welcome to our new editorial initiative, Who What Wear Spotlight, where we’ll use our editorial platform, social tracking and advertising inventory to shine the spotlight on the small businesses that need our support more than ever. Each week we will be highlighting a new fashion or beauty company. If you own a small brand and would like to participate in the program, please apply here.
It is undeniable that the pandemic has had a significant effect on the fashion industry. What happens, in particular, to the rising evening wear brands that have built a foundation on dressing women for red carpets, weddings and all the various galas and events that we miss so much these days- this? Inclusive women’s clothing brand Coyan is celebrating its first anniversary tomorrow, and in that first year, its silky, minimalist dresses have graced the bodies of influencers and actresses alike. Insecurity Natasha Rothwell and Chrissy Metz from It’s us.
Lucas Zunz, founder and CEO of Coyan, may have just celebrated the sale of his first wedding dress (and subsequently made a face mask to go with it), but as the pandemic worsened, he had to take into account that the market where he built his brand because can disappear for quite a long time. Pivot is, of course, the road a lot of people in his place have to take, but don’t for a second think that means Coyan is leaving his signature silks behind.
“We are developing a new collection that will be released in October. It will be slightly more relaxed with an even greater emphasis on comfort to align with the new normal,” Zunz says. “There’s a lot of emphasis these days on the performance of the athletics market and that everyone only wants to buy comfortable clothes at the moment, but I think women still want to feel their best while WFH . It can actually be more comfortable in a silk. caftan than a pair of sweatpants! “
WFH silks are a concept I can support, but that’s not all for Coyan. Zunz is also working to take the brand further in its slow and sustainable mission.
“Our main priority for the future is sustainability,” Zunz says. “[We’re] turn into a tailor-made company to avoid any waste and only use eco-responsible fabrics. Our next collection will feature recycled cashmere and organic silks, all made in the USA. We want to help shift the consumer mindset of consumerism and fast fashion to be comfortable investing in timeless, well-made pieces that will last forever. “
For a company that focuses on creating pieces for women of all sizes, this mission holds even more promise. For too long, there has been a lack of plus size, well-made, fashion-forward and durable clothing. Read on to learn more about Zunz and buy his favorite Coyan coins.
Tell us about yourself and your business.
My name is Lucas Zunz and I am a Creative Director based in New York. I was born and raised in Paris, but have been based in the United States for six years, that’s where I started my fashion career. After working internally for a womenswear brand for a few years as an ecommerce manager, I started consulting a DTC brand, helping them create premium content and online experiences. I used that experience and knowledge of the market to launch Coyan.
Coyan is a premium womenswear brand that aims to redefine the way we shop for luxury clothing with a slower, more inclusive model. We create clothes in exceptional fabrics with impeccable details for women of all sizes, from 0 to 24 years old.
What if you had to sum up your business in five or more words?
Slow. Including. Luxury. Effortlessly. Timeless.
What inspired you to start your business?
The idea was born when I ran the e-commerce of Sachin & Babi. We saw quite a few requests for sizes 16 and 18, which we didn’t have at the time. I was in charge of introducing a plus size category and seeing if it was a real opportunity for us. During this process I have witnessed the frustration of women as well as an incredible lack of options in the extended size market. Luxury offerings were almost nonexistent, and when it comes to mass market options, everything was made of synthetic fabrics and quite dated in terms of aesthetics. I couldn’t find anything modern and well-made to match the kind of fashion I saw there. This is how the concept was born with the emphasis on inclusiveness and representation being Coyan’s ethos.
What was your proudest moment as a business owner?
We have a client who is getting married in a Coyan dress! It’s happening next month, so I can’t say much about it, but having a woman inquire about one of our dresses for her big day was so exciting. We had only been around for a few months when it happened, and I was so proud that someone was considering us for their wedding. She came back to our house recently to get a matching silk mask for the ceremony.
How have social distancing and household orders affected your business? How have your priorities changed?
The order to stay at home in March made us very vulnerable. We were already pretty tight in terms of cash flow and could see that online orders would drop at least for now. We’ve downsized, moved out of our collaborative workspace and warehouse, and moved everything home. We had to accept this as a new normal and operate with next to nothing (asking for loans etc) until it got better. We were already disjointed, but it was the next level.
The business took a hiatus for a few weeks. We are totally event-driven and all the postponed summer weddings have definitely affected us, among other things. We also decided not to put up for sale as it goes against the culture of our company, so it was difficult to compete with all the markdowns that occur during the pandemic.
The positive side is that it forced us to be creative and think of new ways to reinvent ourselves. We worked with friends and family to get new content during the lockdown by shipping dresses around the world and doing homemade photo ops. We moved our production from Los Angeles to New York to avoid traveling and had to find new partners, which was kinda super exciting – kind of like starting from scratch.
We focused on making face masks, which has worked so well. They sold out and we just made more. They are made from fabric scraps from our first collection which was the most durable and cost effective option for us.
Let’s give the other brands a little spotlight. Which two to three of your favorite brands do you like to support and why?
Henning: Lauren also makes high-end plus size clothing, but with an emphasis on workwear and tailoring. We launched around the same time and share a similar philosophy. One of the only brands to offer true luxury pieces in extended sizes.
I buy a lot of vintage for myself and love going back to my favorite thrift store called Front General Store in Dumbo, Brooklyn. They are a New York institution and offer a mix of vintage and their own brand.
I discovered Marrakshi Life during the summer and I love it. It’s a slow fashion brand like us. Everything is neutral and handmade in Marrakech. Their lost shapes make me want to make unisex Coyan pieces, which will eventually happen.
Next: Fashion girls are everywhere these awesome masks, and I can see why.