By  on August 22, 2011


Yala is not your mother’s organic clothing, but in designer Chelsea Morgan’s case, it is her mother’s company. What began as a sleepwear line called DreamSacks in 1996 has since evolved into a lifestyle brand rechristened this year as Yala, comprising natural-fiber clothing for men, women and babies, as well as accessories, home and travel goods.

Founded by Ashland, Ore.-based family Nancy and Larry Morgan and daughter Chelsea, the company uses fabrics made from sustainable fibers — organic cotton, renewable bamboo viscose and silk — colored with low-impact, azo-free dyes.

From its collaborative design process to socially responsible sourcing, manufacturing with carbon-offset credits, shipping by electric vehicle and paperless billing, Yala has become a key example of sustainable business practices.

Hoping to expand its niche reach beyond the U.S. and Canada at WWDMAGIC, Yala is also launching a new line at the show: Free Soul, a collection of handmade scarves, necklaces and bracelets made by women from India’s Untouchable caste, who have found financial independence through Yala’s partnership with microfinance company Build A Nest.

Yala will also be showing fall immediates including its best-selling tunics, leggings and cashmere scarves, and maxiskirts, reversible scoop-neck tank tops and sweaters. Wholesale prices range from $12 to $59. “Sizes go from XS to XL, and my mom and I designing together can navigate two generations,” said Chelsea, 30.

Before starting Yala, Nancy, 59, was a teacher who worked in Southeast Asia and Central America. “I was interested in anthropological and global issues and always dreamed of having a business that combined culture and fashion,” she said.

Chelsea, who spent her early childhood in China and learned Chinese before English, went to school at Dartmouth and joined the company after graduation. “Chinese comes in handy when we go there for sourcing,” she said.


Seventies denim brand Dittos is relaunching for spring. After being produced under license by Frankie B. for two seasons, Dittos’ parent, Jordache Enterprises, has taken the line back in-house and is rolling out jeans and bottoms at wholesale prices from $38.50 to $43.50, jackets and vests from $33.50 to $43.50 and T-shirts for $18.50.

“The Dittos brand was very particular to Western style but still a very luxury and wanted brand at the time,” said Jordache owner Steven Nakash, recalling the heyday of the 33-year-old brand. “What we went for was a more fashion-oriented and color-driven denim, which was not really being offered at the time.”

Today, those are again two of the hottest trends in denim, making the timing of the re-launch “impeccable” said Nakash. “Naturally, we are taking the available trends in the market now, color and pastels, and working off of that,” he said.

Bottoms include flare and skinny silhouettes, with plenty of the trademark double yolk stitch. “We want to offer newer and fresher styles along with different stitches and pocketing for a look that is authentically vintage,” he said. “We’re getting back into quality and small details and fit.”

Although the focus is still on jeans, Dittos now offers shorts, skirts and logo T-shirts that blend the Western flair of Texas (where the brand was born) and the rock-band influence of Los Angeles (where it’s always been made).

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