In Conversation with the Founder of She’s Linen

We are honored to have been included in a beautiful selection of local brands in ELLE’s Romania April 2021 Green Issue. Delia Brad, the founder of She’s Linen, has answered ELLE’s questions, which are shared with you below. Interview by Gabriela Piturlea. Photography by Denisa Coman.

How did the brand idea come about, and what are the principles behind it?

D.B.: In a way, this brand's story overlaps with the one of my becoming as a human being. The short version is that I have been working for 14 years in the system we now call Fast Fashion and, with each year that passed by, I felt like I was losing some of my joy and motivation.

I stepped into this field very naive and enthusiastic, and I gradually discovered its irresponsible, very unflattering side: the terrible waste, out-of-control pollution, child exploitation, subhuman working conditions of millions of workers... The social and environmental impact of this system, which we have all helped build in one way or another, is overwhelming.

I was working a lot - anyone who knows the field can confirm the crazy pace and the pressure under which people work to feed the endless hunger for "new" - and, at the same time, I realized I was moving forward out of inertia, without enjoying or believing in what I was doing anymore. One day I got up the courage and left. A period of searching followed, and, for a while, I even thought I would never want to hear the word 'Fashion' again. I traveled far, I tried to look more carefully around and within. One phrase always came to my mind: "If you don't like something, change it." I realize it sounds cliche, but that's how the brand idea came up, and I knew from the beginning that I wanted it to remind people of simple, natural, healthy things. And at the same time to encourage them to look more carefully at the stories behind the objects they choose to buy.

We've only recently started to talk about the harmful effects of the fashion industry and to look at the label. What changes do you hope to contribute to through She's Linen?

D.B.: One of the reasons why people make the wrong choices is that they do not see the big picture and do not realize the implications of their own decisions. Therefore, I think it is essential to have a public conversation about the negative impact of fashion, the need to change things, the existing alternatives, and how each of us can contribute.

I think we need to generate as many contexts as possible in which people can learn the truth about this industry and about the role they themselves play in the system. From the beginning, I imagined She's Linen as a sort of platform for discussing these topics. We, as a brand, strive to adopt responsible practices, reducing our negative impact as much as possible. We show people how we do things and why, in the hope that they will draw some inspiration from it. Our intention is for She's Linen to be an invitation to reflect, learn, and improve together.

Have you adopted any new consumer behavior this pandemic year? Has anything changed in the way you relate to your wardrobe or clothes in general?

D.B.: This pandemic calm has created the proper context for bringing my grandparents' garden back to life, so, much of last year, we ate vegetables from our own harvest, and we will certainly try to make this a long-term habit in the family.

As for my wardrobe, it has changed significantly in recent years, in the sense that it has become simpler. I adopted that idea of a 'uniform', meaning I have selected a few pieces that flatter me and make me feel at ease, diversifying through variations in texture and color. I believe in an airy wardrobe consisting of quality, carefully chosen pieces that truly represent you and which you love wearing. This also implies that they will be kept for a longer time, reducing fashion consumption's negative impact.

What do you plan to focus on this year?

D.B.: After an extremely complicated 2020 and in anticipation of a 2021 still quite unpredictable, I think that the simple fact of remaining present and being able to consolidate what we have achieved so far is an achievement in itself.

Beyond that, however, there are some aspects that we aim to improve: 

At the moment, our entire collection is made of a single linen fabric item, this being the practice by which we, as a small brand, can ensure that there is transparency in the entire supply chain. It is an approach that allows us to work directly with the linen producer, to know exactly where and how the fibers are farmed and the fabric is woven. From the seeds to the last stage of its finishing, our linen is made in Europe, through responsible practices; and it is, I dare say, of the highest quality. But we would like to be able to gradually include more items in the collection, including Romanian linen, if possible.

On the other hand, a significant challenge is waste management, for which we have not yet found a satisfactory solution. At She's Linen, we have chosen to produce mostly to order, therefore reducing waste as much as possible. But we would love to find a sustainable solution to this problem, ideally through upcycling in collaboration with artisans or young designers in the area. We are open to collaborations, and we invite anyone with ideas or suggestions in this regard to contact us.

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