Anyone familiar with the many Breton stripes and classic color palette of eco-fashion brand Amour Vert knows well its French influence. Created by native Parisian and Palo Alto resident Linda Balti, along with her husband Christoph Frehsee, the San Francisco–based brand combines legendary Parisian taste with a Californian philosophy.
While Balti’s personal sense of style may point to her heritage, she never expected to work in the fashion industry. When inspiration struck to create her own collection (upon reading that only the oil industry surpasses the apparel industry in polluting practices), Balti was, at the time, designing simulators for fighter jets and helicopters for a French defense company.
Already environmentally aware—she grew up eating organic food and being conscious about waste—Balti set out to improve the fashion industry’s standards of production. Now, as creative director of Amour Vert, she designs wardrobe staples that are produced locally, with low-impact dyes and organic fabrics (cotton, bamoo, modaland sold both online and in the brand’s Hayes Valley shop.
“You shouldn’t sacrifice style for sustainability,” says the founder, who is committed to making clothing with a purpose: For every T-shirt purchased, the company plants a tree in North America; by the end of 2015, Amour Vert will have planted 100,000 trees through it partner, American Forests.
I never travel without my super-soft Amour Vert tees, my favorite Caudalie Premier Cru moisturizer, sneakers to walk around and visit places, and my Bose noise-cancelling headphones.
My morning routine starts with natural skincare products from Tata Harper, Caudalie, and Suki, and continues with a fresh, organic pressed juice.
Actions for a more sustainable life
I buy vintage clothes, drive a hybrid car, and I sort my waste for recycling like it’s a business!
Françoise Hardy. She is the quintessence of French cool and effortless chic.
Be comfy in your clothes and have fun. My uniform is a striped tee, boyfriend jeans, and a fun pair of shoes. I have an addiction for embellished sandals and colorful sneakers.
The first striped tee I designed for Amour Vert—a super classic nautical stripe “mariniere” that makes anyone look French!
Bay Area inspiration
I am inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit of the Bay Area. It’s the best place in the world to start a business. The sky is the limit.
Classic SF experience
A cable car ride from Union Square to Fisherman’s Wharf
Hayes Valley has a great neighborhood feel with no chain stores—only local brands, delicious coffee crafters, and my favorite French restaurant, Chez Maman. It reminds me of Les Abbesses, the neighborhood where I used to live in Paris.
I pack a picnic and drive to Half Moon Bay to spend the day at the beach with my little one who loves playing in the sand. Stop at the Ritz-Carlton on the way back to enjoy a cocktail and the beautiful sunset over the ocean.