Wearwell's Co-Founder, Emily Kenney, chats with Julia Ahrens, Owner + Designer of Miakoda based in New York City, to talk about her brand's zero-waste sustainability, why comfort inspires her designs, and exciting new things to come in 2024.
Emily: Happy New Year, Julia! I’m so happy to be chatting with you. To kick things off, what motivated you to start Miakoda?
Julia: After graduating from Parsons School Of Design with a degree in fashion design, I discovered how detrimental (and, quite frankly, messed up) the industry is, so I set out to apply for jobs working for ethical fashion brands that fit my aesthetic and I found a huge hole in the industry. This was over a decade ago, so the ethical fashion world was even smaller at the time. I chatted with my sister and we decided to start Miakoda as a way to create clothing that we would actually want to support!
Zero Waste Headband, Navy Waffle
Emily: Love that story and love that Miakoda was part of the early ethical fashion movement! As a pioneer of sustainable fashion, you know that “sustainability” can be described in so many different ways. How do you define it?
Julia: Good question! I define it as a mission to do as little harm to the planet as possible. Creating a product always comes with a footprint but you can prioritize eco friendly and/or organic plant based fibers. We have zero-waste initiatives that help us repurpose the majority of our production waste into new accessories and garments, and we have a secondhand store to help us be more circular where you can buy and sell pre-loved Miakoda.
Emily: That’s such a great approach to sustainable fashion. What’s one piece of advice you would give someone who is just beginning to build their sustainable wardrobe?
Julia: Don’t go out and buy an entirely new wardrobe. The most sustainable piece of clothing is the one you already own. Start small, buy pieces you know will be worn a ton and fill a hole in your closet, and shop secondhand (even better shopping for ethical brands secondhand)!
The Wide Leg French Terry, Black
Emily: In just three words, how do you describe Miakoda’s aesthetic?
Julia: Comfy, refined, loungey!
Emily: So fun! What inspires you when designing for Miakoda?
Julia: Nature and being comfy! I often find a location and imagine what I’d want to wear in that setting. Creating comfy clothing is so important to me (I never want to create the garment you’re itching to get home to get out of), so comfort is a huge inspo for me as well.
Emily: Absolutely, Miakoda styles are always so comfy and wearable. What are your must-have styles from Miakoda’s newest collection?
Julia: We just launched three pieces so I’ll give you my favorite pieces that are currently on our site: The Wide Leg French Terry Pant, The Tank Crop Top 2.0, and The Tee. I wear these pieces every single week, multiple times.
Emily: One last question from me – what’s next for Miakoda?
Julia: We create our garments in small batches – small batch production is a great way to do ethical production and create less waste – this means we often get sell outs and have limited inventory. Because of this, I want to create a Miakoda Essentials Collection of core pieces that will always be in stock (as much as possible). That’s top priority for 2024!
Emily: I cannot wait to see (and shop) the Essentials Collection!