x

Meet the Team: Zady

the style line zady

Photo of Navah Rosenbaum, Soraya Darabi, Maxine Bédat and Soraya Darab and Elizabeth Carey Smith by Bridget Badore

Story by Rachel Schwartzmann – Shop ZADY  – Photos by Bridget Badore

Paired with an eye for style and unwavering commitment –

for sustainability, the team behind Zady has landed at the forefront of a revolution. While the conversation around slow living may be speeding up, Zady is artfully reminding us to slow things down. Since its inception, Zady has been a focused e-commerce platform with the simple intent of fostering conscious consumerism. From curating stories and selling quality product, to launching their first in-house piece, to their recent participation in Fashion Revolution Day; their upward trajectory is being heard by the masses and in turn is helping to build a global community interested in using their style to affect positive change. We here at The Style Line are all for the power personal style has in the bigger picture and were interested to learn more about how this inspires a few of the ladies at Zady — as co-founder Soraya Darabi shared, “Before Zady, I never thought twice about curbing a bad mood with a shopping trip, or owning more clothing than I actually wore. Now, as part of the slow fashion community, I own far fewer items of clothing but each individual piece is constructed well and made to last.” With this in mind, while perusing through the site one is bound to find a surplus of carefully vetted designers available for purchase. We in fact, found many of our favorites including Clare Vivier, Phyllis + Rosie and Won Hundred.

The discoveries continued during our recent trip to their New York HQ. We had the opportunity to spend an afternoon with a few of the team members whose unique experiences experiences are contributing towards Zady’s common goal: Creating a new standard. When entering their downtown offices one is immediately greeted with a wall-sized version of Zady’s mantra. Turning the corner you’ll find clothing samples and inventory in a communal space where each team member is calmly working — there are no offices or cubicles, aside from a conference room and a small kitchenette. Our warm welcome from the team and their playful camaraderie made the space feel all the more open. As we got to know a little bit more about Zady co-founders Maxine Bédat and Soraya Darabi, Design Director Elizabeth Carey Smith and Community Relationship Manager Navah Rosenbaum, we found ourselves inspired by their sincere respect for the task at hand, and perhaps more importantly for one another.

While there are many culminating factors have lead Zady to be apart of a worldwide movement, co-founder Maxine Bédat shed light on the story she hopes to tell despite the challenges ahed, “I hope that Zady inspires others to see that they have real power, power to make the world a more livable place, power to dress in a way that makes them feel great and empowered to take on the world.”  Today we are very proud  to share the stories of four incredible women who have come together to fight injustices in the fashion industry, create and share beautiful pieces and build a community who is embracing the power of personal style. Read on to meet MaxineElizabeth and Navah who share their insights on style, leadership and change.

the style line zady

Maxine Bédat, co-founder of Zady

Please introduce yourself! 

Beyond Zady, I love to travel and explore new places and meet new people. I value people.

Talk to us about leadership – How have your efforts with ZADY and involvement with Fashion Revolution Day informed how you lead?

I learn a lot from others and let myself get inspired by my team. It’s amazing to see how we all work harder and bring our A-game when we’re working towards a cause.

What is one question you wish people asked you more often?

“Do my buying choices make a difference?”

What culture do you hope to cultivate through your work with ZADY?

I hope that Zady inspires others to see that they have real power, power to make the world a more livable place, power to dress in a way that makes them feel great and empowered to take on the world.

As we enter the coming months what are your personal hopes in terms of change in the fashion industry has a result of the efforts set forth by Fashion Revolution Day?

First that we, as consumers, see the role that we can have in changing the industry. Fashion is supposed to be about the future, it supposed to capture the mood of society, but with fast fashion it’s gone off the rails. The industry now dumps 80 billion products on us and manufactures trends, trying to make us feel inadequate so we buy more of their low quality stuff. We have the power to change that.

How do you celebrate personal style? 

I’m a French girl at heart. I do the whole thing – side part, and cigarette pants. It’s just an easy way of getting dressed every day.

The Style Line was built on the premise of discovery, exploration and transit. With this in mind, if what is your “style line”?

A sense of ease and adventure.

Soraya Darabi, Co-Founder, Zady

Please introduce yourself! 

My name is Soraya Darabi and I’m the co-founder of Zady. I enjoy creating, reading, cooking and walking. In life, I value the simple things: family, friendship and new conversations.  The best conversations are with audacious thinkers and social entrepreneurs who want to make a difference and positively impact human lives on a grand scale.

the style line zady

What impact has slow fashion had on your approach to personal style?

Before Zady, I never thought twice about curbing a bad mood with a shopping trip, or owning more clothing than I actually wore. Now, as part of the slow fashion community, I own far fewer items of clothing but each individual piece is constructed well and made to last.  I think twice now about the origins of where fashion comes from before I shop and I encourage my family and friends to be mindful of how and where their items of clothing were made.  Style to me, now, is about minimalism and owning a classic wardrobe that can be mixed and matched together, elegantly. It’s about the essential items and not the trends.

What is one question you wish people asked you more often?

I wish people asked me more what has happened since the tragic collapse of Rana Plaza three years ago to improve factory and workshop conditions around the globe. Unfortunately, not enough has been done.

Talk to us about leadership – How have your efforts with ZADY and involvement with Fashion Revolution Day informed how you lead?

Fashion Revolution Day is a movement and it’s a privilege for Zady to lead it in the United States. Our team leadership style is about encouraging independence from the vast number of American activists, designers, academics who want to share in the ownership of the message. We want the US to feel as though fashion revolution day is not about taking time out on one day to create awareness of the environmental and human rights risks associated with apparel and textile production; it’s about generating conversation throughout the year and lobbying for change.  We hope to lead by example and to further the reach of the movement both online and off.

What are your personal hopes in terms of change in the fashion industry has a result of the efforts set forth by Fashion Revolution Day?

I personally would like to see more brands offer the same level of transparency as we at Zady have committed to.  For every product created, I would like to know where the materials originated from, where the item was crafted and how.  That’s why the hashtag #WhoMadeMyClothes is ultimately so important.

The Style Line was built on the premise of discovery, exploration and transit. With this in mind, if what is your “style line”?

My Style Line is a dark skinny pant, a light top and a cross body bag or vegan backpack with simple hand-made jewelry layered and one pop up color from an accessory like a scarf. Women on the subway inspire my street-style, as do museum exhibitions from MoMA and street performers.

  • the style line zady
  • the style line zady
  • the style line zady
  • the style line zady

“I hope that Zady inspires others to see that they have real power, power to make the world a more livable place, power to dress in a way that makes them feel great and empowered to take on the world.”

the style line zady

Elizabeth Carey Smith, Design Director, Zady

Please introduce yourself! 

I’m a lifelong typography and lettering nerd, which has informed a huge part of my design practice and has become a pretty identifiable personal trait — I have all the letters of the alphabet tattooed on me in random spots! I’m also the mother of an incredibly cute and artistically talented little 4 year-old girl, Francesca, aka Frankie, and I’m married to an amazing man named Edward, who’s a Silversmith for Tiffany. I enjoy hanging out with them as much as possible. I value that, and lots of laughter. I can be an intense person in that I’m very passionate about my work and I’m very critical, but I pair that with humor. If you don’t retain a sense of humor, you can quickly become a bore or a tyrant.

How has your work at ZADY inspired your sartorial preferences and personal design aesthetic?

Being immersed in this movement kind of forces you to look at yourself and your habits and to question them—to stop and say, do I actually need something in my wardrobe? What IS in my wardrobe? And most powerfully, to acknowledge that all of our clothes were made by people, not machines, is confronting. You respect those garments more. I have always had a terrible habit of throwing my clothes over chairs and on the floor, and I don’t do that anymore. I wouldn’t do that with anything else—my books, my nice dishes, my art supplies— so now I hang everything up, and I have to wash and iron them less frequently, and they’re better taken care of.

What is one element of your personal style that has evolved as a result of being so immersed in the slow-fashion community?

I’m much more conscious of how my clothes fit. Fast fashion doesn’t fit properly, which is just one reason that those clothes look so sloppy and cheap. I’m now much more considerate of comfort over something being trendy, because when your clothes fit you and you’re comfortable, you look more stylish and put together. And while I love color, I have toned down on thinking about trendy color and have been thinking more about pops of color or allowing my everyday jewelry (all made by my husband of recycled metals) to accessorize my outfits.

The Style Line was built on the premise of discovery, exploration and transit. With this in mind, if what is your “style line”? 

New York City is one long movie scene. It’s dramatic, it’s beautiful, it’s arrogant and humbling at the same time. It allows you to see yourself in myriad ways, which is why, I think, personal style really flourishes here. I aim to be one of those Advanced Style ladies one day, wearing two or three of everything and a bold lip. It’s the New York way.

Navah Rosenbaum, Community Relationship Manager, Zady

Please introduce yourself! 

I’m from the Boston area and I have loved exploring New York and joining in its energetic rhythm for the past three years  My background is interdisciplinary, which led me to join a laboratory that researches decision-making using neuroscience, economics and psychology in the city.

the style line zady

I still love thinking about questions of behavior and how it relates to health, ethics, and business, but an entrepreneurial itch, love for design, and leaning toward social justice led me to Zady. Outside of work, I am always trying to continue learning by exposing myself to a wide variety of people, experiences and ideas. I value innovation and creativity and believe in their power to solve problems that positively impact the word. I think an open mind is key to achieving this. Most of the time I am probably just looking at pictures of my baby nephew though – it’s pretty hard to compete with him.

How do you celebrate personal style?

By not taking it – or myself – too seriously. I mainly play around with silhouettes and love pieces that are classic and tailored with an unexpected cut or detail.  The pieces that define my style most are the ones I have held on to for years. My jean jacket from middle school, leather bomber from high school, turquoise ring from college, and cropped blazer from the summer I graduated are staples to this day. Their value to me only increases with time as they come to embody whole phases of my life.  Style can help define you, and taking risks and having fun are traits I’m ok being identified with, but I have found I can still do that without changing the core pieces that I invested in.

What is one thing you’ve learned about yourself and your style since being introduced to the slow fashion community? 

I have learned so much from working in the slow fashion movement!  While I have never been the person coming back from the mall with ten shopping bags (probably thanks to  budget constraints), I used to put all the weight of my consumer decisions on the style and price of clothing rather than its quality or impact on people and the planet. Now, even my plain white sneakers can have a meaningful, cool story behind them that makes me feel far better about wearing them than something whose origins I could never trace.

The Style Line was built on the premise of discovery, exploration and transit. With this in mind, if what is your “style line”? 

In New York, you can go out for a morning coffee and end up staying out all night, which can cause quite the fashion conundrum when getting dressed. While I appreciate those New Yorkers wearing their high heels on the subway, I personally cannot accept the beauty is pain idea.  I always go back to those pieces that are comfortable but still make me feel put together.  Ultimately, I think your attitude defines you more than your outfit, so my “style line” is about the things that help me stay positive, confident and ready for anything – no matter where the day takes me.