One of my stockists mentioned today that she’d had a run of customers asking about the ethical standpoints of the labels she stocked – happily, because all but one of her labels are tres local, she could confidently say that everything was above board. It got me thinking that I should put some info out there about the Aida Maeby operation.
Technically speaking, the team is just me, Jess. Each Aida Maeby range is created in my studio on the lower level of our home in Vogeltown, Wellington. Often also spread all over the kitchen table, and sometimes on the living room floor (because that’s where the heater is and sometimes I make so much mess – creative mess – downstairs that I’m forced to take over other parts of the house), which I’m sure bothers my family no end. When you purchase an Aida Maeby garment you can be sure that every effort has been made to reduce waste in both the sampling and production process, in part because I'm maniacal about those things in my personal life. I do occasionally utilise child labour, but they’re my own children, and it’s only because they insist on helping sort scraps and recycling and sitting next to me at the overlocker, pushing offcuts down the shute.*
Aida Maeby is a true matriarchy, and I’d like to share a special group of women who’ve made it all possible so far.
This is me, and my husband Owen who is clearly not a woman but gets special mention for being my supportive other half and for putting up with all my whims. At this stage of the operation, all sampling, patternmaking, and around 70% of all production happens at our home.
Sarah Chu, Porse Educator
Sarah has the most important job in the operation – she cares for my youngest son two days a week while I work at home. Without her I couldn’t have done any of this; Arlo loves her (as do the rest of the children she takes into her home each week), and the added bonus is that she lives about 50m from me as the crow flies so sometimes in the summer I can hear them playing in her garden.
Jacki Condra, Rex Royale Boutique
As she’s done so many times in the past, Jacki took a chance on an unknown label and became Aida Maeby’s first stockist. She’s a staunch supporter of locally designed and made clothing, jewellery and art – as a community we’re bloody lucky to have her.
Harley takes care of the remaining 30% of production sewing. She’s solo Mum to Oscar, who’s two, and they live in an adjacent suburb to me here in Wellington. When I’m burning the midnight oil, so is she.
Michelle and husband James are responsible for created the last two lookbooks for Aida Maeby. They’re incredibly creative and dedicated (and award winning, cough cough) photographers who go the extra mile to make every project feel unique and special. Michelle also makes up one half of Novella Collective along with friend Ivy Mae (see below); their mission to create fine art portraiture celebrating the beauty of all women. Michelle is cute as a button and sharp as a tack, if you have an upcoming project or wedding to plan for, you’d do well to check out their work.
Ivy Mae, Hair, Make Up and Styling
Stylist extraordinaire, gentle soul. Many will know that hair and makeup are an absolute mystery to me so her cool calm and collected approach to styling shoots is an absolute joy to watch. Is it witchcraft? I think maybe a little bit.
Tamara Rakich and Lucy Clement, friends for life
Lastly we have the Cheer Squad. These are the girls who field my tearful phonecalls when there’s no end in sight to whatever I’ve gotten myself in the middle of, who’re always ready with words of encouragement, helpful advice, a discerning eye and open arms. Everyone should have a Tamara and a Lucy.
Your Name Here.
Every time you choose to purchase an Aida Maeby garment you're supporting all the people named above, so you can feel good about your positive choice. Also you look awesome :)
So, on behalf of all of us –
*I don’t want it to seem like I’m making light of the issue of ethics in the fashion industry; problems like the use of child or underpaid labour and environmental impact are widespread and serious. When we turn away from fast, disposable fashion and towards traceable, ethically produced goods we not only end up with a far superior product for our money, we make a vote for the kind of world we want to live in.