Just as the health conscious have stricken fast food from their diet, the style conscious are eliminating fast fashion from their closets. But the responsibility of running background checks on brands (What are the products made of? Where are they produced? Under what conditions?) has largely fallen on the consumer. Now Zady, a new style-forward shopping site with a conscience, does all the work for you, sourcing menswear (as well as womenswear and home products) that meet high standards of sustainable design and production.
So far co-founders Soraya Darabi (Foodspotting) and Maxine Bédat (The Bootstrap Project) have signed 40 slow fashion designers to their roster. Their products are handmade from locally-sourced, high-quality raw materials, many of which are made in the U.S. Each item is stamped with any combination of six badges (see below) to make it easy for buyers to identify the level of sustainability. (The Bootstrap Project badge indicates that 5% of each purchase from Zady supports international craft traditions via Bédat's very first e-commerce venture.)
The site also hosts pages where you can "meet" the designers, see their studios and manufacturing facilities, and learn the story behind your purchase.
Though it isn't the first 'do-gooder' fashion start-up (think Warby Parker or Tom's Shoes), it may be the first online mall for such products. And it should be noted that Zady puts style first, as opposed to politics. The stories behind the products are important, but if they don't also meet the founders' aesthetic standards you won't see them on the site.
"Someone asked us why we're not Fair-Trade Certified," Bédat said, "and the answer is that we want this to represent our generation, and when I think of Fair Trade I think of hemp bags, and that's not what this is at all. It's really stylish and beautifully made."
Zady officially opens for business at the end of the month. Sign up for the newsletter to get alerts when the first items go on sale.
—Details associate Web editor, Perrin Drumm. Follow her @perrindrumm.