The search for sustainable fashion has only increased since the UN declared a global climate emergency back in 2019, with many High Street stores releasing their own ‘eco-friendly’ fashion lines, and more and more independent sustainable sellers popping up around the globe too. We bagged an interview with one independent whose sustainable garms are selling out in the UK. Introducing… Lucy and Yak.
The story begins down under in New Zealand when two young Brits decided to quit their day jobs and set sail for new horizons. What once started as a small side hustle, making homemade tobacco pouches for travelers, soon became an award-winning empire of trendy, tremendously bright, sustainable clothing. Now, Lucy & Yak has stitched scrubs for the NHS, has over 40 different styles of dungarees, and continues to revolutionize the sustainable fashion industry.
With dungarees made from 100% organic cotton, and colored with low-impact dyes, Lucy and Yak are committed to making trendy threads that are kind to the planet. The brand has also expanded its clothing line to include fleeces, t-shirts, skirts, dresses, sweatshirts, trousers, and boiler suits, suitable for any gender and any body type.
The brand also strives for total body inclusivity, designing its clothes to accommodate sizes up to a UK22 (US 18), with plans to include more this year.
What is your favorite product on sale at the moment?
“I love our new Kathy worker-style Jackets,” CEO and Co-Founder Lucy Greenwood said. “It’s a new piece that we launched at the end of 2020, and it’s proving to be one of those pieces that everyone loves.”
Where did the name Lucy & Yak come from?
“Me and my partner lived in a campervan for a few years in the UK around the time we were trying to come up with ways to earn a living,” Lucy said. “The campervan was named ‘Yak’, and Lucy & Yak was born.”
Chris and Lucy soon decided on dungarees as their staple product for Lucy and Yak and went on in search of a manufacturer that could make their clothes in an ethical way that was also kind to the environment: two things that are at the core of who they are as people, not just the brand.
Why is it so important to you to continue to be a sustainable and ethical brand?
Lucy said: “[We] had very strong personal beliefs around businesses and business owners taking everything in sight with no consideration for the people who helped them, or the planet's resources that were needed to achieve their success.”
“For us, ethics and sustainability were never a thought out marketing plan, they are ideas and values that are in our DNA,” she said, “however, a lot of small encounters, and the feeling of wanting to work with makers who we knew personally and felt a strong connection to, lead us to where we are now.”
Lucy and Yak have since then offset 1,082.2 tonnes of CO2 emissions, planted nearly 15,000 new trees, has become one of only 4700 employers in the UK to pay the National Living Wage, and has even been shortlisted for the Sustainable Lifestyle Fashion Brand Award in 2019.
The brand is also has a strong stance on anti-racism, child poverty, and has a full page dedicated to bios and selfies of their factory workers, in order to show full transparency about where their clothes are made.
You’ve grown so much in the UK, what’s the next step from a business point of view?
"We have no concrete plans, we do believe we have to be open to life's little encounters guiding us," Lucy said. "However, we are going to attempt to grow the brand a little slower than we have been the past few years, to allow our teams to learn and to allow the brand to remain true to its core values."
"We would like to do lots of ‘in real life’ events; this was the plan for 2020, but we all know where our plans went in the year we shall never forget." - Lucy Greenwood, CEO and Co-Founder of Lucy & Yak\
Would you ever consider a Lucy & Yak x AFTR PRTY design collaboration?
"Absolutely!" Lucy said. "We are always looking for exciting new collabs, especially with other creative people and businesses!"
Well, you heard it here first, folks. Expect great things coming soon, but in the meantime, check out Lucy & Yak's latest collection here.