New Light Dress: Exclusively Ours from Yoana Baraschi x Conscious Commerce

October 4, 2013

We like to think all of our dresses are special, but the New Light Dress featured in our October catalog is particularly near and dear to our hearts. The Anthropologie-exclusive dress is a collaboration between one of our longtime favorite designers, Yoana Baraschi, and Conscious Commerce, an organization co-founded by actress Olivia Wilde and Barbara Burchfield that fundraises for worthy causes through product collaboration. A portion of proceeds from the teal dress will benefit New Light India, whose aim is to stop the trafficking of young girls into the sex trade and to provide care to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

We were so excited to speak with Olivia, Barbara and Yoana to find out more about the dress and to how Conscious Commerce is making a difference.


Anthropologie: What led you to form Conscious Commerce? How is it different than traditional fundraising?
Olivia Wilde + Barbara Burchfield: We were inspired by a new way of fundraising, potentially with product, which would tap into Millennials, the most powerful purchasers of our time.

After doing some digging and finding out that Americans spend over a billion dollars a day in retail, we thought, Wow, a very small dent in that would make a huge impact on some organizations that we know. We need to bring these two together. We believe in products for a purpose, and believe that our greatest vote is our dollar to buy the products and services that we believe in.

Yoana, how did you find out about Conscious Commerce? What made you want to get involved?
Yoana Baraschi: I first saw Olivia Wilde in the documentary Half the Sky, which was inspired by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s best-selling book of the same name. Then chance had it that I met Olivia and Barbara, and as this coincided with the tenth anniversary of my business, I felt I wanted to give back. I was immediately interested in getting involved with their organization as it helps market products in a way that leaves a meaningful impact on society. When Olivia and Barbara saw my designs, it was a match made in heaven and we decided to work together.

Olivia and Barbara, what drew you to the New Light dress, design-wise?
OW + BB: The detail in the embroidery work is so intricate. The cut of the cap sleeve is flattering on everyone. We were drawn to the original design and Yoana’s embroidery sketches because the concept had a natural relevance and connection to India. The tension between the tulle and the embroidery has a strong yet soft femininity that is very much our style and speaks to New Light, the organization, perfectly.

Yoana, what inspired the design of the dress?
YB: My connection with India of course! India is a country I hold very dear to my soul and I feel l owe a lot creatively to this magical country.

Throughout my design career I have been working with artisans and factories all across India from Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Calcutta and Madras. After 70-plus trips to the beautiful country, I stopped counting and India became my second home, so to speak.

How is it constructed?
YB: The dress is made from re-embroidered tulle with a design executed in a cording technique. The linear embroidery design reads somewhat like a script, which I felt was appropriate for the cause because the dress tells a story that is brought to life by the color and details. This was then highlighted in brilliant jewel tones that reminded Barbara, Olivia and I of Indiacoral, teal and black. It embodies the spirit of India and its incredible tradition of craftsmanship. I have also included a special hangtag for each dress that explains the cause and showcases pictures of New Light women and their activities, in order to raise consciousness among the buyers.

How would you wear the New Light dress?
OW: With boots and an edgy jacket.
YB: I would probably wear it with some strong high heels and a short leather jacket over the shoulders.

Tell us more about New Light India, the organization in Calcutta that will benefit from the sale of the New Light dress.
YB: New Light India’s work touched my heart and I was impressed with its efforts to empower and change the destiny of some of the most underprivileged women in India. Orphaned or kidnapped and then forced to work in the red light district, these women need and deserve a chance to a better future and education. We decided that a great portion of the profits from the sale of these dresses will be used to open a school for these young women and their children.

Olivia and Barbara, so far, you’ve collaborated on a bag and a dress to benefit Conscious Commerce. What would you love to do next?
OW + BB: We imagine going into anything from accessories to beauty products to food. Next, hopefully something that would be a good gift for the holidays!

The New Light Dress by Yoana Baraschi x Conscious Commerce, $298, also available in petite.