Well-tailored dresses are my go-to when I’m not sure how much to dress up or down. A staple dress is one that you can reach for again and again, and wear without too much thought to styling or effort.
That’s why the dresses and jumpsuits by the recently launched line HEUCY caught my eye. Not only are HEUCY’s garments made with sustainably-minded materials, but they’re also the kind of easy-to-wear clothes that make getting dressed quick while still looking chic a no-brainer.
Suwha Hong, the founder and designer of Heucy, set out to create versatile garments that could be a stylish alternative to business casual. For example, the “Alter Ego” jumpsuit (shown above) could be worn to the office with the addition of smart shoes or a blazer, but it’s also weekend-ready with its relaxed fit.“The modern woman has a lot of different responsibilities,” Hong told TreeHugger. “Dressing for each separate occasion seems to be a thing of the past.” We don’t necessarily have the time or desire to change for each occasion. Hong is a busy mom herself, and the line’s name is a mash-up of her two children's names (Henry + Lucy = Heucy).
Before starting HEUCY, Hong was the creative director at Cynthia Steffe and also created her own line of clothing. In her past work, she said she sometimes felt that she didn't really know where things were coming from or if they were made sustainably.
She took a more transparent path for Huecy. “I really wanted to make something that I understood, out of fabric that I understand. I wanted to be able to source from people that I have a good relationship with, and who can tell me exactly where the fabric is coming from and how the fabric is made.”
Hong knew that the designs she wanted to create required a soft, knit-jersey fabric. So, she set out to find a mill that could create this fabric from sustainable fibers in the U.S. She decided to go with a fabric manufacturer in California, which also uses eco-friendly dyes. Most of the garments are made with Tencel and Modal, two fabrics made from certified sustainably harvested wood—and offer an advantage over rayon, another wood fiber-based fabric with origins that can be difficult to track.
“The California mill makes all made-to-order fabrics, so there’s no waste there,” said Hong. The fabric is cut and sewn in New York City’s garment district.
Heucy is using a direct-to-consumer online sales model. “We wanted to be able to sell directly to the consumer, and have a dialogue with them about what works and what they like,” said Hong. "But I think that is ultimately part of that sustainability ethos. We didn't want it to exchange hands one more time." The result of cutting out the middle man means less emissions, by shipping the clothes directly from the fulfillment center to the consumer.
For Hong, creating versatile garments also goes hand-in-hand with the company's sustainability ethos. “We wanted to put out fewer but better choices,” said Hong. “You don't need to buy all these different outfits.”