Styles can come and go, but comfortable clothing is here to stay for the foreseeable future.
Consumers have traded in street clothes for loungewear during the Covid-19 pandemic, and their newfound soft-manufacturing craze is going nowhere. But slouchy doesn’t necessarily mean sloppy.
For Los Angeles-based womenswear brand Bella Dahl, the pandemic’s shift to casual attire has played out in its wheelhouse. The brand has a long history of making easy beachwear such as joggers and casual dresses. “We disrupted things by doing, we called it the Californiacation of fashion, or this casualization of fashion, where we’ve already been providing comfort from the start,” said Steven Millman, senior vice president of sales and of brand marketing, in a conversation with Edward Hertzman, founder and president of Sourcing Journal.
Looking ahead to post-pandemic dress-up, Bella Dahl sticks to her roots with comfy, “high” styles that can leave the house.
One of the things that gives Bella Dahl’s clothes a fluffy feel to the touch is her heavy use of TENCEL ™. In addition to feeling like silk, these wood-based cellulosic fibers have a natural sheen and breathability. “There is a luxury, there is a sweetness, there is an ease, there is a happiness, and it is only in these threads [fibers]. It’s just amazing to work with them, ”said Millman.
What initially led Bella Dahl to TENCEL ™ was a “costly mistake,” said Millman. A designer of the brand chose a manufacturing for a shirt style with snaps, and many snaps jumped off the tops. After a week of phone calls asking for replacement snaps, Bella Dahl found a 100 percent TENCEL ™ indigo fabric from Spain that solved the problem. Eleven years later, the brand still uses the same TENCEL ™ textile in its collections.
With a slogan “Gentle on you, gentler on the planet”, Bella Dahl also works with TENCEL ™ Lyocell because of its sustainability credentials. The fibers are made using a low impact, closed loop production process, which has earned them higher scores on the Higg Materials Durability Index (MSI) compared to generic lyocell.
As part of its partnership with TENCEL ™, Bella Dahl is organizing a popup this summer at the London flagship of Selfridges. The centerpiece of the shop-in-shop is a tree-like installation by local artist Anu Ogunmefun, which pays homage to the key ingredient in TENCEL ™: wood pulp.
For Bella Dahl, sustainability is a priority, but it’s also a work in progress. Recently, the brand has taken steps such as reducing air travel, reducing plastic bags and using recycled labels, all in the service of reducing the disproportionate impact of fashion on the planet. . And Bella Dahl doesn’t stop there.
“We’re not perfect, but we’re going to take it one day at a time to try and improve,” Millman said.
Click the image above to watch the video and learn more about Bella Dahl’s sustainability perspective and her partnership with TENCEL ™.