MMC Alumna Launches Sustainable Fashion Boutique Blue Urbane

Emily Blumen, a 2010 Communication Arts graduate, has opened a new boutique shop called Blue Urbane which focuses on eco-friendly clothing, handmade jewelry, and accessories for women.

Blumen ’10, who earned a degree in Communication Arts, has opened Blue Urbane, an online sustainable fashion boutique that predominantly carries pieces made or created by women, uses plastic-free packaging, and supports female designers and artisans. Blue Urbane also donates part of their proceeds to the Honnold Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing solar energy to underserved communities around the world.

“I have loved fashion and jewelry all my life but for so long I didn’t know the harm the fashion industry was having on the planet,” explains Blumen. “After doing a lot of research and taking classes, I knew I wanted to start a sustainable boutique that would focus on beautiful, female-empowered pieces and also make a positive contribution to the environment and fashion industry. I want to be part of the positive change — while making women feel beautiful!”

Instead of running a brick-and-mortar store, Blumen participates in pop-up fashion events across the city, including the upcoming Greenpoint Terminal Market on September 18. Follow Blue Urbane on Instagram (@blueurbane) or check out their official website for upcoming events and news. 

Hear more from Emily on her MMC experience below.

Follow @blueurbane on Instagram How did MMC’s Communication Arts program prepare you for this work?

EB: All of my classes and internship have helped me in my career and launching Blue Urbane. I took many media and film classes which enhanced my eye for design and aesthetic and I took many communication classes which helped me learn how to message and market my business as well as talk to prospective customers.

Do you have any favorite memories from your time at MMC?

My favorite memories of MMC were being on the Upper East Side and loving that neighborhood and the proximity to all the action of the city. I did countless internships while at MMC, and being in the heart of Manhattan was so helpful to that. I also lived at the 92nd Street Y my junior year and attended events there which was such a unique and cool experience. Academic-wise, I took many classes with Professor Sanderson primarily focused around film, and I absolutely loved learning from him and his teaching style. 

Do you have any advice for current students who may want to open their own business/work in sustainable fashion?

EB: I would say all classes and experience, from internships to jobs to real-world experience can be useful in starting a business. I’ve worked many different positions in my career but they’ve all helped me get to where I am now. It takes a lot of determination and organization to start your own business so I would encourage anyone interested in doing so, to really take the time to do the proper research (on potential competitors, your prospective target market as well as industry trends/innovations) and really plan out your financials, goals, and mission. An idea is great but it’s not enough and you need to be ready and willing to pour everything you have into getting the business up and running. I would also say that it’s okay to not know everything. Being your own boss and having 100% control of what you’re doing really enables you to learn as you go and also make changes and grow every step of the way. In terms of getting into sustainable fashion, everything above applies - I would just add that really learning specifically about the industry and the innovations in sustainability is really important.

Published: August 16, 2021