Staying Cozy This Fall

Softwear: the SUSTAINABLE BASICS WE’VE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR

BY ALYSSA FORD

It was the beginning of April. The chill of March lingered in the air and winter coats were still striding through TriBeCa. Latte steam and the smell of brunch tickled my nostrils as my fingers brushed against the softest piece of fabric I have ever felt. I met with one of the founders of Softwear, Sabrina Zohar, in an Aussie cafe. Over breakfast and espresso, we chatted about her sustainable and ethically made athleisure wear brand, being vulnerable and pursuing personal passions.

After becoming mentally exhausted from her high stress, high fashion gig, Zohar began to find solace in yoga and fitness. Combining her knowledge of the fashion world with her sister Jaimie’s six years of fitness experience, the two birthed Softwear.

Softwear  Men and Women’s Basics collection, 2018.

Softwear Men and Women’s Basics collection, 2018.

Before the conception of Softwear however, Zohar was looking for an entryway into the fitness universe and noticed that many popular brands weren’t actually giving consumers—especially conscious consumers—what they wanted. Consumers wanted something basic, sustainable and high quality—but also affordable. The founders of Softwear did not see these demands being met in the market, so they decided to make it themselves.

Softwear  Women’s tank in Dune.

Softwear Women’s tank in Dune.

Softwear  Women’s tank in Dune.

Softwear Women’s tank in Dune.

Softwear offers a wide array of sustainable men and women’s basics that are suitable for an active day around the city, or a chill Sunday on the couch. Items range from t-shirts made from a Siro Modal jersey, to joggers made from recycled beech wood. Softwear chose Siro modal because of the way it’s woven. It is a low pull, no fade and no shrink fabric that has a small amount of spandex in it to retain shape, allowing consumers to wear for practice or leisure.

Another thing Zohar and I discussed was the extremely aggravating shedding problem that comes with many fast fashion basic pieces. Before I made the full switch to boycotting fast fashion brands, I often found myself buying basic pullovers and joggers from places like H&M and Forever 21 because they were cheap and convenient. Almost every piece however, left tiny bits of fabric and lint all over my linens and under clothes, and the pieces themselves wore down after only a few washes.

Zohar shared similar retail experiences, and told me how that led her and her team to repeatedly test the Softwear clothing to ensure shedding would not be a problem. “For the joggers, we took the Lenzing Modal (that’s the sustainable yarn, it’s made from recycled beech wood, and the process of turning the wood into a cellulose is what runs the factories– so no need for electricity) and we changed the weave and added a bit of cotton to avoid any shedding at all!” The dyes used are also reactive dyed, which means they bond to the molecule of the garment and become part of the yarn, therefore you can wash a piece a million times and no fading will occur!

Softwear  Men’s t-shirt and jogger set in Midnight.

Softwear Men’s t-shirt and jogger set in Midnight.

Softwear  Men’s t-shirt in Obsidian and joggers in Dune.

Softwear Men’s t-shirt in Obsidian and joggers in Dune.

Softwear strives to be 100% American-made—“from fabric, to packaging, to manufacturing, to threads and needles—everything is on American soil.”

The brand works with a small family-owned fabric mill in California, where everything's made-to-order, produced from recycled cotton and colored with non-toxic dyes. During this phase, almost half the amount of water is used during production. Not only are the dyes nontoxic, but drawstrings are hand-dyed in small batches to significantly reduce the amount of water and energy used to produce them. In working solely with those who share her passion for reducing their carbon footprint on the environment, Zohar shares a piece of advice: “Align yourself with people that believe in your vision and it will be so much easier.”

The clothes are manufactured locally—right here in Brooklyn—in one of the only sustainable manufactures in New York City. The manufacturing plant runs on solar power from a solar-paneled roof, and even has a 6,000 kW battery backup pack.  

Softwear was created to fill a void, a void that Zohar felt within herself and within the market. The brand is an ode to following your dreams and staying true to yourself. As a first time business owner, Zohar said, “I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned throughout this all is really being the most authentic person you can be—when you’re telling your story and sharing things with other people, coming from a place of true purpose and passion.”

Softwear  Women’s pullover and jogger set in Obsidian.

Softwear Women’s pullover and jogger set in Obsidian.

Softwear  Men’s hoodie in Bone.

Softwear Men’s hoodie in Bone.

Zohar’s eyes glowed as she told me about the brand’s history and handed me a black women’s pullover to feel. The second I touched it I knew I would be purchasing one in every color and needed it wrapped around my skin immediately. As a conscious consumer myself, I can honestly say I have been waiting for a sustainable, active basics line like this for quite some time.

Softwear  Women’s tank in Bone and joggers in Obsidian.

Softwear Women’s tank in Bone and joggers in Obsidian.

Softwear  Women’s tank in Bone and joggers in Obsidian.

Softwear Women’s tank in Bone and joggers in Obsidian.

Softwear  Women’s tank in Bone and joggers in Obsidian.

Softwear Women’s tank in Bone and joggers in Obsidian.


Photographs by Sean Madden, courtesy of Softwear