Meet Nicole McGrew of Sustainable Boutique Threadleaf

Jennifer Barger | September 11, 2019 | People


Nicole McGrew wants shoppers to consider ethical fashion habits. “Fashion is a multibillion-dollar-a-year industry, and one of the most polluting [ones] in the world,” she says. “If we could move the needle on how people shopped, we could make a big difference.”

When Nicole McGrew, a former lawyer, opened her Alexandria, Va., sustainable boutique Threadleaf in May 2018, she was following her love of what she calls “good, clean, fashion.” Her customers responded in kind, with whisper-soft silk blouses and metallic handbags flying off the racks. In just under a year, McGrew doubled her retail footprint, moving into a new space. Here’s why her conscious style is making an impact. 102 N. Fayette St.,

You worked at the Obama White House and in the Department of Justice. Why the career change?

I’ve always loved clothes and have been concerned about the environment. I started noticing all these small... brands that allowed you to both look and feel good about what you were wearing. I also appreciate getting the chance to show that you don’t need to sacrifice good design for responsible production.

Who are your typical clients?

Many are career women in their 30s and 40s, like me. I’ve also got customers in their 70s who appreciate the message. ... We carry about 30 brands, mostly in natural materials, that have been ethically made.

What can customers expect come fall?

We carry more wool, but things like silk, linen and hemp also work in colder months. I’m [getting] a new brand from Japan: Ichi Antiquités. ... From Elsa Esturgie, I’m getting organic cotton wrap coats ($668) that fall almost to the ankle. They’re like a big hug from France. From Evam Eva, I’m excited about this cool wool and cotton cocoon dress ($350). It’s a key piece for... fall.


Photography by: rashmi pappu