Interested in upgrading your “mom uniform” with super comfortable but incredibly stylish go-to pieces? We’re always looking for clothing that fits this bill, and that’s why we were thrilled to learn (and share) all about OYUN. Founded a year ago by fashion industry vet—and fellow mom—Sanaz Gera and her co-founder (and husband), photographer Russell Gera, each piece is soft, fits a rage of body shapes beautifully and is made sustainably (and to last). They live in Brooklyn, NY, with their 12-year-old daughter. We spoke to Sanaz about her socially conscious and chic designs, her life as a working mom and more. Interested in ordering? Go to oyunstudio.com and use code LOCALMOMS for 20% off through August!
Can you please describe OYUN for anyone not yet familiar?
OYUN was born out of my frustration with the lack of quality, modern, affordable and versatile wardrobe options when I was pregnant and a stay-at-home mom. Chain brands were inexpensive, but cheaply made and didn’t last. Luxury brands were well-made, but unaffordable and sometimes inaccessible. So I created OYUN, a season-less and timeless collection of natural fiber knitwear—everyday elevated Loungewear‑that can be worn inside or out. It’s perfect for running errands, hosting dinner parties, traveling and even as après ski wear. Our goal is to help women feel chic and put together without trying.
Amazing! Your background is in fashion—how did that inspire you?
I have worked in the industry since I graduated from FIT with a degree in fashion design. I helped brands grow their technical design department—at companies such as TSE Cashmere, Catherine Malandrino, Adam Lippes, Narcisso Rodrigues and more—for over 20 years. I found that a lot of brands were over-producing and wasting a lot of samples and production. They were constantly trying to meet the deadlines and needs for fashion shows and wholesalers wanting more styles faster. This was very unethical and depressing for me. The industry was becoming a fast food chain and I felt that we needed to think about our planet and try to have a more old-school European approach to fashion. This means buying less but better quality clothing that you will cherish forever and knowing where and how it is produced, as well as who the profits go to.
Love that! Can you share a bit more about your commitment to social responsibility?
For the past few years I have been involved in our community by volunteering for different non-profits that help underserved kids in need of guidance. We engage in social consciousness across the company—from marketing to manufacturing and design to finance. We feel that it is important to strengthen the fabric of our society by empowering those in need. To that end, we intend to partner with a different non-profit organization each season that helps women and their families in need, and become leaders in their communities. Our online presence will spotlight our social involvement with the intention of raising awareness and engaging our customers to be active in this process as well.
Your materials themselves are also sustainable—can you explain what that means?
We focus on using natural and eco fibers from ethical yarn producers. We produce less batches of clothing in order to not waste and sell what we don’t sell one season to the next since our styles are versatile and timeless. Our factories in China are audited yearly by an independent third party for occupational health and safety. These audits help ensure that humane work hours and wages are enforced, and that the facilities are safe. Our factory in Peru is a fair trade factory that produces for small brands and is a family owned business. We only use natural or recycled materials for our shipping and try to minimize any waste in our packaging and paper trail. We also only make fully-fashioned sweaters which means we have make less waste and better quality garments.
Buying pieces that last is so crucial for moms who want to save time. What are your favorite pieces for summer?
I love the low back slip dress and robe—they are both very versatile and can be worn indoors or outside. They can be gifted for special occasions and feel like a second skin. The hoodie has been an all year round big hit with customers—they love the versatility, quality and that it looks good on any size or age of women.
What are your bestsellers and why?
The hoodie, and our wool joggers that will be back this Fall are very chic and versatile. Again, they are meant to be worn indoor or out and dressed up or down.
Some of your cotton PJ pieces look like they could definitely be used for the beach or even out to dinner—it seems like this versatility is a cornerstone of the business?
Yes, definitely. I was having a hard time when I was a stay-at-home mom, running errands or entertaining at home when there were very few options for a versatile wardrobe of loungewear that was not “athleisure” or PJ’s at the time. I wanted to run errands, answer the door, be chic and together without changing into jeans or something that would be too dressed up. I think that with COVID-19 happening there has definitely been more need for a “dressed up lounge look” when working from home, so I think OYUN had a premonition of what was to come and what a women’s need were to become. Going forward I feel that women do not want to have to go back to an office to work, and would want a more relaxed, dressed up look to have all the time.
You’ve been featured in Marie Claire, Elle and Harper’s Bazaar. What it is like seeing your “baby” in these amazing publications?
I am so proud and excited that editors and people who actually shop the brand at pop-ups have been able to understand and love the concept of OYUN and how this type of dressing was missing in their wardrobe.
What is the hardest part of being an entrepreneur mom? And best?
I mostly work alone, and wear many hats from designing (which has become the smallest part of this business) to sales, marketing, meeting customer needs, online sales and shipping. This is very time-consuming and tiring since I work 24 hours a day. I try to look at the bright side and have been getting my daughter involved in a lot of decision-making on what feels good and chic in her eyes. I want to work hard to show her that being a persistent and determined person (especially as a women) can one day lead to success in whatever she wants to achieve.
Do you have any working mom strategies you’d like to share?
I feel that it’s important to set family time—even if it is having dinner together at the dinner table or having a movie night or doing yoga together has been our time and has brought us closer together.
What’s next for OYUN?
We are trying to build our brand to be a bit bigger—customers have been giving us a lot of feedback on what they love from the line and what they are missing form their wardrobe. We want to be sensitive to customer needs and try to add more styles that will be versatile all year and still elevated and minimal in terms of styling. Fall 2020 is more focused and bigger than our first Fall season. We have a lot of mix and match styles we can’t wait to share and keep getting loyal customers. We want to do more pop-ups outside of NYC in smaller towns that would really love our brand!
This post is sponsored by OYUN.