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Issue Date: September 2012

Built to Last

Orgava locally produces timeless, well-constructed clothing for girls.
Kristen Hampshire

Foroozan Alaeddini believes in hand-me-downs. But when she went to give her 10-year-old daughter's clothes to her younger nieces, she noticed the tops, skirts, shorts and jackets had taken a beating. Colors had faded and seams were torn. The stress of weekly washings had worn away the fabrics.

She considered her children's clothing and realized there was room for improvement.

"I know what I like to buy, and I know what I can't find," Alaeddini says.

After she decided to leave her medical career, Alaeddini launched a clothing line, for girls ages 6 to 14, called Orgava (blending the words organic and Ava, her daughter's name), with a goal of producing sustainable garments.

She partnered with Kent State University fashion school graduate Amanda Cowsert, who adds the technical expertise to the design process. Christine Titas, pattern and sample maker, brings the designs to life.

Orgava's materials include organic cotton, hemp, bamboo and Tencel, which is made from wood pulp cellulose. The garments are crafted with attention to trouble spots by using French seams to prevent raveling. Also, many of the buttons on the garments are made from Tagua nuts, the seeds of a plentiful tropical palm. The result: earth-conscious clothes that can be worn again and again.

"If you can pass down clothes to other family members, that really contributes to the concept of recycling and sustainability," Alaeddini says. "It's what I practice in my family,"

She also decided the clothing had to be chic but timeless — no fluffy fairy skirts frosted with glitter or flashy outfits that could double as Halloween costumes. Orgava's clothing features clean lines and flattering silhouettes — the type of styles Alaeddini shops for.

"No fraying, no ripped edges," she says. "I want to make sure when you turn a piece of our clothing inside out, it looks just as great as it does on the outside."

The centerpiece of Orgava's fall line is a black, woolen military-style jacket with silk lining. Complementary pieces include a ruffled skirt, button-front top, Pendleton sweater and leggings. The line also includes neat-and-clean pleated shorts, a pinstriped Oxford shirt and traditional twill pants.

The clothes are comfortable to wear because of the lightweight, organic fabrics, Alaeddini adds. Practicality is also a key for Orgava. The pieces must be versatile, which explains the mostly neutral color palette, with pops of color used occasionally for tops.

"We are realistic about what works for our families and friends," Alaeddini says, "what we need in children's clothing."


Home Grown

Monterey Pleated Shorts $75

Shelby Henley $55

Coronado Ruffled Skirt $75

West Point Military Jacket $240

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