Brand Stories : Lily Chung from brand Ethical Kind

Interview with designer Lily Chung from brand Ethical Kind

How Ethical Kind's a sustainable sleepwear label nurtures and empower women to protect nature and drive social change.

The very name of your label oozes compassion & tenderness, what's the saga behind "Ethical kind'? How does it bridge to your body of work?

Ethical Kind is more than a woman's sleepwear label for night-to-day; it's a story of equality and female empowerment where we believe in harnessing the power of commerce to drive social change. I was brought up by a single mother who worked as a seamstress with a family heritage of silk farmers in South China. The cost of sending children to school was a barrier; her role was to look after her younger siblings, work and get married. My mother worked hard to ensure I had the education she didn't have. Unbeknown to her, she had sowed my early appreciation for natural fabrics and clothes, from the craftsmanship to the people and families behind what we wear.

As I discovered the garment industry's impact, not just about the scale of our consumption habits but also about its harmful production process it has on the people, planet and future generations, I wanted to do something about it. The brand, EK, is built on our ethical principles, i.e. honesty, trustworthiness and responsibility, and kindness, i.e. treating all beings with kindness and respect, without sacrificing others. These values are central to what we do, from our creation, sourcing of fabric and materials to the making of our products.

We are committed to using the finest natural textile and fair-trade partnerships to preserve nature, empower communities and promote social change. Our collection is effortlessly versatile to reflect the new way of living, working and playing, most mindfully and sustainably imaginable, so you can dress the way you love without compromise.

Tell us how you conceptualized the use of Organic peace silk for your label & which country forms your reliable source?

I was five years old when I first experienced silk. I would stay at my grandparents’ village home when my mother went to work. Sleeping on their silk duvet provided the most luxuriously soft and comforting feeling that I could remember. I wanted to share the beauty of this fabric.

"While many women today lead busy schedules, they tend to take care of everyone and forget to take some time to relax and take care of themselves, wearing silk can be a little self-care notion for every woman."

Our organic peace silk, non-violent silk is sourced from in India, manufactured under strict social and environmental standards certified to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). This body guarantees the highest possible standard for ecological and social sustainability.

How do you ascertain the silk that you reap is organic/cruelty-free, what are the standards that you've set?

We take complete care in selecting each of our suppliers who shares our values. We like to visit and meet the farmers and makers in our supply chain to fully understand each process of our silk production. This process ensures full transparency from farm to fashion. It is important we select our partners who manufacture under strict social and environmental standards certified to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). This body guarantees the highest possible standard for ecological and social sustainability.

Can you elaborate the premium range of merchandise you offer? What is your much-loved part of the product creation?

Silk is the epitome of luxury when it comes to fabric, owing to the fabric's lustre and texture; silk was often used by royalty for clothing and gifts. However, what makes our premium range of merchandise unique is in the making process. Organic peace silk is a natural fibre produced by silkworms, which takes a lot of time, patience and controlled care to yield silk from insects. Since this is a natural process, no amount of chemical induction or synthetic methods can be used to speed up the process of mother nature. Hence, when something takes so much time to produce, the exclusivity of it naturally rises above the rest. It is not only the production of the fibre that requires time but the entire process of cleansing, moulting and bringing the raw material into the final form is tedious, exhaustive and distinctive.

We enjoy every part of the product creation. Each piece is designed with the wearer in mind. We consider how they would like to feel, move and wear the elements, for example, our silk camisole tops and kimono gowns are designed with double-layer silk to ensure maximum comfort, functionality and purpose.

What message would you like to impart to your clientele by virtue of your product? Your greatest strengths and weaknesses if any that you like to work on?

We love to impart to our clientele, the importance to nurture, to take care of, to protect and help develop. While all too often we're very good at nurturing our loved ones, we're not very good at nurturing ourselves. We believe self-care should not be a luxury but a priority. Our sleepwear collection not only provides something beautiful for our delicate bodies; it looks after you mentally, physically and others too. I must admit as a woman entrepreneur, taking time for self-care is a weakness of mine that I also need to work on.

Do you plan to widen your product range? How significant is sustainability to you?

At Ethical Kind, we believe in creating a timeless garment that you'll love forever. Instead of focussing on the seasons (spring/summer and autumn/winter), EK strives to emphasize the product itself. A piece of garment is more than a 'fashion craze'. EK believes that quality, aesthetics and sustainability are key. We also embody a less is more approach to look to widen our product range by introducing pieces over time.

Tell us about your vision for Ethical Kind in the forthcoming years?

Before I started Ethical Kind, I created a business service platform to support social entrepreneurs. I wanted to establish EK as a lifestyle brand where sustainability is no longer a question but a commonplace. My vision is to build a social entrepreneurship fund where I can continue to support like-minded social entrepreneurs wishing to use business to tackle some of our most pressing social and environmental challenges.

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