Have you ever wondered about the people who made your favorite mug, shirt or chair? In Why Do We Have Things?, Rita Mehta of The American Edit and Erin Husted of Hackwith Design House interview the independent designers, artists, small business owners and creatives behind our favorite things.
Today’s guest is Nicole Najafi, founder of Industry Standard, a direct to consumer denim brand founded by Nicole Najafi to deliver premium quality (the industry standard…) denim without a higher price point. Industry Standard jeans are designed in New York and made in the denim district of LA, using Cone Denim from North Carolina. Rita & Nicole talk about the process of launching Industry Standard when coming from a digital marketing background, the conscientious compromises we make every day, and about focusing on real, thoughtful products – and relationships – while building your business.
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I’ve always known about Eileen Fisher but it wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized that the brand was one I wanted to learn more about. Similar to when you learn a new word and then start to see and hear it everywhere, Eileen Fisher became something I came across frequently and wanted to seek out on my own…
First, a friend with incomparable taste and exceedingly high expectation mentioned she loved the brand’s sweaters; next, I read this incredible New Yorker profile on Eileen Fisher, with mentions to the brand’s responsible and sustainable practices right around the time I was starting to really rethink my career and how I shopped; and last, Celine and The Row came into my purview, showing timeless, simple, elegant looks – that I admired but could never dream to afford… but that seemed to share a similar aesthetic and ethos with much of Eileen Fisher’s collection. My infatuation was validated when The Cut told me it was cool to love Eileen Fisher, but I’d already become fan.
Style will always be my primary factor in making a purchase decision or recommendation but what impresses me most about Eileen Fisher is the brand’s commitment to showing their customers what is behind the label and to improving the industry for everyone involved (which, when you think about it, is everyone – or at least those of us who wear clothes!).
“We don’t want sustainability to be our edge. We want it to be universal.” —Eileen
VISION2020 Our vision is for an industry where human rights and sustainability are not the effect of a particular initiative, but the cause of a business well run. Where social and environmental injustices are not unfortunate outcomes, but reasons to do things differently.
On Behind the Label, you can learn more about Eileen Fisher’s commitment to Made in the USA, organic & sustainable fibers, safe dying practices, fair trade practices, human rights and their supply chain, and even how to wash and repair your items correctly so that they last for a long time! It’s comprehensive, and thoughtful, and so important.
This year, Eileen Fisher’s Spring Collection is 80% sustainable – a new record and simply an amazing feat. 20% of the collection is made in the USA as compared to 3% of most other brands. And all of it is simple, well-made, and beautiful.
To celebrate the collection and Earth Day, Eileen Fisher is hosting a giveaway of a $1000 shopping spree. Take this 5 question quiz (it’s fun and quick!) and let me know if your style leans towards Natural Beauty, Enlightened Luxe, or Living Local. (you won’t be surprised to find that mine was Living Local!)… even if you don’t win the gift card, you’re likely to find yourself with a little bonus takeaway just for entering!
DISCLOSURE: This is a sponsored post – I received compensation from Eileen Fisher in order to promote the Spring 2016 collection for Earth Day. I believe in the collection and that the products I’ve chosen to share align with the goals of The American Edit. Thank you for supporting the partners that support TAE. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to EMAIL ME.
I’m a big fan of Industry Standard denim – a direct to consumer denim brand founded by Nicole Najafi to deliver premium quality (the industry standard…) denim without a higher price point. Industry Standard jeans are designed in New York and made in the denim district of LA, using Cone Denim from North Carolina. Nicole focuses on the ideal fit – the jeans are designed to complement your figure and maintain their shape… because no one wants baggy knees!
I’m dying to visit Industry Standard’s factory, owned by Nicole’s manufacturing partner, Matt Berkson, but haven’t been able to connect with Nicole in LA just yet… so she took some photos to share with us during her last visit. Read on for notes from the tour… and then check out Industry Standard – I live in my Margots and can’t recommend them highly enough.
IS: Bright and sunny day in LA, as usual! This is the exterior of our factory in Vernon, where a good chunk of LA denim is made. The top floor of the factory does knits and jersey, too.
IS: These house all the electrical circuits that supply power to the factory. You can imagine how much electricity has to be generated to keep all the machinery powered.
IS: Ernesto! He’s part of the maintenance crew and is the nicest person. He keeps the factory nice and tidy. I was walking by and saw him catching shade outside and snapped a candid.
IS: The pastel pink exterior of the factory. Historically, factories in LA were always pink, dating back to the early 19th century. Just kidding. I believe the wife of the factory owner is responsible for this lovely hue. I love the contrast of the industrial details and pastel colors.
IS: The brick and concrete stairwell that keeps the factory very cool, temperature-wise. I always have to take a sweater when I visit, even when it’s scorching hot outside. LA construction is so smart that way. It amazes me how cool it stays.
IS: This is the sewing floor of the factory. Garments are cut and carried up the freight elevator on the large metal carts pictured, and then sewn on industrial sewing machines. I snapped this photo around noon when everyone was on lunch break.
IS: White denim getting sorted for sewing. I love the tall curtains and old, industrial windows.
IS: Our labels! They get sewn on at the end. It’s actually the very last thing that is done on the jeans.
IS: This is an original Singer sewing machine. Singer is one of the best and oldest makers of sewing machines, dating back to the 1850s. Some antique Singers are actually collector’s items. This one is probably from the 1970’s and still works just as well as when it was new. It goes to show how excellent their machines are!
IS: Piles of indigo denim ready for sewing.
IS: These are various thread colors for sewing. Who knew there were so many shades to a gold stitch?
IS: More thread colors. We use the navy for our Margot Highrise that has a tonal stitch.
IS: This is a denim pattern. It’s essentially a blueprint for the cutter to know where to cut the denim. You’ll see a lot of different pieces squeezed in, so as to minimize fabric waste. It’s like tetris–the more pieces you can fit together, the less fabric you waste.
IS: These are manual kick press machines that are used for applying button shanks, rivets, and any other kind of hardware to the jeans.
IS: A kick press machine up close.
IS: Voila! Cut, sewn, washed, and ready for labels.