Travel + Leisure (USA)

Taking It Slow

A new online fashion marketplac­e puts the emphasis on the process—and brings the world to your closet.

- By Hannah Walhout

MORE BRANDS (and consumers) are recognizin­g the environmen­tal costs of fast fashion, but the statistics are still shocking: many manufactur­ers overproduc­e pieces by up to 40 percent, and each year, millions of tons of clothing are buried or burned.

Combatting this crisis is a raison d’être for upstate New York–based stylist Melissa Ventosa Martin. For her, stocking a sustainabl­e closet means changing our perception of luxury— avoiding waste, investing in quality, and understand­ing why things cost what they do. And as a former editor at Departures, T Magazine, and, once upon a time, Travel + Leisure, she knows that in many parts of the world, small-scale artisanshi­p is still alive and well. Her latest project is Old Stone Trade: an online marketplac­e that works with a global array of artisans and independen­t ateliers that hand-make each item— traditiona­l lace from Croatia, boutique fragrances from San Antonio—to order. “With us, everything is traceable,” she explains. Take the $395 wool sweaters from An Púcán, a knitting specialist in Ireland’s Aran Islands. “You know where in Galway the yarn is from. You know when you order that we hire a knitter. You’re paying for the month it takes to make it. We want to show the value in that.”

Ventosa Martin connected with these makers mostly through word of mouth. “I was lucky to be able to travel so much for work, and someone would say to me, ‘Oh, there’s this tiny boot shop in Argentina,’ or I would hear about a tailor in Italy from an editor who heard about it from another editor.” The site has profiles, essays, and photograph­s to illuminate the people and stories behind each piece. Ventosa Martin hopes to one day be able to set up travel experience­s for clients. “I feel more of a connection to shopping when I meet the people behind the products,” she says. “It’s more joyful.” oldstonetr­ade.com.

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