When it comes to jeans, women should not have to choose between fit and fashion. That’s what mother and daughter Kathy Moça and Emilie Whitaker believed when they set out seven years ago to create the perfect fit jeans. They headed to Brazil to study denim techniques there, and after lots of focus groups and detailed analysis of pocket placement and about 60 other elements, Beija Flor jeans were created.
Kathy’s husband and Emilie’s father (the same guy) is Brazilian, and Brazil is a country long renowned for its denim industry. When Kathy and Emilie were able to tweak the Brazilian product for an American market, they foundthe key to the jean that fits every woman.
“Our denim is your canvas,” Emilie explained to me. “We are trying to create a classic piece, a core piece of your wardrobe.”
Behind the astonishing fit of Beija Flor jeans, there is a team of workers at a factory in Espirito Santo, Brazil. When Kathy was looking for a manufacturer, she interviewed 8 different factories in the area before settling on the one the company has been using ever since.
A family-run operation that was started over forty years ago by one man and his sewing machine, the factory now employs about 500 people. A pillar of the community, it has been awarded honors both for ethical treatment of its workers and environmental initiatives and is ISO Certified.
“Our factory has always treated the workers well,” Kathy told me. “Even during tough times they always made payroll. I’ve seen all aspects of the factory and I feel confident saying that people there are extremely well-treated.”
In fact, Brazilian law mandates (and enforces) a 44 hour work week.
Protecting the Environment & more
The environment is well treated too: Beija Flor jeans are washed in an efficient water treatment facility that reuses water in an almost closed-loop system, and the producer of the denim itself uses cashew shells to power its steamers.
The Beija Flor team is clearly committed to sustainability, believing strongly in challenging accepted processes in the fashion industry and finding the most eco and socially-conscious ways of getting from A to B.
Recently, they held a Facebook design contest and proceeds from the winning Melissa jean will benefit a breast cancer research center. Breast Cancer is a disease that affects 1 in 8 women and Kathy herself is a survivor.
“We want to have a voice in the fashion industry and to create a product that makes women feel good about themselves,” Emilie said. “We’ve only scratched the surface of our potential; we want everyone to have an opportunity to wear these jeans.”
And when you do, the company recommends NOT dry cleaning! No need, the denim retains its stretch when washed the usual way, but to really maximize your jeans’ sustainability try to minimize washing.
(One site I read even recommended sticking jeans in the freezer to kill bacteria – still haven’t tried that one but it’s on the list.
Stay tuned for my review of the jeans themselves!