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Why Ethical Luxury Label Maiyet is Pivoting to a 'Collective' Model

Why share your precious Soho retail space with other brands? Maiyet's leadership explains.
Inside the Maiyet Collective space. Photo: Melinda DiMauro

Inside the Maiyet Collective space. Photo: Melinda DiMauro

If you walked into the Maiyet shop in Soho a year ago, you might've enjoyed running your hands over racks full of well-tailored coats or buttery leather bags from the ethical luxury brand. Enter the recently renovated space today and the experience is very much the same, save for one thing: the designer pieces in the space no longer all bear the same logo.

As of this week, Maiyet's storefront is now functioning as the "Maiyet Collective," an ethical concept shop stocking brands curated by the Maiyet team, with the label's own pieces serving as the cornerstones.

"We had this feeling that the organizing principle of ethical fashion combined community and collaboration, and there is something magical about that," Maiyet Founder and CEO Paul van Zyl told Fashionista over the phone. "It hasn't been so much a conscious decision as a continuation of a trend that we think is happening, which is that brands do well when they collaborate and people look for community."

It was a lesson the brand learned over and over through its pop-up concept shop in London last year, which featured a range of labels and food experiences curated by Maiyet, all in a conveniently located spot near Savile Row and Condé Nast's UK headquarters. 

Photo: Melinda DiMauro

Photo: Melinda DiMauro

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"We found brands that we felt were consistent with our aesthetic and our values, and then they started selling really well," van Zyl said. When he kept hearing from other ethical brand owners about their desire to participate even after the London pop-up had closed, it seemed like a good idea to continue along the same lines with Maiyet's own storefront in New York.

In addition to Maiyet, the New York storefront now features pieces from Raven & Lily, a lifestyle brand with a focus on social impact, Voz, an artisan-made knitwear label, and Stae, a natural beauty brand. All of the companies place a significant emphasis on the ethics of manufacturing and production, in addition to the usual luxury label concerns of aesthetics and quality. 

Nestled on Crosby Street near Opening Ceremony and Rick Owens, the store attracts foot traffic from shoppers who want high-end products but who may be fatigued by the mainstream designer names that clutter the neighborhood. To foster a sense of community in the space, Maiyet will host a series of events and talks over the next few months. Through these events, van Zyl hopes that the ethical fashion community will have a place to connect — and grow their ranks.

"Every day we make choices about where we spend our money," Raven & Lily founder Kirsten Dickerson said at the Collective's launch party. "If we choose to slow down and spend it on something that tells a positive, not negative, story, there can actually be a real impact on people and the planet."

Sounds like a vision worth sharing, indeed.

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