With Earth Day coming up this Tuesday, April 22, we’re taking it upon ourselves to help you look cute and stay eco-conscious at the same time. Enter Zady, the e-commerce site founded in early 2013 by friends (and fellow Minnesotans) Maxine Bedat and Soraya Darabi. "Soraya and I realized how much we cared over the past decade about where our food was coming from, and it occurred to us that we cared about where our clothing was coming from, too," says Bedat. "We had grown up in that generation of fast fashion and we were tired of it."
Bedat and Darabi set out in search of brands that take a hands-on approach to manufacturing, as well as labels that are locally sourced and sustainable. They combed trade shows for brands that fit their model and soon companies were flocking to them through word of mouth. "When we would tell people the story of Zady their reaction would be, ‘Oh my god, I know the perfect brand, there’s a great designer in Milan, there’s a great designer in Peru’…it opened up a whole network to us."
The women never sacrifice style for ethics, however. "Our initial conception of ethical fashion clothing was just granola and tarp and, you know, hemp," Bedat admits. "But there is really stylish clothing that is great and also ethical. That balance is really important to us—everything is seen as beautiful first, but it’s also beautiful because it’s made really well." Take Cuisse de Grenouille, for instance, a surf and lifestyle brand started by two Parisian brothers who carefully pick and choose their materials from all over Europe. Or Mercado Global, a brand that has been providing fair wages and business training to the artisans it works with for the past 10 years. The common link? Zady’s wares are high-quality, timeless, stylish and good. “You can click on any product and it will take you to a map that goes into every detail—from where the fabric is from to where it is manufactured," says Bedat. "It’’s a really fun way of exploring the world.”
Like Olivia Wilde’s Conscious Commerce, TOMS’ Marketplace and Lauren Bush Lauren’s FEED, Zady is part of a recent trend of brands that aim to celebrate designers that are intimately involved with their own manufacturing and choose eco-friendly practices. Click through above for the stories behind some of Zady’s pretty, planet-friendly brands.