San Francisco – Zoë Magee, Bikini Maestro
When browsing the colorful yet homogeneous racks of bikini’s at the mega stores like Target and Costco, it occurs to me that many of the great deals they offer come at the expense of human labor in third world countries. My taste and penchant for fashion has been thwarted by the stories and images we see of children slaving in sweat shops instead of playing in the street and going to school.
Now ladies can have their cake and eat it too, by buying a swimsuit created with an ethical and socially responsible business practice.
Zoë Magee, owner and designer of Zoë Bikini, operates her small business in the spirit of sustainability doing her best to balance the lack of sustainable materials in her business by emphasizing the social equity aspect of triple bottom line practices. She manufactures locally in the city of San Francisco. Using factories that are within walking distance, we have zero emissions when it comes to the transportation of the finished product. We use a small sewing factory that consists of just a few elderly women. The owner, Leai Lee, will only employ sewers that don’t have a lot of options for employment due to their age and speed of work, so she keeps that generation going by providing work.
Zoë takes great pride in creating a great fitting bikini that is manufactured with high quality and lots of love. “ We make garments to stand the test of time and longevity, doing are best to not add excess to the overflow of garments in the world.”
Manufacturing can create a lot of waste, but Zoë makes the effort to recycle and reuse as much as she can.
We try and use every little bit of all the fabrics, hardware, strings, etc during production. We throw very little away and the fabric scraps are requested after the factory has cut the bikinis, and we use them for sample making and other projects.
While we wish there were more sustainable swimwear fabric options, none of the fabric is recycled. However, this is something that we continue to look for and would jump at the opportunity if given the option. We also encourage our suppliers to move in that direction and hope this will become more readily available.
Within the retail/work space, Zoë practices environmental awareness by recycling all waste including plastic, cans, and paper she uses as scratch paper before it goes to recycling.
Zoë is extremely energy conscious and has very low electric usage and utilizes the southern exposure to heat the space.
Not only is she good to her workforce, thoughtful to her impact, Zoë is good to her customers, too! Finding the right fitting bikini can be one of the most difficult and sometimes painful experiences for women. Zoë has spent the last 21 years working closely with women to perfect the best fit for their body type, and most flattering color to match their personality. Zoë has positively impacted so many women over the years, taking away the pain and helping them fee beautiful in next to nothing.
Zoë realized how much she enjoyed working with women helping them look and feel great in a bikini. She realized how vulnerable women feel when they are wearing such a small garment. This inspired her even more wanting to help them feel at ease while going through the process of trying on different styles until they found the right fit. Zoë takes her time getting to know each customer making them feel comfortable and fabulous in next to nothing!
After years of being in underground fashion co-ops, in 2007 she opened her own retail store Zoë Bikini. Moving into her sixth summer, she is now located in the Mission district of San Francisco in a small boutique where she retails and well as develops all the swimwear.
To reach her community, Zoë participates in various fashion shows, festivals, and trunk shows to help market the brand. You can find Zoë Bikini’s showroom is in the Mission district of San Francisco at 3386 18th St.@ Mission where she exclusively sells and manufactures all the swimwear.
Visit Zoë Bikini online to see more of her suits – www.zoebikini.com
Read more about Zoë Bikini’s sustainable business practices on Noble Profit – http://nobleprofit.org/zoe-socially-conscious-bikinis