SUSTAINABLE WITH TERESA PERNA, CO-FOUNDER OF MAYD IN CHYNA

”We are a political, environmental and social enterprise that has chosen fashion to transform the anthropocentric business model to an ecocentric one.  We create ladies’ and men’s designer clothing that is ethically and certifiably produced so that we can offer you the option of dressing both exquisitely and purposefully.” – MAYD IN CHYNA

The brand portrays the very opposite idea from the one normally associated with the phrase “Made in China”. So firstly, please note the choice of the brand name and its spelling; secondly, please note that the Y is slanted, projects from within the words and has a period at the end of it, doubles as a question mark and represents the Logo; thirdly, please note that the “IN” contains our Y which appears cutting diagonally across the word “IN” to indicate that “IN” is negated.

The brand embraces the concept of social and economic justice, ecological integrity and animal welfare – while giving you, the customer, distinctive design details to give you that edge. Politically sustainable,  the brand will always align the business mandate to genuinely serve the interests of people, animals and our planet. This is its ethos. As well, materially sustainable, the fabrics are and always will be vegan, will always be certified to a manufacturing standard and/or manufactured based entirely on the principles of organic, sustainable, ethical & regenerative production methods. Unique fabrics and design apparel that are not only organic and sustainable but are 100% vegan and sourced entirely in the USA. The fabrics and the designs are sophisticated, timeless and classic, while having exceptional quality and beauty.

 

lucia editorial 05

 

”We represent a radical idea – a departure from the ordinary.”

”Our company is wholly run by family members whose professional expertise is on the continuum of fashion design, business management, marketing and environmental sustainability.”

The line is produced based entirely on the principles and practices of organic, sustainable and ethical production methods from our raw organic pima fibre, to our hangtags and notions. Our suppliers are either GOTS certified, Oeko-Tex certified, or adhere to the GOTS and Oeko-Tex standards.

”We also wish to borrow from and incorporate the concept embedded in the management approach of “regenerative agriculture” coined by the Robert Rodale of the Rodale Institute into our business philosophy…meaning that we have to go beyond sustainable when using resources to the idea of improving them with each use.”

The brand is focused on how profits can be used to help our planet rather than destroy and exploit it. This also ties in with its choice of fabrics because once you start on a quest to help the planet, then you naturally gravitate towards searching for what is the least damaging in terms of fibres, processes etc .The brand is differentiated from other fashion brands because the fashion label was designed to be a catalyst for change and not just a fashion statement. In the design of this label the first priority was to create apparel that would produce the least amount of damage to all its surroundings and yet provide the good feeling and beauty that we all seek in a fashion piece. Under the umbrella of the most ethical business model we could create, this direction propelled it into looking for the best possible sustainable textiles, the best and least damaging processes, and designs and colours that would last a lifetime.

We particularly reach out to a customer who wants to become part of a new global awareness and solution for the issues affecting society, the environment, and animals.

”Specifically our end customer is someone that demands not only fashionable apparel but also quality and high end apparel that is unique and offers environmentally friendly options. Our customers have a strong awareness of social, economic and environmental issues and how they interconnect with lifestyle choices. As a result this customer does not make price the priority, but considers the other values added as the deciding factor to purchase. In research terminology, these customers are referred to as LOHAS – LIFESTYLE OF HEALTH AND SUSTAINABILITY (living a lifestyle that prioritizes health and sustainability). All of the above make for a customer who is forward-thinking, open minded, secure and confident in being who they and in their beliefs and values, and strong enough to follow their own distinctive fashion style regardless of fashion or societal trends.”

AN EXCLUSIVE CHAT X 33 MAGAZINE

How does the brand position itself on the international market?

We feel our Brand is a very good fit with the trajectory of the international fashion market.  Internationally we have seen a very keen and sincere interest in sustainability and fashion ethics and our designs have been picked up and promoted by online retailers in the UK, the Scandinavian countries and Australia.

How the brand was born and how many people are involved in the team now?

The Brand was born out of necessity.  We felt that we did not have access to truly stylish, quality and vegan clothing that was not made in China….thus our Brand name….we wanted to show that what we did and how we did it was completely the opposite of how bad fashion was done in China…we wanted to have respect for people, animals and the environment.  We used China as the poster child for the polluting and human rights violations of the fashion industry.                   

We are a family business, mother, 2 sons and a daughter, myself, the co-founder and designer; one son is also the co-founder, marketing director and CEO; the other son is the financial expert and my daughter is the consultant since she works in the fashion industry herself.

What do you think is the biggest challenge for a young brand right now?

The biggest challenge for a young brand has and will always be getting your foot in that established fashion world door.  The truth is that it’s not what you know but who you know and it will always be this way.  Retailers/boutiques/dept stores rarely take a chance on something new and different so it is up to you to seek out your niche and bring brand awareness and that is a formidable challenge for young brands.

How do you want to achieve the long-lasting concept for your brand?

To achieve a long-lasting concept for my brand, I think that, through our line, we have to provide solutions to the issues facing our world.. i.e .too much being produced, we produce extremely less; toxic processes that pollute, we do the least toxic or cut out certain processes period; too much animal suffering, we don’t use animal derivatives etc. 

 

lucia photoshoot 07

 

How do you determine what is durable design?

Durable design is determined by many things such as the materials, style and colour, specifically these would include: 

quality fibre

minimal processing

classic and uncluttered styles

neutral colours that can easily be combined with other colours

minimal use of accessories

What happens to that part of a production that does not get sold?

We do not stock as we are made to order, so we will never have that problem.

How far do you go in terms of sustainability? 

Here’s an excerpt from an essay that we wrote to describe how we align ourselves with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals which will explain our efforts in achieving sustainability: 

In keeping with our Brand’s focus we decided to make some very specific business  choices:  to manufacture our own fabrics and labels; to strictly use quality and premium fibre that is organic and certified to a global standard, to strictly use USA made and the most sustainable and eco-friendly notions, trims etc. that we could find, (from our organic thread, to our recycled buttons, to our no heavy metals and recycled zippers, to our recycled hangtags and to our personally designed and manufactured labels) to have a supply chain that we have personally chosen and met, to use processes that are the least damaging as possible, to have as many suppliers as we can that are either certified to the GOTS global standard of textile manufacturing and or adhering to this standard, to create and use designs and colours that are timeless, classic and forever fashionable, to source a supply chain that is entirely USA based starting with our ELS (extra long staple) organic pima and upland cottons to our New York based sewing contractor.  

In making these choices, we support sustainable and healthy economic growth for not only all our suppliers but all business operations that have the common objective of achieving green growth and a green economy. Our choices also guarantee that our high quality product can demand a premium price so that the rewards of a premium price can be genuinely shared by all involved from our farmers to our sewers.  Additionally, choosing a fibre of this calibre and that is grown in the USA ensures that all of our suppliers and their employees are provided with regulated, meaningful and productive employment.  This kind of employment is naturally a more inclusive working environment and will thus open more opportunities for all workers on the employment spectrum from white collar, to pink collar to blue collar.  In fact, visiting our suppliers and knowing them personally has given us the opportunity to observe firsthand the existence of a diverse workforce who is respected and is provided with good working conditions.  

These favourable employment conditions are further strengthened by fact that most of our suppliers are GOTS and/or Oeko-tex and/or Blue Sign certified which means that our suppliers have ecological and social standards in place that are verifiable by the consumer and monitored by a third party.  These standards set social and ecological/environmental parameters and ensure that consumers gets what they pay for and that farmers, workers and the environment reap the benefits associated with a third party certification. All of these conditions speak to our social justice and business integrity commitments.  In fact, in choosing to do our manufacturing in a developed country such as the USA, we can count on employment standard laws that best protect working people by offering decent work and wages, good working conditions, freedom to form unions, limited working hours and employee benefits.  It also ensures that all on our the supply chain are paid fair and living wages which translates into reducing and/or eliminating poverty, hunger and food insecurity.  With decent wages, people obtain freedom and the means of choosing quality versus inferior, and whole foods versus ready to eat processed foods which in turn guarantees optimum nutritionally value and better health.  Living wages also provides workers with good paying  jobs that brings them enough income so they can work less hours giving them time not only for activities that promote well being but also time to become politically engaged so that they have opportunity and accessibility to change the political landscape.  It is only through political will that we can create equitable education, gender equality and accessible and inclusive learning opportunities for all.  We need politicians that have a mandate that aligns with the values of a fair and just society.  It is citizen engagement at the grassroots level that will make these changes happen. With civic participation comes the opportunity to fight for and demand education costs that are low enough for all to take advantage; to fight for individual rights and freedoms, to fight for an inclusive society that welcomes gender equality, and to provide accessible opportunities at all points of social interaction.   

Additionally, our choice of using a fibre that is natural and organically grown and harvested is at the very heart of supporting and fostering sustainable agriculture.  Growing organically ensures that the land, soil, water and air are not degraded with toxic inputs but are kept healthy, clean and resilient.  It also assists with maintaining biodiversity because it treats all components as a whole and considers every living organism as it takes into account the importance of looking after not only the land but all within in it that contributes to its wellness, be they animals, insects, plants etc.  Lastly organic and sustainable agriculture also aids in keeping desertification at bay because it does not strip the land of vegetation or degrade other resources such as water, and it does not overuse the soil to the point that it causes dry and arid land conditions but instead allows these to be integrated into the management and maintenance of the land as a complete system.   Growing organically also sustains and works with the innate integrity of the land which means that the processes used will be chosen based on how they will benefit the land and by how they will restore and regenerate instead of contributing to the negative impacts of dry and barren conditions leading to desertification and other related types of land degradation.  For example, our cotton is primarily rain fed with some grown using a very sophisticated drip system that conserves water by firstly, using a lesser quantity of water to start with, and by deeply channelling water directly to the plant roots so all of the water gets to the plant allowing no loss through evaporation or overflow.

Where could you serve as a role model for others?

I would love to bring this awareness to school children so that they can begin to see how their decisions connect to and affect the world; so, I think a good start is to do some speaking engagements at various schools. 

 

lucia editorial 07lucia photoshoot 03lucia editorial 11lucia photoshoot 11lucia photoshoot 09lucia editorial 09lucia editorial 15lucia photoshoot 05lucia pic edited (2)Lucia 2nd photo shoot 14

Published by Mira Postolache

Mira Postolache is a producer, art-director and writer based in Milan, Italy. Her works were published by REDMILK Magazine, COLLEZIONI Sport & Street, Vogue Talents, ELLE Italia, L'Officiel Malaysia, Schön Magazine, Trend Privé Magazine and more. She is also founder of 33 Magazine and KREEP. Studios + Magazine, a platform focused on new talents and artists worldwide. She ​shapes​ ​and​ ​communicates​ ​the​ ​unique​ ​visions​ ​of​ ​new​ ​talents involved​ ​in​ ​her​ ​projects and ​has​ ​a​ ​deep​ ​understanding​ ​of​ ​the​ ​dynamic​ ​cultural​ ​landscape,​ ​combined with​ ​an​ ​intuition​ ​that​ ​anticipates​ ​industry​ ​innovation.​ ​She​ ​creates​ ​a​ ​dialogue​ ​between​ ​brands​ ​and​ ​their target​ ​audiences​ ​that​ ​is​ ​integrated​ ​across​ ​print,​ ​broadcast​ ​and​ ​digital​ ​media.​ ​​Her​ ​background​ ​like​ ​human​ ​resources​ ​manager​ ​for​ ​more​ ​than​ ​10​ ​years​ ​for​ ​a multinational​ ​company​ ​in​ ​Italy,​ ​helped​ ​her​ ​to​ ​develop​ ​creative​ ​instructional​ ​planning​ ​in​ ​​neuro-linguistic programming​,​ ​leadership​ ​and​ ​communication​ ​skills​ ​for​ ​various ​start-ups in fashion.​ ​Her​ ​mission​ ​is​ ​to support​ ​emerging​ ​designers​ ​from​ ​fashion​ ​industry​ ​and​ ​thanks​ ​to​ ​her​ ​relationships​ ​with​ ​various​ ​leaders from​ ​th​e ​industry​ ​amplify​ ​the​ ​scouting​ ​concept​ ​for​ ​emerging​ ​talents​ ​to​ ​international​ ​catwalks​ ​and important​ ​trade​ ​shows​ and showrooms ​in​ London and Paris.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: