We had the good fortune of connecting with kelly shanahan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi kelly, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
We are the first and only company outside of Asia using an ancient and very special type of silk. The entire process of making the silk is sustainable, from beginning to end. It’s only made 4 months out of the year in one tiny village in southern China. Its been made the same way for 500 years which includes a dye in vegetable juice, a bake in the summer sun, and a coat with iron-rich mud from a local river. The process is super special and unique. By using this silk we are helping preserve and protect an ancient tradition. At the same time we are modernizing this craft by innovating new products and marketing it for modern times. We support the community of artisans who create the silk. We are a socially responsible and environmentally conscious company and aim to mitigate our impact on the environment and the world. We manufacture locally in Los Angeles where we try to use all sustainably sourced materials and pay our workers respectable living wages. Right now we are also donating 20% of every mask sale to Frontline Foods, which is a nonprofit organization that helps impacted communities, frontline workers, and restaurants affected by COVID-19. We are doing the best we can.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
It hasn’t been easy. It’s been a rollercoaster. However I am lucky to be pursuing my passion and my dream. We are the only people outside of Asia using a special and exclusive silk. We have exclusivity rights to the silk as well. It’s been a 10 year journey from discovering the silk to today. We are a brand based on slow fashion, conscious consumption, social responsibility, cultural heritage, and the advocation of a better world. We will never stop pushing.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Redondo Beach pier – dirty, nostalgic pier. Dinner or drink at Old Tonys – legendary spot. Lunch at Manuella in the arts district. Stroll through Hauser & Wirth Hike in Palos Verdes, tide pools Vintage shopping at Squaresville in Los Feliz, or Playclothes in Burbank Lunch/Dinner at Burgerlords in Chinatown
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Shoutout to Mother Earth. “Nature doesn’t hurry yet everything is accomplished.” Lao Tzu, the Daodejing. Shoutout to my mom, Dr. Mama Wang. Without her there would be no Ziran. Shoutout to all of the humans who have supported Ziran from the ground up. Not just by purchasing but by believing in the dream, wanting a better world, and fighting for it.
Keith Oshiro CrystalLee Farris