Having “nothing to wear” is undoubtedly one of the most common problems shoppers face within their respective wardrobes. And that’s precisely why Sita, a pared-down women’s apparel brand that focuses on minimalist, smartly tailored closet essentials, aimed to solve it.
To start, Sita designed a proprietary premium four-way stretch performance fabric, SitaTech, that checks all the boxes — temperature-controlled, breathable, moisture-wicking, odor neutralizing and machine washable — with nanotechnology, or nano-yarns that are literally a million times thinner than cotton.
The objective? Create a fabric that women can wear comfortably throughout various daily activities — including the gym — and transition into nighttime, with styles that are so enduring, there’s no need to change. Deemed a luxury fabric, SitaTech is engineered in France and enhanced in Japan, with its nano-yarns knitted in Italy and the final step, its design teams assembling each piece, in New York.
And the brand is all about girl power, as its cofounder, Aljohara Almodaimigh was inspired to create Sita — named after the Hindu model of the ideal woman, or a goddess of good character, prosperity and happiness — after tiring of constant wardrobe changes during her busy work schedule as the owner and founder of Kore, the only woman-owned, women’s gym chain in Saudi Arabia.
Almodaimigh told WWD, “My life as the co-owner of Kore, a leading women-only fitness chain in Saudi, and as a Barre instructor took me from fitness studios to business meetings to social engagements, all in one day. I had trouble finding versatile apparel appropriate to every occasion and activity without having to change. One day in January 2018, I woke up and decided to create a line that can take me from day to night.”
Here, Almodaimigh and Gianfranco Zani, a cofounder of Sita, talk to WWD about SitaTech, nanotechnology and the sustainability-led evolution of consumer demand.
WWD: Tell me about SitaTech. Why is the fabric innovation so differentiated in the market and how does it compare with other fabrics in the market?
Gianfranco Zani: We developed and trademarked SitaTech, an innovative, sustainable performance fabric made of nanofibers, 1 million times thinner than cotton. It is machine washable with permanent features to wick moisture, neutralize odor generating bacteria, four-way stretch, and features a cooling effect.
In-depth, nanofibers have several advantages. It has a higher tensile strength of up to 30 percent more than any other fiber, hence each garment’s life span is considerably extended.
The chemical resistance is superior to any other fiber in the market. Our nanofibers have been ionized on a nanoscale level to permanently neutralize all sources of odor creating bacteria: ammonia, hydrogen sulfate, isovaleric acids and acetic acids. What this means for the end consumer is that women will need to wash their clothes when they are actually dirty. For the environment, this has a huge effect, as less washing and no dry cleaning is required.
Nanofibers reduce the amount of coloring agents and water by up to 40 percent and its manufacturing uses up to 30 percent less energy at the manufacturing stage. By using nanotechnology and permanently insert active agents into the filament, nano fabrics use 60 percent less energy than traditional surface finishes.
WWD: How has consumer demand influenced the sustainable fashion movement?
G.Z.: Consumers pose high expectations to the industry when it comes to sustainability. With our approach, we not only diminish water and energy consumption during the manufacturing process, or considerably extend the lifespan of clothes, or make it work in every wardrobe at any occasion. We give every consumer the opportunity to individually contribute to reduce water, energy and consumption. Consumers are as responsible as the industry is, and soon enough it will not suffice to “demand” sustainable practices and products. Sustainability does not stop after buying sustainably produced items.
We are extending sustainability from industrial production all the way to individual maintenance. At a certain point in the evolution of the sustainability debate, consumers will want to know how they can actively contribute without sacrificing comfort and convenience, functionality and fashion. The answer to that is Sita — that is where Sita is today. You have to do today what the world will do tomorrow.
WWD: Were there any challenges creating a woman-owned brand in Saudi, and did the nation’s culture influence Sita’s aesthetic?
G.Z.: Quite frankly, it didn’t. Obviously, the social aspect is dear to us, as one of the founders is based in Saudi Arabia. She is a young professional who build a leading fitness club brand exclusively for women, therefore empowering her audience to live a healthier and stronger life. With that state of mind, we wanted to create a brand that gives women around the world the opportunity to adhere to their cultural conditions, without sacrificing dressing codes, comfort and functionality.
Aljohara Almodaimigh: There were no challenges facing businesswomen in Saudi. There are many Saudi female-owned businesses across various sectors. Men and women are treated equally in terms of opening up their own businesses, and the Saudi Government has always encouraged female entrepreneurship.
WWD: In what ways has the country evolved its policies regarding women’s right and female empowerment in recent years?
A.A.: Saudi Arabia is going through a ground-breaking transition that has improved the rights of women and given them exciting opportunities. The support that women are receiving in the country is amazing. Sita’s success is proof that the government’s initiatives to develop the female talent in the kingdom is promising and prospering.
WWD: What’s next for Sita?
G.Z.: Our proprietary product gives us a considerable advantage to secure the future and growth of the brand. The scalability of the brand is unique and at the same time universal. We offer layered luxury pieces that cover all the basic needs of everyone’s wardrobe.
The educational work that the product requires allows us to grow at a solid and steady pace, leading to an exceptionally loyal, global customer base. We have a sales force in place that is covering the major fashion markets. We are exploring additional opportunities that will greatly expand the brand’s name through thoughtful and symbiotic partnerships.
For more Business news from WWD, see: