Maxine Bédat founder of Zady Interview
Zady (www.Zady.com) is the leading slow fashion brand and lifestyle destination for those who care about the origins of the items they purchase. What was the driving force behind this original concept?
It started by having a closet overflowing with clothes, but nothing to wear. We then discovered the business behind why we have so much stuff. We learned that we are being sold clothing that is designed to be worn only seven times. We discovered that our cheap clothing had a huge cost born by the planet and the people who make our things. We learned how disconnected apparel brands are to the production and we decided instead of talking about the problem, we’d create a solution.
The Zady ideology is primarily based on social and environmental concepts. How challenging is such an approach to the commercial aspect of the garments?
The ideology is to create a beautiful garment. Everything flows from that. It is designed beautifully and made beautifully. It has the highest-quality materials, and the best construction. It’s all about creating a garment with great value. Value, we learned, is not about the price on the tag, but how long we will be able to enjoy wearing a product.
Your company shares a story with the consumers, a story which gives emphasis on the true value and connection with the items they own. How is that practically achieved in the crowded premium fashion market?
As I said, we are focused on true value. That’s what we see our community looking for. They aspire to a life that is balanced and beautiful, not just being sold a cheap product with flashy photography.
What are the absolute prerequisites for the designers to be featured in Zady.com?
That they are close to their production.
How important is it for the consumers to actually know what their clothes are made of?
Apparel is the second most polluting industry in the world. Today, because of fast fashion, our quality clothing has been replaced by disposal stuff made out of oil. 56% of clothing today is polyester. It’s like we’re wearing the equivalent of a gas guzzling car. To tackle the environment and to tackle global poverty, we’re going to have to get a handle on this industry. That’s all wrapped in us as consumers knowing what, who and how our clothing is made.
The apparel industry has most definitely abused the term “sustainable”. Since you personally have spent time with craftsmen in places like Zambia, Tajikistan and Nepal as a founder of the nonprofit The Bootstrap Project, how do you confront the deliberate or inadvertent fashion “sins” ?
Words and phrases like sustainable or radically transparent are thrown around carelessly. We counter things with facts.
You share an admirable aesthetic and philosophical point of view on items which infuses the mentality of the site. Do you ever feel that honesty and quality are not as appreciated as they should be by the majority of fashion enthusiasts ?
At this moment, maybe not. For the past decade it became chic to buy cheap. But this approach is not inevitable. What’s exciting about the times we live in, is how fast these things can change. Even a single person changing their approach can have a massive first-mover impact on the entire industry.
What do you aspire for the Zady and fashion in general?
That we, as consumers, are offered only inspired products that make us look and feel great. Inspired products are beautiful, non-toxic, and well-constructed and that means they are made by people who are treated as the real craftsmen they are.