Ethical Fashion: MAYD IN CHYNA, Interview With Co-Founder Teresa Perna

”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.

 

”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 INTERVIEW WITH TERESA PERNA x Trend Privé Magazine

How did your passion for design start and how your creative process work?

I’m not sure that I knew that I wanted to become a fashion designer per se, but I did know that I liked to use my hands to create anything be it in landscaping, crafts, food, interior design and of course artistically styling pieces of clothing both new pieces and vintage ones that were my mom’s.  So fashion designing just developed over the years as a result of this artistic creation  and then was fully realized when at one point my son decided we should make a business out of it, which we did.

 

 

Describe us you as a designer and how your feelings influence the creativity process and how fashion nowadays helps and motivate you to become a fashion designer?

The Brand was born out of the necessity of not having access to truly sustainable, stylish, quality and vegan clothes that were not made in China….thus our Brand name….we wanted to show that what we did and how we did it was completely opposite of how fashion was done in China…we do it with respect for people animal and the environment.We used China as the poster child of the polluting and human rights violations of the fashion industry. In fact, everything that is wrong in this world inspired us to start this Brand.

Can you tell us a little bit about your references for the last collection?

We only have one collection but we do have Phases and I design whenever the fancy or need to express myself strikes me; also the number of pieces included in each Phase changes; my last Phase was m\y Phase III which consisted of only two pieces; awhite cropped crisp ladies blouse and a simple but stylish blue maxi dress; my reference for these was an inspiration from looking up at the sky one day…..it’s simplicity but astonishing beauty, it’s blue and white colour scheme and its lightness.

 

 

Are you sick of people talking about millennials? Do you see yourself as a designer for the youth?

Actually, I don’t label myself as a designer for anything or anyone in particular except as a designer for change to the status quo; I want to design for everyone;however, i must say that the millennials havebeen overwhelmingly supportive and appreciative of my designs, colours and business focus. I just love them.

How fashion competitions can change the business industry? Will you apply at some in the future?

I have a sour taste in my mouth for fashion competitions per se because they are too mainstream and are always run by corporations that just focus on profits.If I could find a truly grassroots and authentic fashion competition where the real focus was on doing good through fashion then I would definitely apply.

What do you think it’s your best-selling piece from your last collection?

My last Phase was Phase III and the most popular was our Occasion Maxi Dress.

What do you think about the opportunity of selling your products on online platforms, you think it might be a good showcase for your work and your future?

Actually I am an old fashioned kinda of gal and really like selling personally and directly to the consumer through a shop.  But I must admit that selling online has one major benefit because it allows designers to reach a very broad global audience instead of just a local one which is the key to educating and informing people and thus changing the ways things are done.  If you can reach out to thousands it is much more likely that your story and values get heard and that people will start to listen and that’s when things really begin to change. There is power in numbers!

List us three favorite designers / icons who inspire you.

I am not really inspired by any designer per se, but I do love the Chanel look, it’s classic and timeless and she was a very revolutionary type of person given the time that she started designing so perhaps she is the closest to being an inspiration for me as a designer.  However, the one person who truly inspired and influenced me was my mom; looking back now, which i didn’t realize then, was that she was the epitome of a great and sustainable designer.

 

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