Laura Tanzer Brings Eco-Friendly Fashion to New Downtown Location

November 13, 2015

Laura's designs combine sustainability with modern, chic styles.

Laura’s designs combine sustainability with modern, chic styles.

by Mariana Colín

This weekend, Downtown will become home to a clothing store where how it’s made is just as important as how it looks. Laura Tanzer, named for its founder, is the newest addition to the Tucson Railroad Depot Building, which also houses Maynards and Salon Salon. On Saturday, Nov. 14th, Laura Tanzer will open her shop to the public with a small party where visitors can eat, drink, and discover Tucson’s latest contribution to fashion; quality, high-end clothing with a focus on sustainability.

Laura Tanzer knew that creating clothing was meant for her by the time she could pick up a sewing needle. Under the instruction of her grandmother, Laura learned to sew by practicing making new clothes for her Barbie dolls, eventually graduating to making her own clothes as a teenager.

Laura’s pedigree in the fashion industry is impressive. Long before she was featured as an Emerging Designer in 2015’s Phoenix Fashion Week, Laura studied fashion design and merchandising in New York, later earning a Masters in business from NYU.

Laura works with an employee to get the store ready for opening.

Laura works with an employee to get the store ready for opening.

But soon after her graduation, the idea of moving somewhere small and new where she could build a name for herself overcame the excitement of the city. Additionally, she started to foster an interest in a philosophy that would end up partially defining her work in fashion: sustainability.

“U of A was one of the top 5 in the country for what I wanted to do,” she says. After receiving her PhD in Natural Resources, she was able to look for ways to blend her two biggest interests and tackle the project of making sustainable, beautiful clothing.

Laura’s prints and designs are all as original as they are flattering, with obvious attention to detail and no amount of quality sacrificed for her goal of sustainability.

In fact, she says, it’s her use of natural materials that make her clothing such high quality in the first place, eliminating all the chemicals found in most clothing that are harmful to have on your skin. Her production methods, which use digital printing and textile creation through older, more traditional technologies, all serve her ultimate goal of using as little water and creating as little waste as possible.

Amid some last minute sprucing-up of the shop space, a pair of Laura's creations wait for opening day.

Amid some last minute sprucing-up of the shop space, a pair of Laura’s creations wait for opening day.

“I use all-natural fibers, organic when it’s available,” says Laura. “The fashion industry is really still hung up more on the superficial than the functional. My contribution is to be as clean as possible but make clothing that is still luscious and still so lovely that you just have to put it on.”

To Laura, the move from her warehouse studio to a brick-and-mortar store represents the beginning of a promising future, both in business and in supporting the community she’s come to love.

“I’m so happy to be here, this is such a great space,” she says. “I feel like I can be a good contributing member of the community. I want to create a sustainable business here, a business where people love to work.”

“This is my new home,” she says.

Laura Tanzer (the store) will be open late for their opening celebration on Saturday. Visitors can meet Laura (the person) and ask about her clothing and designs, as well as the semi-custom orders she offers. For more information about Laura Tanzer, visit their website here.

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