We’ve talked about a lot of the economic/logic-based reasons for supporting American designers and makers – but when it comes down to it, it’s all about the connection. If you make incredible products but you aren’t very nice or your other business practices aren’t as thoughtful, I’m a lot less likely to continue to support you. But if you surprise me and inspire me, I’ll be you customer and advocate for as long as you’ll have me.
Giejo, Gabby Sabharwal’s swimwear line, is the perfect example of a brand that I love (and an A List brand, of course!). I discovered Giejo last year while searching frantically for a suit for a trip to Tulum. I was getting ready to leave my corporate job and my frustration and anxiety had manifested itself in a pretty significant weight gain (turns out, cinnamon rolls and pizza aren’t meant to be eaten every day! who knew?!). I knew I needed a new suit but I dreaded the experience… swimsuit shopping is not my idea of fun. I came across Giejo and loved the cuts and mixed patterns so I ordered several options and sizes. I was surprised at how good I felt when I tried them on – the fit was great, the material was fantastic, and the pieces were comfortable. I kept my favorites and sent back the rest – and then was shocked to get an email from Gabby herself, asking for my feedback on the fit and if she could help me find what I was looking for. I sort of expected the standard, well you aren’t a model so of course this won’t fit right, and was so happy to find that she really just wanted to understand how her line fit different customers and body types. That email led to a few more and this fall we met while I was in New York to talk about the line – which she has recently expanded to include the best cover ups and beach wear (can we talk about how good this bomber and this dress are? amazing.)
Gabby is incredible – she’s so passionate about her work and about keeping her production local and using sustainable materials (Giejo suits are made of deadstock fabric) and she also has a full time job managing PR for a huge label – it’s inspiring and motivating and I’m so excited to see what she does next!
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
The beach, travel, the world around me, my friends and street style.
WHAT MADE YOU START YOUR LINE?
The idea to create a swimsuit came about really as something that was initially just for me. I was looking to purchase a new swimsuit for my upcoming vacation to St. Thomas with my girlfriends to celebrate my birthday.
WHAT IS THE MEANING & INSPIRATION BEHIND YOUR LINE?
[gee-joe] interchangeable and multi-functional swim separates featuring versatile prints and figure-flattering silhouettes that can be mixed and matched for a unique look.
The collection is very reflective of my own personal style. I love to layer and mix and match patterns and textures when I dress and I really kept that in mind when choosing the fabrics and prints for my suits.
Another important aspect in my collection was to create multiple looks with a limited amount of pieces. This stems from my original design inspiration and the ability to mix and match prints. I love the idea of having options because not only can you get multiple wears out of say three pieces, you can also make something our own. You are not committed to a suit that is shown to you in the store. This really allows my client to create her own style, another key element to the giejo girl.
WHAT DRIVES YOU?
My passion for life. Knowing that I am living out my dream. Everyday I wake up and pinch myself that this is really it!
WHAT MAKES YOUR DAY?
WHAT ARE YOUR STYLE ESSENTIALS?
A killer bag and shoes. Also, my jewelry – each piece has a special story and reminds me of someone special in my life.
WHAT IS NEXT?
I would love to expand into mens and childrens.
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED?
I learn something new everyday – there is always a new challenge.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER ENTREPRENEURS?
Listen to your gut and do what feels right to you – never lose sight of your vision.
WHERE DO YOU DESIGN?
In my head throughout the day. It doesn’t all just happen at once or at one time. I am constantly inspired by the world around me!
New York City. I could spend hours people watching. They are the real people wearing fashion. I always dreamed of moving to this city and I am grateful everyday to wake up everyday and experience what surrounds me.
WHERE DO YOU MAKE YOUR LINE?
giejo is proudly made in the USA. All of our materials are sourced locally in New York City’s Garment District and produced just across the Hudson River in New Jersey.
WHERE DO YOU LIKE TO SHOP?
My absolute favorite place to shop is the Barneys shoe section!
WHERE DO YOU ESCAPE?
To the islands – my parents have a place in St.Thomas and St.John, so I have grown up escaping there.
WHY DO YOU MAKE YOUR COLLECTION?
To address everything that was missing in the swim market. I tried to address everything that I felt was missing from the market that my friends and I were looking for, because honestly the giejo girl is me and all of my girlfriends too. We wanted swim that was fashion forward and that would make us stand out on the beach.
I think it is important to support the industry here. You also have a better understanding of the conditions and can be a part of the process by proximity.
WHY IS AMERICAN MADE IMPORTANT TO YOU?
It helps to support our economy and drive local businesses – I love having the personal relationships with the mom and pop stores in the garment district and my guys at the factory are like family.
WHY DOES MANUFACTURING IN AMERICA SUPPORT YOUR BUSINESS?
I have more control and as I mentioned earlier can be more a part of the process. I can just drive through the tunnel and check-in to ensure that production is running smoothly and correctly – you have no idea how much can be lost in translation!
WHY IS YOUR COLLECTION DIFFERENT?
We support sustainable fashion by utilizing vintage and reclaimed textiles in our limited-edition designs.