Earth Day is the perfect time to collectively focus on one of our most pressing issues: environmental protection. First observed more than 50 years ago, the Earth Day tradition is more relevant now than ever before. While many advancements have been made for our environment planetwide, we still have a long way to go. But many folks practice Earth Day values every day of the year. Laura Howe of Matrushka and Friends of Griffith Park is one who is paying it forward…and she’s doing it in style.
As founder and designer extraordinaire at Matrushka Construction, and also a founding member of Friends of Griffith Park, Laura Howe shows how to be committed to creating a better world for all.
Matrushka Construction has been rocking the fashion scene since 2002, outfitting folks from metropolis to red carpet. Howe’s style features just the right blend of glam, quirk, and activism. But it’s what goes on behind the scenes that really makes a difference.
Matrushka is a small, female-owned and operated business that’s truly committed to sustainable practice. Taking environmentalism one step further is just part of Howe’s Earth-focused masterplan. Matrushka’s use of deadstock fabrics is just one example of this. Instead of letting fabric bolts end up in a landfill, Howe rescues and reimagines unique threads to the delight of her ever-evolving fan base.
Matrushka takes this forward-thinking exercise to the production table as well. Instead of mass-producing a garment and inevitably creating a lot of waste, Howe and her crew make to order. This allows for her to keep an eye on core company values while also opening the door to the world of customization.
Howe showcases a love of furry friends with animal-celebrating silkscreens. And with a touch of environmentally sustainable whimsy, Matrushka makes its own fabric shopping bags from, you guessed it, authentic fabric remnants. You may even get one to match your dress! This will likely earn you cool points on multiple levels. With Matrushka, one never has to sacrifice style for values.
Matrushka displays another key value, cleverly tucked away in the clothes themselves while saving untold numbers of non-biodegradable washing instructions. The company makes its very own labels complete with those famous words of empowerment: Size is Relative. Because when we feel lifted up, we are better able to work toward what is truly important: taking care of ourselves and our world.
Operating a wildly successful LA fashion house, through a global pandemic no less (Matrushka also makes face coverings) demands a lot of energy. But Howe, a firm believer in the power of giving back, doesn’t stop there.
She’s hosted numerous community and artistic events at her space and supported organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center. She’s also a founding member of Friends of Griffith Park and a volunteer coordinator there for the past decade.
Howe’s work with FoGP is the good fight for the environment and for the world. Their primary mission is to help the park “survive and thrive” for many generations to come.
They have no lack of projects. One aim is to protect the park from the ever-present threat of development, to preserve its beautiful open spaces, and to ensure a home for the diversity of species that live in the park. Despite the collective challenges of 2020, Friends of Griffith Park persevered in its mission to serve the park and the people who love it.
Visitors appreciate the many acres of parkland at Griffith Park, a kind of respite in the middle of an urban maze. But for Howe, it’s also a sanctuary for nurturing her well-being and her sense of spiritual connection.
We are not separate from the Earth, but we can choose to act in alliance with it. Our choices matter, especially how we shop. Perhaps this Earth Day is a moment to celebrate the support we give to the businesses that make a real difference.