagonia: the anti-fashion fashion brand
It's the 'Gucci of outdoor wear' but for founder, Yvon Chouinard, there's far more to Patagonia than fashion. He spoke to Matilda Lee
The new north: why Scandinavia is leading the world in eco-design
The Nordic flair for design has taken eco-fashion to new heights and is setting an example for the rest of the world to follow, says Ruth Styles
Safia Minney: fashion’s impact on the earth
In an exclusive extract from her new book - Naked Fashion - the People Tree founder looks at the environmental damage caused by modern fashion – and sketches out a radical new way forward
Fashion forward: the green designers whose clothes are making a real difference
As Valentina Jovanovski discovered, today’s young designers have more on their mind than just making a quick buck
Craftsmanship: a dying art?
As London Fashion Week kicks off, Lida Hujic looks at the reasons behind the decline of British craftmanship and asks if we're in danger of losing it altogether