In HURR Wardrobe: Cora Hilts

Welcome to the next instalment of In HURR Wardrobe, our very own rental fashion series. It’s a series in which we dive into the fabulous wardrobes of our #HURRGirls community. We want to explore style and personal fashion histories through the lens of sustainability and circular fashion, while also highlighting the members of our community.

We’re starting the year with one of our absolute heroes, Cora Hilts, co-founder and CEO of sustainable and honest luxury retailer Rêve en Vert. Cora was one of the first women to champion sustainability in an e-commerce world, heading up a sustainable luxury fashion & lifestyle platform that includes clothing, accessories, natural beauty and activewear. With the four core pillars of her brand being organic, re-made, local and fair, there’s so much to admire about the ethos of Cora’s world. She’s incredibly knowledgable about sustainability, but never sacrifices beauty and aesthetics in her edits and buys. 

So you can imagine how excited we are to share our peek into her wardrobe. Personally, her style is the peak of chic: minimal meets detailed and thoughtful in every way. She knows the story behind each of her pieces, be it her handmade, re-purposed jeans, sustainable slip dress, or vintage jacket. With a passion to maintain elegance while supporting small brands and reducing waste in the fashion industry, we learned so much through our chat with Cora. Keep scrolling to read our full interview and go In HURR Wardrobe with Cora Hilts!

For those who aren’t familiar, tell us a little about Rêve En Vert (REV).

I came up with the idea oddly whilst I sat in a class on renewable energy. My professor mentioned that after the oil and gas industry, fashion was the second most polluting industry on earth. I was completely shocked. I feel like now a lot of us are aware of this fact but six years ago, I just couldn’t believe that an industry that was meant to be so innovative and creative could be so far behind on environmental and humanitarian concerns. It was like: how could something so beautiful be so truly ugly? That’s when I had the idea for Rêve En Vert – a retail site that would curate only sustainable items that were made as aesthetically as they were ethically, which would allow for people to make significant change in the way they shop easily. 

Photo: David P. McEntee

What does “Honest Luxury” mean to you?

Our tagline used to be “Sustainable Luxury” as we were one of the only ones talking about this sort of experience, but now I have changed it to “Honest Luxury” as I have really begun to think that the word sustainable is being thrown around so much that people are completely confused as to what it means and who is using it in an authentic way. 

On one hand, I think it’s great that companies are starting to really wake up to the fact that they need to be conscious, but the reality is that so many of them are using that word way too early in their own journey to it or way too loosely when it comes to what they are actually doing. 

To me, honesty means true sustainability because at Rêve En Vert, we have nothing to hide when it comes to our designers or what we do behind the scenes. If we say something, we mean it and the whole REV teams abides by what we preach as well. To me, the word sustainability just cannot be used without full transparency. 

I think and truly hope that sustainability will become the norm. It simply has to—the earth just does not have the resource to support us in the manner we have become accustomed to.

Favourite brands featured on REV right now? 

I am extremely into our newest line, Worn Store, out of Byron Bay in Australia. They do extremely small collections of sustainable fashion and furniture. Their ethos is “less is more” and the pieces are so beautiful that you can understand why you would maybe just need one amazing chair or one perfect linen pant to see you through. I love that. 

Also we have this gorgeous new organic beauty range called La Eva that do only two scents, Blu and Rose, and have a small collection of body wash and cream, and shampoo and conditioner. Everything is in glass and refillable. I am obsessed with it and even my husband has made the switch so we have finally been able to go pretty much plastic free in our bathroom, which makes me extremely happy. 

Photo: David P. McEntee

How do you choose the brands you work with? 

We use four basic pillars to define what makes a line sustainable to us at REV: organic, remade, local and fair. These are the principles I came up to define sustainability when I first started Rêve En Vert and I have felt strongly that these should remain at the core of how we look at the ethos of the designers and businesses we choose to work with.

You’ve had an incredible career so far. Can you pinpoint something or a moment you are most proud of?

I would say the first time we successfully raised investment for Reve En Vert was pretty special – it had been such a taxing process and my co-founder and I really struggled at the beginning to get external capital for the company as two young women, We were pitching sustainability before it had become trendy, we we were both in our 20s and female. It was no after no. But we eventually found amazing (all female) investors who support the company today. The first time I signed a shareholder’s agreement felt really monumental. 

What’s the biggest career lesson that you’ve learned so far?

That you will make many mistakes, but you have to learn from them immediately and move on from them quickly. Also to be a perennial optimist even when I really don’t feel like being one!

What do you think ‘Sustainable Fashion’ will look like in the next 10 years? 

I think and truly hope that sustainability will become the norm. It simply has to—the earth just does not have the resource to support us in the manner we have become accustomed to. We are all going to need to change the way we consume in order to keep living on this planet.

Photo: David P. McEntee

What advice would you give 18-year-old you?

Be more engaged with the world and less focused on yourself—you have it pretty good and can be doing more to have a positive impact!

We love to see you wear HURR! Why did you choose these pieces?

I have always loved Zimmerman pieces but never bought anything because I worry I would get tired of something florally quite quickly so renting these sort of items is PERFECT.

Finally, one quote you live by?

A quote by my three year old self when I was climbing too high up a tree and my father told me to come back down: “Everyone has to live their own self lives.” It makes me feel like my opinions and my ambition are never bad things.