Zady started as an online boutique that champions slow fashion brands. Like slow food, slow fashion celebrates local production, non-polluting processes and ethical production above instant gratification and disposability. The two women who founded the company hoped to encourage quality above quantity, and committed to only sourcing garments with completely transparent production.
Then last year, Zady began to also build an in-house collection from the ground up. They started with just one piece: a sweater. Then they made a tee-shirt. Today, they’re launching a larger collection, called the Essentials collection, which includes a coat, classic button down shirts, and several more sweaters.
The concept of essentials is at the core of the slow fashion movement, which encourages people to own no more than what they need. CEO and co-founder Maxine Bédat emphasized the importance of style, rather than trends. “What we call ‘trends’ in other industries is planned obsolescence,” she told TreeHugger. “The clothing might still survive, but these trends are created so that we feel from one season to the next that the clothing doesn’t work.”
As an alternative to chasing trends, Zady strives to offer items that will look good on the wearer and contribute to their enduring sense of personal style. Each piece is designed to be worn for many years in the future.
Zady took pains to source fibers and fabrics that are ethically made, and when possible, domestically sourced. The first tee shirt and sweater were both made from domestically produced fiber—wool from sheep raised in Oregon and organic cotton grown in Texas. In this collection, Zady introduces Alpaca raised and milled sustainably in Peru.
“It’s not like there’s one magic bullet,” Bédat said about the introduction of imported materials. “You really have to be considerate about many different factors, and for us Alpaca is a great sustainable fiber.” All of the sewing is done in the U.S., with factories in North Carolina, California and New York’s garment district.
It can be difficult to quantify how all of these material and production choices stack up against the typical fast-fashion brand in terms of benefits for the environment—things like water use, carbon footprint or chemical pollution. However, Zady is working to make their production process more transparent.
At the same time the company is launching this collection, it also introduced The New Standard, a feature on their website with articles about their sourcing choices as well as information about other environmental problems that are created by the fashion industry.
“We really worked backwards,” said Bédat. “We looked at the biggest problems that the fashion industry is impacting, and we tried to create a system without all those problems.”