The clothes you wear take a toll on the environment- but they don’t always have to. YSTR is a West Coast team of innovators that aim to change the harmful effect that our clothing has on the world we live in. YSTR co-founder, April Liang, took some time to answer questions about how her brand will change the way we view fashion.
Teal Magazine: So tell us, how did this all start?
April Liang: Garrett and I had a wholesale business previous to YSTR. After years of following the basic manufacturing process, we saw how much excess inventory was always being produced every season due to forecasted units to allocate for exchanges, damages, returns and reorders. Season after season, the amount of inventory that needed to be produced was always unpredictable and there was always excess waste.
After a taking a long look, we decided to shut down our wholesale business and start a new brand that would be direct to consumer pricing (no additional retail markups), ethically made in LA and to combat fashion waste (to only produce what is sold, no excess inventory).
YSTR was then launched on July 4th, 2016. Through YSTR we hope to empower conscious consumerism through education and community.
Teal Magazine: Does YSTR stand for anything?
April Liang: YSTR actually derives from the word yesterday. This symbolizes going back to how fashion was and honoring the process of slow fashion. The entire development stages of YSTR is developed in a slow fashion sense and carefully put together. We only produce what is sold and designs are created with a transeasonal mindset (Clothing that is essentially season-less and classic in aesthetics. They do not follow trends but are transcendent of seasons).
We also honor the process in creativity; all of our photos are taken on film. For us, it’s important that each frame captures a genuine moment between the photographer and model.
TM: Can you explain the waste problem created by the fashion industry and how YSTR works to resolve this issue?
AL: The U.S alone sends over 11 million tons of fashion waste to landfills every year. We choose not to participate in the industry's alarming level of fashion waste and instead opted for a more conscious way of producing clothing. We utilize technology that allows us to incorporate a batching process and only produce what is sold.
All items are produced the moment a customer placed an order for our store items. Our capsule collections are produced in batches once the membership has closed for the month.
TM: What is the process that YSTR takes to be an environmentally and culturally friendly company?
AL: Everything that is produced at YSTR is cut to order or produced in a batching process. We only produce what is sold therefore combating any excess inventory or excess waste, which can eventually be sent to a landfill. Every garment is made responsibly and manufactured by artisan sewers 100% sweatshop free.
As the knowledge of our team expands, the company does as well. We hope to incorporate more eco-friendly and conscious aspects to the company as we continue to grow.
We have implemented biodegradable poly bags to ship our garments to our customers. Recently we have also sent out biodegradable YSTR stickers and recyclable thank you cards for our club members as well.
TM: Can you tell us more about the YSTR Club?
AL: We decided to make a bigger impact; one that goes beyond one cut-to-order garment at a time. So, we launched The YSTR Club; a community of like-minded entrepreneurs, innovators, artists and thinkers who love their environment and inspire change.
The membership model allows us to batch orders and produce an accurate number of garments all at once rather than a single piece at a time. This significantly reduces our cost per garment without sacrificing garment quality and increases the savings we pass onto you.
TM: What benefits come from being in the YSTR Club?
AL: Each month we will be curating exclusive outfits for our members, from there, they can select their favorite outfit to be shipped to them. They can either skip a capsule or make a selection. It starts off at only $99 with a traditional retail value of $500.
For our Visionary and Pioneer members, they get access to our YSTR beach club and we will also be planting a tree for every member signed up!
Members get exclusive access to items, exclusive pricing to outfits and YSTR beach club benefits.
TM: What steps can everyone make in order to form a more conscious fashion market?
AL: Everything starts with the customer. YSTR’s goal is to just educate the customer. If we can plant an idea in someone’s mind to even just re-think fast fashion purchases, it will slowly start requiring change. Once other companies start becoming more transparent and aware of the issue and it becomes a necessity, the big companies will follow. Everyone just starting off with being a little more conscious about his or her purchases will soon have an impact of what is being produced.
TM: How does YSTR decide which styles to make and deliver each month?
AL: Our designer, Nico, will spend numerous hours to create options that are perfectly designed in sync with fabric and style making sure it is something new and fresh for our customers.
TM: Do you believe that more brands will turn towards YSTR’s approach in the future?
AL: I think more brands are already becoming aware of the issue and eventually it will become something that encourages more brands to be inspired by our approach and become more transparent.