YSTR was founded to provide a better alternative to modern shopping.
Garrett Gerson, Co founder and CEO of YSTR first got into business at a young agae from selling cars and MC-ing at events, to running family-owned restaurants and bars across LA county. Garrett pretty much did it all growing up in his driven, family-oriented household. Because of this, his interests weren’t necessarily restricted by a particular medium or industry; instead, Garrett thrived on disruptive innovations and businesses that thought outside the box.
After working for several independent labels post-college, Garrett paired his knack for business management with an appreciation for the dynamic, rapidly-evolving nature of the fashion industry by launching his own line in 2009. After seven years of success, Garrett and his business partner April decided that it was time to disrupt their own careers. The two of them took the steps to exit the wholesale business and form a new e-commerce brand, YSTR, in hopes to change the way fashion is created and delivered in this modern era.
April Liang, Co Founder and COO is a California native who grew up in Malibu. April fell into the fashion industry at age 20 as a production assistant of a local contemporary line. In 5 short years, April rose from assistant to a full-fledged partner and director of development and production.
During this time, April’s hands-on approach to every aspect of the company expanded her knowledge of the true ins and outs of fashion manufacturing and began to question the traditional, daresay outdated, way things were done in the wholesale business. In 2016, April and her business partner Garrett decided to start a new chapter in their lives and launch YSTR, a fashion e-commerce brand that aims to proactively adapt to the changing industry landscape by creating beautiful clothes whilst minimizing fashion waste. April continues to do what she does best and runs YSTR’s production and overall operations.
How did you get interested in ethical and sustainable fashion?
We had a contemporary wholesale business than we ran for 7 years and followed the basic manufacturing process. The issues that came with this, is the overproduction that you would need to produce each season to hit minimums, allocate for exchanges, returns and damages. After producing, there is a limited time given to sell all this excess before markdowns, giveaways had to happen.
Taking our knowledge with everything we learned we decided to re structure the business. Realizing that if we were not willing to pay $400 for something, most people would not either but also taking into consideration the environmental impact that fast fashion has and on carrying any type of inventory.
We decided to leverage technology and social platforms to create a more sustainable ecommerce direct to consumer marketplace. We create your basic essential silhouettes with a contemporary twist and not selling by traditional seasons. What fast fashion has created as the new norm with 52 seasons a year, we have gone back and shifted to what we believe fashion should be and release small drops with clothes that can be worn yearly and become your closet essentials. We are not carrying an inventory of product, we minimize waste and it allows us to do single item orders.
People are starting to be aware of the affect this industry is having on the environment and making more conscious choices on what and why they purchase.
What is the importance of the idea of ethical and sustainable fashion to you?
The fashion industry has become a gluttonous, oversaturated industry where companies are overproducing garments in order to bring down costs (and therefore prices) on products that are disposable and will inevitably end up in landfills, polluting our earth. I don’t think we’re necessarily disrupting the industry, we just want to grow a company that celebrates what fashion used to be and what fashion SHOULD be: thoughtfully-crafted clothes that are responsibly made.
We don’t want to make clothes just to satiate our desire to design or turn a profit – we want to approach the fashion industry in a way that will allow our daughters, sons, nephews, and so on to have a beautiful world to live in in the future. Our innovation doesn’t come from looking at ourselves as a company that only cares about the bottom line – it comes from looking at ourselves as part of a community.
I think we’re all just really proud to be a part of this shift towards sustainable fashion, and be able to tie our anti-waste method of manufacturing with really great, high-quality clothes that are sold at approachable price points. It’s up to innovative companies and individuals to disrupt the industry’s current norms, and we want to do what we can to support that.
What about ethical and sustainable fashion designers and companies?
People are starting to open their eyes to what’s really happening in the industry and its films like The True Cost or brands like Tom’s that are educating people and approaching business and creation as an extension of humanity – not just a way to capitalize on others. We believe that a good portion of consumers have gotten over the “razzle dazzle” of value-based trend shopping and are really starting to read between the lines – or threads – of the clothes they’re purchasing and becoming more aware of their impacts.
But knowledge is just the first step – a consumer needs to have options. By having ethical and sustainable fashion designers jump on board, and giving individuals an alternative that makes sense for their lifestyle/budget etc. that’s when they can actually make the choice to change their habits and then start sharing their knowledge with others
What is YSTR Clothing?
YSTR was founded to provide a better alternative to modern fashion shopping. We create beautifully crafted clothing, using sustainable cut to order technologies to combat the industry’s alarming level of fashion waste.
What are some of its feature products?
YSTR carries out your basic essentials and daily needs that can be worn throughout the year. From our popular full look pieces the Anais apron dress and Hardy jumpsuit, to your classic oversized petal back Chloe blouse and your must have bodysuits and basics, these items are all closet essentials that can be dressed up for a night into town or worn out on a daily.
Continued in part two here.