The Vegan Cuts marketplace is filled with amazing products from compassionate vendors and we thought it would be fun to start a new little series on the blog, Indie Vendor Profiles, featuring Q&A sessions so we can all get to know these folks a bit better! First up, Djuna Shay, a cruelty-free fashion and apparel company based in New York City.
1.) When and why did you start making fashion apparel and accessories?
I grew up in the background of my mom’s textile studio. My earliest memories are of sitting side-by-side with her, with my crayons coloring my “designs” as she did hers. Making apparel was something I always wanted to do, however it was a dream I kept pushing away. When your mom is a designer–a really brilliant one at that–it’s easy to say “she already did it, what could I add to it?” Once I was able to change my thinking and let myself be excited about creating, and when my mom said she would work with me on it, Djuna Shay went from being a tucked away dream to reality.
The next phase came with us developing products that were stylish, chic, fun, and beautiful, with our core values behind it. For us, that’s cruelty-free and made in America, with eco-friendly products. Those are the choices I have decided to make for my daily life and they are same I want reflected back in our products.
We live in a global world where everything is connected, and often the details that make up that bigger picture become lost. The process of how things are made–by who, with what materials, and at what cost to animals (both human and non-human) and the environment– needs to be recognized and discussed. Clothing is an awesome way to talk about that. We wanted Djuna Shay to help spark and be a part of that conversation, bringing those details back to the clothing and accessories that people wear.
2.) What inspires you?
New York City. Every street has a different type of magic to it. If you’re feeling stuck, taking a quick walk changes your perspective. Other people are always an inspiration–people who are open, curious, and determined, no matter what–everyone who deals with all the BS that happens to them and then still choose to remain dreamers. Animals, dark chocolate, and coffee are also favorites!
3.) What do you enjoy most about your work and what challenges, if any, have you faced along the way?
It is the most amazing shooting-star type of feeling to see an idea you have had become real and alive, and then have it chosen to be worn by someone else. The challenges are always money related, but that’s par for the course of any growing business.
4.) What’s an average day-in-the-life like for you?
Continuous motion. It’s always different, the one constant has to be my morning almond milk latte. From there it varies. Some days it is designing new prints and mocking up samples. Some days it’s meetings & paperwork.
5.) Do you have any exciting projects on the horizon you can tell us about?
YES! We have been working hard on new fun prints & styles. Our new summer collection will available sometime between May & June. Something else that is super exciting that we are introducing due to request is a small selection of items for babies & children–the same colorful prints with our organic cotton in blankets & mini headpieces & tees. Bringing out more flying wings for everyone!
To see one of Djuna Shay’s creations in action, check out this segment on compassionate fashion via WCIU News.
Thanks, Djuna, for sharing your story with us!