Yuli Ziv, who lives in Garrison, will hold a pop-up shop for her BeUltima clothing line for three days starting Friday (July 24) at 44MAIN in Cold Spring.
You spent stretches of your life in Russia, Israel and New York City. How has each influenced you?
Having an opportunity to live in so many places helped me learn to adjust, keep an open mind and stay true to my core values. You can throw me anywhere and I’ll survive. Life in Garrison feels like a retreat, especially in these crazy times. Space and fresh air have become more valuable.
You worked as a software designer. What inspired this career?
I was considering how we need to cure ourselves of retail-therapy addiction and save the waste it generates. I could have become an environmental activist, but many are doing that already, so I decided to attack it instead from a consumer perspective. My brand stands for minimalism and conscious consumption. I wanted to produce it locally to support the New York garment district, which has been struggling as more brands move production overseas. I also wanted to be in control of my supply chain and the conditions in which the goods are produced. I know my seamstress and know that she has good working conditions. Hopefully, we’ll start rethinking our dependency on other countries.
What features did you incorporate in your first design?
I started from a dress, the most common item in women’s closets, with the idea of making it convertible to a jacket, to serve multiple purposes. It can be worn to work or to the gym, and folds into a pouch, so it’s easy to travel in. There are 21 ways to wear it. I looked at it like an engineering project, putting function first, creating attachments, adding zippers and giving it three length choices. I’ve been thinking about the lifestyle and the psychology of the woman wearing it. You don’t have to choose how to wear it; you can decide in the moment. I’ve been experimenting by wearing it exclusively, in different ways, for months.
What isn’t well known about waste in the garment industry?
Fashion has a creative and beautiful side, but we as consumers are guilty of over-consumption. We’re driven by the perception of “trends,” and we are materialistic. More than 80 percent of the clothes in a person’s closet are not used. Each person throws away, on average, 80 pounds of clothing each year. If we extended the life of a garment by nine months, we could reduce our carbon footprint by 20 percent.
What was your last big project?
I created Style Coalition in 2008. It was one of the first influencer marketing platforms — software designed to connect brands with influential content creators for advertising opportunities and collaboration. I have many ideas in my head, and I love introducing something that hasn’t been done before.