At Iconable, our mission is to offer you a selection of beautiful clothes made by brands around the world that truly commit to a sustainable approach. More than an online store, Iconable wants to celebrate the brands who are revolutionizing the fashion industry. We have created this new series on the Journal to tell you their stories.
We hope you will enjoy learning more about them, their commitment to sustainability, the challenges they face and their inspiration.
Kay Wen, co-founder of SiiZU in their New York studio
Today, we are so excited to introduce you to SiiZU. SiiZU is a New York based brand that focuses on offering high-quality and ecofriendly apparel made with sustainable manufacturing practices at an affordable price point. We instantly fell in love with SiiZU's simple yet infinitely chic pieces that you will want to wear over and over again.
We sat down with its co-founder, Kay Wen, to talk about production, design and inspiration. Meet SiiZU!
How did you decide to create a sustainable fashion brand?
I initially had the idea of founding an eco-fashion brand after watching The True Cost documentary, which highlights the incredible damage Fast Fashion is causing to our environment. The start of SiiZU, however, really came from my frustration of the lack of mass-market impact from the established eco-friendly brands. I wondered if it was because they were too high-market or if the products were not attractive enough. I thought it would be great to have an eco-friendly brand that appeals to the TopShop and Zara shoppers so that as many consumers can be exposed to the idea that looking good and being environmentally-responsible are not mutually exclusive. Better yet, they can do all that without breaking the bank. SiiZU has continued to expand its product line in an effort to offer more sustainable alternatives to our customers.
Can you describe the life of your clothes, from designing to producing?
All of SiiZU’s clothes begin with our fabric. We exclusively source fabrics that are 100% organic and eco-friendly. Our talented design and pattern making team then consciously utilizes each roll of fabric to its full potential, minimizing waste whenever possible.
When deciding on our manufacturing logistics, our sourcing team intentionally kept the fabric manufacturers and garment factories close to each other in order to minimize the carbon footprint from shipping our materials. For example, our merino wool and cashmere sweaters are all sourced and manufactured within Inner Mongolia, minimizing the transportation and unnecessary pollution. We have also started using recyclable paper bag for our packaging. In our pursuit of eliminating our carbon footprint, every detail matters.
SiiZU's garment factory in Beijing, China.
SiiZU's Sweater Factory in Inner Mongolia.What is the biggest challenge you face in making sustainable clothing?
Our dedication of using exclusively 100% eco-friendly fabric has made our sourcing process much more complex. Polyester is the world's most popular fabric, and the price difference between a sweater made with 100% wool versus one made with 95% wool + 5% nylon can be huge. While many brands would settle for this polyester blended fabric, we are dedicated to spending the extra time on sourcing for only 100% eco-fabrics from the few reputable factories across Asia.
Another difficult decision that we have to face constantly is our promise of not working with wholesalers in order to keep the markups low and pass on the savings to our customers. Many resellers around the world have already requested to stock our collection, and our competitors certainly do gain an advantage in brand awareness as they have a long stock list.
However, we believe in what we do – we maintain our goal of delivering high quality and sustainable clothing at an affordable price and we know it will resonate with our customers.
How do you make sure your clothes are truly sustainable?
Our only passing grade for natural fabric is 100%. That means our materials are 100% natural and 100% sustainably grown - containing 0% polyester, 0% toxins. We work closely with our sources to make sure that these standards are upheld.
At SiiZU, we only partner with the most reputable manufacturers in the industry. Our team actually walk through the factory floor to converse with the workers of every factory that we work with to ensure that they are fairly paid and fairly treated. We believe that ethical manufacturing has to start from the ground up.
Any inspiration you want to share? A book, an experience, a quote?
I have personally always been inspired by the casual elegance that Jane Goodall has exuded throughout her career. I have always been stricken by Jane Goodall’s confidence, kindness and beauty. Her style too, is functional yet undeniably stylish. The most beautiful for me, however, is really her kindness and impact she has in the world even to this day.
Thank you so much, Kay, for answering our questions! You can discover or rediscover SiiZU's beautiful pieces on the Shop.
If you have any question, don’t hesitate to send them over at email@example.com