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An organic spin on fashion
New clothing business, SPUN, created by Mercer Island resident Sara Seumae
By Rebecca Mar
Mercer Island Reporter
Fashion is going organic with Sara Seumae’s new clothing business, SPUN, on Mercer Island.
The name, “SPUN,” captures the essence of what the business is about. “It’s a play on the spinning of organic cotton and my spin on organic cotton clothing,” said Seumae. “It has been spun out of my ideas.”
Seumae, who emigrated from Iran with her parents during her childhood, was inspired by her children — ages 1 1/2 and 4 — to create an organic clothing line. Since becoming a mother in 2004, she has been careful to buy organic groceries and safe cleaning products for her children’s sake.
“Organic clothing is just the natural next step. Pesticides-drenched [non-organic] clothing doesn’t make sense,” she said. While she could easily find organic children’s clothes, she discovered a need for women’s organic fashions.
Thus, Seumae decided to venture into the entrepreneurial world, following in the footsteps of her entreprenuer-father, who has opened and closed eight businesses and now owns a local real estate appraisal company. Seumae founded SPUN without “the ego” that accompanies designers who have a background in fashion, she said, as she did not attend fashion school.
“Growing up, I had this idea that I would have my own business,” she added.
Seumae first entered the fashion scene with a booth for SPUN at the spring Seattle Trend Show, introducing SPUN’s debut collection of spring and summer clothes. The collection features six pieces in various colors including reds, blues and greens: Beater Tank, Scoop Tee, Low V-Neck, Raglan, 3/4 Sleeve and Cardigan, ranging in price from $25 to $68. The clothes, made in California, consist of 100-percent certified organic cotton from India and fiber-reactive, low-impact dyes without bleach. Even the collection’s hangars are made out of eco-friendly recycled paper.
Seumae initially designed 15 pieces for the collection but decreased the number to six. She bases her designs on what she enjoys wearing, what her friends and relatives want, what women wear around town and, of course, the season. She also takes certain questions into consideration: What is missing in the clothing market? What styles should be available?
When Seumae worked in retail clothing stores such as Banana Republic and Victoria’s Secret, she observed what styles were popular and what customers needed.
“I was always listening to people [saying], ‘I wish this shirt was like this,’” she said.
With fabric samples, drawings, a dress form and measuring tape, Seumae begins the design process that involves back-and-forth collaboration with her manufacturer in California. She juggles operating out of her home office — where she logs in 60 to 70 hours every week — with taking care of her children, driving her eldest daughter to preschool, grocery shopping and cooking Persian meals.
Yet her biggest challenge is “educating people about organic cotton — it’s healthier for you and farmers all around,” she said of informing buyers that going organic does not make SPUN clothes less stylish but offers a fashionable eco-friendly alternative.
Seumae is now designing SPUN’s Fall & Winter Collection, which will be available at What to Wear on Mercer Island this autumn.
SPUN clothes are sold at Olivine Boutique in Ballard, www.FashionEthic.com and www.90210organics.com. SPUN donates one percent of its sales to eco-friendly causes through 1% For the Planet. For more information, visit SPUN’s new Web site at www.choosespun.com.