For the first Whole Living Awards, we're honoring eco-heroines who pour their passion into turning our blue marble green -- including the two winners featured here.
Summer Rayne Oakes, 26, and Benita Singh, 27
Creating an easy-to-use online marketplace to connect designers with sustainable materials
Q: What is Source4Style.com?
A (Oakes): Our website allows any designer or brand to search for and source sustainable materials from suppliers all over the globe. We offer nearly 1,000 textiles that can be searched by material, country of origin, and attributes, such as recycled or organic. Later this year, we'll have a directory of providers around the world that meet our criteria.
Q: How do you verify suppliers' claims?
A (Oakes): We take them through a rigorous questionnaire based on the Eco Index, the standard for assessing environmental footprints within the apparel industry. Then we share information with our designers.
Q: Why is sourcing so important?
A (Singh): For years, we both worked in the apparel industry and saw a dearth of information about sustainability. We got calls from buyers asking, "Where should I go on a sourcing trip?" or "Where can I find organic cotton?"
Q: How is it to be business partners and friends?
A (Oakes): We tell each other what we're thinking when it happens so nothing festers.
(Singh): If you have the same vision for what you want to create, which we do, and mutual respect, which we do, then you can do exciting things.
Read More: See all Whole Living Awards winners.