The actress teamed up with Los-Angeles based sustainable fashion brand, Christy Dawn, for her first fashion collaboration
Leighton Meester’s days of playing Gossip Girl’s arbiter of style, Blair Waldorf, are long over, but her influence on the fashion world certainly isn’t.
Over the past six months, the actress worked with Los-Angeles based sustainable fashion brand Christy Dawn to launch their new collaboration, “The Leighton Jumper,” a sleeveless full-length jumper with a bow detail on the neckline and a scoop back that is now available for purchase online and in the brand’s brick-and-mortar store in Venice.
“In the last five years or so, I really started becoming more conscious and aware of what I’m consuming whether it be what I am watching, eating, wearing or what I’m shopping for,” Meester, 33, told PEOPLE exclusively at the launch dinner celebrating the collaboration in Los Angeles on Monday night. “To top it off, it’s a woman led brand and [Christy] is really an incredible person and very inspiring. I met with her and we talked about the possibility of a collaboration and then it kind of just happened organically after that.”
Inspired in part by the character Miss Honey from the 1996 film Matilda, “The Leighton Jumper” was created with motherhood in mind.
“Very early on, I said that I was interested in making a jumper, even though [Christy] is really well known for her dresses,” Meester explained. “And while I totally love dresses, jumpers are much more practical for me. They kind of translate from day to night, and I can wear them having a child. They’re my go-to, really.”
Meester — who shares 3-year-old daughter Arlo Day with husband Adam Brody, 39 — said it was important to her to create something that could take her from the beach to the playground and out to dinner at night with ease.
“Christy was saying that her test is always, ‘Can I wear this at the grocery store?'” Meester said. “I’m like, ‘What do I do every day?’ I pretty much go to a playground every day. So I’m like, ‘Can I wear this at a playground?’ I certainly can wear it at the beach, which I spend a lot of time at. I can wear it to dinner out at night. I can wear it during the day to some sort of daytime event. It’s really comfortable and just makes me feel put together — that’s what I want as a mom, to be able to throw something on and feel put together.”
To Dawn, Meester felt like a “perfect match” when it came to their partnership.
“When you meet Leighton, you just feel who she really is,” Dawn told PEOPLE. “And she’s honestly so sweet and so lovable. It was really easy to work together, and when I say work, it’s not even work because it’s like we get to play together and create something beautiful together. Honestly, I’m going to miss having her come to the office because we had so much fun creating it.”
All proceeds from the sale of Meester’s jumper will benefit Los Angeles’ Downtown Women’s Center, an organization focused on empowering women who are struggling with homelessness and one which Meester was introduced to after volunteering with Feeding America for years.
“Feeding America is an amazing organization that’s like the umbrella organization that helps connect food banks with charter schools,” she said. “The way that the Downtown Women’s Center gets a lot of their food is through grocery stores who are getting rid of food [or] have a surplus of food that would otherwise get thrown out.”
“A lot of different periods of time growing up, I experienced food insecurity,” she continued. “That was just how I grew up. There was good, easy times and then a lot of the time towards the end of the month, it wasn’t as easy. So, it’s people that you work with, it’s your friend at school, it’s your neighbor. It’s people that you wouldn’t necessarily think are experiencing food insecurity. That type of thing, especially as a mother, resonates with me because the most natural instinct is to feed your child. So, I thought it was a wonderful partnership.”