People 17 January 2019
Established around the mission to set a new standard for clothing, using technical fabrics, a conscious supply chain (direct-to-consumer) and innovative production process, ADAY and its founders quickly gained recognition for disrupting the fashion industry with their minimalist, meaningful designs.
ADAY's latest label, Plant Bae, is an ode to their commitment to unique production and a responsible standard, combining beech trees and seaweed to create their first plant-based fabric.
“We're continually challenging ourselves to innovate further towards a sustainable supply chain and are always exploring new resources to potentially use," says ADAY's founders, Meg He and Nina Faulhaber. Both He and Faulhaber believe in the ability to do more with less, which is also why they developed ADAY to simplify the common woman wardrobe hurdles.
The fabric is MicroModal, from the wood pulp of beech trees, blended with Icelandic seaweed fibers. Garnering inspiration from the environment spotlights both the opportunity to utilize renewable resources, as well as the positive effect of harvesting seaweed as a carbon-negative activity.
Available in three tops, the tank, t-shirt, and turtleneck satisfy the seasonal wardrobe staples and maintain ADAY's mission of simplicity. We caught up with He and Faulhaber to learn more about the motivation behind the collection, sourcing the correct materials to create Plant Bae's fabrics (which are insanely soft) and how this eco-conscious decision goes way beyond fashion.
Sustainability has always been at the forefront of ADAY's mission, but when did you decide to take it a step further and create clothing from plant-based fabrics?
ADAY: We were looking to create our first plant-based fabric but did not want to use cotton as cotton is not very sustainable. So we embarked on a journey to find a more sustainable alternative. ADAY's first plant-based fabric is a sustainable MicroModal derived from wood pulp from beech trees blended with Icelandic seaweed fibers. It's a blend that's 90% plant based with its main ingredients being sustainably sourced and manmade made (cellulosics).
Tell me about the process and the challenges to take it from paper to production?
ADAY: Our process starts with intentional design fusing simplicity and versatility. Marrying classic silhouettes with clean lines, we include only the details that are truly necessary. With each new design, we ask: How will we make our favorite staples better? How will we make them last?
Instead of following seasonal trends, we spend our time perfecting the pieces our customers love through wear-testing, customer feedback + experimentation. This allows us to keep improving each of our pieces so they can be loved even more.
What made you decide to source beech trees and seaweed for this first collection? Were there other resources considered?
ADAY: We wanted a fabric that was comfortable, soft and versatile yet felt luxurious, and matched our sustainability requirements.
MicroModal from beachwood trees is derived in a closed-loop system and has proven to be a more sustainable and better alternative to cotton. On top of that seaweed is a fun and versatile plant we are excited by. Most of the world's oxygen (about 70%) comes from seaweed, and it also makes up roughly nine tenths of all the plant-like life on Earth. Many seaweeds also contain anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial agents.
Even though the seaweed content itself is small (it acts more of a “booster" ingredient) we love that the collection shines a light on this important renewable resource.
Photo Courtesy of ADAY
Why was Plant Bae an important next step for the company?
ADAY: The collection shines a light on an important renewable resource: seaweed ecosystems are carbon-negative, and can take up to 20 times more carbon dioxide emissions out of the air than land-based forests.
And why is sustainability so important to you outside the company?
Nina: After buying a lot in my teens, and getting rid of a ton of stuff in my twenties, I adopted a much more minimalist mindset, caring more about experiences than the things I owned. With that, I also started to think a lot more about great product design and ADAY—and our beautifully minimal, yet versatile capsule—became the ultimate minimalist's dream. A few months after launching ADAY, a trip into nature, a lot of self reflection and reading two books (“Let My People Go Surfing" by Yves Chouinard and “The Upcycle" by Michael Braungart and William McDonough) truly opened my eyes about the impact business can have. Now, I couldn't imagine creating a product or company that wasn't focus on creating a better future.
Meg: In everything we do at ADAY, we consciously choose it. I think that's so important in how we live—that we choose how each part of our life fits into who we are. My partner and I made a choice this year to buy an old yellow school bus and reuse it—to convert it into a mobile, 198-square-foot solar powered home. This choice, of reuse and sustainability and custom design and self-build, made so much more sense to us than renting an apartment.
In 2016, I finally found my voice. I always thought I had one, especially as a business owner and mother of two vocal toddlers, but I had been wrong.
For more than 30 years, I had been struggling with the fear of being my true self and speaking my truth. Then the repressed memories of my childhood sexual abuse unraveled before me while raising my 3-year-old daughter, and my life has not been the same since.
Believe it or not, I am happy about that.
The journey for a survivor like me to feel even slightly comfortable sharing these words, without fear of being shamed or looked down upon, is a long and often lonely one. For all of the people out there in the shadows who are survivors of childhood sexual abuse, I dedicate this to you. You might never come out to talk about it and that's okay, but I am going to do so here and I hope that in doing so, I will open people's eyes to the long-term effects of abuse. As a survivor who is now fully conscious of her abuse, I suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and, quite frankly, it may never go away.
It took me some time to accept that and I refuse to let it stop me from thriving in life; therefore, I strive to manage it (as do many others with PTSD) through various strategies I've learned and continue to learn through personal and group therapy. Over the years, various things have triggered my repressed memories and emotions of my abuse--from going to birthday parties and attending preschool tours to the Kavanaugh hearing and most recently, the"Leaving Neverland" documentary (I did not watch the latter, but read commentary about it).
These triggers often cause panic attacks. I was angry when I read Barbara Streisand's comments about the men who accused Michael Jackson of sexually abusing them, as detailed in the documentary. She was quoted as saying, "They both married and they both have children, so it didn't kill them." She later apologized for her comments. I was frustrated when one of the senators questioning Dr. Christine Blasey Ford (during the Kavanaugh hearing) responded snidely that Dr. Ford was still able to get her Ph.D. after her alleged assault--as if to imply she must be lying because she gained success in life.We survivors are screaming to the world, "You just don't get it!" So let me explain: It takes a great amount of resilience and fortitude to walk out into society every day knowing that at any moment an image, a sound, a color, a smell, or a child crying could ignite fear in us that brings us back to that moment of abuse, causing a chemical reaction that results in a panic attack.
So yes, despite enduring and repressing those awful moments in my early life during which I didn't understand what was happening to me or why, decades later I did get married; I did become a parent; I did start a business that I continue to run today; and I am still learning to navigate this "new normal." These milestones do not erase the trauma that I experienced. Society needs to open their eyes and realize that any triumph after something as ghastly as childhood abuse should be celebrated, not looked upon as evidence that perhaps the trauma "never happened" or "wasn't that bad. "When a survivor is speaking out about what happened to them, they are asking the world to join them on their journey to heal. We need love, we need to feel safe and we need society to learn the signs of abuse and how to prevent it so that we can protect the 1 out of 10 children who are being abused by the age of 18. When I state this statistic at events or in large groups, I often have at least one person come up to me after and confide that they too are a survivor and have kept it a secret. My vehicle for speaking out was through the novella The Survivors Club, which is the inspiration behind a TV pilot that my co-creator and I are pitching as a supernatural, mind-bending TV series. Acknowledging my abuse has empowered me to speak up on behalf of innocent children who do not have a voice and the adult survivors who are silent.
Remembering has helped me further understand my young adult challenges,past risky relationships, anger issues, buried fears, and my anxieties. I am determined to thrive and not hide behind these negative things as they have molded me into the strong person I am today.Here is my advice to those who wonder how to best support survivors of sexual abuse:Ask how we need support: Many survivors have a tough exterior, which means the people around them assume they never need help--we tend to be the caregivers for our friends and families. Learning to be vulnerable was new for me, so I realized I needed a check-off list of what loved ones should ask me afterI had a panic attack.
The list had questions like: "Do you need a hug," "How are you feeling," "Do you need time alone."Be patient with our PTSD". Family and close ones tend to ask when will the PTSD go away. It isn't a cold or a disease that requires a finite amount of drugs or treatment. There's no pill to make it miraculously disappear, but therapy helps manage it and some therapies have been known to help it go away. Mental Health America has a wealth of information on PTSD that can help you and survivors understand it better. Have compassion: When I was with friends at a preschool tour to learn more about its summer camp, I almost fainted because I couldn't stop worrying about my kids being around new teenagers and staff that might watch them go the bathroom or put on their bathing suit. After the tour, my friends said,"Nubia, you don't have to put your kids in this camp. They will be happy doing other things this summer."
In that moment, I realized how lucky I was to have friends who understood what I was going through and supported me. They showed me love and compassion, which made me feel safe and not judged.