We had the good fortune of connecting with Courtney Barriger and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Courtney, what role has risk played in your life or career?
There are no breakthroughs without risk. I think a lot of people hear the word “risk” and consider all that they could lose. I hear the word “risk’ and think, “this is where I need to play my sharpest and deliver my best.” For everyone, there is an edge to your comfort zone, one that can either keep you in check, or be embraced as the fertile ground where magic is born. This is the place where risk lives – a place of vulnerability, pressure, and speed. A place unknown to you. Trust me, magic is rarely made without taking a risk. We could all do to live more outside our comfort zone. It is the surest and fastest way to grow. But be deliberate about it. You can have risk, and also have trust. In my business I’ve taken a risk by choosing to only work with products that are sustainably sourced and certified, made in California. Why is that a risk? I’m sure you’ve compared prices at the grocery store between the organic aisle and everything else. Sustainability is expensive. I’m risking my own financial stability as the sole investor. And taking a further risk, I’m offering my products at less than the usual retail markup because I believe that sustainability should be available to anyone. Fast fashion is toxic to the environment and to people who work in manufacturing. There only way I see to combat that is to make clean fashion readily available to all. And I’m okay with shouldering the risk.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’ve always been drawn towards things that are inexplicable. The dreams we have at night that sometimes reveal truths you couldn’t possibly know, the times we sense things about other people’s lives… without having been told. The invisible. I’m curious about consciousness, its’ history, and where it is going. And when I turn to my art, the mystery of what I am looking to uncover comes out there. Between drawings, paintings, and stories, my art takes a mystical edge. I’m curious about how our internal world interacts with the physical world. The science of what is happening there, and the spirit. And to me, that connection makes the bodies that house our souls sacred, and it also makes the entire space we live in, Planet Earth, sacred. It’s not just about having clean air, I want to honor the planet as a part of myself. And being drawn to beautiful things, as I am, that has extended into fashion as well. Last year I launched my sustainable fashion brand Holding Court to offer a clean solution to your at home basics that are organic and pay a living wage to the manufacturers. The Fashion Industry is considered one of the top polluting industries in the world, and that bums me out because I love beautiful clothes. So I am telling the story of sustainable fashion, and making it to do my part to keep my connection between the world and spirit clean. I’m very, very excited this year because I think it will be the year I can share a project with you all that is dear to my heart. The Royal Robe is a children’s book of verse I wrote and illustrated that shares the story of how toxic fashion is, but set in a fantasy world where the characters learn to transcend grief and identity. It’s is going to print in Hong Kong with The 14th Factory Art Gallery, and will be available online. Honestly, I think it’s my best work yet. It will be my 4th published book, and my 10th full series of curated art. Do check out my brand and my artwork if you are at all curious. www.holdingcourtinc.com www.courtneybarriger.com Would love to connect with anyone who is curious about sustainability in fashion and who just wants to talk about the mysteries of life. I’m always down.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
They say a city is known by whatever its’ tallest buildings are. I’ve always been proud that in Los Angeles, one of these is a place of exploration, learning and science. You can’t visit Los Angeles without visiting The Griffith Observatory. Ideally early in the morning, on a weekday, park at the bottom of the Fern Dale entrance, grab a coffee and a quiche at The Trails Cafe, and then hit the trail that takes you to the architectural beauty that is The Observatory. On a good day, you can see all of the way from Pasadena to Santa Monica. On a great day you can see Long Beach and Catalina Island. And take your time inside to wonder over Foucault’s Pendulum and view the sun in real time through their Helioscope. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My shout out goes to Mariel Gomsrud, creator and editor of Ecovocateur Magazine. She’s this nordic beauty who is constantly pushing the boundaries of sustainability in fashion and sensuality. I’ve had the joy of working with her to create a fashion film “ECO – Our Choices Echo,” which played internationally and at Gruaman’s Chinese Theater, with her twin sister Marita. And just loved the synergy, the vision and the dedication to art and love of the planet. Mariel is debuting Ecovocateur’s first issue soon, and I can’t wait to see what she creates down the line with only eco fashion labels, and her talented team.
Photos by Courtney Barriger