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AERA Asks: Brian Bolke

Sustainability & The New Year Ahead, by Brian Bolke


Brian Bolke


  1. Briefly tell us about your journey toward living a more sustainably minded life and when it became an important part of it.

    I had a specialty retail business I founded for almost 20 years, and as soon as I sold it and moved on, I realized how incredibly wasteful the fashion cycles is... the multiple trips across the glob, the runway looks never produced, the elaborate show invitations, and the endless cycle of buying goods, marking down the goods, and rebuying practically the same thing.

    Worse, the waste of “free shipping and returns” masked to the consumer the massive carbon footprint mindless buying created.

  2. Please suggest 2-3 intentions or practices that we can set for the year ahead and easily implement into our everyday routine to leave a lower footprint on the planet.

    I think shopping in our closets and focusing on what we need, not simply want, is a start. Wardrobes should be built to last.

    Taking care of what you have before simply throwing away and replacing it is a great practice. I recently re-soled a Gucci boot that I practically wore out from 2004. They will last another 10 years.

    Think about “where” your purchases are made and the distance they traveled. If you live in New York, clothes made in New York make sense.


  3. ...and some sources to keep up with climate and impact news and information.

    I religiously read industry publications, like WWD, Business of Fashion, and Vogue Business. Climate and sustainability news are now a huge part of the daily news cycle. It is 100% part of the industry’s way forward.

  4. How do you shop more mindfully or purposefully?
    I rarely make rash quick decisions. I like to really think about things before I pull the trigger. If it haunts me... then I buy it.

  5. What hopes – that could better aid our Earth and Climate – do you have for the year ahead? 
    Staying home has had real benefits to our carbon footprint. I think we have all really re-thought about what “essential” is. I think a lot more about every trip I take.

  6. We'd love to hear your thoughts on AERA and our measurability and impact practices.

    Ultimately, when the consumer is given the choice of two beautiful things, and one is more sustainable or consciously made, they will always choose "that" one. When one is not as "nice" but more sustainable or conscious, they will waver, likely going with the "nicer" one. What this means is there are ultimately no excuses or compromises.

    AERA has created a shoe as beautiful as any shoe in one’s wardrobe, and the measurability and impact practices simply make them more beautiful.

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