Maxine Bédat and Soraya Darabi: She’s Leading the Whole Foods of Fashion

June 23 - On The Dot
FIRST THOUGHT: Made to Measure

If you’ve ever checked out a vintage-clothing store, you’ve probably stumbled upon at least one handmade vintage dress that you couldn’t pass up. Beautifully embellished and stitched by hand or machine embroidered, it’s astounding these items have lasted decades. As modern-day women, we’re spoiled with our oversized closets and seasonal wardrobes. But ask yourself this: How much do you really love the many clothing items you have? Were they worth the expense? Are they pieces you’d want to pass down for generations? Or are you just playing the fashion game and trying to keep up with everyone else?


Ready for a crazy statistic? Eighty billion: That’s the number of clothing items made every single year, thanks to our current consumption for cheap, low-quality goods. Compared with two decades ago, that’s 400 percent more pieces of clothing produced annually. The clothing industry is now the second-highest contributor of carbon dioxide to our atmosphere, and is notorious for employing child and forced labor. While I admit I’ve purchased my fair share of fast-fashion items, I also know those are some pretty substantial costs to pay for clothing that quickly falls apart. Is it worth it?

WOMEN TO WATCH: Maxine Bédat and Soraya Darabi, Co-founders of Zady

That’s a pretty loaded question to start the day, I know. But think about this: When was the last time one of your crazy cheap T-shirts didn’t shrink in the washer, didn’t fall apart, didn’t fade or bleed? After struggling with this situation myself, I devised a plan to ditch low-quality clothing for apparel that lasts, that makes me feel better about my consumer habits—and that actually fits! That’s how I discovered Zady.

Maxine Bédat and Soraya Darabi created Zady, known as “the Whole Foods of fashion,” in order to counterbalance our addiction to low-quality goods. And they aren’t shy about upending the fast-fashion world. They want no more apparel in landfills, no more clothing production with questionable roots. They are demanding honesty and quality in manufacturing. And the Zady team scours the globe for stylish, timeless and sustainably produced items made from only the highest quality raw materials.

Prior to launching Zady, both women had a passion for social justice and entrepreneurship in their blood, so it’s no wonder they eventually created a clothing business that rejects trends in honor of an entirely new standard for clothing. It all began when Maxine and Soraya started visiting tradeshows and asking attendees a simple question: Where are your clothes made? As you can imagine, many responded, “I don’t know.”

Through its Sourced In movement and #KnowYourSource, Zady urges us as consumers to research and question our purchases, and ultimately, to care about the quality, process and honesty of the brands in our closets.

These days, Soraya also furthers her mission-driven career as an early stage investor and managing member of Trail Mix Ventures, which invests in companies that share the firm’s focus of living with wisdom, purpose and by design—an idea that definitely echoes Zady’s mission.

Maxine and Soraya’s company was founded on the profound idea that well-made, ethical clothing isn’t a trend, like, say, rice cakes. Instead, it’s about knowing where your clothes come from, and really living up to that standard, as much as you do your farm-to-table food fixation. At Zady, the team ensures each aspect of the supply chain follows their strict policies, from production to finish factory. But ethical fashion doesn’t mean ugly! From a sleek gabardine trench coat made with organic cotton, to linen sweaters featuring fabric that’s spun and dyed in Italy and knitted in California, each Zady item is a stunning classic. I’ll take one of everything, please!


Thanks, Maxine and Soraya, for opening our eyes to the dangers of fast fashion, and for creating a company that will hopefully change the clothing industry for good! With Zady in mind, today’s quote comes from the always-fashionable creative director of Austin Woman magazine, Niki Jones, who said:

“Elegance and strength are not mutually exclusive.”

This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.

To learn more about our conversation, check us out at and talk to us @OnTheDotWoman on Twitter and Instagram. We’d love to hear your voice.

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