Ethical fashion brand Zady starts fall with a new collection and a leadership change.
Founded in August 2012 by Soraya Darabi and Maxine Bédat, the future of the firm now will be under the reins of Bédat. Darabi, whose background is in technology and social media, has elected to step down from her day-to-day role at the company.
According to Darabi, she will remain as an adviser. “My background is more of an angel investor/adviser to many tech companies in New York. My focus now will be to invest and advise companies in the intersection of design, technology and social impact,” she said.
At the time the two childhood friends began Zady, they wanted to ensure the firm had a social impact component, but weren’t exactly sure how the brand’s positioning would evolve. As the firm’s focus has taken hold, it has become a leader in the push for transparency in the supply chain process. With that focus and positioning becoming more entrenched, Darabi has shifted gears and is again eyeing how to help other tech entrepreneurs.
Bédat said that with the new fall line, it “just seemed an appropriate time to commit ourselves to really be the leaders in the supply chain focused on apparel.”
Bédat spoke about how with start-ups, sometimes “firms can end up being a lot of different things….We saw real major issues within the fashion industry. I still get to have Soraya as an adviser [as Zady is] moving the needle on this entire movement of how companies can do good and be good at the same time.”
In prior seasons, the company introduced a sweater for its private label Essentials line that, similar to other products available on its site, incorporates information on the manufacturing process. The sweater, priced at $160, was designed in New York; uses wool from a sheep farm in Oregon; washing and carding completed in South Carolina; dyeing and spinning into yarn in Pennsylvania, and knitting in California.
The new line, consisting of seven tops and one coat, will feature the same kind of information for each product. The pieces are priced from $45 for a linen T-shirt to around $300 for the coat.
Fabrication for the line is composed of a blend of alpaca, linen and cotton. The alpaca comes from a mill in Peru, and was chosen because the fiber is available in colors that don’t need to be dyed.
According to Bédat, alpaca was also used because of its sustainability factor. Since certain colors are natural and don’t require dyeing, there’s less water pollution on the environmental front.
“Alpaca, unlike cashmere, is a lower impact fiber because of the way in which Alpaca eats grass. It eats it like a lawnmower, so it doesn’t pull out the roots. In contrast with cashmere, the goats when they eat, the grass picks up the grass roots and that results in mismanagement of the land,” Bédat said.
She explained that in making a “conscious choice for dyeing and the way the animal consumes nutrients,” Zady is challenging the industry to “not make short-term commitments as [companies] try to find ways to become the cheapest producer.”
In furtherance of the Obama administration’s effort to revitalize American manufacturing, Zady last month was a participant at the White House Supply Chain Innovation Roundtable, joining firms such as Boeing, General Electric, RanTech and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., among others, in the discussion on strengthening small manufacturers in domestic supply chains.