ESSENTIALS FOR ZULA: Behind the Seams

About our Behind the Seams series

This is the first post of our Behind The Seams series, where brands get to show their factories as well as who makes their clothing and in what setting. Our world can definitely benefit from consumers feeling a bit closer to the people making their clothing!

Who's ESSENTIALS FOR ZULA?

ESSENTIALS FOR ZULA was a project born out of Delie’s studio flat in Vienna in 2015. Born in a family of garment manufacturers, her Viennese father founded a garment-manufacturing factory in Thailand in 1987.

Growing up in Bangkok, her memories of going to work with her father and seeing firsthand the techniques and artistry of tailoring, instilled in her a love of arts from a very young age. Fast forward to a couple of years later – motivated by her father’s drive and compassion for work and her mother’s fashionable instincts – she became inspired to launch her own project: ESSENTIALS FOR ZULA, creating a signature collection of bralettes and swimwear.

Where the Magic happens...

Based between Vienna and Bangkok, she works side-by-side with her father to produce all the garments in-house in her family-run factory. Her father leads his steady and loyal team of seamstresses and tailors, cutting and sewing Delie’s designs, and Delie art directing the designs and digital brand. Crafting as a father-daughter duo, they are a small independent label, detached from the seasons of the fashion industry.

LET'S

DIVE IN

Questions answered by Stephanie Delie Kastner, Founder of ESSENTIALS FOR ZULA

Could you tell us about the factory where ESSENTIALS FOR ZULA pieces are made in?

We work with only a handful of seamstresses in the factory. We have both men and women working on the bralettes, swimwear and stretch basics. The average age is about 35-40 years old. We have a cutting team made up of only men – our Tetris masters! (More about that later.) In general, we have an equal balance between men and women in our family-run force!

What is the journey between fibre and garment?

We either buy what’s currently on the Thai local market or we turn to our local fabric suppliers to source our textiles. Since we’re designing and sewing the garments, we don’t have much to do with the weaving of our textiles. But we can influence our supplier about what kind of materials we desire to have…so for instance, next year we’ve ordered GOTS certified organic cotton thread to be weaved in the factory of one of our suppliers, which we’re extremely excited about!

What is the typical day of an ESSENTIALS FOR ZULA worker?

They start work at 9, have lunch at 12 and end at 17:30! They get paid an hourly wage, high above the Thai minimum wage.

What is it that makes you the proudest about your factory?

Loyalty! We have an amazingly tight knit team of seamstresses and tailors who are extremely passionate about what they do…I feel lucky to bits to have them and have a lot of respect for them because of it.

How do you handle waste?

We try to reduce our waste in a number of ways; one way is to treat the fabrics like a Tetris game! The fabrics arrive in rolls and our tailors carefully cut out the patterns in the fabric in order to prep it for sewing. So to reduce our waste, we basically try to fit as many patterns on one roll, in every space we can find (pictured). This way we cut away the least fabric possible. Funnily enough, a photographer came in the other week to photograph the factory, and he was so amazed about watching the tailors on the cutting floor (sounds simple, but it’s actually harder than it looks). He ended up spending an hour just capturing fabric being cut!

You currently ship all your orders from Thailand. Are you planning to have a warehouse in Europe/United States at some point to reduce your carbon footprint?

Ha – good question, we’re currently working on it!

To shop their gorgeous pieces,
head to www.essentialsforzula.com

And that's a wrap!

Delie, thank you and all the humans behind ESSENTIALS FOR ZULA for opening the doors of your factory to us, and for getting another step closer to a better, more transparent and honest fashion industry.

Want your brand to be part of our Behind the Seams series too? Please email us at contact@ethicalfashionguide.com and we’ll make it happen!

Passionate about sustainable living, ethical fashion and social justice, Morgane also founded Zero Waste Nest, as an attempt to demystify zero waste living. Her retirement plans are to adopt as many stray cats as she’s able to.

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