Whitney Thornburg As Design Director Press Release
COYUCHI HIRES WHITNEY THORNBURG AS DESIGN DIRECTOR
The Pioneer in Sustainable Home Textiles Will Reveal New Designer’s First End-to-End Collection in Fall 2020
SAN FRANCISCO - June 3, 2020 - Coyuchi, the pioneer of sustainable home, announced today it has hired Whitney Thornburg as Design Director. Thornburg’s strong background in textiles and acute focus on planning for a garment’s life after use make her a natural fit for Coyuchi, with her first collection expected to release this fall.
In her role as Design Director, Thornburg is responsible not only for the creation of beautiful products Coyuchi’s design-conscious customers want in their homes, but also the performance quality of those products and building in Coyuchi's ecological initiatives in each design. The Design Director role at Coyuchi is unique in that Thornburg is also tasked with considering where a product will end up when a consumer determines it no longer has a place in their home, namely keeping it out of landfills.
Coyuchi’s maniacal attention to detail at every step of the design process is what differentiates it from competitors, and ultimately results in a product that is made to last a lifetime. Many brands consult experts in sustainability after designing new products, but these experts are often merely an extension of a design team not experienced in sustainability; meant to offer advice on how existing designs can become more sustainable. Coyuchi’s approach is different in that each step of the design process is held to the highest possible standard of sustainability, which is what attracted Thornburg to the brand in the first place.
“Few other businesses achieve the environmental standards of Coyuchi,” says Thornburg. “People are fans of the Coyuchi brand because it is beautiful, but also functional - they can use the textiles, see the quality, and know that it’s meant to last. The company’s continued commitment to aesthetics, sustainability, and quality at every step of the design process is ultimately what drew me here.”
Thornburg comes to Coyuchi from California College of the Arts, where she was a Fashion Design Adjunct Professor, teaching courses in ecological design in which she challenged her students to plan for a garment’s after life in addition to its lifecycle. Prior to her time at CCA, Thornburg was Head Designer at Isda & Co, where she began in menswear in 2001 before working her way to women’s, and finally succeeded Isda Funari as design lead in 2013. Before her tenure at Isda & Co, Thornburg began her career in design at Federated Department Stores (now Macy’s) as a men’s sweater designer, a role to which she credits her love for the physical construction of a garment as she was tasked with choosing a sweater’s yarn and stitch patterns.
“Beautiful designs that are made to last are what customers have been coming to Coyuchi for, for the nearly 30 years,” says Eileen Mockus, CEO of Coyuchi. “We could not be more thrilled to have Whitney join us to continue this legacy and help us bring Coyuchi into the future of sustainable design.”
As the pioneer of sustainable textiles, Coyuchi has set the standard for it means to be a sustainable brand in the home industry. In April 2020, the company announced it had officially entered the circular economy through its proprietary take back programs, and its partnership with The Renewal Workshop, which rehabilitates used Coyuchi brand products and fibers to be renewed or reused. As a result, Coyuchi will release the first, 100% organic, circular product in the home industry this fall: a blanket woven from a mix of renewed and new organic fibers.
Coyuchi’s sustainability mission reaches far beyond its own products, too. This past Earth Day, the Coyuchi Philanthropy Project announced it invested $50,000 in White Buffalo Land Trust’s Campaign for Jalama Canyon Ranch. If the campaign reaches its goal, this stretch of land outside Santa Barbara will serve as a scalable model for regenerative agriculture, a system of farming principles and practices that restores agricultural land and surrounding ecosystems by naturally increasing biodiversity, enriching soil, and restoring watersheds. Beyond its positive environmental impact, regenerative agriculture has the potential to transform what we grow to be nutrient rich.
From food to fiber, what grows in the ground thrives when the soil is healthy, and healthier crops, combined with ecologically and socially responsible practices, equate to a healthier world and people living in it.
Since 1991, Coyuchi has been crafting the finest, coastal-inspired organic bedding, sheets, towels, apparel, and more for a clean, environmentally conscious home. We intend to change the way people think about buying home textiles by providing transparency, product innovation, and practices that limit harm to the environment and the people who live in it. Transparency means being open about our supply chain, fiber, chemistry, and safety. We are product innovators with a commitment to organic, regenerative, and circular practices that serve the planet and its people. We see ourselves as disruptors in the way home textiles are made and activists for a cleaner and safer planet.